Whether you make video full time or for your own enjoyment, video production provides an excellent outlet for creativity. At the same time, it takes tremendous effort and determination to complete a project — especially when you are just beginning to learn the craft. This can become a potential drain on your creative energy — a feeling I’m sure we’ve all experienced on our journey to produce better work.
Here are five things to try when you find yourself needing extra motivation to get yourself back behind the camera or into the edit bay.
To keep that energy flowing, you’ll need to find ways to stay inspired. Here are five things to try when you find yourself needing extra motivation to get yourself back behind the camera or into the edit bay.
Have others critique your work.
This advice is not uncommon, but as much as we know constructive critique inevitably leads to improvements, it’s sometimes difficult to put yourself in such a vulnerable position. But there’s a reason class critiques are a staple in MFA programs: Working in complete isolation will only stagnate creative growth. There’s no point in making work that nobody sees, and feedback from others can be invaluable as you revise your current project or start planning the next one.
Critique the work of others, even those you admire.
There are two goals here. The first is to learn from other people’s triumphs and mistakes. The mistake are just as important. The second goal is to make those you greatly admire more human and more relatable. Realizing that even your heroes make mistakes can make suffering through yours that much more bearable.
Be proud of your work, even when it isn’t perfect.
All this critique may have you second-guessing you creative ability. When you find yourself lacking in self-confidence, it’s time to take a step back and admire what you’ve accomplished. Every video you make takes work, and that work should be acknowledged and appreciated. Even when you hate the results, you can still be proud of the fact that you made an effort to create something and further hone your craft.
Create even when you don’t feel like it.
I still remember this advice from my highschool English teacher, Mr. Lachman. He believed that you can’t wait for inspiration to strike; you just have to start writing — even when you don’t feel like it. Sure, making video is fun, but it’s also work — and work can be tough. There may be days when you find that you just aren’t motivated to revise a script or continue an edit, but try to anyway. The longer you step away from a project, the harder it will be to pick up where you left off, so try to make progress everyday — even if you write just one sentence or add one clip to your timeline. This will keep the momentum rolling.
Acknowledge that good work takes time and practice.
Ira Glass, producer and host of “This American Life,” advises those learning a craft that, in the beginning, there will be a gap — a gap between your own good taste and the actual skill need to produce work suited to that taste. The solution, he says, is to produce a “huge volume of work,” and to remember that closing the gap between your taste and your ability will take time. “It’s normal to take a while,” he assures us, “You just have to fight your way through.” Stay with it, and eventually, you’ll win that fight.
Nicole shares a birthday with Ozzy Osbourne. She is also Videomaker’s Associate Editor.