“He Lacked A Simple Video To Introduce Himself”

Recently, I spoke to someone who is anxious about doing a talk, at a large public event that’s coming up soon, in which his work will be on show.

He can overcome this, as I told him a while ago. Now he was messaging to ask if I meant it.

I did mean it, and I told him so.

It turned out, not surprisingly, that he doesn’t have any kind of introductory video – or even show his face – on either his website or social media channels.

Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with that. But I sensed that he would quite like to have a video. And when I asked, he said he would like that.

So he decided to make one. With me to help.

If you dread being on camera but know you should – you might like to hear how we did this.

This isn't the video, obviously. This is a drawing.

What do you want people to see?

We started with a conversation on Zoom. I recorded it, made a transcript, and teased out important aspects – perhaps including insights he may not have considered.

We would use parts of that recording to create the video, introducing him and his work, overlaid with images and footage he chooses.

To be clear: we were only going to use everyday bits of tech, including my phone, tablet and desktop computer. I don’t run a video production company!

One thing he particularly wanted to show is how viewers can get to a certain location, in his part of the world. So we planned for him to film the journey on a phone, and I would use that footage as part of the overall video.

One reason he wanted to show that location was to encourage people to turn up at his events. Which reminds me of an important point about the value of videos.

When we first started talking about this, as I already mentioned, there was no sense of his presence on his website – and no visible presence of other people either. It felt like turning up at the theatre only to find that nobody else has booked a ticket, or at an art gallery on a day the artist isn’t there – and nor is anyone else.

There was a kind of loneliness, a depopulated quality.

The video we made would address that depopulated quality while also allowing him to talk about what matters most to him.


The importance of showing your face

Thinking about this man’s situation last week I did something I don’t often do on Instagram: I clicked on links to several people’s websites. People whose work I enjoy. I noticed that many don’t have any kind of visual representation of themselves – no voice, no speaking to camera and in some cases not even a photograph.

I looked at the websites of quite a few people – much the same.

If there’s a resistance to using video, I do understand because – despite having written a book about public speaking and done a lot of public speaking myself, and made a lot of videos and posted them here and there – I too don’t much like being on camera.

Why would anyone want to look at me, is the general feeling I have.

But I have also come to see – by means of solid evidence with data and also the kinds of things that people say – that for some strange reason people do quite like seeing me in videos. Obviously anyone who doesn’t like it just doesn’t watch, and clears off, but when I first recorded a video and posted it on Instagram to introduce myself, I had a really warm response.

So even though I don’t much like being in videos, I do it occasionally. And as a visitor to the websites of those others last week I know that I would like to see them, hear them talking about what they do.


So I started working on a video for this one particular man I’ve mentioned, and it occurred to me to scale up the work, creating an opportunity for others to achieve the same result, in a friendly group with a shared purpose.

But how?

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