There are three important ingredients to a good video…the writing, the performance, and the editing. Now, of course, lots of videos have those things blend together…sometimes I write while I film and sometimes while I edit (deciding to put stuff on screen or cut things (cutting is a huge part of writing) or even to go back and shoot something new.)
But while I once upon a time showed you a video of me editing…I’ve never shared anything about my writing process or my shooting process. So I’m gonna open the book as part of a larger project. Let’s call it the Nerdfighter Online Video Workshop.
It comes in three parts:
WRITING WORKSHOP Check out the prompts (and guide) on my WattPad, here. Write scripts and share them on WattPad using the appropriate tags. Whether or not you are writing in the workshop, feel free to thoughtfully and conscientiously critique submissions (which you can find by searching for the appropriate tags) using WattPad comments.
PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP Check out the scripts (particularly the unpublished Vlogbrothers and SciShow scripts) and film (and ideally edit) your performance. Of course we understand that your software and hardware aren’t necessarily going to be top notch. Phone videos encouraged! Upload your video and name it “NOVW PERFORMANCE VIDEO *USERNAME*” with your username in place of *USERNAME*.
Whether or not you are making a video for the workshop feel free to search YouTube for “NOVW PERFORMANCE VIDEO” and thoughtfully and conscientiously critique performances.
EDITING WORKSHOP Download this unedited Vlogbrothers video (there are lots of ways to download YouTube videos, this one works well for me), edit it however you want…do literally whatever you want to it, and then upload it with the title “EDITEDCOMMENTSVIDEO *USERNAME*” where *USERNAME* is your username.
Whether or not you are uploading an edited video, feel free to search for videos in the editing workshop and thoughtfully and conscientiously critique them.
Yes, I will be looking at this stuff…though probably not for a while because I’m going to be traveling a bit over the next week or two (or three). I’m very excited to see what comes of this. Please be helpful and thoughtful and encouraging to each other. I hope this is interesting and useful to you (and also to me.)
Also, tag all related content novw here on Tumblr or on YouTube or Twitter or wherever.
what about Gaza and Ferguson John? do they not deserve your respect? you're such a hypocrite, i's disgusting
I think this is a deeply flawed way of looking at the world.
Now, I havetalkedabout Ferguson, and I’ve talked aboutGaza. (In fact, I’ve been writing and talking about Israel and Palestine for more than a decade.) But there are many important problems facing the world that I haven’t talked about: I haven’t talked much about the civil war in South Sudan, or the epidemic of suicide among American military personnel, or the persecution of Muslim Rohingya people in Myanmar.
Is that okay? Is it okay for me to talk about, say, racism in football and lowering infant mortality in Ethiopia? Or must we all agree to discuss only whatever is currently the ascendant news story? Is it disrespectful to Ferguson protesters to talk about continued political oppression in Egypt now that we are no longer reblogging images of the protests in Tahrir Square? I think this is a false choice: If you are talking about Ferguson and I am talking about Ethiopian health care, neither of us is hurting the other.
I think the challenge for activists and philanthropists online is in paying sustained attention, not over days or weeks but over years and decades. And I worry that when we turn our attention constantly from one outrage to another we end up not investing the time and work to facilitate actual change. We say “THE WORLD IS WATCHING,” and it is…until it isn’t. We’ve seen this again and again in Gaza and the West Bank. We’re seeing it in Iran. We’re seeing it in South Sudan. And we’re seeing it in the U.S., from net neutrality to Katrina recovery.
The truth is, these problems are complicated, and when the outrage passes we’re left with big and tangled and nuanced problems. I feel that too often that’s when we stop paying attention, because it gets really hard and there’s always a shiny new problem somewhere else that’s merely outrageous. I hope you’re paying attention to Ferguson in five years, anon, and I hope I am, too. I also hope I’m paying attention to child death in Ethiopia. I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive.
I really don’t want to minimize the effectiveness of online activism, because I know that it works: To use a personal example, I’ve learned a TON from the LGBT+ and sexual assault survivor communities in recent years online. People on tumblr make fun of me for apologizing all the time, but I apologize all the time because I am learning all the time, and every day I’m like, “Oh, man, Current Me has realized that Previous Me was so wrong about this!”
But we can only learn when we can listen. And when you call me a hypocrite for talking about X instead of talking about Y, it makes it really hard to listen.
At times, online discourse to me feels like we just sit in a circle screaming at each other until people get their feelings hurt and withdraw from the conversation, which leaves us with ever-smaller echo chambers, until finally we’re left only with those who entirely agree with us. I don’t think that’s how the overall worldwide level of suck gets decreased.
I might be wrong, of course. I often am. But I think we have to find ways to embrace nuance and complexity online. It’s hard—very, very hard—to make the most generous, most accepting, most forgiving assumptions about others. But I also really do think it’s the best way forward.
Everything about online video is different from television (aside from the fact that lots of images are displayed in sequence in order to create the illusion of movement.)
The way the content is made is different, the mindset of the audience is different, the way social structures and fandoms are built is different, the kind of engagement is different, the barrier to entry is non-existent, the rate of change is at least doubled.
But humans are not good at thinking about things differently. Something new exists and, unless we are very young, we attempt to put it in an existing box…or some combination of existing boxes. Online video looks like television, so let’s create “Networks.” Let’s call the page of each creator a “Channel.” Let’s call the thing they do a “Show.” And the people themselves are “Stars.”
Of course this is what we do…creating new words is a hassle, especially when you’re trying to convince existing structures (like your mom, Hollywood executives, and Madison Avenue) that this thing is legitimate and interesting. So you use those old boxes.
The problem is, the more we use those old boxes, the more everything starts to look like the thing that came before it.
If we call collections of YouTube channels “Networks” everyone thinks about them like they’re Networks (especially in legacy media.) Then eventually creators start thinking about them as “online TV networks” when really, the needs of online video creators are completely different from the needs of TV creators.
Suddenly, online video starts looking more like TV not because it should or anyone wants it to, but just because we lack the collective imagination to think of it differently.
This is an old problem…and not one that can be completely avoided. People aren’t very adaptable. It’s like complaining that it snows in Montana…it’s so expensive to plow the streets, and there are more car accidents, it’s a drain on the economy! But, like, you can’t make it SNOW LESS, that’s ridiculous.
But to some extent (and maybe not a huge extent) you can change social structures and you can change people. Not to match precisely what online video would be in it’s purest state, but to let some of its unique properties shine through. This will happen no matter what, but I think it will happen /more/ if we’re conscious about it…AND if we put people who actually understand it in charge of some of its more influential structures (YouTube, MCNs, Awards Shows.)
But that’s not what we’re doing. For a few years, YouTube has been led by a guy from Hollywood…so has Maker Studios…so has AwesomenessTV. YouTube is now in the hands of a stronger CEO who is at least from the tech world, which has much less in common with online video than TV does.
That might seem like a bad thing, but I don’t think it is. I think coming at new media with fresh eyes is much better than coming at it with pre-defined boxes. Thinking, “Oh, I see, so this is kinda like a channel…but different in a few ways,” gives you a much less accurate picture than thinking, “This is like nothing I’ve ever seen before…what exactly is it?”
I (and probably you) came at online video with entirely fresh eyes. I knew nothing about hollywood structures or the roles that networks or agents or awards or channels played in the creation of media. I knew media existed, but the structures that surrounded them were entirely unknown and opaque to me.
But most people in the online video business did not enter with that innocence, and I think that’s too bad. There are very few people who understand online video solely within the framework of online video in this industry, especially people who have differentiated themselves and gained enough experience to not only /be/ experts, but to be recognized as experts (which are two very different things.)
We’re headed into a world where the people who really get it are getting old enough to differentiate themselves and bring both authenticity and expertise into this industry, but it’s a bit of a battle at the moment…especially because a lot of the bigger companies have already got it into their heads that TV and online video really are very similar.
And if they think that for long enough, my fear is that eventually, it will become true. Not because it is, but simply because we lacked imagination.
So if you’re into this…figure out ways to differentiate yourself as an expert who should be recognized as such…then please, send me your resume.
I LOVE THIS POST edwardspoonhands!!! (bold emph and italics mine) Change the world! Go work for Hank!
I also love it. Go work for Hank. (Or go work for Kenyatta!)
“Last year, in total, British police officers actually fired their weapons three times. The number of people fatally shot was zero. In 2012 the figure was just one. Even after adjusting for the smaller size of Britain’s population, British citizens are around 100 times less likely to be shot by a police officer than Americans. Between 2010 and 2014 the police force of one small American city, Albuquerque in New Mexico, shot and killed 23 civilians; seven times more than the number of Brits killed by all of England and Wales’s 43 forces during the same period.
The explanation for this gap is simple. In Britain, guns are rare. Only specialist firearms officers carry them; and criminals rarely have access to them. The last time a British police officer was killed by a firearm on duty was in 2012, in a brutal case in Manchester. The annual number of murders by shooting is typically less than 50. Police shootings are enormously controversial. The shooting of Mark Duggan, a known gangster, which in 2011 started riots across London, led to a fiercely debated inquest. Last month, a police officer was charged with murder over a shooting in 2005. The reputation of the Metropolitan Police’s armed officers is still barely recovering from the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent Brazilian, in the wake of the 7/7 terrorist bombings in London.
In America, by contrast, it is hardly surprising that cops resort to their weapons more frequently. In 2013, 30 cops were shot and killed—just a fraction of the 9,000 or so murders using guns that happen each year. Add to that a hyper-militarised police culture and a deep history of racial strife and you have the reason why so many civilians are shot by police officers. Unless America can either reduce its colossal gun ownership rates or fix its deep social problems, shootings of civilians by police—justified or not—seem sure to continue.”—Armed police: Trigger happy | The Economist (via kenyatta)
(on the ALS ask) Following that train of thought, aren't people going to give less to charity? I probably misunderstood, but it seemed that you were wondering the purpose of giving/promoting the ALS charity in lieu of another charity - and of course, it is sad that not all charities can receive the attention they deserve, but choosing X or Z instead of asking yourself why X or Z should be chosen is more efficient than not giving at all. Anytime a charity receives attention, I will be happy.
This is a really good point.
If a campaign like the Ice Bucket Challenge increases the overall amount that humans give to charity (and it has), then that is an unambiguous win, because then it isn’t a question of donating to x or donating to y; it’s a question of donating to x or not donating money to charity.
I was imagining charity as a zero-sum game, which of course it isn’t for most people. I’ll update the post to reflect your comment.
Probably not, partly because I am still recovering from meningitis and so the thought of doing anything out of bed is a bit overwhelming, but also for other reasons. I worry this makes me a totally humorless party pooper, but…
That said, I have mixed feelings about tying fundraising (or awareness campaigns) to stuff like the ice bucket challenge. Here’s the question: Why are we raising money for ALS instead of raising money for pediatric cancer research or food aid or for domestic violence shelters?
I feel like the answer to that question ought to be, “We’re raising money for ALS because ALS research is underfunded and can benefit from these resources,” not, “We’re raising money for ALS because the ice bucket challenge is a thing on the Internet right now.” If our philanthropy is dictated only by what happens to bubble up to the surface of the Internet’s consciousness, we’re not making careful choices about how to distribute our limited resources.
And when it comes to charity, everyone has limited resources. Whether you give $5 or $5,000,000 a year to charities, there will always be good causes you cannot fund. So you need a very good answer to the question, “Why did you donate to X and Y?” because there will always be a Z—a very worthy Z—to which you did not donate.
This is not meant in any way to diss those who’ve participated in the ice bucket challenge: it’s an important cause and it has been tremendously successful. And I certainly don’t want to strip the joy of giving and sharing from charity. Sarah and I are just focused on trying to make sure our giving is driven by need and the opportunity to create lasting change.
EDIT: Tumblr user mockmewithgrace points out that it isn’t just a question of donating to X over Z; campaigns like the ice bucket challenge raise the total amount of money donated to charity; i.e., money that would otherwise be spent on beer instead gets donated to ALS research. This is a key point that I failed to consider above; I wrongly imagined charity as a kind of zero-sum game. And insofar as campaigns like this increase the total amount given to charity, they are I think unqualified successes.
As you may know, YouTube gives channels the capability of uploading caption tracks to their videos, and these tracks are invaluable to all kinds of people. Captions allow deaf and hard of hearing YouTube users the ability to enjoy videos to the fullest extent; captions clarify words or phrases that might be difficult to understand when spoken aloud; captions enable users to find phrases or quotes via searches, and so on.
An impressive amount of vlogbrothers-related videos have already been transcribed, and I’m in the process of uploading those transcriptions as captions to the videos themselves. But there is a lot of work yet to be done.
Any other non-standard SciShow/Crash Course videos (like bloopers, teasers, surveys, and so on)
Similarly, if you are multilingual, we could use your talents in helping to translate videos for our educational channels.
See below for a full list of channels that are available for translation:
Crash Course is currently a special beta tester for Youtube’s new Captions/Translations feature. If you go to any Crash Course video and click on the “Transcript” button below the video, then open up the drop down language menu, you can select “add subtitles/cc”, a captions editor page will open, and you’ll easily be able to translate the video. When you’re finished, you can submit your work and it will be reviewed. If it’s accepted, you’ll be notified via YouTube, and the captions will go live on the video! See the screenshots below for an idea of how it works.
I’m sure there are many, many other good sources of information on the ground; hopefully, people will reblog with links to them.
For an overview of what’s happened in Ferguson, Missouri since police shot and killed an unarmed teenager named Michael Brown, this New York Times story has some background. You can also read about the story in the LA Times, and there are live updates at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Amazon is a global superstore, like Walmart. It’s also a hardware manufacturer, like Apple, and a utility, like Con Edison, and a video distributor, like Netflix, and a book publisher, like Random House, and a production studio, like Paramount, and a literary magazine, like The Paris Review, and a grocery deliverer, like FreshDirect, and someday it might be a package service, like U.P.S. Its founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, also owns a major newspaper, the Washington Post. All these streams and tributaries make Amazon something radically new in the history of American business. Sam Walton wanted merely to be the world’s biggest retailer. After Apple launched the iPod, Steve Jobs didn’t sign up pop stars for recording contracts. A.T. & T. doesn’t build transmission towers and rent them to smaller phone companies, the way Amazon Web Services provides server infrastructure for startups (not to mention the C.I.A.). Amazon’s identity and goals are never clear and always fluid, which makes the company destabilizing and intimidating.
“Whatever pain achieves, it achieves in part through its unsharability, and it ensures this unsharability through its resistance to language. “English,” writes Virginia Woolf, “which can express the thoughts of Hamlet and the tragedy of Lear has no words for the shiver or the headache.” … Physical pain does not simply resist language but actively destroys it.”—Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain