On May 7, 2017, I made a commitment to shoot and edit daily instagram stories for one entire year. Since then, I've shot, edited, and posted well over 500 daily videos. Why did I make this daily commitment? What happened to me, as a result? Well... I'm going to tell you because I didn't really understand, nor expect the radical changes to my creative process that followed.
So, let's go back to April of 2017, shortly after I left my job in advertising to pursue my goal of starting my own small creative shop. I had spent the past decade working for agencies doing graphic design, branding, campaign concepting, app design, web design, etc, and I wanted to get back into making my own content through video and photography.
To get started, I needed to upgrade my camera gear. I purchased my Sony A7Sii, which fit my needs since I was so often shooting in low-light conditions, and this was the camera that was going to become an extension of me and my creative thoughts and concepts. I was ready to start making. Now... after fiddling around testing settings, snapping photos my cat, Georgia, and just playing with the camera, I realized that I've never actually taken the time or energy to learn every aspect of my previous cameras. Not only that, but I had avoided learning much of ANYTHING about true manual settings. My previous photography and videography had been FINE... but who the hell wants their creative glass ceiling to be lowered to the FINE level. In order to harness the true power of your camera, you've got to learn how it works. Completely.
I had been following some incredible Instagram creators, and one of them, in particular, inspired me to step up my game. Jesse Driftwood (@jessedriftwood) had been doing daily videos, edited beautifully, just sharing his daily travel to and from his studio, and sometimes clips of him working and goofing around during the day. Jesse didn't do it to hype anything, really, but only to create something everyday. Similarly, you may have heard of the famous artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as @beeplecrap (www.beeple-crap.com), who committed to creating one creative image (he started with drawings, but moved to 3D renders) for one year... which has now continued to day 4235 (when I'm writing this) – over 11.5 YEARS. INSANE.
This was it. I decided that, in order to learn my camera back and forth, I was going to commit to one year of shooting, editing, and posting stories to Instagram to share my progress for entertainment and accountability. Not only that, but I would also commit to always shoot in complete MANUAL, meaning that every setting would always be in my control to either learn and succeed, or failure miserably and get crappy footage. There had to be real consequences for me to commit to change for the better and internalize everything I was learning. No aperture priority, no shutter speed priority, no programs, NO AUTO.
As expected – my first weeks' videos were fairly random with little consideration for an idea or a focus. But I kept at it. Weeks turned to months, and months quickly reached the 1-year mark. Holy crap. I was blown away by how quickly it all passed.
Around the 3 week mark, I was fully comfortable shooting with fully manual camera settings. I had developed a file management system template to organize every day's footage, and I had built an Adobe Premiere Pro template for Instagram Stories that allowed me to spend my 1-3 hours of editing focused on what mattered – the story.
In addition my progress as a videographer, the biggest value, of course, was my lesson in commitment. My promise to make SOMETHING everyday pushed me to see the world in a new way, and to shed all of my creative insecurities. I HAD to make something, and sometimes they were just.... MEH. That's okay. The commitment to try and to push myself wasn't about pride and 'razzle-dazzle' – it was about being me every single day, and accepting what I was able to do in that time, and sharing it.
The learning curve within a daily commitment is steep, and very quickly, if you're able to stick it out, you'll be engrained with a discipline that I, personally, have never really known until now.
So I invite you to mark your calendar on today's date, pull out your sketch book, video camera, synthesizer, or colored pencils, and commit to making something TODAY, tomorrow, and every single day for a week. Or a month. Or an entire freaking year. You will be pushed to a new level of craft, and you'll never regret it.
Thanks for reading!
If you HAVE started daily creations, please send them my way! I would LOVE to see what you're doing, and I want to follow your journey and see where you go.
If you're a videographer of any level and want to start doing DAILY Instagram stories, go download my Premiere Pro CC 2019 template and get started. ❤️
Download it for free here: http://nickwichman.com/creative-resources/
Published by: D1sc0veryfirstname.lastname@example.org in Videography