Less talk, more work
Some people have asked me many times over the past 4 years how I could create TROM documentary alone, or manage/do other projects that are very work intensive like TVP Magazine, or how do I get motivated to make videos, write, and so on. To be honest, I kinda’ understand their questions as I have seen many people trying to do different projects and failing to accomplish that. Why are they failing?
Here’s why I think many people fail.
1. Depend only on you!
When you do something new, different, and get no reinforcement, then it is just you doing that and thus no prize for what you do or encouragement.
Therefore if you do not enjoy the ride and you still expect for such reinforcements, you will probably fail. Most things that I’ve done, from magazine to documentary, other videos, or websites, I’ve done because I enjoyed staying at the computer and working on them, not expecting any reward at the end, not expecting anyone to encourage me, not having a deadline. I’ve done them for myself, for my own pleasure. And thus, depending only on myself, I rarely back down from any project.
If you mentally depend on others to encourage you, then what happens when you don’t get any encouragements?
2. Don’t plan!
Many people make lists, prepare, create a plan, and they put a huge effort into this, then they have no energy or motivation left for doing what they wanted to do in the first place. I know many people who create teams, make logos for the teams, many spreadsheets, groups, and spend most if not all the time preparing as if it will come if you prepare for it. Many people have told me they will help me with this or with that, or will do this or that, and I never heard from them again. I know they were all well intended and nice humans, but they consumed their energy (probably) before they begun.
I never do that. If I feel like writing about something for TVPM I open the Google Docs and start writing. If I want to make a website I start working on it. When I took TVP Magazine project I first made a demo and showed it to Roxanne and analyzed how much time I need to make one issue. When I presented to her what I want to do, I already made sure I can manage this project by testing that.
I remember when I and another friend, while in high school, were planning to open a web-design company. We worked on the company’s website (ours) for months (we debated over the logo for weeks), we thought about prices, how we will work, how we will get paid, and so on. The result? No web design company because we lost the interest after a couple of months.
If you want to make a video about something, like the series I’ve done recently with Jacque Fresco, just open the video editor, then search for what materials you need (music, voice, footage) and start doing it. Forget about planning as to how long the video should be, what footage to use, what music. Such things come about while you are working on it.
3. Forget the details!
Another mistake I think people do is to focus on details way too obsessive. The blue is not blue enough, the corners are not sharp enough, the music is a bit too loud….you will drown in your own thoughts and not do any project. You will get better as you work more. The more videos you make, the better you will make them. So what that a video has a music that is a bit too loud!? Release the damn video and next time make one with a lower volume for the music.
You should decide of what matters. If you want to influence people through videos that have a powerful message, then remember that even 240p videos made in Movie Maker go viral. People don’t care as much about such things as you imagine. Do you think that your video will be successful if it is in HD? I bet no! There are many HD videos with barely any views on Youtube.
I haven’t made any video that got millions of views until now, but I made many that have thousands of views. Maybe the more I make the more chances for one to go viral. The important thing is that I am not looking for that.
Videoneat has many glitches, and works poorly on mobile devices, but I think is better with it than putting it on hold until solving those problems. TROM has many audio imperfections, but changed the life of many people (as they have told me). TVP Magazine sometimes has some typos or design errors, but we improve that on the fly and people still love the magazine.
4. Take into account what others say, but don’t!
I can’t remember how many nonsensical advices I’ve got for the past 7 years…but I took them into account, and if I detected bullshit, I moved on. And most, were bullshit. By that I mean people will always try to teach you how to do things in the ‘right’ way.
Use only 3 colors for the design! Don’t make videos longer than 4 minutes! No one will use such a website! !!! And so on!
Do you think they know much about this? Are they successful on making videos, websites or other projects? Probably not! And even if they are, why not try it your way. If I were to ask my friends if I should make TROM documentary 14 hours long, well… imagine what they would have said to me….Or an online magazine….I am sure many would have said that people do not read magazines nowadays.
5. DO it!
I can’t stress this enough. Whatever you have in your mind to do: a website, a video, whatever, just do it. You may not finish it, but if you enjoy doing it you won’t care, and in the process you will learn something new. Stop thinking if others will enjoy it, if it will be successful, and so on, you will be able to measure such things and improve on the fly. Some of the most viewed videos I made are those I worked the less on, strangely enough.
I have also seen people buying all kinds of equipment before starting a project because they think they lack a good mic, or a good camera, or a good software, or a good computer. This is like buying a training suit and sport shoes thinking that you will start making some exercises. Many times that is not the true and you will wear your training suit inside your home watching TV :).
I made TROM documentary with the most low spec computer you could have, and I made it in HD. That is because I was motivated. If I had waited for a good PC, no TROM would have been made.
Therefore, I think that if you want to do something you should start doing it and remember that people ‘know what they know’, nothing more than that, and they may not know much to give you any advice, thus be original and do it your way. And enjoy the ride because if you fail to accomplish what you wanted to accomplish, then it will be no waste of time.
I never got any reinforcements for anything I’ve done so far, and everything I’ve done I’ve done it for me, for my own enjoyment. The fact that thousands of people enjoy what I do, every day (reading or watching stuff I do) is a side effect of my work and my drive towards sharing with people what I do. I made VideoNeat because I always loved to share information with people, and now I share documentaries I see, with hundreds each day.
As a side note, I realized for the past year that I spend too much time managing the TVP Magazine viral images that we post on TVP facebook page, and by tha I mean I reply to all comments that needed a reply, and debated with people way too much. I thought that maybe I should cut that time by 80% (since many such debates were leading nowhere) and spend this 80% doing something else, and well I managed to make 6 short videos in a week that have reached many thousands of people, I managed to work more on a new TVP website that we strive to create, organized 34gb of Youtube videos that we intend to post on the new website, and do other things that are more productive. So that was less talk, more work ?
This is what works for me, to enjoy what I do (the ride) and do it in the way I consider is best to do it although listen to others as well but have a good bullshit filter, and just start doing it without planning too much.
Just a human on this planet, creating trade-free stuff 😉 I mainly write at tiotrom.com. I made TROM Documentary back in 2011 and since then I am writing books, make videos, websites, or customize Linux operating systems :D. Or curate the world. I am furious and curious. Furious at how this society is, and curious about the cosmos we live in (from plants to quasars, from atoms to galaxies).