Want to know what people like? Effort.

Want to know what people like? Effort.

This may seem like an obvious statement, but in a world where everyone is aiming for the minimum viable product, going the extra effort seems unique, original, and more appreciated.

This morning I watched one of my favorite YouTube creators (that word seems inappropriate at this exact moment, but moving on) and in his latest video, he perfect illustrates the problem of the hamster wheel that we call content creation.

The talk he gives in the video is great and lends some much needed perspective, plus some interesting predictions about the future of posting things on the internet. However, what makes this video great isn't just the words coming out of his mouth, but the manner in which those words and visuals are put together to tell the story.

How many times do I need to remind myself that a good story is much better than the art it describes?

I can make a video showing how I make a beautiful design, but if I share that art without a compelling story, it's just not going to be as interesting. This doesn't necessarily mean that everything we make needs a compelling story.

Some of what we make is purposely mechanical, and that's ok, but if we really want to compel people to continue paying attention to what we're doing, we may want to consider making better stories at least some of the time.

I posted a video this week about why I think designers need to spend less time trying to make things pretty, and better understand why some designs are great and others fall flat. And at this moment, it is the top ranked video of my last 10.

My views are nowhere close to where they could be, but the acceptance of this video tells me some things about how people are watching what I put out.

First, it's shorter than most of my videos, coming in at just under six minutes in length. People's attentions are low these days, and the most pure indication of that is how popular TikTok has become.

Second, I wrote my script out, which helped keep the video short as I didn't trail off on any ideas. As much as I believe I can riff in humorous ways, sometimes I do that a bit too often, extending the cut, and maybe losing sight of the purpose of the video, while also losing the attention of the viewers.

Finally, I used visuals in the video that turned it from the typical "talking head" technique I normally use. As clunky as I am as a video editor, the simple act of breaking up the continuity with other visuals and sound made the video more interesting and fun to watch.

However, since YouTube viewers tend to have a, "what have you done for me lately," attitude, I think it's only fair that I try to push myself a bit further into this storytelling realm.

One way to do that is to get better at my editing, being mindful of the timing of my visuals, and also incorporating sounds and music in elegant ways. After I've written my script, I can make notes on what emotions am I trying to get from the viewer, and incorporate elements that help achieve those emotions.

Another important technique I need to consider is the three act structure. Thinking back on that video I watched this morning, I realized there was a significant approach to a beginning, middle, and end to the video. I would expect nothing less from this guy because he makes animated shorts for a living.

The only problem with this approach is that it takes more time, and that just means I need to be more conscientious about that time, giving myself plenty of it to make the video I want to make instead of rushing to push something out before Tuesday.

It's Thursday. Time for me to start writing that script now.

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