Lessons Learned Making Videos
I started making videos in June, began posting them in July, and then took a break in September.
Here’s a few things I learned along the way.
Coming up with ideas is still a problem for me.
Rather than make videos for the beginner programmer, like so many others do, I wanted to explore more advanced software development concepts. I also wanted to demonstrate these things practically, because so many videos talk about advanced concepts, but they don’t really show you how to apply them in the real world.
However, there’s only so many “advanced concepts” I can build and develop videos for before I start running out of ideas. I think this is because I like to introduce a concept, explore it by showing how it could be done via code, and then moving onto another concept.
I could explore different aspects of the same concept, coming at it from different angles, but that feels too much like repeating myself.
What I think most people learn is that the original intention of making videos of a certain type needs to be able to morph and expand to include other ideas. Some boundaries are necessary for creativity to flourish, but rigidity is just as bad for creativity as endless possibility.
Another problem is that each video takes an incredible amount of time to make from start to finish.
I’m not a very good speaker. Speaking off the cuff isn’t something I’m good at. I need to know what I’m going to say before I say it. Otherwise, I’ll meander and ramble and generally waste a bunch of time getting to a point. It will take five minutes to say what could have been said in five seconds.
Not only that, but the way I code can be very haphazard and disorganized, especially when working from scratch. This is how I feel out a problem and begin coding solutions for it. But it doesn’t make for very riveting watching.
So there’s a lot of preparation and development that goes on before I even press “record”.
But even after I’m finished recording, I need to do lots and lots of edits to make my speaking voice feel natural. Otherwise, it feels long and drawn out. I don’t even think I’ve perfected the pace, because when I do revisit old videos, I can tell it’s still long-winded.
I’ll probably make more videos in the future, but I’ll probably need to find ways to make them shorter and less time consuming to make.
One thing they’ve been useful for is to show to prospective employers that I actually do know how to code. Instead of needing to go through the performative ritual of the dreaded technical assessment, I can simply point to those videos and then one aspect of the interview is done and out of the way.
So that’s something to think about.