By Stefan Sojka
It’s time to add Writer/Producer/Director/Actor to the résumé.
I got my first answering machine somewhere back in the late 80s. I’ll never forget the horror of hearing my own voice on that micro-cassette tape. I re-recorded that message at least 50 times before I was happy. It was the first step on a long and slippery slope into business-oriented media production.
Before the answering machine, the only people who spoke into microphones were Shakespearean actors. There was no purpose, nor facility for the average person to lay down their voice, let alone film themselves. Humans had only barely gotten used to using phones – and not very well at that. Without the feedback loop of listening to ourselves speak, or seeing ourselves on video, we were oblivious to how ordinary we all looked and sounded.
Fast forward a few decades and media production tools are everywhere. By the age of three, most kids have been filmed more than any actor from the golden years of Hollywood, photographed more than Marilyn Monroe and laid down at least a few dozen answering machine messages and karaoke tracks. Everyone is now expected to be a multi-media artist. Every computer (every phone, just about) is a recording studio, movie production house and photo lab.
So why don’t more businesses use audio and video to communicate? Why is it so easy to film baby’s first steps, but a guided tour of your offices with a few valuable insights into the services you provide hasn’t been made yet?
We might have the recording tools, but what about the lighting, audio engineering, script-writing, voice-over style, storyboard, green screen and a dozen other elements of good production that don’t come packaged with every laptop sold? Making quality media is not that easy and putting in a great performance does not come naturally to most people born before the video age.
The only way to overcome your fear is to just have a go. Write a script, rehearse it, film it, watch it back, cringe with utter embarrassment, then do it all again, slightly better each time, until you begin to like what you see. Experiment with lighting and sound, posture and pace. Before too long, you will learn how to look and sound great.
Without fail, anyone who actually perseveres will transform into a more appealing media-friendly version of themselves. With a little experimentation on the technical side of things, using reasonable quality gear and the awesome editing software that is available these days, you can cut a perfectly respectable piece of promo in no time.
If it all gets too hard, get some training; voice, TV presenting, script writing and video editing. No one really has a good excuse anymore for not picking up all the skills necessary to become a savvy and sophisticated spokesmodel for their own business.
We all know how effective great multimedia is – we consume it every day by the Gigabyte. I know if I am researching a product or service, I will devour whatever media I can find. Your customers are doing exactly the same thing. You really would do well to get your personalized message in front of them. If you have a particular expertise or specialist knowledge, the world is hanging out to hear about it.
Every businessperson is now a media performer and producer. You just need to decide, right now, that you are going to be a really good one. Lights… camera… mouse… action!