Recording Online Video? – Be Yourself!

I just love recording online training videos.  It’s my real passion, and it fulfils my strengths as an educator and a teacher.  I now have over 40 training videos uploaded, and the more I do, the better I get.  Recently I decided to get some critical feedback, so I sent a couple of videos to my good friend Chris Farrell.
Now I really respect Chris, and his video style is one that I really admire.  As a former radio DJ he has the ability to be completely natural in front of a microphone, and when he talks the story just flows!  So when he fed back to me I knew that it was the real deal.  Here’s a section of the response I received from Chris:

“I think your videos are good but not great.  … I have spoken to you and I know the real Graham Bray, I feel the videos don’t have the real Graham personality.   I know you were reading from a script, and there’s nothing wrong with that but there needs to be more of Graham that comes out, and you need to enjoy the whole teaching process more on video.”

I forgot to mention that Chris is also a Hollywood script-writer, so he should know what he’s talking about!

But, on reflection, I can see that Chris is absolutely right.  My day job is as a teacher, and it’s something I’ve been doing for over 25 years.  I know when a lesson goes well – it just flows, the anecdotes miraculously come into my head, and I’m giving a real performance.  There’s nothing more rewarding than having a group of students in the palm of your hand!  The opposite is also true – I know when I’m performing badly, and I know when my lesson has bombed.

As an undergraduate, I had to sit through numerous lectures where the teacher merely read from a textbook.  How times have changed!  Our students now expect a performance every time, and to be effective we need to deliver.  I could rant on for hours about the poor quality of the majority of training stuff on YouTube, but perhaps that’s for another blog post.

I’m currently reading ‘Crush It!’ by Gary Vaynerchuk, and he emphasises the need to just be you when presenting videos.  Use a script if you must, but make it natural.  Show your passion, reveal your emotion for your subject matter. And if you’re filming yourself for a video, try to avoid the ‘flickering eye’ syndrome as you scan across the autocue.

I’ll leave the final words to Gary:

“If you want to dominate ….. all of your effort has to come from the heart; and it can’t come from the heart in the passionate, irrational, wholehearted way it needs to if you’re trying to be anyone but yourself.”

Keep dreaming those big dreams!


p.s. if you really want to see passion in action, then have a look at Online Video Champ created by my friend and mentor Neil Travers.  They don’t come much more passionate than Neil (and you should hear his passion for Liverpool FC!).

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