A few days ago I made a video about creating an activity for my producing and directing students (and anyone else who wants to participate), which basically involves making a video every day for 30 days.
I decided I am going to go forward with the activity and call it “2020 MFN 30 Day Video Focus”.
Before I get into the details of the “focus”, I am going to start by saying that with of all that is happening right now, this is a very low priority activity that is intended to stimulate your filmmaker creativity in the midst of stagnant film production, and if you are just a beginner, to give you an easy way to connect to the idea of video as a form of creative expression.
I also didn’t want to call it a “challenge” because I think that that word evokes a sense of forced output and that is not what I want this to be. At this time, the world is facing enough of the energy of “challenge”.
So instead I chose to call it a “focus”, because we, as filmmakers, literally focus our cameras and focus our attention to tell a story in a cinematic format.
At the same time, this endeavor of making a video every day is meant to both allow you to show what you are focused on while also (hopefully) inherently drawing your focus somewhat to that of creativity, which can be inherently joyful if done with the true spirit of creative expression, regardless of whether the content of the creative endeavor is joyful or not.
If you participate, I hope your experience adds some joy to your life. That’s basically it. The joy of creativity.
The 2020 MFN 30 Day Video Focus starts on August 1 but feel free to join any time.
Honestly, the ‘rules’ are pretty loose.
Create a video every day of anything.* (one caveat, see below)
Post it in the 2020 MFN 30 Day Video Focus Facebook Group (I created a Facebook Group just for this) if you feel like it, but you certainly don’t have to.
Use whatever camera you have.
Make it as high or low production as you want.
If you see other people posting videos to the Facebook group, give kind feedback only.
If you miss a day that is ok.
If you start late that is ok.
Really… This is meant to be playful and evoke a sense of lightheartedness.
Videos about Anything? Really?
Well, almost everything…
Of course, keep it clean and classy… If you wouldn’t show it to your mom you shouldn’t post it to the group.
Also, there is a saying that notes that in polite company it is a good idea to not talk about religion or politics, and so I would encourage that philosophy be considered when posting to the group because that will completely change the vibe of the group created for this project.
And if I see that happening, I will shut down the group.
That being said, there is a lot going on in our personal lives that could be construed as political, like wearing a mask or participating in a protest.
So if you are going to go there, skip the rant and tell your story in a visual manner, especially since this is a visual medium.
Tell your story through images rather than voiceover and talking head videos.
This will truly give you the full experience of the 30 Day Video Focus, because making your videos this way will make you a better filmmaker by telling stories in a visual way.
We go deeply into this in the directing course I teach, but think about how you can say what you want to say with the audio and images you have access to right now.
Finally, be safe. Protect your safety and your health and the health of those around you.
What If I Can’t Think of Anything to Make?
If you are stuck at home, finding 30 days of things to record might seem like a challenging task, but make it a bit of a game and really look at what has captured your focus today.
Is it the way the light is shining on the trees right now?
Is it the placement of the cereal box on your kitchen counter?
The trail of ants outside your door?
Can you teach something?
This “30 Day Video Focus” is a way of looking at our world and focusing on our world in a way that makes the mundane special and noticing that anything can be something worth focusing on.
If you just create one shot of something that catches your attention that is plenty.
This 30 Day Focus keeps your head in the game in terms of creativity and looking at the world as a filmmaker.
If you are still stuck, though, here are a couple other ideas.
- Give your videos a theme.
I am especially partial to creating 30 days of videos about things or capturing shots of things I love, appreciate and am grateful for in my life.
And that will be so much fun to look at years from now.
2. Google “30 Day Photo Challenge” (Pinterest is even better).
When you do this, you will find many lists that will help you get ideas for a good video. It took me less than 30 seconds to find this nice one from ChantillySongs.com.
Listen… I know we all have crazy stuff going on right now.
This is an unprecedented time which has forced everyone on the planet to live in a new way on this world.
That can be inherently stressful (or novel) and so this “focus” is not meant to add any stress by adding another commitment, but rather give you permission to indulge in a moment of creativity.
You don’t need permission, obviously, but from my own experience of having trouble with this right now, saying things to myself like, “How can I joyfully samba (or play guitar or whatever) right now when _______________________ (fill in anything on the news right now)?”
But it is so vitally important right now.
This is part of self care, and if that is how it feels for you to make videos, I encourage you to participate.
Again, do not feel like you have to post any of your videos.
This is an exercise for you, the artist and creator.
The sharing of it is nice but the success of the “Focus” is acheived when you do it, regardless of whether anyone sees it or not.
If you have any questions let me know in the Movie and Filmmaker Network Group.
(If you want to post your videos, though, post them in this Group: 2020 MFN 30 Day Video Focus Group.)