Introductory video production via trial, error, and lots of internet research.

I made a video! I am now one of almost 40 million YouTube content creators. While not a difficult process, there was more to it than I expected.

First, I had to get comfortable painting. Not good, just comfortable.

Second, I needed a camera. I scoured the internet for product reviews on cameras, video recorders, and fancy equipment. Then I just used the camera on my cell phone.

The next challenge was to set up my cell phone so that it 1. had a good view of my working area, 2. wouldn’t fall over, and 3. was out of the way. To do this, I turned to the tripod I purchased during my “look at me, i’m a photographer” phase. Interestingly, “Eocean” was the brand name on my tripod receipt, however the tripod I received is clearly labeled “Yunteng” VCT-1688. Who knows what you’ll actually get when you buy from amazon?

Once the camera was situated, I noticed several inconvenient shadows lurking in my work area. I spent thirty minutes rearranging my workspace to eliminate the shadows, then lowered my expectations of what good lighting looks like. After that everything looked fine.

With adequate lighting secured, I hit record on my phone and started to paint. A few minutes into the project I noticed that my camera was on the wrong side, so I did a hot swap. I’m sure that a more enterprising filmmaker would have double checked the setup first but hey, perfection is a process.

After painting, I transferred the newly minted video files to my computer and searched for a way to edit them. I ended up choosing a free and open source video editor called Shotcut, which worked out pretty well.

I then had to battle a troll named Copyright that lives under the bridge of creativity (meaning that I selected music to accompany the video). As in life, you get what you pay for and the good stuff isn’t free. Those of us not backed by bloated business budgets are bound to booking bargain bin boondoggles from the internet’s bottomless baroque bonanza (credit – freedicitonary). This is not a task to be taken lightly, and there are consequences for taking shortcuts. I found some no/low cost options including YouTube’s own music library, Musopen, and FreePD. The key is to pay attention to the licensing and attribution requirements for each song, and don’t be that guy.

Finally, the video was set, the audio lined up, the .mp4 file rendered, and my project was ready for YouTube. I’ve heard that rendering a video project can take a while, however I had my video ready to go in about an hour. I uploaded the video by navigating to YouTube’s design studio, choosing the ‘upload new video’ option, filling out the information fields, and selecting “publish”.

Easy peasy.

Put your hobbies to work.

Today I learned how to set up an online store to put my art on the market. To be more accurate, this has been (and will be) an ongoing project, but I thought I would chronicle the experience for posterity. Maybe someone will find this useful someday. Perhaps as a guide for how to do things, or possibly an example of how not to run a business. The important thing is that I have something to do that isn’t watching the tail end of our year Two Thousand Twenty grind me into a paste (although I heard that’s how they used to make “Mummy Brown“).

A smarter man than I might start by investigating consumer trends, hedonic pricing, or market saturation. Bully to that, I say! What kind of artist puts the cart of sound business practice before the horse of inspiration? Its the “Field of Dreams” of business plans, what could possibly go wrong?

On a separate note, today I also learned that “Hobby Loss” is a thing. Essentially, a “hobby” business such as this silly little endeavor is not allowed to claim losses in excess of any income generated. Three cheers for not committing tax fraud!

Lesson 1: Find a hobby.
The most important part of the whole exercise is to find something interesting to do. Search your passions, find your inspirations, navigate your feelings, blah, blah, blah. The “what” here doesn’t matter, and doesn’t even have to be consistent. Just get out there and try things. Eventually you’ll find something that makes sense to you.

I chose painting because it is, at its heart, not a very complicated activity. It doesn’t require a whole lot of complicated and specialized tools to begin, and it is rich with history, lore, and jargon to satisfy my inner nerd. It also doesn’t seem to take up too much space. For now anyway.

It remains to be seen whether I will stick with this one, or if painting will join my long list of fondly remembered past hobbies. Woodworking and other fabrication hobbies need space and equipment that I don’t have, programming and electronics didn’t hold my interest as much as I’d hoped, music doesn’t call to me like it used to, rock climbing and hiking isn’t so fun now that I live in Texas where its always hot, cooking triggers my inherent scatterbrained tendency toward clutter…

My point is that there are lots of different things out there, so don’t expect that you’ll find your perfect hobby straight off. If you do, congratulations, you’re amazing. For the rest of us, be prepared to embrace change as you grow. Be open to learning from your failures as much as your successes.

Good Luck!