Challenges are everywhere. Some are a manifestation of your own desires, while others are offered to you, but they all serve a similar purpose. My most recent challenge was presented to me as a surprise, and I had to overcome it.
During an after hours discussion in the office, my boss casually mentioned that I was cleared to make a trip to San Francisco.
“For what?” I asked, surprised.
“To produce social media video content for Steinberg at the Game Developers Conference,” he replied.
Upon hearing those words, my excitement drifted into nervousness, and everything in between. Since I’m not actually a videographer or video editor by trade, you could imagine how this was a bit alarming to me.
Over the course of the following week, I wanted to do what I could to ensure that I was properly prepared to get the job done. I started my preparations by chatting with a coworker about the gear that he uses for mobile video shoots. He gave me the rundown along with some tips, and he even ended up letting me borrow some gear to use as well. (Thanks, Chris!) What I didn’t know was exactly how I was going to tie everything together to produce videos that were up to par with expectations. Clearly, I needed to learn, and learn fast.
What’s the best way to learn how to do something? To do it, of course. But if you can, do it early, and that’s exactly what I did. After receiving the gear, I dove in and staged my own practice sessions in our speaker testing room to help ease my worries about filming (both audio and video), lighting, editing and more. Although I wasn’t in the exact environment that I would be in at the show, the practice sessions, as well as some tutorial videos, were enough to help me feel somewhat comfortable with all of the tasks at hand. I wished I had more time to prepare, but sometimes you just have to play the hand that you are dealt.
After a night of packing, I woke to the sound my alarm clock at the crack of dawn. It was a cold and dark morning, fitting for judgement day. By 9:30 a.m. (flight delay…) I arrived in rainy San Francisco, where I met up with my boss. We then headed straight to the Moscone Center, where the Game Developers Conference (GDC) was being held. Once we got there and dropped our bags off, we kicked off filming by improvising some B-roll shots (i.e. supplemental/alternate footage) as we made our way to our booth. It was a sight to be seen (and heard!), with impressive booths, enormous walls of LEDs, people gaming left and right, plenty of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets and even a mechanical bull, among other eye-catching attractions.
Eventually we made it to our booth and immediately began setting up our multiple cameras, lighting and microphone to prep for a feature with Stephan Schütze, an influential expert on all things VR. Before I knew it, we were capturing Stephan speaking about the VR book that he recently published, and things were going as planned, thankfully. That first shoot came to an end, and I breathed a sigh of relief, but there was another thing on my mind — I still had to edit all of the shots together before the show opened the next day.
Editing video is a whole different beast than shooting it, but I drew upon the very little knowledge that I had — and my “experience,” ahem, watching videos — to try and create something that I personally would enjoy. After making it to the hotel, I spent hours going through the footage, piecing shots together and selecting music, all while learning the editing program as I went. By that evening, I had created a video that I was proud of, and I sent it off for approval. It was approved by my boss and my German counterparts at Steinberg, so I was elated about overcoming the first part of the challenge.
However, on day two, I was informed that two more videos were expected.
One of the videos was a general GDC recap video, while the other was another feature of Stephan Schütze. Both were more challenging than the first due to the complexity of the content, but once again I put in the hours to create something that I personally would enjoy.
Whether it’s in your personal life or professional career, challenges serve to help you grow. Oftentimes these challenges will take you out of your comfort zone and put you in risky situations, but it’s during those times that you need to push yourself to do things that you may not have ever done before. This perspective is important because it has led me to realize that I have potential with new skills that I had never tapped into before … and you certainly do as well, as long as you have a positive attitude about it.
Create your own challenges, greet them with open arms, and see what magic happens. You can do more than you think.
Check out Sean’s video of Stephan Schütze: