2 December 2019
Going Way Beyond Books - Dan Witvoet from Crete Public Library District

When I work on a video, it generally starts with a theme or style. I want to find a template in which I can fit my ideas and message, because it will make the rest of the process easier.  I’ve done something like an infomercial, something in the style of an old educational film, and the most recent was kind of a corny car commercial, influenced by a show I love (Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!). The idea with this approach is drawing on something that most people know and can identify with. Who hasn’t seen a bad infomercial? I try to capture that tone that people know and highlight the, often comical, nature of commercials. Obviously not everyone is going to have the same sense of humor, but as long as you balance it with the information you are trying to convey, it should work. Generally, I’m given something the library wants to promote and I let my mind run wild, and as long as there’s nothing offensive, inappropriate or something that could be taken the wrong way, I’m kind of free to do what I want. (This is where it also helps a great deal to have an administrator that has a good sense of humor, encourages you to explore your creativity but will also tell what does and doesn’t work). I write out a script, rewrite it, revise it (several times, honestly, too many times), read it over with my administrator to make sure everything is ok, then film it and edit it.

Some bits of advice:

  • Keep it concise! Get your point across as quickly as possible. Attention spans can be quite short, there’s a reason your average tv commercial is about 15-30 seconds long with cuts every 2-3 seconds. Mine tend to be a bit long, but quick cuts and tight editing help.
  • Be creative! Don’t just dryly list things off, find a way to convey your points in a clever way, make a video you would want to watch. (People will forgive your technical and budgetary limitations if they enjoy something.)
  • Watch videos! I love watching videos about as much as I love making them. Find a YouTuber you enjoy and see how they make their videos. Watch videos other libraries have made. Seeing what others have done can be inspiring.
  • Make it enjoyable! Remember that you are your first audience, you have to enjoy what you’re doing or it’ll feel like a chore, or worse, be boring. (Believe me, if something still makes you chuckle after you spend 6-8 hours editing and watching it 100 times, then it might just be halfway decent).
  • Have fun!  I have a passion for making videos, I love filming, I love acting, and I especially love the editing, where it all comes together. If you don’t love doing this, if it just feels like another assignment, it will be joyless and your video will reflect that.

Our guest blogger today is Dan Witvoet. Dan is the Circulation Assistant at Crete Public Library District. For more videos like this, follow Crete Public Library District on YouTube.