Let’s not get hung up about ‘non’ professional video and audio production. Much of the time, you don’t have the budget to hire a professional crew. This is especially true if you work in a small company or work by yourself.

You need to make content. Now.

I’m a firm believer in do what you can with what you have. Today.

My own advice rankles me to no end because sometimes I don’t have the ‘right’ gear, and a lot of the time I don’t have help. It’s probably why I write so much. But the sad truth is that YouTube’s research claims that 80% of your audience would rather watch the video version than read the text underneath it on your web page.

That leaves you having to make your own video content a lot.

If you remember to wear nice clothes, consider a little makeup (a subtle powder pat down on guys makes skin less shiny – girls already mostly know this stuff) and brush your teeth.

But what if you do have the budget? Well, I want to encourage you to consider shooting your own material in addition to what you commission to have made ‘professionally.’



I was the sound recordist on a top-rated TV cooking show and the chef had acquired a decent amount of venison, which is hard to come by where we were. SO the chef goes to his suppliers and they suggest he makes sausage because he doesn’t have the ‘best bits.’ They suggest the best sausage casings; they hook him up with the best spices that ‘everyone loves’ and tell him the best way to make the sausage.

When it was all done, the venison sausage tasted like any other cheap mystery meat sausage you could get at the super market. Why? Because Jeff had been persuaded that there was a ‘right’ way to make sausage. The way all the experts agreed on. Using all the industry standard techniques and resources. And out the other end of that process comes…generic sausage.

Many notable moments in science or art are propelled by someone not doing things the way they ‘should’ be done. The way it’s always been done is never the path to innovation. In a world that has always been chasing ‘the next (and possibly best) thing’ innovation had better be a part of the plan.

As a recovering professional media maker, I’ve seen the social trends against big media, organized religion and mainstream politics – or ‘business as usual.’ Now that everyone is a ‘photographer’ (David Allen Harvey’s words, not just mine) and anyone with a phone is a ‘filmmaker’ being a professional doesn’t carry the weight (or pay) that it used to.

But rather than moaning about ‘those young whippersnappers who have no idea how to make a professional video’ I need to ‘viva la revolución!’

Smaller and more affordable tools afford spontaneity and intimacy with your subjects. If you make a mistake, it’s just you. Try again.

When you’re a pro, you are generally prevented from experimenting. That’s why many of us put more effort into ‘personal’ projects. When someone else is paying, you do what works. What’s safe and what’s expected.

You make sausage.

So here is your official permission from a ‘former’ pro who is telling you to do it yourself. Worry less about how to do it ‘the right way.’

Heck, we needed MTV to teach us how to fast cut, and “Blair Witch” to show us hand held was OK. You don’t need to wait.

I would suggest you will quickly find what your audience will embrace, and you might be surprised how little they care about image quality and production standards when your story is compelling and your kung-fu is strong even if unconventional.