The first video project

I made my first video in 7th grade when I was in junior high school. It was a project our performance art class teacher gave us. She asked us to produce a music video. So we could choose any song we liked, and finish the visual part of that.

Back in the days, video editing was not a thing at all. It was more than 10 years ago. Not many people knew about YouTube.

I was using a software called PowerDircetor for editing. I bought it. It was like $100 or something. It wasn’t cheap. It was a bad tool. It was so bad. I don’t know how good it is now. But it was bad that time.

I remember me sitting in front of my desk struggling to use the tool. I spent countless hours just to learn the basics of cutting and moving clips around, and learning different layers of an image. A simple task we take for granted now, like syncing video and the audio was a pain in the ass for me.

Anyways, I edited the video. We delivered the project. I don’t remember what score we got or if we even got one. What I remember is how proud I felt about the project, and the sense of achievement when I figured out how to use one more function in the software.

So, I would say I’m actually quite talented in the way that I became competent in learning how to edit a video very quickly.

During all these years, I make videos once in awhile, sometimes for school projects, sometimes helping other people’s projects, sometimes doing it just for fun and experimentation.

And here comes the realm of YouTube. It’s this fascinating concept of “vlog,“ stems from video blogging that got YouTube traction at the first place.

From then on, YouTube would grow its popularity and become the biggest video platform. And people are building careers on the platform. It’s now a whole, complete, functioning creator economic ecosystem.

Vlogging…? I’m conflicted

As a spectator, seeing so many creators being successful on the platform, and knowing that I have the editing skills, the fire grew in me, you know? I wanted to be a part of this.

It’s these vlogs that get me motivated to pursue a better life. I was always prompted to do whatever that is that I had to do. Vlogs played an important of my life.

Here’s the thing. I tried vlogging.

Back in college, I tried to carry this huge old Canon camera, with this weird-shaped octopus tripod, and a directional mic attached to the camera with me. It was heavy, first of all. I was vlogging with that on campus. I brought it to classes. I bought it wherever I went.

That didn’t feel great. Carrying this huge ass camera and talking to it didn’t feel right. It’s the most unnatural thing to do when there are people around you.

Plus, I wasn’t the most educated about camera gears. Not that I know a lot about it now. It’s just… I didn’t know much about exposure, framing, depth of fields these kind of things that are required to make good videos.

Combining these 2 elements, this awkwardness filming in public and incompetence in using a camera, it didn’t work out for me.

Vlogging didn’t work.

There was also this short period of time where I bought all the cheapest equipments that I could get so that the videos I made could meet my minimum standard for me to show to the public.

I was making videos on basically all the topics I could think of. I did everything at my rental place, my small, and dim rental place. I made videos about the English language, you know, grammar kind of stuff, and I made videos about teaching people how to be a content creator, which is ridiculous because I was, and still am nowhere near to being a qualified content creator myself.

If you’ve known me for awhile, you’ve probably seen a few of those videos that are now private because of embarrassment.

So that’s me, enjoying watching these vlogs, dreaming of becoming one of them someday, while struggling with making authentic videos that I can feel proud of.

What I’m doing next

I still enjoy watching vlogs until today. But I’m spotting another problem with vlogs, which lead to my future plan that I’ll talk about later.

The problem I found, with vlogs, is that most of the vlogs are either all about positivity or negativity. They’re either hyped, or they’re depressing.

From a creator’s perspective, maybe vlogs are produced that way because that’s what draws attention. When you go extreme on either side, there’s strong emotion associated with it. There are people who are attached to those strong emotions and so you have more views.

When certain types of videos that share similar characteristics get more views, the algorithm pushes those types of videos. So every vlogger is now competing with each other by amplifying the emotions they want to arouse through vlogs.

And when that’s the pattern, vlogs have become just the longer-form of social media content, right? So there’s also this layer that has to do with my negative view on the use of social media.

I don’t like extreme positivity nor negativity. I like calming. I like soothing. I like peacefulness. There are certainly people like me.

And we don’t need creators to talk about stuff like religion or meditation to convey that emotion. Personally, I just want content that’s down-to-earth. That’s not so hectic. This is the type of content I and those people like me would enjoy.

It’s just that it probably won’t get as many views as those videos that amplify emotions on either or both ends of the spectrum, so not many people are doing this.

I think there’s something I can do. In the next few months, I want to make videos that bring viewers peacefulness. I want to make videos that have visually-pleasing aesthetics. I want to make videos that are more like films, instead of vlogs. I want to make videos that is more of an artwork, instead of a random and longer social media post.

This is going to take time, considering how many projects I’m working on already.

All this might have to do with my recent journey of self-expression. There are different ways of self-expression. I’m just gradually figuring out which are the best ways for which ideas.

There are stories I want to tell but haven’t found the right format, or the right medium to do that. I think making films might be it.