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How Video Bloggers Can Use Flow: 5 Questions to Ask to Improve Your Vlogging Skills


Gideon Shalwick is one of my favorite video bloggers, and in this video, he talks about using “flow” to be a better video blogger. This is actually a skill you can apply to almost anything in life. Flow is what you might call “getting in the zone” and it helps you master a skill even when you’re starting with zero knowledge.

Here’s how Gideon suggests you use flow to improve your vlogging skills:

[youtube width=”560″ height=”315″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgNAHEc34H0[/youtube]

It boils down to asking yourself the following five questions:

  1. Why are you video blogging?
  2. What clear goals do you have have as a video blogger?
  3. What information do I need to reach my goal and where can I get it?
  4. What easy actions can I take to get a result that works toward my goal?
  5. Based on my results, how do I need to improve?

Again, although Gideon applies these tips to video blogging (and skateboarding) in his video lesson, you can use this same process to improve at just about anything! Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.

6.5 Ways To Start And Finish A Documentary Film Project


For the past year, I have been working on an online documentary video series called Innovators of Vancouver that documents leaders of vision, passion and action throughout my hometown of Vancouver, WA. Each episode is 5-10 minutes and combines a filmed interview with B-roll of the Innovator doing the work that inspired me to choose their story for the project. I have finished six episodes, currently working on the seventh episode, and because of my work on this project, I often get asked by aspiring documentary filmmakers what they need to know to get started making their own documentary projects. Among everything that one could know about making documentary films, here are six and a half things that any aspiring documentary filmmaker needs to know about starting and finishing a documentary film project.

1) Know What Interests You

A lot of people don’t know where to start when it comes to making a documentary and it is important to start with what interests you. It could be something serious that you have personally struggled with such as depression or cancer. It could be the story of your grandparents coming to America. It could be a visual blog post about your addiction to gator meat or your love affair with coffee and doughnuts.

2) Start In Your Own Backyard

You don’t need to travel the world in search of experts or subject matter for your documentary film. What you are interested in and what you end up making a film about can be filmed in your own community, all it takes is finding the people that share the same affinities that you have. Start with your friends, family, boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or kids. Ask them their thoughts on your subject, this is formally known as conducting a pre-interview. It helps you to develop a report with your subject off-camera, ensuring that you know exactly what they bring to your documentary film. It also helps you with step three.

3) Learn How To Ask Great Questions

Essential to great documentary film production is the ability to ask great questions that are open-ended and specific to your interviewee’s experience with your subject. By pre-interviewing people you learn about the depth of their experience, their passion or dispassion for your subject, and helps you to craft a series of questions that go beyond who, what, when, where, why and how. With that said, the best place to start is:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • What are your feelings on [subject]?
  • When did you first experience [subject]?
  • Where can people learn more about [subject]?
  • Why does [subject] matter to you?
  • How can [subject] affect others?

These aren’t the best questions, but they are a starting point, but you will only get to the ending point if you…

4) Shut Up And Listen

Don’t be like newsanchors and pundits that interrupt to get their agenda and point across, shut up and listen to what the person is saying. Nod your head in agreement, emote with body language, empathize when necessary. If you think of something to ask as a follow-up, write it down and wait until they are done talking before asking the question. Learn how to make people feel comfortable by looking them in the eye and giving them 100% of your attention.

5) Adding Images And Video To Further Tell The Story

Now that your interview is recorded, find photos and film B-roll that will help visually tell the story. Childhood photos go well with stories from your grandparents. Film volunteers serving in the community, follow your subject as they go about their business during the day, and don’t forget to get multiple angles, wide-shots, close-ups and everything in between.

6) Edit Everything To Tell A Broader Story

Open your favorite video editor: Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro, iMovie, Windows Movie Maker and start watching the interviews. Clip what stands out, forget the rest. Start adding the B-roll on top of the interviews. Keep building without worrying about the length of the project. Once you have a strong beginning, middle and end, eliminate the fluff. Fine-tune the edits. Level your audio so that all of your interviews are at the same volume. Add some background music, but don’t break copyright laws: use royalty free music or find a local musician that will let you use their music in return for free advertising.

Now that you have a finished documentary film, here is the final tip:

6 1/2) Do it again

Don’t just check “Make Documentary Film” off your bucket list, do it again with a different subject. You’ll learn better ways to do specific techniques, your editing will tighten, you’ll learn what to shoot and what not to shoot, and you’ll become more comfortable reaching out to subject matter experts that bring depth and credibility to your finished film.

With that, get out there and start your next documentary film. Most importantly, finish it, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo, and share it in the comments of this post.

YouTube Adds Banners, New Embed Features, and More

Subscribe to me on YouTube

What is your video blog hosting website of choice? If it’s YouTube, you’ll be happy to know that they’ve added new features, including new ways to embed, annotate, and promote your videos and channel!

YouTube updated their blog on Friday to add their latest features to the video player services, including:

  • Promotional badges: Promote your YouTube channel on your blog or website.
  • Local music listings: A new addition to their revamped music page is the “Events Near You” section.
  • Annotations upgrades: You can have your annotations transparent with black, white, or half-transparent black text.
  • Redesigned video manager: Offers new ways of managing, sorting, and reviewing videos you’ve uploaded.
  • New embed features: A new embed code style lets you view embedded videos in a Flash or HTML5 player
  • HQ Webcam uploads: Upload high quality from your Webcam.

Scott Stratten and Jeffrey Hayzlett BWE10 Speakers!


We are pleased to announce TWO keynote speakers! Scott Stratten, President of UnMarketing, will be opening the Social Media Business Summit conference.

Follow Scott on Twitter: @unmarketing


In the afternoon on the same day, Jeffrey Hayzlett, author of The Mirror Test, will be giving an insightful keynote presentation to the businesses in attendance. Not to be missed!

Follow Jeff on Twitter: @jeffreyhayzlett


Other news and tips across the blogosphere this week (June 25th):

The Blog Herald: Will Blogger’s New Video Player Challenge WordPress’s VideoPress?
After taking cues from YouTube, it looks like the boys and girls at Google have decided to update the Blogger video player in order to make it user friendly.

Copyblogger: 20 Warning Signs That Your Content Sucks
Admit it … you’ve wondered!

Daily Blog Tips: 5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment
It just seems rude, but for some reason it has become standard for bloggers not to reply to comments made on their post.

ProBlogger: Does A Bloggers Age Matter?
Darren gives his take on this question!

Mashable: Improve B2B Sales Productivity with Social Media
As it specifically applies to sales, now more than ever our work is about relationship building and facilitating a buying decision through social selling.

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Credit: SXC

Throwing a Vlog Into Your Blog


I’m terrified of vlogging (video blogging). I admit it. But every time I create one, I get a lot of great feedback and tons of comments. And when I view a vlog, I tend to leave more comments – it probably has to do with that feeling of closeness that you get with the blog author, and a better sense of relating to them. So if you’re looking to add a touch of personalization, or encourage more interaction with your readers, try adding a vlog!

Here are a few tips that I’ve learned from the (few) vlogs I’ve created:

  • Keep it Natural. I try not to be too scripted, although I think about the points I’m trying to make before I actually begin filming!
  • Do a Couple Takes. It’s fine to redo your video – once, twice, even twenty times – to get it to the point you’re comfortable putting it online for the world to see!
  • Look at the Camera. It may feel awkward, but it will feel more awkward to a viewer who watches you staring out the window while talking!
  • Get Creative. Try a fun background, use props, or inject some personality into your video. Use body language and humor to make the video interesting.
  • Keep Your Audience in Mind. Always keep your blog readership in mind, encourage them to join in the discussion, but be careful of your word choices!
[Don’t forget to join us on our BlogWorld Facebook page! “Like” us for more information and event buzz]

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Credit: SXC

Inspired By Abby Johnson at WebProNews.com


I can’t help but give a shout out here to someone that has given me inspiration in her work that she produces and the content she provides.  I am talking about Abby Johnson with WebProNews.  I first met Abby when she interviewed me following a presentation I gave at BlogWorld & New Media Expo on Blogging For A Living.  Abby was quick, professional and respectful of my time and turned the content around and followed up.  She is a consummate professional in our industry.

Abby gets to attend some cool conferences, but unfortunately she doesn’t get to be a spectator as she tends to work very hard.  I subscribed to her feed and love to see what she has next.

This video caught my eye because I thought it would be good to know that Sony, like Apple is getting into the application development world by making their dash thingy open sourced. Love the info Abby and keep up the god work. Perhaps you would let me interview you some time and turn the tables a bit? See you at BWE10!

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