On DIY Videos

Here’s another Pyragraph blog of mine that was published almost a year ago. The topic: the musicbusinessy side of making goofy YouTube videos.

I’ve been doing this thing lately: making little music videos and posting them on the internet. I am not a videographer. I have a tiny, consumer-grade digital camera. Up until last Friday, when I bought a USB mic from someone who had posted it on Craigslist, I didn’t even have any recording gear. In fact, it’s the only piece of gear I own. I don’t even have a mic stand. My laptop is about seven years old and I’ve got this vague, nagging feeling it may crap out at any moment. I have little to no idea how to use a legit video editing program.

Learning a video editing program had been on my to-do list for a while, but I removed that shit from the list when I really realized how hard it is to learn. I’m just not into it. Clearly, I am reluctant to spend huge amounts of cash on technology or software. Also, since I’m definitely not a huge fan of spending hours in front of a computer screen, I take about the absolute minimum time possible stitching the videos together.

In other words, these are not projects that involve high-quality editing. This is about the content itself: a little song Sage Harrington sang along with some goofy things she did in front of the camera. So what do the results look like? They look like this:

In the glittery world of pop music, this is an unbearably pathetic excuse for a music video. In the real world, we can be kinder and call it DIY. After all, my sister helped me put this thing together, and she’s in school for piano performance.

Don’t get me wrong — I am proud of this. (Thank you so much, sister!) I like that this video exists on a platform where anyone, anywhere, could one day possibly maybe run across it if they are/I am lucky. It’s so cool that people like me — people with hardly any resources — can throw something like this together and display it publicly. But on the other hand, teams of high-paid experts did not create my videos. Teams of high-paid experts are not marketing them.

How do my songs fit into this ever-widening, ever-deepening sea that is the internet? The internet is the ocean, and the who-knows-how-many videos/blogs/webpages/news articles that are uploaded daily is the climate change we are ruthlessly affecting upon it. It’s flooding, flooding! And my poor little videos with tens of views are drowning in this endless sea of URLs.

Ach! My head is spinning. All I know is that there are things I like to do: writing songs, playing the ukulele, taking walks with tiny dogs, planting garlic in January (even though, apparently, you’re supposed to do it around Halloween), making lemon bars, eating lemon bars. There are also things I’d rather not attempt: for example, a draining, time-and-energy-sucking experiment in which I fruitlessly try to create a polished, professional, glittery series of music videos single-handed, with no experience and no money. Yikes! I’m shivering in fear like a nervous chihuahua just thinking about it.

The cool thing is that people are usually really great at combining the things they’re great at. Pomplamoose, the band that inspired me to get into this video making and posting racket, are an indie duo living in California — they’re a great example of this. Pomplamoose is all over YouTube.

They recorded and edited most of their videos at home. So, they’ve got this thing going — music and video — that works really well for them. It’s such a natural fit! Crazily enough, though, one half of the duo, Jack Conte, apparently once had trouble seeing how these two seemingly disparate, irreconcilable interests of his could fit together in his life. He blogs about it here.

So, here’s what I’m taking from Jack Conte. One: Music plus video equals a very slick business model. Two: It’s only a slick business model if you enjoy it enough to do it well. I’m still in the process of figuring out how all my varied interests can fit together. I’m telling you, my career will involve the ukulele, for sure. I hope it will also involve lemon bars and tiny dogs.

Written for Pyragraph.com

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