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Why Knowing “Why” makes Better Video

I’m an author who’d like to shoot promotional videos for YouTube marketing purposes

How do I put together a video of my books using just stock footage? Eventually, I’d like to put out a casting call on my local Craig’s List, getting free talent in exchange for a professional reference (after all, they can point to my site to showcase their abilities, as evident in my videos) — but for now do you know the best way to promote an action-packed techno-thriller?


You’re asking about “how”– stock footage and actors are two possibilities among an infinite number of ways  to do a video.  But “how” is the wrong question when starting a video project.  The correct first question is “Why?”  Why do I want to do video?  All the “how” decisions will then get made based on your answer—your intent.

“To promote my book” is a start, but way too vague.  You won’t know if you succeeded until after the video is done and posted, so it won’t help you make any decisions about production.

But if you come up with a clear intent, figuring out “how” becomes much easier.  Start by going back to the Why. Why would someone read the book? Why is the book important? Why use video to promote it?  Brainstorm until you have a reason Why you want to do your promo that is specific and inspiring.  That’s your “intent.”

If your video’s intent is “To intrigue readers by sharing the action-packed experience of my book,”  you now know your goal is to “intrigue”, to “share an experience,” to be “action-packed”.  NOW you can decide “how” to do your video ideas based on how well your “how” meets these goals.  How might you do it with stock footage? With actors? With sock puppets?  Pick one, and start creating!

Finally, an important aside about “free talent”:  Just like you might write a free op-ed for the NY Times but remain unexcited about a lame blog with three readers, actors evaluate your offer to kindly allow them to work for nothing by whether there’s a chance it will be (a) great work and (b) seen by many.  Even a very popular author (b) still owes them (a) as part of the deal.  Think carefully about whether you can in good conscience promise great work to people who might work for you for free because of your rep as an author.  It’s bad karma to exploit people without a plan to deliver something of value to them.


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How To Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck: The Video Course

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About The Author

Steve Stockman

Steve Stockman, president of LA-based Custom Productions, Inc., is a prolific producer, writer, and director, known for over 200 diverse media projects. He is also the author of the best-selling book "How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck," taught globally from middle school to graduate level, and available in 9 languages.

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