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Tips for Mastering Your Craft

Posted on: May 10th, 2016 by Tom McDonald

Fireside Production is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year.  It has been an amazing ride, and we have been privileged to partner with so many wonderful organizations in this video production journey.  After a decade of producing video content, our team is continually striving to keep things fresh and innovative in both our look and approach.  As Director of Production, I have established some great strategies for doing just that.

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Practice hard and keep an open mind and heart

Practice your craft.  My motto has always been the day I have mastered everything there is to know about video production, I am getting out.  The good news is that will never happen.  Learning and honing my skills keeps me going. There are few things as exciting to me as learning – and mastering – a new technique.  Like in any sport or artistic endeavor, practice is key.

 

Keep your gear clean and in good shape.  Many years ago, I had the privilege to do a video project with the U.S. Air Force Survival School.  One of the biggest lessons I learned about survival is that you have to keep yourself and your clothes clean and dry.  When you are trying to survive and your jeans are ripped and wet, your morale starts to go.  I have applied this philosophy to our gear as well.  When your camera lens is dirty or your tripod is not working optimally, it interferes with your ability to produce quality work and it can bring you down.  Keep it all in good shape and when something starts to show signs of wear and tear, fix or replace it.

Keep yourself and your gear clean!

Keep yourself and your gear clean!

Watch a lot of videos!  In the age of digital media, there is no shortage of great video content out there.  I am constantly watching videos and films to look for great ideas – not to copy – but  to find ways to innovate our own style.  Find inspiration in others and then, take it to a new level.

 

Effort!  Not all projects are created equal but effort must always be consistent.  Let’s face it, some projects practically come together on their own while others require some extra love.  I work long hours and on a lot of projects.  I am truly blessed and thankful for each and every opportunity, and I show my thanks by giving each project my absolute best.  This is true throughout the Fireside team.

Preparation is so important and I will admit, not always my strongest suit.  This is a part of my craft I am constantly working on… but one aspect I do excel in is visualizing my shoot.  Before each video shoot, I have a good blue print of what I am going to accomplish out in the field.  It is much easier to handle surprises and switch directions when you have a good plan in place to start with.  If you are unprepared going in and things start to fall apart, you’re bound to collapse with it.

Mastering Your Craft

Inspiration often comes from your surroundings

Last on my list is to simply be curious. I find it fascinating to experience so many different organizations and people first hand.  I am constantly inspired and love the continual learning that comes with what I feel is the greatest job.  Keep an open mind and heart and the creativity will flow!

 

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