6 Ways To Make Your First Video
by Thea Fiore-Bloom, PhD.
Are you the shy type who’s been putting off making that art marketing video?
Problem is, art buyers are starting to prefer to watch short videos rather than read a lot of text when they browse online.
And millenials, Gen X, Y and Z’ers?
Sorry, but they would rather endure a bad bikini wax than read our long artists’ statements.
“We’ve all heard that people buy from artists they feel they know,” said Emmy award-winning TV producer, artist, and Gen Z Media consultant Gina Rubinstein.
But how do you get total strangers to feel like they know you?
“The answer is video, providing you spare people and keep yours shorter than a minute,” said Rubinstein.
You’re adorable and probably a great artist — so why not give everyone a pain-free way to get to know you?
If you’re an introvert, like most of us artists, you don’t even have to show your face on-screen if you don’t want to.
Just letting potential buyers hear your voice, see your studio or see your hands at work, makes them feel like they know you. It opens the door to them liking you, trusting you and wanting to take home a piece of you home with them. (To learn how to shoot an overhead video of what’s happening on your drawing board from your cell phone, click here.)
Besides, as artists we have a natural advantage when it comes to video, we came to the world preloaded with the ability to think and speak in images.
‘Well Thea,’ you say… ‘That sounds lovely but I just don’t happen to have a dream team of video scriptwriters tied up in my basement.’
That’s ok, Gina Rubinstein does — at least metaphorically. They’re in her head.
Here are Gina’s 6 creative ways to get your digital feet wet using just your smartphone. You don’t even have to leave your house or learn how to edit to make most of these.
Art Marketing Video Idea 1: “The Take Your Underwear Off The Lamp Shade and Shoot Your Studio” Tour
You have heard the old saw before; ‘give a camera phone tour of your studio!’
I only include this one here and put it first because this is a great one for video virgins to try and succeed with.
Just shove those dirty coffee mugs and bills off your work table, and you’ll have set the stage for magic.
Be human, make jokes. Don’t shoot it for the world at large, make the video specifically for a good friend who has never gotten to see your studio before.
(Read this Charmed Studio post on Letting Go of Approval: A Story for Artists That Involves Underwear or Frida Kahlo: 7 Meaningful Tips for Artists if you need support letting the real you shine out.)
“Maybe show a quick shot of what you are working on that day,” said Rubinstein.
“Record a lot of little things. Most will be boring as hell. If you can edit, chop them out after,” said Rubinstein. “But one or two of those details you recorded will be surprisingly powerful.”
Let’s Be Real About Editing Okay?
If editing will never be part of your skillset, make friends with your DELETE key.
I have. Shoot a mini-video, delete it. Try it again. Delete it.
Eventually, you’ll make a cringe-free keeper.
I also do this when I record the audio versions of blog posts.
I’ve learned to become what I laughingly call a “one-take Charlie.”
It’s a pain if I mess up. But it works for me for now.
(To forge ahead and learn more about making and editing smartphone videos listen to this smartphone video creation episode of the Problogger podcast.)
Art Marketing Video Idea 2: Millenial Magnet-Interactive Video
Want to get all kinds of people interested in your painting before it is even done?
“If you want to attract younger buyers, try this method. Art buyers under 40 tend to find this kind of interactive approach, especially engaging,” said Rubinstein.
Video your progress on the same piece daily and ask viewers to weigh in on it as you’re making it.
“Video is at its best, and is best for one thing— emotionally connecting people,” said Rubinstein. “And that’s what this video does.”
Want to road-test Rubinstein’s theory?
If you love a little interaction mixed into your art-making, start and share a painting and ask your social media followers questions like:
What is this piece about for you? What would you title it?
Should I add some copper leaf on her head here or leave it out?
Do you think this angel should carry three or five anvils?
Art Marketing Video Idea 3. The “I Really Just Wanted a Cocktail” Mini-Story
Need to inject life into your social media but aren’t a fan of having people tell you what to do with your art?
Use the mini-story option.
The idea here is to tell one tiny story that lies behind a single piece of art you post. These videos are appetizers and should be under thirty seconds long.
“Tell us how hard the work was to finish because you changed it 300 times and it still looked like junk and you really just wanted a cocktail but then you figured out how to get that damn bird right,” said Rubinstein.
“It’s okay to be yourself and be funny, in fact, dear God, please be funny,” said Rubinstein.
Or keep it simple and tell us one story about what inspired some detail in one of your pieces.
The above video is a great example. It’s a simple mini-story that gets results. It was made by silversmith and Charmed Studio subscriber Laura Teague.
Art Marketing Video Idea 4: The Non-Gallery, Gallery Video
Gallery show videos don’t have to be glamorous or champagne-fueled to be effective.
They don’t even have to be shot in a gallery.
It’s great if you have that option but you might not right now so why not make a video of you speaking in front of your work while it’s up on a nicely painted wall in your…. home gallery.
You can just pop your phone onto a tripod for this one but you do have to be on camera. So maybe try the Non-Gallery Gallery Video after you build up courage by roadtesting the other videos listed here first.
Model your un-gallery video on biologist and feather artist Chris Maynard’s effective, story-based video shot in an actual gallery.
In his video, Maynard opens the door to his work in this short talk with a small personal vignette.
His father was a surgeon and his mother an artist.
Maynard uses the very surgery tools his father used to carve silhouettes out of the feathers that inhabit his art.
This story has at least two things going for it:
It’s brief and it tells us something meaningful about how Maynard creates his work.
I urge you to also take eight minutes to watch Maynard’s Tedx video. It sets the bar for artist’s talks in my opinion.
Art Marketing Video Idea 5: Your Brand Video
“Every artist could use an emotionally engaging story known as a brand video for their landing page.
“Simple is best here,” said Rubinstein.
“Please don’t try to tell people everything about you; don’t make a long, boring documentary!”
Your job is to leave people curious.
I suggest you choose one small story about something meaningful to you in your past that influenced why or how you make your art the way you do in the present.
(That is what Maynard did when he told the audience about his surgeon father and artist mother right?)
“All our attention spans are narrowing,” said Rubinstein, “so keep your brand video short…unless you are talking about The Pope coming, I’d say make it less than 60 seconds; people will love you so much more.”
Studies show you can get a ton of engagement if you keep your videos under 2 minutes. After the two-minute mark viewership can fall off a cliff.
Above is a one-minute video Rubinstein made to establish the brand of automobile artist Harold Cleworth.
This is a professionally done piece so unlike our homemade attempts it’s highly edited.
I share it with you as a good example of how much personality you can pack into one minute.
And I bet you’ll smile at the last 10 seconds of it.
Art Marketing Video Idea 6: Legitimize the Zeroes in Your Prices With a Timelapse
If you take one techy leap this year, you couldn’t go wrong having it be learning how to make a time-lapse video.
Because time-lapse videos show rather than tell your audience just how much damn effort is underneath the surface of each canvas.
And by accomplishing that, the time-lapse video legitimizes the number of zeros in your prices.
You may want to go here for a nice example of how time-lapse adds value to an artist’s brand and go here to learn how to shoot great time-lapse videos yourself on your smartphone.
Timelapse is easier than you think.
Final Point: Rough Edges Can Be Good for Sales
Don’t let perfectionism stop you from trying to convey the essence of your art in homemade videos.
You don’t have to come off smooth.
“Rough edges are good.”
“I got news for you, people don’t buy from the intellect, they buy from emotion anyway,” said Rubinstein.
“People truly just want to see you being you,” said Rubinstein, “talking about your struggles, being relatable, telling a story.”
You are more creative, intelligent and resourceful than you think.
Maybe balance out this marketing post with another Charmed Studio piece on a topic equally important to the well being of your art practice – meditation: 3 of My Favorite Meditations For Artists That Reduce Fear and Ignite Creativity.
Check out these Other Popular Charmed Studio Posts:
Have you done a video yet to market your work?
If you haven’t yet, which one of these would you want to try?
Which would you never do?
Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.