Who Stays, Who Goes

I’ve been able to shoot, edit, produce, and ship 4 new vlogs this week and it’s been fun, tiring, challenging, and exasperating.

I’ve felt great about it and then, moments later, I’ve felt terrible about it. Exhilarated that I’m going for it and then terrified that I look stupid… and… unprofessional… and even more stupid because I know that I look both stupid and unprofessional.

But there’s been something incredible about engaging with something that scares me and I haven’t felt like this in a long, long time.

The thing that’s been the most encouraging though is the response from those that have been following along. They’ve emailed me, sent direct messages via Twitter, commented on a variety of different platforms, all with positive words of affirmation and encouragement; nothing short of life-giving, if I’m to be honest.

And a handful of them really got me emotional and I was reminded about how powerful a digital community can be and how important it is to just not give up and quit. Here’s one note from a long-time follower that was poignant:

John, I really resonated with your vlog #9 because I’ve had similar projects that “bothered me in my soul.” In as little as I know you personally, I could tell that it bothered you that you couldn’t sustain it the first time around. Selfishly I am happy to see you picking up this project but to be clear: do not do it for us. You already offer so much to your tribe, great job.

But since you asked (and nobody has to ask me twice to give an opinion) I have some thoughts. What I loved about the first few episodes were the commute. I’m fascinated with how people work, how they commute, especially with you biking and frequenting coffee shops and shared work spaces. But that’s only surface level. I’d keep it in as long you can keep it simple – one or two shots to show where you are w/o it being a primary component.

I think the biggest thing I’d like to see on your vlog is the “behind the scenes” or cutting room floor material of your blog. You have mastered the blog. Next: what does the 3-5 minute on-camera version of that look like? I am inspired by your work but it is frustrating seeing you post so often and so well. How do you do it? This is what the vlog could address. I know other people publish better and more often than me, but I think you can help a lot of people by adding a new medium to your message.

Looking back I can see you put a lot of time in editing. You probably already know this but you should consider a template in your shooting: one commuting shot, one monologue. Start there. I use Splice on iPhone to easily add clips. What I’ve found is the template really helps the editing go super fast. What is the goal? Help the viewers see how Saddington gets the posts out and what he’s thinking along the way.

You’re in unique company on many of our “reading lists.” You do great work. I hope I have helped a little here so you know what at least one readers is thinking – no pressure to implement any of it.

Looking forward to your vlog entries.

Wow. Very few words were immediately available, but, I did write something to him today:

I got this… and the recommendations and thoughts are exactly what I needed. I’m working on the “flow” and how to get this thing down to a few moments of serious investment without killing my calendar… it’s really, really hard but the struggle that I feel is really powerful right now… I haven’t been this frustrated with a creative project in a long time… it’s so far outside my comfort zone it makes me feel ill at times.

And… I’m going to execute against your “cutting room floor” idea… I’m not sure what that looks like, but, I want to bring that sort of thing into production. I want people to know how things get done, not because I think that what I do is necessarily unique but rather how mundane and simple it really is. My intent is to simply showcase and say… “You can do this too!”

Thanks so much for your support throughout the years – means a ton. It’s hard to know who stays and who goes and who I pick up along the way… but a few stalwarts like you can make all the difference.

And they really do.