Why You Need Soft Skills as A Videographer? Top Mistakes You Can Learn From
Being a videographer, photographer or any other creative can be challenging because we are usually introverted people standing always behind the camera. However, if you want to become the best videographer, or one of the best, you need to work on your soft skills too. I would say it’s equally important as videography skills and knowing your craft.
I put all my secrets about videography in this book. It is the ultimate guide to everything you need to know about being a professional videographer.
How to choose the right videographer?
Basically, so many videographers have very similar portfolio and there are not many factors to decide who you want to work with. That’s why in this day and age we look for professionals who will become our friends and business partners not only deliver awesome videos and products.
How to create a long term collaboration with your client?
It doesn’t happen at all to me that I have clients and do just one project for them. The collaboration continues to the future and every month I do more and more for them. I spend time with my clients, having phone calls, having lunch, drinks. The point is, if I wasn’t a person who is pleasant to be around, I don’t think the collaborations continued. It goes both ways, because if I don’t sort of speak click with my client and we have different views or the communication is not good and we have very different personalities, then I don’t even want to continue to work with them.
I like choosing my clients, because I want to work with the best. I want to work with people who aspire to be amazing. Those who want to conquer the world and see the mission in promoting their products and growing their audience. Why is it important to me? Because with every project and client like this, I become a better professional and it drives me forward.
If I worked with a client who just wants videos for the sake of having something to put on social media, but doesn’t really believe it or doesn’t even want to do it, then how it pushes me forward? I get the paycheck but that’s where it ends. I will spend a lot of time working on this project but I’m not moving forward, maybe even backwards sometimes. And I might miss working with a new exciting client who will be as passionate about what they do as me.
Why you need soft skills if your work is amazing?
As I mentioned before, your work can be super awesome but if you have the attitude, you’re always late and you are not reliable, then people will not want to work with you long term. They would rather hire someone who is very friendly, responsible, reliable and doesn’t have such an amazing quality, but they are passionate about it so they might and will get to it soon. I know many cases of business owners who look only at soft skills really. They need to see that they can work with you and you make them feel comfortable in front of a camera.
Being the best videographer or a photographer is not about being late because people will wait for the best, it’s about hard word and precision. The most successful people are the nicest. Those who think they are very successful have the attitude, but they won’t last because nobody will want to do anything with them in the end.
You have to make people feel comfortable in front of a camera
But if you’re not friendly, how can you do it then? Last year I attended a casting in central London for a documentary about freelancers. I wanted to see how it works and get new experience. It was a casting for non-actors so it surprised me that it looked exactly like as if we were professional actors. What I mean by that is that when a professional actor comes in for a casting, everybody is looking annoyed, people don’t even talk to you, they sometimes are rude and don’t care. But actors are used to it, actors – those who want to make it, haven’t made it yet. They know what to expect and they’re professionals, so nothing should throw them off the path when then proofread.
But the casting I attended wasn’t for professionals, and we didn’t have a screenplay. I was just asked questions and had to answer. I’m pretty confident in front of a camera so nothing really threw me away but I was wondering if someone who is a bit nervous comes in, they had to run away. They should try to get the best out of people and not to scare them to death.
I came in to the theatre and was sat down by a security which scanned my face and almost took my fingerprints. I was waiting for 30 minutes and then a very nice looking lady came in and took me upstairs. We went through the hallway and to the elevator and she didn’t say a word to me. I tried to do a small talk and she just turned away and didn’t even look at me. I am a fast walker but she walked almost as running, so I had to run after her through the whole theatre. We came into a very small room and she sat me down. It was like a thousand degrees in there and she just turned on the camera. I was expecting some instructions because even email didn’t say much about this project. But she just turned on the camera, started recording and asked me my name, what I do and what is true happiness to me and so on. She told me to look at her while talking, but she was just looking into her phone the whole time so I was actually talking to her forehead the whole time. This is the biggest sign of an amateur casting director because they don’t even look at you. That means that a person in front of a camera just feels weird, it’s like talking to yourself. Talking directly to the camera is completely different than to a forehead.
It was all wrong, everything from start to finish it was handled so unprofessionally. But the biggest harm will be done to the project not to the people. Because if you treat professionals actors this way, they still give their best performance. But if you do it with people from the street, you will make them so uncomfortable that they will just look like idiots. And it’s your movie not theirs.
Smile and small talk goes a long way
This was an example of how you should not do it. When you film a business owners or your clients or your clients’ clients. Or anyone else. The moment you meet a person, you need to smile, talk to them, ask them if they want anything. Water, better chair, anything. You have to make them comfortable otherwise they will look weird on camera. You have to smile even if they don’t. Smile comforts people, if you have a poker face on them, it’s so uncomfortable. They are already terrified of cameras and now they see bored and annoyed videographer. Or a photographer.
Get friendly with everyone
If you film an event, you have to talk to people, become their friends and then film them. Of course, the best videographers are those who are invisible but only for an amount of time. If you’re invisible the whole time of the event, then your client will chase you and look for you and that is the worst situation. You have to everywhere, everybody can see it and then become invisible. Never ever stand in one place a look into your phone or just look somewhere looking bored. And never have an attitude. You can think what you want but don’t say it.
Learn from someone else’s mistakes
When I started out my videography career, I filmed 3 events per week, otherwise I was working in the studio. When I was at those events, I filmed a lot of things and then I took a break for a few minutes. There is nothing wrong with that but there was a huge mistake I did right there. When you take a break, do it in a place where nobody can see you. And when you film stuff, be always in front of a client. Those who pay you, have to see you. My mistake was that when I filmed like crazy, I was always not somewhere where there was my clients. So they couldn’t see me filming. They could only see me taking a break. I realized how does it have to look like? They haven’t seen me done those 50 shots I did just a few minutes ago working my butt off. They can only see me chill and taking a break. And sometimes even they came up to me and told me to film this and that. This is the worst situation because they literally tell you ‘go do something and don’t just stand here’.
Share your ideas with a client
This is what I’ve learn pretty quickly when I started out but I had to learn it from my mistake. Also a good thing is to come up to the client and tell them your ideas for some shots and tell them your vision. That was also one of my beginner’s mistakes. I had so many ideas but I always kept them to myself and I didn’t communicate with the client. You have to say everything and don’t keep it to yourself and just do it. The client will be happy in the end when they see the video but you also have to keep them happy on the set and make sure they know, the video will be absolutely amazing.
Don’t trash talk
I have to mention another thing, probably you don’t do it but I want to mention it anyway. I had worked with videographers side by side and sometimes they trash talked the client right at the event. In front of people who paid to get to the event. Of course people will hear you and maybe even a client when you talk BS about them. No matter what you think, don’t say a word ever to anyone. Even when you talk to someone and they tell you ‘oh this event sucks’, don’t agree with them and just don’t say anything or just say positives.
My situation right now as I’m freelancing in London is different because I choose my clients and I don’t have to work events and projects I don’t like just for the money. But when you start out, you find yourself in those situations so keep the rules and smile.