#18 – Lipstick on a pig

So I decided over the weekend I wanted to get serious about doing some vlogging. What is vlogging? It is the video version of blogging. I love to write, but for me there is something inherently awesome about telling a story through video.

My wife loves pictures, as do I, but for me it falls below writing and video as a form of communication. I think part of the problem with pictures for me and this probably goes back to my OCD is I rarely have the attention span to sit and look at them unless I’m in them.

Seriously ask my wife. I can be looking at hundreds of pictures moving through each one rapid fire style, until coming across a picture I’m in. Then suddenly we must slow down and revel in my handsomeness.

In case it is not clear, I’m being facetious. I’m not that big of egotistical ass.

At least I don’t think so. Others may disagree.

Okay, back to my desire to want to start vlogging.

I also love the idea of being able to capture my day on video, especially times when I’m with my family. Sitting down and writing daily blogs about my day is really hard. That is why most of my posts have a certain theme in mind or issues of the day that I’m wrestling with. To write about my day, most days, would be boring.

Woke up, brushed my teeth, took son to school, sat down to write, could not write, so decided to masturbate instead, had some tea, tried to write some more, then stopped wanting to masturbate, but realized I’d already done that so I decided to make a sandwich instead.

I don’t know why but the thought of just writing about my day seemed uninteresting to me and most likely to anyone that would read about it.

Watching people do nothing can be way more interesting than reading about them doing nothing. If you edit the footage just right, throw in some b roll and good music the mundane can be fascinating or at least watchable.

I’m sure you can do the same with words if your Stephen King or John Grisham. It is a little harder if your me.

To start doing video is looking to be way more complicated than I ever imagined. Picture it like this. Blogging is to running what vlogging is to cycling.

Running all you need is a pair of shoes and working legs. You can run anytime anywhere all for under $100. Blogging is similar. All you need is a basic computer with internet and you are ready to rock and roll.

Vlogging on the other hand is way more gear heavy, like cycling. One of the reasons I never get into cycling was I hated the gear aspect of it. It became all about the bike not the bike riding. I thought most serious bikers were sort of douche bags with their little spandex bike onesies, like they are racing in the fucking Tour de France or something.

You have the bike frame, but then you have the pedals, the breaks, the shoes, the wheels, the seat, the crank set, the derailleur, and on and on and on.

I loved the simplistic nature and oneness you feel with your body and the ground as a runner.

The choice in gear and gadgets for vlogging is mind numbing not only in number but costs and I have not even gotten to the editing software you need.

Like cycling, it feels as if it can very quickly become about who has the best gear not the most talent. The playing field can feel a lot more uneven with those having the most expensive camera and computers having an insurmountable advantage.

Could vlogging go the route of cycling for me? I’ve not ridden my bike in over 4 years but I run 4 days a week and have for 15 years. Then I found a video on this very topic by my favorite vlogger, Casey Neistat, check out his YouTube channel here, he did a post where he talked about gear and filmmaking. See the video here.

The premise of the video is gear doesn’t matter, story is king. If it were all about the money, then only those with the most money would be the only ones making movies worth watching.

Tarnation was one of the most celebrated and highly acclaimed documentaries from 2003. It grossed over a million dollars at the box office and cost about $218 to make and was edited on iMovie a free movie editing software.

When I look at my business I can see examples of where I spent money on things with the hope that it would solve my problems or least level the playing field.

If I only I could afford the most expensive sales team, build the best website, hire top of the line packaging designers, etc, my business would most surely be a success.

So what did I do? I spent money on anything and everything I thought would drive more sales. All the while forgetting about the product or to keep with the movie analogy the story.

Here is the thing, like with movies, if the only requirement for making a successful movie was spending the most amount of money, then all expensive movies would be a success and all low budget movies would be worthless. Same can be said for the consumer products companies.

If the only thing that mattered was money and having lots of it, we would live in a world where our food choices at the supermarket would be limited to those made by purchase Kraft, Pepsi, General Mills or ConAgra.

You know how much money Ben and Jerry started with? $12,000 and they have sold a shit ton of Chunky Monkey and Cherry Garcia.

Remember the movie Pan with Hugh Jackman? No, well don’t feel bad most people probably don’t. The movie cost $150 million to make and grossed $114 million. I’m no math wiz but that is a pretty shitty ROI.

Then you have The Blair Witch Project. I saw that movie in high school and it scared the living shit out of me. I did not sleep for days. I was an utter mess. It was so fucking scary, until I found out the whole thing was made up. Anyways, that movie cost a measly $35,000 and grossed over $248 million.

It is not about the money.

You can spend a boat load of cash on the best equipment, sales people, websites, advertising it won’t matter if the story you are telling or product you are selling is shitty.

You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig. Smoke and mirrors only get you so far.

What am I saying? I’m saying that gear doesn’t matter, money doesn’t matter, what matters is the story you are telling about yourself through the work that you do.

The Rolling Stones can put on a show with just a mic, a few amps and a single stage light and blow the roof of that mother fucker. Arianna Grande cannot, she needs the big money stages and sound effects.

Tiger Woods can kick your ass in golf using those wooden sticks they called clubs from the 1800’s. It is not about the equipment.

Director Oren Peli can make a movie for $15,000 that grosses more than $195 million dollars.

I could go on and on.

I don’t need to hire expensive consultants, or marketing people, or creative designers. I have everything I need right now to be successful.

I have a product people love, I’m surrounded by people who support me and want to see me succeed, plus I have a pretty good story to tell. I love creating and sharing. That narrative has always been a part of the Todd story. Be creative and share that with others.

Maybe that is the only recipe I need for success.




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