My students often hear me say that we learn best from our mistakes. It is my way of encouraging them to experiment, follow their curiosity, actively engage in the learning process without worrying about being perfect, without worrying about a grade.
I just want them to understand that learning is not sheer drudgery. Yes, it does involve effort, trial and error is more like it, if it is going to be worthwhile, but that, in the end, learning something is a reward in itself, whether from a sense of accomplishment or a tangible product.
With this exercise, that of producing an original video, I think I can tell my students that I practice what I preach, and I have both a product and a sense of accomplishment as a result.
I have made more mistakes, spent a bunch of hours that I did not really have correcting them, and pushing for perfection with this project, right down to the last edit. For instance, nearly the end I opened my Adobe Premiere Pro project file feeling pretty good. I guessed I had about an hour of final edits, having consulted with my instructor and having run a rough version past a few others. Well, as things would have it, I neglected to add a few screens from my last edit to the items section, so they did not save. Here I was recreating the screens and pushing myself to incorporate some of the features that I had come across while viewing YouTube videos and revisiting other instructional material.
C’est la vie.
And I don’t regret a second of it for a couple of reasons.
I have learned a few things about Adobe Premiere Pro. It is not overwhelming. With a good introduction and some guidance, the software opens worlds.
I have picked up a whole knowledge set about planning a shoot. B-roll is absolutely necessary and requires planning, as well as the uncanny ability to recognize what will make a good shot, something I need to work on.
I have been indoctrinated in visual storytelling. Again, having an eye for the story is one thing, but giving yourself a chance by gathering the right shots is another.
And, I have learned what a powerful tool this form of storytelling can be. The combination of visual and audio is not magic. As with writing, it bents and lends itself to a creative intelligence.
That’s not all.
I am capable now of teaching these skills to my students. I have a grasp of the what and the how.
I look forward to using the skills for projects of my own. I do not think that producing one fairly basic video makes me an expert; however, I have a foundation from which to build.
I intend to work with others, not only students, who already do this type of work to learn more. Experts, I am willing to bet, are always learning and looking to share their expertise with others.
As I stated at the beginning, what I take away from this exercise is the knowledge that learning to do something, anything, requires time and effort, as well as a mentality that welcomes trial and error–mistakes–and absorbs them into the learning process. With a learning curve as steep as mine, I needed all of these, from time and effort to the right mentality. I think I will be able to sympathize with my students when they get frustrated, I might even be able to help them avoid some of the frustration I experienced, but most of all, I will be able to tell them honestly that in the end it will all be worth it.