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How to Relax on Camera

We've all been there...the camera flips on, BOOM - we freeze.  What is it about the lens that makes us lose our cool?
Here are a few tips to help ease your nerves on camera! 

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1. Forget the Script
All too often I see people trying to memorize WORD for WORD what they are going to say. Unless you are in a highly regulated industry, this is a huge no-no. Especially if you are talking about something you LOVE. A script is the fastest way to take the life out of your voice and make you sound like a scared robot. Instead, try...

2. Using Bullet Points
Keep the bullet points close to the camera. Make sure they are big enough to read and in your sight line, this way you have jumping off points - but, won't be concentrating on reading something you already know! 

3. Get Silly
Alright, stay with me here...this may sound weird, but it's gonna work. On your cue sheet with the bullet points, about halfway down - tape a photo of something that ALWAYS makes you smile. It will remind  you to relax, and to...

4. Pause
My mentor, Don Shelby...always said, "Silence is more compelling than the word, "um"." This is SO true. The best speakers I've seen purposely work pauses into their presentations and videos. He would always joke, "People always expect something profound after a pause! Half of the time I'm just trying to remember what to say...but, if I do it as I look around with confidence, it looks brilliant!" 

5. Tell a Story
Too often we try to "craft" the perfect "soundbite" - and then we lose the passion in our voice. Think of an example to illustrate your point, work it into the bullet points sheet, and let your imagination take you to that place. Use action verbs like, "As I was walking into the building I thought...." and it will actually tell both YOUR brain AND the VIEWERS brain, that you are physically moving. Which, calms you down naturally. Fun trick, eh? Wow, our brains are cool.  

What tricks do you rely on to relax on camera?
I'd love to hear any other tips, and I'm sure everyone reading would, too!

Also, want to get better on camera, AND with live video? Your timing is perfect :) 
Next week (Feb 22nd) I'm teaching a workshop to help with just that! See the link below, or click here before tickets run out :) 

Thanks for reading! Stay awesome and keep puking rainbows :) 
Erica

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Video: Look More Professional Using Everyday Items

All too often I see beginners in video get hung up on things like finding the perfect tripod, the lighting set with the best reviews, the perfect furniture setup. But, the truth is...a lot of this is simply, procrastination. I know, because I've been there. But, you wanna know a secret? I didn't use half of the gear my classmates did in college, and I still pulled out better grades for creativity...because when it comes to creating something, it's all about using what you have. In fact, I didn't buy my first light kit until two months ago. Granted, I have a director of photography who has some amazing lights, and that's what we used for professional shoots - but, when it comes to my personal vlogging setup, I was simply sitting in front of a window, so my eyes would pick up the window panes and sparkle. Tah dahhhhhh. See below: 

It doesn't look bad, right? Because using natural light in the right circumstances can be awesome! I was lucky to have an apartment at the time that had great natural light not only in front of my face, but streaming in from other windows behind me, at a lesser intensity. 

When you are first getting started, video is all about using what you have - instead of concentrating on what you want. Be creative. Innovate!

Whenever someone takes one of my video boot camps or mini sessions, they are allowed access to "Team Puke Rainbows" - a private facebook group to bounce ideas off of each other. I love this, because all too often I've seen newbies post the work they are proud of in a forum of Film School grads who tear it apart to feel better about themselves. WTF. Ugh. Not necessary at all. So, we have our own small safe space for Team Puke Rainbows folks to show their setups, gear, toss around ideas, ask for feedback on new videos, etc...

The Innovative Setup

One of our team members, Valerie, posted this photo the other day - when I mentioned that I love the innovation of her tripod setup, she said it actually made the interview easier and more dynamic because she would swivel the chair for some subtle movement. Genius! She also used the lighting she had, and angled it in a way that would minimize shadows. Boom Diggity! 
 

Gorilla pod on a wastebasket/swivel chair = a DIY Dolly. Very creative! photo:  Valerie Turgeon  

Gorilla pod on a wastebasket/swivel chair = a DIY Dolly. Very creative! photo: Valerie Turgeon 

Other ways to use floor lamps would be to take the shades off and point them at the wall directly ahead of you if it's white, and bounce the light off. Or, by using a window as natural light (like I did above) and simply putting daylight colored bulbs in the lamps behind you, so they don't look orange in comparison (they'll say "daylight" bulbs in the store), this is a pretty good bet in Minnesota - because winter light is such a "blue" color outside anyway, so it will match the color temp bouncing off of the snow.
 


Here are 4 other "how to" hacks if you don't have equipment and are using a smartphone: 

1. No Tripod? Use books. Stack them up, lean your phone or camera against them, and go to town! 
2. No mic? Slip another phone into the front pocket of someone's shirt, and hit "voice memo" - then sync up the audio in your edit. 
3. Another mic workaround is using  your headphones, but maybe disguising the earbuds by threading them through your shirt, so just the mic area is sticking out like a lapel mic. 
4. Use natural light, outside - try to stay in the shade, unless it's the "golden hour" - within 2 hours before or after sunset, when the sun isn't direct, and is really flattering. 

Of course - buying video gear isn't a "bad" thing. Have the budget? That's awesome. If you're looking to invest in some of the more inexpensive gear, take a gander at this blog post I wrote last month. 

So, get out there and create! Stop waiting for permission and the perfect gear setup, because it probably won't happen if you do ;-) Plus, the more you practice without the fancy gear - the more you'll appreciate it when you DO invest, and the more ideas you'll have for how it can make your videos even better. 

Keep puking rainbows, friends! And if you need other tips on how to get started, click here for a free guide for beginners. Try something new, you've got this! 

As always, I'm here if you have questions! 

Erica



 

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4 Tools to Increase Productivity in 2018

I'm a procrastinator. There, I admitted it! I love the rush of a deadline. But, the past year - it's caused more stress, than a rush...and with a new diagnosis of ADHD, things are all starting to make sense. Making lists is usually how I get things done, but even then - I used to find myself doing the things I enjoyed before the most important task. Until I walked into a little store on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul and found two simple tools to change that. 

Erica Hanna of Puke Rainbows in Minnesota shares 4 tools that are helping her get things done faster, instead of waiting until the last minute. Hear how her productivity has gone up in the last week and a half of 2017, with her video production and speaking business.

 

1. The Productivity Planner
    I was a skeptic at first...it looked like a glorified list. But, what I didn't take into account is that the tasks were also prioritized from most important to least important. And, here is the kicker - you have to give yourself a productivity score at the end of each day. Boom. That was one of the keys. I don't like to "lose", even if it's against myself. So, the more and more I use it - the more I see my score improving. This has helped me accomplish more in the past few weeks, than I could even imagine. While others were taking well-deserved time off, I cranked out edits for 10+ videos, two strategies, multiple contracts, a couple of blog posts, started meditating more, messing around on the internet less, and really am leaving behind this feeling of, "I could be doing so much more with my time to help my business...." 

2. The FocusKeeper App
    The Productivity Planner uses the pomodoro technique: breaking down work into 25 minute sprints, with a 5 minute break to breathe, get a snack, etc...I like using the app on my phone, because then I'm not checking my clock every two seconds to see how much time I have until I can cuddle my cat for 5 mins. (Cat cuddles are important, people - don't mock me)

3. The Self Control App
    Self Control is an app I've used on and off for a few years now. But, partnered with my productivity planner, and the focuskeeper app - I feel like it's sooooooo much more impactful. Basically, what it does is shuts down access to sites that distract you. You create this list yourself - so be honest! I set my timer in 25 minute sprints along with Focuskeeper, so I can still check twitter and facebook every half hour for a minute or two - in case new clients have contacted me there, or I want to send my boyfriend some mushy message or inside joke GIF. (barf, right?) 

4. 5 Minute Journal
     So, how do you keep all of this productivity "in check" and keep your life in balance? For me, that's important, because when I get on a productivity kick, I do tend to zone out every other thing in life, hold my breath while I edit or work, and find myself so wound up, I'm close to panicking. But, the same day I picked up the Productivity Planner, I also grabbed a 5 Minute Journal. Get this: you really don't have to even have to be a writer for this journal to work. You simply fill in the blanks when it asks you questions about the good parts of your day, and how you'll improve it tomorrow. Voila! Self reflection, and you get to start the day on the positive note, and end the day on a positive note before bed. I've been sleeping better, have been able to "let things go" easier, and have overall, been happier. 

As I mentioned in the video - not every method works the same way for every personality type. But, for this ENFP business owner, it's been pretty damn rad. I'm SO ready for 2018, with this simple new plan - and I hope it helped you, too. 

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ps. This is not a paid post. I just like this stuff :) 
     

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