September 25, 2013

A media crisis

After a number of particularly bleak months, when creativity looms and I'm itching to "make" "something", I find myself at a crossroad: if I go left I'll film an entertaining YouTube video that really says something, with a healthy dose of improvisation and wit. If I go right I'll write a thought provoking, humorous, well-executed blog post essay that will serve as the foundation for my impending memoirs (which no other twenty-somethings claim. Ever.).

Video is, obviously, the now and the future. People like watching shit online. Me included. We like it a lot. Being on the "creator" side of YouTube lends a lot of perspective, entertainment, and creative challenges (I just spent two hours learning the basics of color correction and succeeded in turning a video clip vomity green). And, admittedly, any video I post on my YouTube channel will reach a much larger audience than anything I post on my blog. While numbers aren’t my goal, the affirmation gives me confidence that someone, somewhere, is somewhat appreciative of my internet shenanigans.

Writing, however, has proven to be the best catalyst to make cohesive goo pour out of my brain. (This is probably true and somewhat obvious for most people, but I'm in the process of self discovery, so please, entertain the notion that I just made a breakthrough.)

I suffer from a burdensome neurological condition called Word Vomit, wherein words come out of my mouth involuntarily, usually different than indented. This leads to what I call “Contritis Dialoguis”, when I think of the perfect phrase to explain my point many minutes, days, months, and millennia after a conversation already finished.

Writing alleviates these troubles because I can say things over and over in my head, write them, read them, and write them again. Then I make sweet love to a thesaurus and many paragraphs are born. Many more are aborted.

I have tried combining the two. You know, writing for video. After all, it would behoove me to know what I'm going to say before I say it. There are far less “ums” involved. At the same time, there is far less improvisation, which puts a damper on my desperate need to constantly channel Tina Fey. It can also feel and look like I'm reading from a script (because I reading from a script). It affects my demeanor and voice tone and my eyes start twitching. I'll be the first to say that no one wants a clammy video full of bad acting.

The bottom line is - I write like I talk and I talk like a write. A blog post and video on the same topic would sound/read very much the same, just in a different medium. So… what now?

Here’s the experiment: this blog post was written beforehand and recited basically word for word in front of my camera. So, watch the video above and leave a comment answering the following questions:

Which medium is more effective? Which is more entertaining? Do certain topics work better as a video and others better as words? These are first world questions. I beseech your first world answers.


  1. After watching the video and reading this post, I think I have to agree with you that some stuff (topics, issues, etc.) are meant to be for a video, e.g. hilarious and heartwarming stories of your home&family. The only 'problem' I can see with writing is just that people will probably interpret what you wrote not in a way as you might want them to. Then again, I guess that's what writing is all about. But nevertheless, I enjoy both your blog and your videos! :D

  2. 1. Did it suck? No, not at all. It would only suck if you felt uncomfortable or confined. If you are better ranting, then editing and then transcribing the edit; do it that way versus writing first and vlogging from a script. It's all about your comfort zone and nothing else. If you are genuine and relaxed, it will work.

    2. I think for search engine purposes the best thing you can do is transcribe EVERYTHING. All your videos should be transcribed and put into annotations (or whatever youtube has) so it can be read by hearing impaired, people learning English or those who need a translation to another language. It's an excellent idea to put a transcription of all video into your blog or make a separate video transcription blog. Your adsense money will go up almost guaranteed. (I hope you are monetizing your videos).

    3. You are fortunate that you are a good, young writer AND the camera loves you. Take advantage of that and don't apologize. Keep writing and keep making videos.

    4. This is a wonderful idea for an experiment. I'd take it to the limit, push the envelope if that's what you care to do. You really might trip over some data or come to some self-revelation about how people relate to your work that was never anticipated. That kind of result is priceless.

  3. I completely agree with Dylan. On all counts. I watched the video and read the blog and agree you should take advantage of both. 'Cause you CAN :)

  4. Very nice. I love your videos. This concept is good. The creativity is therapeutic. Just keep on with the word vomit and something interesting will come to you. Please don't stop.

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  6. I don't think there is an answer. I think that sometimes you will find writing to be a better outlet for you and sometimes I video will better suit you. I love watching your videos but I also love your writing. I happen to love personal essays because I think the way people pore over sentences about themselves is special. Also I am bias because I write personal essays. But, that doesn't mean that everything you ever want to say needs to be conveyed in that medium. You can rock it all.

  7. I enjoy watching your videos and reading your blog. You are fun to watch though - I like hearing it in your voice.


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