Did you know that videos on social media generated 1200 percent more shares than text and images combined in 2017 (Brightcove.com)?
All of us are beginning to read fewer words and watch more video online. And millennials? Sorry, but they would rather endure a bad bikini wax than read your long artist statement.
“People buy from artists they feel like they know,” said Emmy Award Winning Executive Producer, artist and Gen Z media consultant Gina Rubinstein (jazzcatprods.com). “If my friend (who knows exactly what I love) sends me a video of your art, and I actually see you making it and hear your voice, I begin to feel I know you. I start to like and trust you and want to take a piece of you home with me.”
You’re a great artist and probably adorable. Why not give everyone a pain-free way to get to know you? Artists have a natural advantage when it comes to video, we came to the world preloaded with the ability to think and speak in images. Including more video in your marketing may come in handy as online videos are predicted to account for more than 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2020 (Cisco.com).
But I’m Afraid to Make Videos
“Video is a fun art form in and of itself,” said fine artist and fashion designer Kelli Bickman (kellibickman.net). Artists new to video need to know that after you take the plunge, the technological fears eventually dissipate. “Soon you’ll add video to the list of art forms you express your creativity through,” Bickman said.
Chris Maynard (featherfolio.com) is a biologist and artist who carves feathers into intricate art. He uses video to promote his art and remind people about the wonder inherent in the natural world. Maynard suggests that artists making their first video start on their smart phones.
“Make a bunch of short videos. Practice speaking, relax, try different ways to light yourself, have fun, .then… delete it. Do it again. Delete it.”
When you finally have one version of a video that makes it past the delete stage Maynard said: “Have a friend review and suggest edits. Have a stranger review and suggest edits.” Now you are getting somewhere.
Don’t let perfectionism stop you from making videos. Your rough edges help rather than hinder people’s ability to relate to you online. No need to look smart and smooth. “I got news for you, people don’t buy from the intellect anyway, they buy from emotion. People truly want to see you being you, talking about your struggles, being relatable, telling a story,” Rubinstein said.
And once you do get to the point where your cellphone can no longer contain your majesty, there are easy to use camcorders out there to help you along. Some popular models are the ANDEX (amzn.to/2w8dgaK), the Sony Handycam (amzn.to/2yeltLg) and the Canon VIXIA (amzn.to/2wH1HXB).
But I Hate Seeing Myself on Camera
What if you are naturally shy or self-conscious like I am and dread seeing yourself on video? “You don’t have to be on camera as a talking head,” Bickman said. “You can do voice-overs or make a narrative with text over moving pictures. My ‘Art Diary’ video series for my Patreon clients only has glimpses of me. I find a lot of close-up shots with just my hands working on the piece can be the most effective way to go in many cases.”
Your stage fright will also decrease when you discover what you can do with editing. “If you don’t like the way you look or sound, you can add filters and cut things up or cut them out. Eventually, you will be surprised you were the one that made that professional-looking video.”
So, if video is fun, good for business and it doesn’t take as much skill as you thought, wouldn’t it be logical to make 2018 the year you incorporate video marketing into your strategic planning?
‘Sure’ you say. ‘But I don’t happen to have a dream team of video scriptwriters tied up in my basement.’ That’s OK! Rubinstein does—at least metaphorically. They’re in her head.
Rubinstein jumped ship from Hollywood to launch her own video consulting company for creatives. She wanted artists to prosper with the help of the same tools folks in the lucrative TV industry take advantage of everyday. So, let’s see how people in TV do it. Rubinstein suggests you make your brand video first and then add in as many of the other 5 types of video on her list as you can over time.
Rubinstein’s 6 Video Artist’s Package
1) Brand Video
“Every artist could use an emotionally engaging story known as a brand video for their landing page. Simple is best here,” Rubinstein said.
“Don’t try to tell people everything about you; don’t make a documentary! Most documentaries are too long and too boring.” Your job is just to arouse viewers’ curiosity, to intrigue people and leave them with questions.”
Look at the one-minute video Rubinstein made to solidify the brand of automobile artist Harold Cleworth: vimeo.com/231295350. The first 55 seconds are packed with passion and 49 images of his work. The last 5 seconds are a great nod to Cleworth’s playful personality, which will make you smile.
Bickman has an imaginative brand video focused on her inspirations made by videographer Matt Kehoe. Kehoe wove together interview sound bites and clips of Bickman with ingenious animations he created using some figures from Bickman’s paintings.
Maynard’s intriguing brand video: “Meet Chris Maynard” can be seen at: youtu.be/eClZPg1ivIc.
Because the brand video conveys a big message with few words, it might be the one video in this list you want to make with a consultation from a video professional.
“Before you hire someone, look at the work they’ve made for a few other clients. Does each video capture the spirit of that individual? You don’t want to shell out big bucks for a cookie cutter, talking head approach,” Rubinstein said.
Brand videos should be more about the why than the how. Choose someone who has the capacity to listen and convey why you make your art. For an example of an artist using story to embody his “why”, look at Maynard’s 9-minute philosophical TEDx talk: 1111style.com). Check out her series of mini-videos of fabulous female performers wearing her garments while fire dancing, aerial silk dancing and hula-hooping to killer music. My favorite has you imagining how fabulous you’d feel whipping off jetés in one of Bickman’s tattoo sleeve tops over your black tutu.
3) Behind the Scenes Studio Tour
Non-artists find artist studios to be mythical toy stores. So clear up your cadre of half-filled coffee mugs and muddy paint water and you’ll have finished setting the stage for your perfect video.
Give an on-camera phone tour of your studio as if you are speaking to a really close friend who has never seen it. Be warm. Personalize it. Say things you normally say to a friend like: ‘I’ve laid out all 30 of my blue paints here from light to dark, you know how neurotic I am. …Oh! This “Arturo Fuente” cigar box is where I keep found hummingbird nests and sand dollars!’
“Maybe give a short demo of what you are working on that day. Record a lot of little details of things. Then cut the hell out it,” Rubinstein said.
Don’t share on camera from a place of trying to get approval or sell something. Imagine you’re speaking to a person your BFF has told you is crazy for the same stuff you are. Imagine that after the first sentence you speak on camera they will shout out, ‘that’s so cool!’
4) Gallery Show Video
The job of this video is to show that galleries and people in the real world like your art. Gallery show videos don’t have to be glamorous or champagne fueled to be effective.
This video is shot in a gallery with Maynard’s feather art behind him: vimeo.com/173829488. Maynard opens a door to himself and his work by sharing a story about his family history: His father was a surgeon and his mother an artist. Maynard uses his father’s surgical tools to carve silhouettes out of the feathers that populate his art (the profession he shares with his mother). It’s a brief, intimate story, but it tells you about why and how Maynard feels compelled to create.
5) Art in Action
Time lapse and stop motion videos are great options to add to your site. They both mesmerize visitors and show how much work you put into making a piece. By showing rather than telling your audience how much effort went into a canvas, you legitimize the number of zeros in your prices.
Bickman has an enchanting time lapse on the landing page of her website which shows her process from start to finish on a large-scale mixed media forest of blooming trees. Captions explain the materials and techniques.
“Time lapse is my favorite so far and I’ve done several of them. All of my ‘Art Diary’ time-lapse tutorials are available at patreon.com/kellibickman and are only accessible to patrons as ‘pay what you can.’ For as little as $1, one can access all my current videos,” Bickman said.
6) Interactive Painting Video
Want to get all kinds of people interested in your painting before it’s even done? “Video is at its best- and is best for- emotionally connecting people,” Rubinstein said. “And millennial and gen Z’ers want to be part of everything- including your work. It validates the humongous value their helicopter parents told them their thoughts and opinions have.” Rubinstein said.
Video your progress daily on a piece and ask viewers to weigh in on it as you’re making it. Ask questions like: What title should this piece have? Should I put the copper leaf here? Where should the blacksmiths and the anvils go on this canvas?
“All our attention spans are narrowing, so unless you are talking about the pope coming, keep all videos you put out in the world under 60 seconds, people will love you so much more,” Rubinstein said.
Remember, at least three great things can happen when you provide a video-alternative to your regular written fare: a visitor gets to know and like you, they share your work with their good friend who may be your ideal client and they get to pass on that bikini wax.
Thea Fiore-Bloom PhD is a freelance writer, assemblage artist and literacy volunteer. Thanks to the nudging of Gina Rubinstein, she recently left the Pleistocene era and posts videos on her website. To see one or read her blog, visit theafiorebloom.com.