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No one is a natural on camera. The first time you try to shoot a video and that red light comes on, everyone starts stumbling. Here's how to not suck on video…

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64 Replies to “How To Not Suck On Video”

  1. I think I would have preferred some of the other practical questions amswered.

    • Eleanor response:

      Jeff thank you for presenting high quality content that greatly helped me see the big picture for getting my video
      out there. I am great in studying and learning but poor job in taking action. What I enjoyed the most was your firm,
      clear clarity for obstacles that hold one back. Thanks for sharing the stix selfie and cell phone use for getting off the
      ground for video. Being your own self, i agree, is the best way to keep whatever you’re doing makes it fun. I know
      clients want real people, they can trust, not a phony baloney. This year 2016 is my year to move ahead. You have
      my thumbs up for these videos presented today. Happy family winter season. Eleanor, Published Author

      • I’m with you on this, Eleanor. I throw myself wholeheartedly into research and studying, and am even better at starting stuff. But going much further than “starting” requires a lot more. It’s like “action” has several stages – perhaps a beginning, middle and end – and I typically get to the middle, if I work hard enough.

        I think one of the problems is allowing myself to do too much, such that I do nothing, ultimately. Thankfully, recognising this is huge, and so I look forward to looking back at this time in my life, and being thankful for having finally got to “the end” of the things I start.

        All the best! 🙂

    • Hi gert

      I think Jeff’s totaly right, the most important thing is your own personnality and confidence to set up the video, then when you have this you can look to the technical part.

      Simplicity and confidence is always the best choice 😉

    • Jeff thank you so much for these video videos! I tend to get caught up in my fears about imperfection. I started a YouTube station where I am promoting my tea business but also interviewing people who show their art or do important work in our communities around Boise Idaho. . They are rough because they are pretty much cold turkey. But after watching your commentary on the subject going back over them they are me and they are going to get better as I get used to talking on camera. Thank you again for all of your free help.

  2. I like that you set the camera right in front of you and just talk directly to us. So many professionals doing videos now include all these side angle shots into the video which looks absolutely ridiculous because the speaker is now facing away from the view and I’m thinking, “Hey, turn around, I’m over here!” I’ve worked in TV and Film and this is NOT engaging.

    Honestly if a video is that boring where you have to edit in a variety of angles you’re in trouble. So thanks for just talking directly to us and not using those ridiculous edits!!! 🙂


    • Thank you Gil. I also do pro video and unless you are John Stewart and know when to switch cameras please STOP using the side angle. It disengages you from the audience. I would prefer to see different focal lengths to keep the video going.

    • Gil, I find it hard to believe, and frankly comical, that you have worked in TV & film and video, yet don’t understand the critical reasons for a subject looking slightly off camera…nor the purpose for multiple angles and focal lengths to enhance the message. I assume that’s why you no longer “work in tv and film”.

      There is a time and place for liking into the camera and for looking slightly off camera with the subject framed to one side.

  3. Hi Jeff, I know exactly what you’re talking about!

    I used to think my accent is drawing me back, but now I stumble and stutter, not as much as I used to , but I WELCOME the occasional stutters, I think thats what people like and helps me become personable as a fitness coach.

    thanks for reinforcing my beliefs 🙂

  4. Thanks so much for this series and also for being so authentic in all your posts 🙂

  5. Hey Jeff,

    Thanks for the inspiring video on how to get started and shoot your own video. I am in the process of doing video blogs but trying to get everything perfect before I start….After your video I will just shoot, upload and repeat the process. Thanks Jeff.

  6. Paul Wakefield


    Great video. I think that this is probably the most important video that you have done. It is about the single most import aspect of life or anything – take action and do it. We all want it to be perfect and it never will be “perfect” but it will be done and that is what you are trying to do, get something accomplished. All the knowledge, all the tools or experience is wasted unless you take action.
    Thanks for the great video

  7. Hi Jeff,
    I love your videos!! What initially attracted me to your presentations is the relatability you exude. Your authenticity, natural voice and information keep me coming back for more. To me, I feel as if I’m having a conversation with a friend when I watch your videos. I really think that’s a gift you’ve perfected. Keep the lessons coming…I love them.

  8. Natural is best presentation method and you are REAL/authentic. I value the idea from the commenter to pause, breathe and then proceed. Good point in gifting the special sauce in video…. Cheers to amazing skiing.

  9. Thanks for sharing this, Jeff! That’s what I’ve always loved about your videos is that you are so authentic. When I watch your videos I feel like we could be sitting down in the living room having a conversation among friends. There’s nothing more genuine than that! Polished, scripted, and robotic doesn’t hold my attention and I appreciate your authenticity. Thanks, as always for sharing your wisdom with the world!

  10. Jeff,

    It’s perfect timing for this video. I just recently started publishing my own videos and I have not been myself. I don’t like scripts and wanted to go with the flow. But i was so nervous about whether others would like me, I wrote a script. But when I read out the script, I could feel that I was not being myself.
    Your message is right on. I have to be myself. It doesn’t have to be perfect but it has to be me. Thanks for this video!!

  11. Hi Jeff-
    You are a great communicator and bring great value to all of us who are starting out in our own businesses. However, with all due respect, this content did not deliver. Perhaps, you could have said the “be yourself” message up front and given a more “meaty” practical tip or two on anything…how far to stand from a camera, how the microphone hooks to the camera, being slightly off-center, etc. I felt like this was just “filler” content. I will keep reading and watching, just wanted to provide honest feedback.

  12. When I began working on my social media presence I thought I had to do the consummate professional thing. I talked in industry terms and forced myself to sound almost clinical in expressing my thoughts.

    What bore I was! And I wasn’t attracting much interaction or relating to my current followers – leading to very few NEW followers.

    I stopped that. I gave “just being me” a shot. People saw that I was real, like them, and that I wasn’t born with my skill set or talent and that I didn’t exist on some throne somewhere. I was relatable and reachable. MAN has that made a difference, both in writing, live and on video. That is what I get most compliments on. My skill and teaching ability come second. Crazy, right?!?

    Maybe not. 🙂

  13. Thanks so Much for making this video Jeff! I’ve recently begun recording for my podcast and YouTube channel and this video was a great help! I too tend to use “you know” often when I speak and started spening a lot of time editing that word out of the audio which took time away from me being able to create content.
    Going forward I will spend more time creating and being natural and stop stressing about getting it perfect. Ready, fire, aim!

  14. I agree that just getting into action is powerful…it’s what I tell my marketing coaching clients all the time, “Just start and figure it out as you go!”

  15. This video was perfect timing for me, thanks. I’m working on my first free 3 video series for a seed launch. Right now I’m learning from your PLF book and can’t wait until I can invest in your more in depth training. I can really relate to your story starting out and some of the case studies.

  16. Thanks for the insights Jeff. I use video a lot in my teaching, often done on my back deck with the dogs (so long as they are not being too distracting) in the background. People LOVE it because it shows the “human side” of who I am. One other point that I wanted to make on you (and I am jealous of this trait) is that you have an incredible natural “smile”. Your face is always poised in this “welcome and hey let me share something” look that makes the listener feel as though you’re about to reveal a great secret (and you often do!). I need to work on that aspect of my own.

  17. Good stuff! I need to listen to this one often. I love love love sharing my message with anyone…but making videos is excruciating. Thank you Jeff!

  18. By the way, what is perfection? I love the perfection of ”imperfection”. And I love your advice. I interpreted it as: Just start with what you have, later on you will polish, improve, you will do whatever else you want to or have to do. But start, please start once and for all! That way you will lose all your imaginary fears, you will feel more empowered and confident. Thanks Jeff, great advice and great ”imperfect” videos! It’s so good to listen to a real person.

  19. Jeff -Great video and message. I agree, I’d much prefer to watch someone I can relate to and my have some “imperfections” than someone who is “perfect” and gives a sense of unapproachable. Thanks for another great message!

  20. Jeff, thank you.
    It’s amazing to me that we could watch a real and honest video about embracing imperfection, then leave a critical comment. Then again, I probably abhor those critical remarks because I’m also a recovering perfectionist.
    I’m 45. I’ve been fighting an illness for 15 years. To live a good day, I have no choice but to get over myself. I’ve lived many bad days.
    Ironically, I don’t regret any of the imperfect things I’ve tried. I only regret the opportunities and relationships that perfectionism has cost me.
    Today I’ll try again.
    My apologies for being lengthy. – Kevin

  21. I wanted to do a launch in the adult entertainment industry. Now I am confused, because of the headline…

    Just kidding… 🙂

    Happy skiing!

  22. My wife, Shari and I have been struggling with our imperfections on our first 3 videos and have been wondering if our results would be better if we had an animated character or a professional actor doing the videos. I believe that people are identifying with us and think we need to keep the two of us on the video. Shari is much more real than I am and hopefully this will let me be more natural. We are just shooting the 4th video and have been delaying. This was very timely and will give us some confidence to shoot the darn thing!

  23. Thanks for the great video Jeff! One of my goals for this year is to start creating some value through video. Personally, I’m not such a fan of getting emails from marketers without knowing first how the sender looks and talks like. Looking a person on video allows me to see how honest and well-intentioned they are. This is what happened to me when I saw you for the first time; you made me feel like I’ve known you since a long time ago and your sincerity was key for me to follow you and buy some of your products and your book.

    I hope you keep posting videos related to video-creation because I’m very interested in this topic. Thanks in advance for reading this!

  24. I liked what you shared about “Just start”. I’ve been stopping myself from moving forward with all these little decisions. I appreciate you being “real” in how you share and what you share and that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Part of me would like more specifics but then again your message is that it will come as long as we get out there. Thank you.

  25. We just recently started doing videos and actually had the mic plugged into the wrong hole on the camera for the first few that we did. Such is life. We published them anyway. 🙂

  26. Peter Powers


    Another great, polished, personable video Jeff. Thanks for the advice – keeping it real and just exuding who you are.
    I would like to add a pointer, if I may: try not to wear your shirt inside out! Ha ha. (only joking, of course).

  27. Your “um’s,” “likes,” and “you knows” have never jumped out at me. You don’t come across with, “Like, you know” as if you’re a middle schooler or the stereotypical superficial valley girl. You come across as very down-to-earth, sincere, and real. Btw, didn’t know you were in Durango. If you’re ever looking for an AMAZING yoga teacher, I want to recommend Maura Youle. She moved from Longmont, where I took yoga classes with her weekly for more than a year, down to Durango about a year and a half ago. Definitely look her up if you’re looking for a fantastic yoga teacher – I can’t recommend her highly enough.

  28. I love the message that you gotta get in the game! And I love “special sauce”. I recently started included a weekly video on my blog post and I decided to just go for it and not try to create perfection. Get your message out there and tweek things as you go forward. Thank you!

  29. Gregory Jay


    It can help to think of the camera as a kind of a friend. I generally think of your videos as you talking and smiling. It takes out whatever worries I may have had previously.

  30. Love it!
    Thanks Jeff,
    once again, for the encouragement to ‘go get’em’ and get going, rather than block the momentum and opportunities with hesitation and our (common) conditioning to be perfect. I actually believe the ego is wrapped up in it, big time. (Gosh, how do I look like? What do…. say / think?).
    So it’s really also a spiritual practice to allow ourselves to be more raw, authentic, maybe vulnerable, but also fresh and alive and human (not some perfect robot).
    So affirming that sigh of relief and smile it gives me to let this game changer message in.
    Last week, on a bright and clear New Year’s Day here in BC, I heard the call to cycle to a great power spot and spontaneously shoot a (selfie) video for the astrological vibes of the first week of 2016. It was one take – I didn’t even watch it before posting. I was just so excited to be out there and DO it. People loved it.
    Will do more, when inspiration strikes.

  31. Definitely love how real and engaging you are. I can be a “Uhm, uh, and you know” snob, but because you come across like we’re having a conversation and you’re excited about what you’re telling me I’ve never even noticed.

  32. Bill Loeber


    I agree with you Jeff about coming across as “non-corporate”. I have heard it described as “over-produced”, “slick”. To me as a marketer this screams out phoney, fake and my defenses go up when I see those kinds of video. I think energy , pace and inflection are the way to go…natural.

  33. I like your points; what I like about you/yours best is:

    a) you come across as an authentic genuine helpful nice guy
    b) you’re not trying to pitch or sell stuff all the time
    c) you share your expertise in a non-stuffy/non-guru helpful, enthusiastic way

    lots of lessons learned; here’s to an amazing 2016!


  34. I couldn’t agree more!! The logistics of video are straight forward, being yourself on camera is key. I think sometimes we try to be just like Brendon Burchard, you or Oprah and our audience sees right through it.

    I so appreciate your video posts, not only are they inspirational and informative, they make me want to come back to Durango to go skiing. (I attended your seminar there in October).

    Enjoy your family holiday and wishing you a belated happy, healthy, and prosperous 2016!

  35. Hi Jeff,

    I must confess I stopped watching you because I thought your presentations were a bit contrived. However, I suddenly had an impulse that it was me being judgemental, moving you outside of my OK circle! So with a fresh mindset I watched this short video, and I’m glad I did, it was exactly what I needed to hear. And you are for sure 100% OK

  36. Great video Jeff. So many of us don’t shoot video because we don’t have the right equipment, the right scripts, the right lighting, the right sound, and the huge one… the feeling we don’t look good or sound good on video, etc… Love your advice to just do it. Purpose, passion, and inspired action is a powerful thing.

  37. Thanks Jeff!

    I had the hit a while ago “video, video, you have to do video”! So, I am, very imperfectly! But loving the process and feel I’m getting better everytime I shoot.

    As I’m doing all of the production myself I’m learning a lot about how I look and feel on camera… At first it was “what the &$#% are you doing with your mouth in the pauses!”… So, I’ve adjusted a few things and am relaxing a bit more each time.

    I love your videos, both the content and I watch your style and videography to learn from.

    Thank you for who you are.

  38. I love this video. Such great info/reminders. Please keep being yourself! I love your authentic, conversational approach and would definitely be like BLAH! if you edited out the humanness. But also, your videos are so real AND so polished! I couldn’t even hear the skiiers in the background, even when you pointed it out and have never noticed your ah, ums, or likes. Even having been in a toastmasters group that gently used an ‘ah’ bell to let you know when you used one.

  39. I always enjoy and learn from your videos. Thank you!
    I like that you are personable and not stuffy.
    The big message in that for me (and everyone else?) is “We can do it too!”
    I’m changing my “study, learn, study, learn” style, which is scary.
    I’ve realized sometimes you have to jump off the cliff (just do it) and figure out the rest on the way down (or in this case up).
    Keep doing what you’re doing!
    Those that connect will stay . . . those that don’t will fade away. 🙂

  40. Jeff, thank you for this great advice. Really learned a lot. Everyone tells me that I need to get some videos out, but have been stuck in fear and learning. Have a short one on my site, and on YouTube that needs to be redone, but it was a start. Need to get more “starting” in my life. Your video brought this to the forefront of my attention. Also thanks for the information on the “Selfie Stick. To show you how much of an amateur I am – I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a Selfie Stick. Thanks for your help!!

  41. Jeff
    You are one of the few that I have not deleted from my feeds …because you are so REAL.

    THANK YOU FOR your content on moving forward without the tremendous amount of over thinking.
    Love your style
    God Bless your 2016

  42. You should post a short clip of one of your first videos next time you do a video tutorial. I think that might give a lot of us perspective on how it takes time to improve. And it would be fun to see!

  43. Best line: “The special sauce is who you are.”.

    This applies to video, social media, web presence, just everything when you are your own brand.

    thanks for this important reminder – Anna

  44. paul (ex-Durangoite)


    Hey Jeff,,,some cool places your hanging out….I love that place with the lake in the background form Jan 9th I think…..I love knowing where you are filming from….

    Now go ski….

    Paul the ex-Durangoite

  45. jeff, thanks so much for being transparent with me. Thanks, through your video, for encouraging me to be me and to use my Special Sauce — my God-gifted personality and talents!

    GO GET EM!

    Brian Horvath

  46. Well said, Jeff! Thanks for sharing this. People do tend to automatically assume getting on video = presenting a fake self. Because that’s where video started. A very polished and “professional” medium. But that’s not the world we live in today.

    I know that when I started doing videos 11 years ago, I was so uncomfortable and wound up crying at the end because I thought I was terrible at it. LOL! But the audience didn’t think so! 1 billion video views and 3500 videos later… that’s what I’ve found as well… it’s absolutely 100% all about YOU and your personality. I always refer to the fact that the camera doesn’t add 10 lbs – it takes away your energy, so you gotta give it a little more to make up for the space between you and the person watching.

    Thank you again! Great video. I love how relaxed, open and authentic you are, Jeff!

  47. Hey Jeff,
    I want to take a moment to thank you, for many reasons. I’ve just recently come across you and enjoyed watching your videos right from the get go. I adore your demeanor and likability, you’re so authentic and you quickly came across to me as someone who is a trustworthy and loyal friend to all peoples. I’m saying all of this because, having found it so easy to warm up to you, your strength of character has diminished a lot of my personal fears about presenting myself to the world, where my customers are. The world isn’t occurring as such a scary place anymore. I notice that I don’t feel as shy or intimidated, and not really worried about criticism from others. I’ve even done some test videos and I was surprised at how comfortable I was during the filming, and I felt good about myself, quirkiness and all, while watching them back. So I want to thank you for graciously welcoming me into a new world where success is mine for the taking.
    Sincere appreciation, Carol Ann

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