Hiring a Video Editor – 26th July, 2017

July 26, 2017

I've been trying to improve the quality of my videos for over a year now and it's been going quite well...

However, recently I decided that I needed to improve the "post production" stuff.   By this, I'm referring to supporting graphics, animations and text that helps to support the points that I'm articulating.

Picking My Battles

In my post about avoiding willpower depletion I talk about picking your battles.  On this occasion, I decided to take my own advice.

I briefly considered learning something like After Effects or Adobe Premier but in the end I decided that my time would be better spent focusing on improving my skills as a presenter rather than investing a bunch of time and effort to learn another new skill.  

My highest point of leverage for what I want to achieve is to focus on things like learning humor, storytelling, using metaphors to explain concepts and other specific skills that go into becoming an engaging talker rather than diverting my effort and taking a bunch of time to become an "average" video editor.

In the past, I've been too guilty of becoming a Jack of All Trades (JOAT) rather than specializing and dedicating my time and effort to get really good at one thing.  So, this time I won't make that mistake.  

Being awesome at one thing trumps being average at many things.  By vast orders of magnitude.

So, it was decided.  I would set out to find an awesome video editor.

My Hiring Process

I've previously had good results from using recruitment platforms like Upwork.com - so I decided to take this route again.

I created a new job offer that looked something like this:-

Background:- I have a YouTube channel and web site on which I talk about all topics relating to self development. Example topics include:- Habit formation, mastery, self esteem, book reviews and entrepreneurship.

Up until this point, I have been recording, editing and uploading all the videos for my YouTube channel myself.

What I need:- I need a creative video producer to take my video (which usually is me talking to the camera) and add supporting text, images, and video clips to really engage the viewer.

Important points about this:-

Quality matters - You must be dedicated to producing your best work and improving your skills over time.

Proactivity - If you see something that we can do to improve the videos, then raise your ideas with me. I want to hear your feedback.Autonomous - I'm not going to be on top of you. You need to be able to work consistently without being chased up all the time.

Language - you need to have a decent understanding of the English language for adding text to the videos.Communication - to work efficiently, you need to have clear and concise communication

Organisation - I produce a new video every day, so you will need to be able to i) keep up with the workload and ii) keep some kind of spreadsheet or log of videos and their status.


I will send you this video:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H7EBHWHZKQI

I don't want to give you many instructions on what you should do because I'd like you to have creative freedom.

However, the following points are important:-

1) I should be presenting on screen for the large part of the video. There can be text, animations and video snippets to break up the video and support the understanding of what I'm saying. Comprehension for the viewer is key.

2) Don't change anything before the end of the Warrior Habits logo and music intro (00:20 in the video).

I'm looking for someone who can engage the audience and make the concepts I'm talking about come to life.

Here are some example videos that match the style I'm looking for:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjwCUxbHHME- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Acfdn-CTytM- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHE6LE0e-4s

Notice how the graphics and text really support the content, are professional and pleasing to the eye.

Next steps:-

If you're interested in this then reply to this job posting. Please write "red scissors" as the first two words in the reply to prove you've read this description.

This is an interview posting: I will be giving a number of freelancers the same video to edit and I will choose the one that does the best job for a longer term agreement.

I received a bunch of people interested in the job pretty soon after posting it.  

About 15% of the respondents completely ignored the part about "red scissors", so I removed those straight away.  

Out of the rest, I took on 6 candidates and had them do a video for me as a trial.

The results were quite mixed.  There were a few really exceptional candidates, a couple somewhere in the middle and one or two elementary.  

In the end, I decided to go with a guy who seems ultra keen to work with me, has great video skills, an interest in the topics that I'm presenting about and a solid developmental attitude towards his own work.

How's It Been Going So Far?

We've only been working together for a matter of a few days, but the experience has so far been excellent.  

I think that one of the reasons why this has been going so well is that our working process has been agreed and documented and we have the necessary applications in place to make everything as smooth as possible.

Here is what the current process looks like:-

  1. I record a video and upload it to a shared folder on Google Drive called "Videos to be Edited".  If I have any specific instructions, I'll also include it there.
  2. David, my video editor, then downloads the file, does his editing and then adds it to app.frame.io, a really great collaborative platform for video editing.  
  3. I will provide feedback on the video and suggest any changes that are necessary. This is where frame.io comes into its own - it makes commenting and suggesting changes on videos absolutely frictionless.  

    Previously, I found it quite cumbersome to provide feedback.  It was a real pain watching the video in one tab and switching to a document to write feedback. It's only a small thing, but I really hated it.  Definitely a willpower drainer.
  4. David makes the changes, I approve them, and the videos is uploaded and scheduled for publishing on YouTube.

An important part of this process is that we use something called Slack for communication.  I've been using this application for a few years in our software company - it's a really solid communication platform.  

One of the great advantages that Slack has over other chat applications is that it integrates with a lot of other services, including app.frame.io.  So, in short: we receive notifications in our chat application when feedback and changes are made to the videos.

It's flowing well: we're both clear what we're supposed to be doing and we're working well together.

The Results

I think you'll agree that the videos are a lot more professional than anything that I could create on my own:-


I predict that these videos will get better over time as we deliberately practice our skillsets.

Next thing to improve: that intro and exit animation and soundtrack!

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