Fail, Rinse, Repeat : A #30secreviews story

A while ago I had one of those genius ideas that would have inevitably ended up forgotten and uncomfortably un-fleshed-out in my ‘genius ideas’ notebook. The hook was simple — what if I made a 30 second film review and posted it on Instagram? Well, guess what? Somehow I forced myself to sit my ass down and do it. And again. And again. 8 times now.


Why 30 seconds? It sounds cool and I’ve got a natural inclination towards high-concept stuff and self-imposed, often ridiculous, rules that are meant to make things ‘fresh’ (A whole film that takes place in a coffin? Yes, please).

Why Instagram? Because making a 30 second video for YouTube would be taking the piss a little bit. Also, the Instagram crowd is all about dem visuals so I felt like it would be the best place to experiment with the visual styles.

Why am I still doing it?

I kept asking myself that question. It’s not like there’s a crowd of people waiting for me to step down from my video-editing throne to bless them with the good news in the form of a meticulously-crafted video. No one was asking for them and as much as I had secretly hoped they would end up popular — they didn’t.

Analysing why they’re not working is what keeps me going. As it turns out, people are not robots, nor have they spent the last 20 hours adjusting one frame in the video, so they’re approaching each video with fresh eyes. And the first impression is all you’ve got. I tried to cram so much content into the first few videos that I ended up with videos that you had to watch approximately 20 times on 5% speed to catch all the details. Well, there goes accessibility. It took me a long while before I understood that the message is more important than the packaging and that maybe I should stop bitching about people not appreciating my fine crafting skills and start considering my target audience.

Ever since then I’ve revamped the whole format — simplified animations, made the text appear on the screen for longer, separated visuals from the review and even broke my 30 seconds rule *gasp*. The whole process of fighting with myself, swallowing the pride and finding outside-the-box solutions has been immensely interesting. And fucking frustrating, too, but that’s a given.

So I guess what I’m saying is — get as much feedback as possible on your work. If your friends are good people and don’t wanna tell you that what you’re doing is shit — ask on reddit. With each video I thought I had nailed it and that from then on it was just going to be smooth sailing. But that’s not the point — you’re meant to be challenged. You’re meant to fuck up. You’re meant to improve. And do it all again next time.

Fail, Rinse, Repeat.

PS. This obviously means that I’d love to hear your thoughts on the videos. I linked the latest one about Manchester by the Sea.