Chapter 19, “Shoot the Ones You Love,” of How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck opens with the lines “there are two kinds of people in the world: the ones who are interesting on screen and the ones who aren’t” (84), and explains that it is the job of the filmmaker to cast people from the first group of people. Given all the thinking I have been doing recently about the extrovert ideal, my gut reaction was that surely this meant extroverts were the ones largely being cast in videos. But then the next chapter, “Make Your Star Look Great (Part 1: Figuratively)” opens with an example of how very few people would be comfortable juggling in front of a crowd of 500 people without any rehearsal.
This chapter suggests that most people, regardless of where they fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum, are generally unaware of how to best present themselves on video. The proposed solution is to meet with your star ahead of time, review the shooting plan for the day, and ask them what they are comfortable with. In other words, collaboration between the filmmaker or director and the actor is crucial to an enhanced final performance. The more I have been reading about the extrovert ideal these past couple weeks, the more I have adopted the view that people are who they are, and we should not bother trying to change them.
This view, however, seems to fully favor nature in the age-old nature versus nature debate. In other words, there can also be harm in drawing too rigid of a distinction between extroverts and introverts, and suggesting that introverts can never feeling comfortable acting extroverted, so we should just let them be. It is this balance that I have been thinking about this week – the balance between accepting someone as they are but also recognizing that acceptance does not preclude further growth.
How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck evokes this balanced approach as well. Though it reminds us that we can prep and groom our actors (or nurture them), it also directs us to “find out what your talent isn’t good at-and then don’t make them do it” (87) – in other words, to not completely discredit their nature.
The Quiet Revolution (@livequiet) tweeted this week about a parenting course they have developed that is led by Susan Cain and meant to give parents tips on how to raise a “Happy Introvert in an Extroverted World.” The Tweet uses the word “empower,” which I think encompasses the aforementioned balance between nature and nurture. While we need not question people’s nature by asking them questions like “why are you so quiet?”, we also need not be complacent and leave introverted children alone. There is still space to teach them that being quiet is their “superpower” so that they feel self-assured and ready to share their talents with the world.
— Quiet Revolution (@livequiet) May 18, 2017
This tweet, unlike many others from the Quiet Revolution’s account, also encompasses an explicit call to action. I was driven to click on the link to the course by the explicit call to “preview” it. I was also persuaded by the Tweet’s image and accompanying text, specifically the question “why are you so quiet?” In other words, after viewing the image, I felt a sense of compassion and empathy with the child, and so I was primed to click on the link when called upon to do so. This short Tweet effectively accomplishes what I intend to with my video project. I realized that I should not be hesitant to put an explicit call to action at the end of my video, or fall victim to the idea that most audiences are “lazy.” This simple but effective Tweet was able to evoke a response and action from me. My video can similarly get people to feel empathy for those (women, introverts) who are so often told to smile, and so I should feel confident that viewers will respond to a stronger call to action.
Overall then, these past two weeks I have been thinking about the many relationships that exist on social media or are involved in the creation of videos, such as those between filmmakers and actors, and creator and audience. As a member of Susan Cain’s (@Susancain) introverted audience, I decided to reply to one of her Tweets last week and shared my infographic with her. She ended up favoriting my tweet, thereby empowering me to become even more active member of the #QuietRevolution.