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How can you inject some true passion into your content? Niccolò Paganini has the answer!

12 August 2020
by Nico Jones

Niccolo Paganini was pretty much the world’s first virtuoso rock star. His musical skills were matched only by his hedonistic behaviour, and sexual appetite. Add to these his unnerving appearance – strikingly tall, abnormally long-fingered, wild sinister eyes, and many people concluded he must have sold his soul to the devil himself, in exchange for his prodigious musical talent!

In reality, yes he had a bit of talent, but he also practised relentlessly 7 hours a day…but why let that get in the way of a good legend? And more importantly…what has any of this got to do with your video content?? Well, there’s a very simple quote from Paganini, and it struck me as a useful way to think about any creative endeavour, video or otherwise…

 

‘In order for the audience to feel deeply, the musician himself must first feel deeply.’

 

If you google that quote, I don’t think it’ll come up – it’s in a biography that wasn’t digitised and I can’t now locate, but I’m 87% sure I didn’t imagine it. Whether it’s real or not, it makes total sense. If you’re putting out content that you’re not excited about, then how can you expect your audience to be anything other than indifferent?

In my previous life as an animator and videographer I spent a decade making videos for other companies. Some of those companies could be perceived as cutting-edge and exciting, but most could not. What I learned was: as long as the clients themselves were truly passionate about what they were doing, it resulted in excellent, effective content regardless of the subject matter. And the reverse was true – it didn’t matter how snazzy a service was, or how much I jazzed up the edit; if the DNA of a project didn’t come from a genuinely passionate client…the videos just didn’t ring true.

That’s a relatively simple way of looking at it, and it’s pretty much taken care of in our previous article about authenticity. That’s about how anyone can ‘say’ they’re passionate on their website, and gives you practical tips to prove it. But Captain’s all about helping you make user-generated content, so let’s take a different angle for this one.

Let’s say you’re trying to gather video contributions from multiple different people you’ll never meet, in locations you’re never going to visit. Let’s assume they’re passionate people, and you want to make sure that comes across. But let’s ALSO assume that these folks aren’t used to being on camera, and may not be confident doing any filming at all. So how can you get around that, obtain that video contribution from someone, but still retain and capture that crucial element of passion?

We talk in even more detail about this in our Three Golden Rules video series – it pretty much makes up the entire second rule. But for now, the main tip to remember is this:

 

You need to completely remove the creative and technical burden from the contributor.

 

So that’s it! Simple, right? Yes and no. That creative burden has to be shifted somewhere, and for really great results, you can only shoulder some of the load. You need to come up with a specific set of filming tasks and questions but then, ideally, you need to give those to someone ELSE at the location, NOT our passionate contributor.

Because yes, we all love selfie videos…but a) they don’t always look great, b) it adds a bit of extra pressure to the person doing the talking and c) it’s tough, if not impossible, to get shots of yourself in action. Far better to have a pal or colleague to do the filming and ask any questions; that leaves the subject free to be their passionate selves, and offer honest, authentic responses, without worrying about the technical and creative burden that is inevitably present to some degree when creating use-generated video.

The real moral of the story is that if you can crack this approach remotely, you’ll want to be searching for passionate people in your organisation, or your client base, and hearing from them regularly. As I mentioned earlier, the difference that having passionate contributors makes to video content really can’t be overstated.

So there we have it! In a roundabout way, Niccolo Paganini has made us think in a little more detail about how to persistently package passion properly!

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