Learning how to juggle, all over again

· Making,Filming,Video Production,Behind the Scenes

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You may not know this about me but I quite enjoy juggling, and not in the figurative sense either. When I was in college, I created a juggling club in my dorm where we taught the basics to anyone interested. Later, I expanded my juggling repretoir to include the diabolo or Chinese yo-yo, contact juggling, and fiddlesticks. I prided myself on the fact that I could pretty much teach anyone the basic concepts of juggling in less than half an hour. Most of that success came from getting people to let go of their fear of dropping the balls. You see, juggling isn't all that difficult. It's a pattern that you build into muscle memory. It just takes time and practice. If you give people the right instruction from the get-go, they tend to pick it up faster. This could be little things like using bean bags instead of balls that run away from you, sitting on the floor so that you don't have to bend over to pick up dropped juggling bags, and deliberately dropping bags to allay that fear of letting that one bean bag escape your grasp. 

Tools of procrastination

A diabolo, also known as a Chinese yo-yo (left) and my juggling bean bags from college (right)

 About six months ago, I was invited to take part in the Skillshare Teach Challenge. This is Skillshare's coaching program for new instructors and I have to say, it was really great to interact with their team alongside my fellow new instructors. Now that the class is finished and posted, I have found a new appreciation for those seasoned instructors  in the Skillshare community as well as the many others who are professional YouTubers or videographers. I had a bit of a sense of what the work involved because of other video projects I had worked on prior to this one but I felt the pressure to produce something even more professional-looking than before. I essentially had to learn to juggle, from scratch. During the pandemic, I wound up investing in some filming equipment such as lights and a dedicated camera instead of my cell phone. Learning to film with the new camera wasn't too bad. That part was a bit like learning how to toss one ball from hand to hand. Being in front of and talking to the camera, well, that was a lot like adding in a second ball. It was (and still is) a bit uncomfortable and unnatural. I took a crash course on how to use DaVinci Resolve for my video editing and, boy howdy! What a learning curve that was! That was like adding in the that third ball. Even after producing those handful of videos prior to my Skillshare class, editing was still the worst part of the entire process. 

Yeah, I know it's messy.

Maker Comet Headquarters

To compound this problem, while reviewing the footage for my Skillshare class, I noticed the audio on a couple of the sections was weird. There was a tapping sound over the top of my voiceover. Now, I'm not a sound engineer and I had absolutely no idea what caused this or how to fix it. After many YouTube videos later, I wound up doing what I could to minimize the weirdness. In the end, it still sounded off, like I had just stuck a bandaid over it to cover it up. The worst part was that I only had one of the charms that I was using for the filming. There was no way that I could just reshoot those two sections. Call this what you will: poor planning on my part for not having spare props, or maybe just not spending enough time learning how to shoot a proper video. I blame this, in part, on my ADHD. But that's another story altogether. It definitely felt like I had dropped a ball and watched it go skittering off a cliff. 

So, you're probably wondering what I did next. At the end of the day, I realized that I was probably the only one who would notice or care about this audio anomaly. I went ahead and published the class and added a note to the class page apologizing for the weird audio in those two clips. Did I just stick a glaring banner on the fact my audio was bad in a couple places? Yes. But at the same time, I wanted to be upfront about it and I also didn't want to answer every single comment asking, "Hey, did you know your audio is a little weird?" 

As makers and artists, we tend to be hyper-critical of our work, so much so that it can hold us back. We tend to view every glitch or mistake as a failure. What we really should be doing is treating our craft like juggling. Dropping the ball isn't a failure. It's a part of the process. You can't learn how to catch the ball without first learning how it's going to fall. Juggling is also one of those things that you don't get good at overnight. While some people might pick up the fundamentals in an hour or so, it really takes a few days of practice to start feeling natural. 

Don't be afraid to start learning something new. Creativity is a committment that just takes practice but know that it is worth your time and effort. The hardest part is just getting started. If you are interested in taking that first step, I highly recommend Skillshare. Using this link will get you a month free. And while you are there, you can check out the weird audio in my UV resin class for yourself. :)