As a creative professional do people sometimes find it hard to comprehend what you actually do?
Giving your audience a peek behind the curtain with a behind the scenes look isn’t new. Within the film industry, DVDs have, for a long time, given fans and fellow creatives an in-depth look into the process of making movies thanks to director’s commentary and deleted scenes.
Sometimes the journey is more exciting than the destination, and the creative process is no exception.
A video Josh worked on for Bupa Australia
As a video creator and the owner of a video production company, I’ve seen the benefit of communicating what I do through documenting and sharing my behind the scenes process.
Whether your goal is to improve your work as an artist or to drum up interest from new clients, showcasing the behind the scenes of your work can elevate what you do. It also helps to create mindfulness within your creative process.
This article will give you some practical tips and tricks to build habits that promote what you do in an authentic and engaging way. This is not about self-promotion. While the benefits are undoubtedly there, these tips are about providing value through sharing your creative process.
Why don’t you share your behind the scenes process?
If you haven’t been documenting your behind the scenes process, you probably have an excuse as to why (coming up with creative excuses is fun!). Some common excuses I’ve used include:
It’s a distraction from actual work
Maybe you’ve set the bar too high to start with? Use the camera you have with you, even if that’s just your smartphone. The idea behind capturing behind the scenes content is that it’s integrated within your existing process. There are some easy techniques for generating behind the scenes content without distracting you from your work (keep reading)
I have nothing worth sharing
This might come from not understanding or defining your audience. Think about what your audience cares about. For a client getting a logo designed, that might be the initial sketches, moodboards and tests. Show them your thought process in getting to the final logo. The iterative road you’ve travelled to land on your final design makes it even more valuable.
My clients won’t let me
Some clients can be funny about sharing work on your social media accounts. They might even get you to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), preventing you from sharing the work. At my production company, Full Stack Films, we’ve built in the expectation that behind the scenes content will be captured and shared. It’s even mentioned in our Video Production Agreement which clients sign before each job.
If the work you do for clients is highly sensitive, or you don’t think you’ll be able to get the idea of sharing the process across the line with your clients, try and create side projects where you can share your process.
Side projects are also a great way to get a bit more creative and feel comfortable with greater levels of experimentation.
Make the behind the scenes documentation part of your process and make it fun! If your work requires collaboration, encourage your partners to share their perspective on the behind the scenes process. Tag them in posts and engage with them on social media. And if all else fails, set up a calendar appointment at the start of the project so you don’t forget!
Ideas for sharing and documenting the behind the scenes of your creative process
If there’s a lot of time spent on each project you work on, consider setting up a time lapse. For a painter, this could be a still camera set in the corner of your studio capturing a frame every minute. For a web designer working in Sketch, this could be a screen recording which is sped-up in editing. If you’re using a camera to create your timelapse, do a quick Google search of your model to find the best option. Sometimes it can be built right into the camera, other times it can be an app download or a purchase of a hardware remote.
Here’s an example from the talented Illustrator Glenn Jones of Glennz Tees.
Regularly scheduled live streams can be a great way for your community to connect with you and learn about your work. Share insights, run live tutorials, even interview fellow artists in similar industries. Pick the platform that you wish to build, or already have an existing audience on. Most social media platforms have their own live streaming functionality including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Vimeo.
YouTuber Sara Dietschy provides a behind the scenes look at her process, including a live stream on how she makes money making video.
Take still captures of your computer screen to showcase the process of your work. #TimelineTuesday is an initiative for video editors to share the timeline of their work and a great example of using screen captures, providing behind the scenes insight into an editor’s workflow.
Instagram and Snapchat Stories
Instagram and Snapchat stories are commonly seen as disposable content, automatically disappearing from your feed after 24 hours. Each platform, however, has a save function, allowing you to keep copies of your videos to be published on other platforms. You might already be creating content using these apps, and extending the videos through saving them will increase their value.
Jamie Oliver — yep, the chef — does some awesome behind the scenes Instagram stories, showcasing recipes that he’s working on and the crew of his TV productions. https://www.instagram.com/jamieoliver/?hl=en
When you think of vlogging, big name daily vloggers might come to mind — for some, it’s the main content they create as artists. Vlogging is a great way to document your life. As a creator, you can share your daily inspirations and provide a different perspective.