Caleb Minear Films
Filmmaking and Graphic Design based in Battle Creek, Michigan

Blog

Shooting a Skillshare class

My friend David was approached by Skillshare and was asked to do a class on business and marketing in an effort to boost that section on their website. David then turned to me and asked my to film it for him. Very quickly we came with what we wanted to acheive and also what we wanted to avoid. If you take a quick look on Skillshare you will see a lot of dull videos. The content might be valuable and sufficient, but the videos were something to be desired. There was no creativity. Besides the horrible looking videos that were shot on people's low quality web cams (oh no, I'm not exaggerating), even the high definition videos shot on nice cameras still felt dull, especially compared to the content held within it. We knew we wanted the opposite. We didn't want another video where someone sits at a desk in a generic office and talks for 45 minutes. We fought to challenge the norms of educational videos, and sought to be unique in creative in the way we presented the factual content of the class.

That's were the idea of having David sit and talk, not at a random office, but in the weirdest, most random, locations we could find.

We did as much variety as we could, from the middle of the forest to the parking lot of an abandoned Toys“R”Us. The class was marketed towards creative people wanting to start a business, and we knew (as that type) that we needed variety to keep interest. 

There were 7 total videos. If you do some math, you will see 10 locations. This is were I get into the nitty gritty parts of the whole shoot: the failures. We had 2 days of reshoots, because the audio recorder we had on the first day failed us, and gave us horrible audio. The second day, I ran out of space on my memory card and didn't realize until I put the card in my Macbook that it stopped recording half way through the take. It was gone. The third day of reshoots was because one shot was out of focus and we had to reshoot another one because of bad audio. We changed location on one when we rent to reshoot with good audio. We also mistakenly double shot one lesson of the video, and had to scrap that segment entirely. We eventually fixed all our problems and got it edited and uploaded; in the knick of time too. David uploaded the video at 11:59pm of the day of the deadline. But we got it done. Through those failures I learned a lot: to be more careful to check everything. Make sure every aspect of the recording is at the quality you need it to be, and that it won't fail you during the shoot, or at least knowing what to do when it does happen. There was a whole lot of improvisation on this shoot. Some turned out good, others turned out bad. We wanted some things that didn't happen, and found other things that were amazing, even though it wasn't in our original plan. You can never know what to expect, so expect everything.

That being said, I had so much fun. It stretched me creatively. I was so surprised the amount and variety of different locations we found within 15 minutes of us. Below is a supercut of all the locations. It's a view inside the Skillshare. If you are interested in taking David's Skillshare class "Branding Isn't Everything: business for creative types" you can click the link below.

Caleb Minear