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Leo Wattenberg

The Storyteller's sacrifice, or: "Technically correct" is the worst kind of correct

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Moin.

When making educational videos, things rarely are simple enough to be fit into a video. Instead, the real world (or even digital worlds!) tend to have a lot of exceptions to rules, little details that may or may not be important, and countless of associated things you can mention. So if you aren't careful, a simple video intended to show a single thing ("how to tie your shoelaces") may end up becoming rather complex and convoluted (different methods of tying knots, shoelace patterns, some shoes don't have shoelaces, what to do with different shoelace lengths and slipperinesses, etc.). 

And here's where you aren't your audience: After researching a topic for a long time, you rightfully can consider yourself at least half an expert on the topic. So the obvious idea to go to is to make The Definitive Video on the topic. A video showing all shoelace patterns, all shoelace knots, all shoelace lengths and slipperinesses, and a list of exceptions to the aforementioned. If it's too long, you may even split it up into a little series, The Definite Shoelace Playlist. However, this is not what your audience wants to see.

The Definite Video on a topic is usually only useful for people who are looking to become an expert on the topic themselves, or for you if you want to show off how much you know on it. So it's basically just a knowledge dump for you. But it's not useful for someone just wanting to learn the basics. In the case of shoelace tutorials, the audience wants to see a step-by-step guide on how to tie their shoes. This means that you should show them one method of tying shoelaces, and only one. The easiest one, if such thing exists. 

 

However, simplifying the topic down to the basics means that you may have to swallow your ego and not show everything there is to know. This is a thing that I have trouble with myself, check out for example this post: 

The message I wanted to convey here is that you have to pay attention to the write speed of your SD card. But when researching the topic, I also found out that there are various UHS buses, so I included that info as well. This post now is closer to The Definitive Topic than I'd like, but I'll keep it like that for demonstration purposes. You could end that post before the "but wait, there's more" line, that would make very little difference.

Further, a thing I did cut out from that text after reviewing it: 

Quote

If your card has a lower write speed than your video bitrate, you won't be able to film. Or, well, maybe you are able to film, but not all data will be written to the card, so your file will break in all sorts of exciting ways. Further...

The highlighted information is technically correct, and possibly even funny, but it adds a layer of unnecessary information. Explaining the technical details of how it would go wrong is simply not relevant to the question "what SD card do I need when filming?". 

 

One way to prevent Definitive Videos or Knowledge Dumps is to try defining a message you want to convey before you start writing the script of the video, and try wrapping it in a story. This has the benefit that a defined message tends to be rather simple, and a story tends to be rather linear with a clear start and finish. This stops you from going too far onto side branches and unnecessary details, because you want your story to progress.

So, in TL;DR:

  • What you like from educational content isn't necessarily what your audience likes
  • Simplify as much as possible when teaching, don't just dump your knowledge
  • Define a message and convey it inside a story,

This post was inspired by "The Storyteller's Sacrifice" by kliksphillip.

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