Being Proactive vs Reactive

I have always approached new technology in a backwards sort of way. I’m not one to buy the latest camera or software version if I don’t have a need driving me in that direction. I got into video because I felt the need to incorporate motion and sound to the stories that I wanted to tell.

Lately all you hear about is video. Clients are coming to me because they feel the need to add video to their website. And more and more still photographers feel the need to embrace video in their work. Whenever someone questions me about getting into video, I always ask them “what do you want to do with it?” A typical answer is “because everyone is getting into” or “I feel the need to keep up and not be left behind”. While these are honest answers, and certainly there’s some merit to them, I always try to get people to focus on what it is they want to use the medium of video for. Will video convey their message better than a still image or text?

Personally I’ve never been a fan of “getting on the bandwagon” just because everyone else is. Whenever I’ve acquired a new “toy” for that purpose – it generally sits in the box because I haven’t thought about how I will use it to “tell the story” that I have to tell. I was reminded today when watching a piece about Don Hewitt, the creator of the TV program 60 Minutes. He was all about “telling the story” and felt that the story is what we humans are interested in and will hold an audience’s attention. His vision was to create a magazine in a TV format. That was almost 40 years ago and 60 Minutes is still on the air. But Hewitt was a persuasive and dynamic man with a strong belief in his convictions. He was also a pioneer in TV broadcasting and at the right place, at the right time – because back then everyone was learning and they were writing the rules as they went.

Right now I think we’re at the same place with video on the web. We’re all struggling with not only new technology but how we can apply it in a business sense. The 100 million dollar question (or more) is How to monetize the Web? I for one don’t have a crystal ball but I do know one thing that history has taught me and that is – nothing new ever comes from keeping the status quo. That’s not to say that every pioneer has a success story and in fact behind every successful person is usually a trail of failed ideas. But if they hadn’t taken that chance……….you gotta wonder.

The other big dynamic is that being proactive is taking control of the situation rather than reacting to something out of fear. For the most part fear stifles creativity. Either way – there’s always going to be a bit of fear but I find when I take control and become more proactive, I focus on the creative aspects and remove the mental roadblocks that are telling me to stop. I don’t always succeed – but I always give myself a shot at success – when I free my mind and am open to possibilities.

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