This is a guest blog post by Neil Davidson of MyWebPresenters.
“You should never want to be perfect, perfection is death, there is nothing more after that” – someone on Facebook.
Okay, so this quote is slightly dramatic, but it does illustrate something important about the nature of perfection. Ultimately, there is no such thing as perfection. If something is perfect, it has no reason to continue existing, learning and developing.
Take Apple for example. They are well known for being obsessive perfectionists who would rather scrap a project and start again if the design, functionality and usability is not perfect.
Now take a look at their first product. As you can see they did not start out with a beautiful product. It was beautiful in the sense of the idea but visually not so. The point is that the most important thing about creating something great is to actually just create something that works, or that is fit for purpose and to then systematically improve it and refine it.
When starting out in video production, the tendency is to strive to create an impressive masterpiece. If you are lacking experience, this is not only a pointless goal, it is also impossible (unless you can afford to pay a pro to do the whole thing for you). Instead of “perfection” strive for “persistence.”
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” – Calvin Coolidge (30th President of the US, 1923-1929)
A long-winded quote, but from a slightly more reputable source this time. Coolidge made a very good point: what sets people (or businesses) apart is relentless perseverance and determination – not perfection. Pressing on, getting things done, and pressing on some more to keep improving is the way to do it. In fact, striving for perfection can be psychologically paralysing… hence the existence of so many ‘unsuccessful people with talent’ and ‘educated derelicts’ as he so kindly puts it.
What are you trying to achieve? A consideration of what you are trying to achieve with your video will help you to assess whether perfection or timeliness should be your main priority. If you look at videos that go viral, many are not quality production masterpieces; they are often the product of opportunistic, zeitgeisty moments being captured on camera by an amateur with their phone.
Your ultimate aim with video is to engage your viewer with a video that is relevant to them. Who is your audience? What do you want them to think of you after seeing your video? What do you want them to do after they have seen your video? You may have an idea for a video that will only work if you have it ready to distribute within a specific time frame – e.g. there may be some connection to sport and the London Olympics. There would be absolutely no point spending months on it; you will only make it irrelevant by releasing it too late.
“Make the most of the best and the least of the worst” – Robert Luis Stevenson, 1850-1894, Scottish writer and poet
What can we learn from the Apple’s and Dyson’s of the world? Balance is what we can learn. They consistently demonstrate that they know the importance of getting their products to market quickly, but they also know that they need to keep on improving in order to stay at the top of their game.
Your priority should be to make the most of your resources and the elements of your business that you do best. Monitor and evaluate the success of what you produce and use that information to drive your future projects towards that unobtainable goal of perfection that we like to think might exist.
Neil Davidson is the Founder of My Web Presenters, who are a leading Corporate Video Production specialist. They also write a video marketing blog that is frequented by video and digital marketers.