12 Things I Learnt from My (Less than Brilliant) Vlogging Debut

For those not yet in the know (where have you been?) I recently announced my intentions to take over the world. Well, the blogging world at least.

So in addition to perfecting my evil dictator laugh, I have begun working on ideas to expand my readership. With this in mind, I foolishly decided to make a video log (or “vlog”).

I hope my debut vlogging experience can be used as a cautionary tale, for anyone else crazy enough to even think about trying.

Here are the top twelve things I learnt:

1. Invest in a tripod. I’m pretty sure professionals have no need to attach their camera to a cardboard box with masking tape. Or place said box on top of another box, precariously balanced on their bed, alongside a broken lamp.

2. Good lighting hides a multitude of sins. Bad lighting makes you look like a big fat spotty toad. Sadly, I fall into the latter category. That is my defence – and I’m sticking with it.

3. Have a plan of action. For reasons of continuity, you will not want to rerecord anything afterwards in your pyjamas.

4. Adlib. Whilst planning is extremely helpful and saves time – my best bits by far were totally impromptu. Yes, I am aware that I have just totally contradicted myself.

5. Record multiple takes of everything. You’d be surprised how many times you can fluff up in only a matter of minutes. Or maybe that’s just me?

6. Employ a glamorous assistant. As an extrovert, I gain most of my energy from other people. As such, I found my true personality didn’t really come out when talking to a camera lense.

Your glamorous assistant can also take ownership of button-pushing, face-fanning and tea/coffee/biscuit duties. So long as you pay them enough.

7. Keep it brief. I managed to cut down about an hour’s footage into five minutes and fourteen seconds. I wish it was shorter.

I can only apologise.

8. Enunciate. Otherwise you’ll sound like a rugged commoner. When I say “write” in the video, you can’t hear the “t”.

I’m now in grave danger of being disowned by my mother.

9. Stick with whatever word you originally planned to say. If you start saying “blogs”, then mid-word change to “posts”, the resulting word will be “blosts”. (I managed this fourteen seconds into my video. Impressive I know).

10. Know your weaknesses. Maths is not my strong point. Check out the percentages’ breakdown roughly three and a half minutes in. I’d love to say this was intentional. It wasn’t. I just can’t add up.

My father’s going to disown me too.

11. Avoid “Um” and “Err”. They are not your friends.

12. Don’t be afraid to fail. It will probably take you a whole day to film and edit your complete pile of excrement. But don’t worry if it’s not a cinematic masterpiece, so long as you learnt something – or maybe twelve things.

I’d like to dedicate my video to all the lovely bloggers who responded to my recent post ‘Friends, Romans, Readers, Lend Me Your Ears’ with such fabulous questions. I’m blaming you.

Cue evil dictator laugh: “M’wah ha ha ha haaaaaaaa!”

10 Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School

I learnt a lot in school. These are the edited highlights:

  • Henry VIII put it about a bit. (Quite a lot actually).
  • Guy Fawkes was a pyromaniac.
  • When in an exam situation – if you can’t remember the year something happened, just put 1962. Lots of things happened in 1962”. (John Keenan, Media Studies teacher; legend).

I was fortunate enough to benefit from a decent education. That said, I did once spend an entire term in Metal Work making a pooper scooper, so arguably my time could have been better utilised elsewhere.

There are several things that with hindsight, I wish they had taught me in school. Here’s my top ten:

1. BULLIES NEVER PROSPER. Those evil witches who pick on you now, throw pencil shavings in your hair and spit in your pencil case? Get the popcorn ready – they’ll soon be regular guests on the Jeremy Kyle show.

2. DON’T BE A SHEEP. You’ll waste the first 16 years of your life desperately trying to follow the herd and fit in, then the rest of forever trying to stand out.

3. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW GORGEOUS YOU ARE RIGHT NOW. I don’t expect you to understand – you’ll only realise this in 15 years time, when you’re older, fatter and less firm.

4. FAILURE IS AN OPTION. You are not destined to be a Tomato, win The X Factor or marry Ronan Keating. Once fully disillusioned – you’ll learn a valuable lesson and go on to succeed in something you never expected – like Rubik’s Cube solving. A key life skill.

5. “BE NICE TO NERDS. CHANCES ARE YOU‘LL END UP WORKING FOR ONE”. Listen to that Bill Gates chap; he’s something of an authority on the matter.

6. UNIVERSITY IS NOT THE ONLY OPTION. Without it – you are likely to be just as successful, without sclerosis of the liver or a debt problem.

7. IF YOU DOWN 2 SAMBUCAS, 3 VODKAS AND 5 AFTERSHOCKS IN CLOSE SUCCESSION, YOU WILL BE SICK AND IT WILL GLOW IN THE DARK.   

8. NO, YOU CANNOT HOOVER UP PAPERCLIPS. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT TRYING. The warranty will not cover damage caused by miscellaneous stationery items, Christmas ornaments or pet gerbils. House spiders however are permitted.

9. WHITE FOOTBALL SHIRTS DO NOT RESPOND WELL TO SHARING A WASHING MACHINE WITH RED SOCKS. Your husband and his team will not thank you either.

10. CAREER-WISE: HAVE A PLAN E. You are likely to need one.

Pearls of Wisdom Just for You (You’re Welcome)

Someone really ought to learn from my mistakes, so please consider the following life lessons my gift to you:

No matter how much your brother tries to convince you – it is never cool to staple your own thumb.

Swimsuits don’t respond well to being ironed.

Fish Fingers only take approximately 12 minutes to cook. Not 4½ hours.

Cut your own fringe at your peril.

As an A-level student, resist the temptation to change your answer-phone message to something seemingly witty and hilarious, like “Hi this is the tumble dryer. The answering machine can’t get to the phone right now, so please leave a message after the beep”. University officials prefer not to liaise with kitchen appliances to congratulate you on your A-level results.

You will not make friends and influence people in University Halls of Residence by singing along to Destiny’s Child “Independent Woman” at 140 decibels at 4:00 am, regardless of the fact you split up with your boyfriend 20 minutes earlier. Nobody cares that you bought the shoes on your feet, the clothes you are wearing or the rock you are rockin’.

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck’. This methodology is particularly useful when applied to picking a mate: If he looks like a Neanderthal, walks like a Neanderthal and barks like a Neanderthal, I assure you he is a Neanderthal. No need to waste time testing this theory; I’ve done the ground-work for you.

If it looks like it might rain – this is because it is going to rain. Unless you want to model the ‘drowned rat’ look for the third time in a fortnight, I strongly recommend you bring your blasted umbrella.

Always check yourself in the mirror before leaving the house for work. You can just about get away with odd socks, but wearing your top inside out in the boardroom will start rumours.

Never be afraid to try new things - apart from cottage cheese with pineapple. Big mistake. Huge.