How To Be Creative - 4 Things I Learned about Myself while Shooting and Editing Videos

Constatin Gabor Shooting Video - Solar Panels
Any creative process is a journey to self discovery.

Boy, does that sound gay or what!? :-) However, I can't say it's not true.

This is more of a personal post so bear with me for a while. Maybe you can relate. Lemme know in the comments.

So here's how I see myself after a few years of being involved into this short-web-videos thing.

1. I'm clueless about the result

I have no idea about how the result will look like. None. And that's a good thing.

There is no pressure. I don't have to live up to any expectation so I just go with the flow. I'm not attached to the outcome.

Now, if for some reason the video turns out nice, it's not my merit. Because I see myself as the right guy at the right moment. And the only way to be right guy at the right moment is to start doing stuff - whatever that may be: video editing, singing, acting, etc.

So, you start doing things, keep at it and some good ideas are thrown at you from the ether. And then you grab 'em. They're not yours. But they're yours to execute on.

There's an interesting theory about creativity which resonates with me a lot. It basically says you don't have to worry about the "how". You'll figure it out. It'll come to you. But it's your duty to start and continue.

Constantin Gabor Editing Videos
You must do your part. Then, once in a while, the Infinite Intelligence (you can call it God if you want) says "Alright, boy! It seems like you're really pouring all you've got into it. Here's a good idea. Go with it!".

And BAM! You create something amazing. It's not you. It's the Infinite Intelligence expressing trough you - but you've earned the privilege to be the vessel.

I understand if this sounds too crazy for you. It's your right to not believe this.

You should know that I'm not smart enough to have come up with this explanation myself. I first read about it in Pressfield's book War of Art. If you get it, I bet you'll be inspired by the very short chapter called LARGO. (This is not a book about video editing but it's worth reading even if you don't see yourself as a creative professional. It's a about life. It's about starting that thing that you always postpone.)

Then I discovered this awesome TED talk from this great lady writer. She said the same thing: good ideas are given to you, they're not yours. So relax, you don't have to strain to come up with your next genius ideas. You are a genius already - just do your work.

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius

Now, coming back to videos, I usually get the urge to make a video just to be able to use a single shot. Essentially, I get an idea like "What if we take some high shots using the scissor lift or the forklift? Wouldn't that look cool?".

It's this one particular idea that gets me pumped. So the whole process of shooting and editing the video is built as a pretext to use just one shot. It happens to me over and over with many videos.

If you're a fan of Stephen King (I love his non-horror stories), you've probably read his partly biographical book On Writing.

By no means I compare myself with King but he articulates this concept for me. He never knows what his characters are going to do. He develops the story as he writes (same with me when I edit videos). And he starts from just one idea: "What if a woman and her child are trapped in a car and a rabid dog is lurking outside the car, trying to get them?" - BAM! - there's Cujo.

2. I hate gear as much as I love it (but I hate it more)

Minimalism is big now. Big movement. A philosophy that ultimately gives you more freedom from stuff, from fear of loss, from all that is not essential.

Want More about minimalism? [see the pun in there? :-)] Go to ZenHabits.

I'm not a minimalist but I ought to be.

In video, professional gear means better image quality, more credibility with your client, more versatility, etc. But, if you let lack of professional gear to be an excuse for your blank YouTube account, then you might as well delete your account and cancel your contract with your internet service provider.

Wanna be a YouTuber or a professional videographer? Start with your phone camera, man! Do the best with what you've got.

That's why I hate gear - coz it makes you depend on it. So my current philosophy is to not invest in expensive video gear unless the client who wants to hire me for a massive project is willing to pay me a solid amount of money. Only then the investment will be justified.

Until then, I'll use my small cam and I'll occasionally borrow the Canon DSLR from my friend or, even better, ask him to shoot the DSLR parts himself. I learn from him and he learns from me. We're both building a portfolio and nobody is doing unnecessary spending.

So I'm a minimalist videographer when it comes to gear. If you wanna check out the latest video gear though, have a look at OliviaTech, CheesyCam and TomGuilmette - great blogs on this topic.

But this low-on-gear attitude sticks with me because...

3. I'm not really a videographer. I'm a writer.

I'm an avid reader and this makes me man of words.

I do enjoy doing videos but writing enables me to crystallize my thoughts better. That's why I started my first blog. Video is more about the emotions that I enjoy as I shoot or edit.

There's another reason I say I'm not a videographer. Since I don't plan much before shooting or editing a video, I can't see it as a serious thing. And if I compare myself with Calin Manescu, it's even more obvious to me that I'm sloppy as shit.

The moment I start to take it more serious, I get into this downward nervous spiral... Oh, I need better gear! Oh, I must deliver spectacular results! Oh, what if I can't do it well enough?!

Don't want that to happen. So I see video just as another hobby. It's not a big deal - that's the only way I can handle it.

4. I kinda wanna be in front of the camera

Constantin Gabor
Why? - you may ask.

Because in the real life, I'm an entertainer. I'm usually triggered into being funny and uninhibited by an audience of friendly people.

The reason I enjoy it so much, I think, it's coz there's no editing in the real world. It's live, baby! A constant effervescence of emotions and laughter. It's like a ball of energy tossed back and forth between me and my friends - I thrive on this.

And sometimes I ask myself whether I should have been an improv entertainer. Of course, there's nothing stopping me to pursue it right now except the being-in-front-of-the-camera fright... For some reason, I don't have the balls to expose myself. I think I might be ridiculous.

But I fancy about it.


At best, I'm an amateur filmmaker.

What about you?
  • Do you have any tips on how to be creative?
  • Any books you might recommend?
  • Do you entertain yourself about being a vlogger? Or maybe you already are one.
I'd love to chat. Leave a comment.

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  1. You’re better rounded than I am Constantin… you’re creative with the camera and write really well. I on the other hand suck at writing, and I mean royally.

    I think you’d be great in front of the camera as well. I love your European accent and you have a good presence on camera.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Manny! It means a lot to me.

      You're wrong about your writing - it's awesome! Love your voice-overs (that must be writing, right?) and your ebook on video editing.


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