I’m absolutely honored to share this conversation today. Jason McGarva came out of left field into my former Preservation Project program. 

He’s NOT a documentary family photographer like my usual Preservation Project participants or guests on this podcast for that matter. He’s an internet marketer, speaker and workshop leader (teaching people to communicate better and improve their social skills), so, he offers a unique perspective about stories + documenting.

I invited him on to talk about Video Journaling… a way of documenting that he’s done for YEARS now… and let me tell you, Jason gave us that and so much more!

So let’s get to it.

Enjoy the story…. 

Jason McGarva’s tips for Video Journaling:

  1. Make a basic bullet point outline including the date and where you are.
  2. Most people when telling a story about themselves, they just tell the story factually. Instead, at every little turn in the story, talk about how you felt. How did you feel leading up to the thing you’re about to talk about? How did you feel during? And now, looking back, how are you feeling about it? What are you looking forward to next—how do you feel about that?
  3. Try a category: Here’s what’s working in my life right now. Here’s what’s not working in my life right now. Here’s what I wish was different.
  4. Take more time in the outline—think about what stories happened. What’s the last fun thing that happened to you? What’s the last horrible thing that happened to you? How did you feel about it? What’s the little story you think doesn’t mean anything? It’s going to mean something to you later.
  5. If you don’t think you have any stories, look up Matthew Dicks. Look at your day and find one moment. It doesn’t have to be an epic moment, just something that could turn into a story or a moment for a story. Add it to a Word doc or something.
  6. Who are you talking to? Sometimes it could be to your future self. Sometimes it could be to others you’re trying to help. Sometimes it could be to who to person who’s listening. Or, talk to your kids (what a gift!).

Iconic Photos:

Listen to the episodes to hear the stories behind these photos.

Quotes from Jason:

“There’s money in the mess.”

“What I really treasured were the moments where I was feeling a strong emotion or telling a story or I was talking about something that had impacted me emotionally—and it was something specific.”

“That’s what’s going to be interesting—if you inject feeling into all the corners of your story.”

“I try not to give advice in my video journals. I talk about a lesson I’ve learned, but I don’t want to be one these people giving advice on video. There’s so much of that out there. What there isn’t enough of is people sharing their story of suffering and struggling with life and what they’re trying to do to overcome it and how they feel like an idiot.”

“It feels like crap, but I’m also enjoying the uncomfortableness of it. I’m just documenting this journey of being the absolute worst person in the room and what it feels like.”

Homework (and more tips):

This is all directly from Jason:

You cannot be effective at talking on camera until you’re comfortable talking on camera. Your first few video journals don’t need to be good. You don’t even have to keep them if you don’t want to, although I suggest you do as a before picture. It’s good to know where you started.

If you’re not comfortable talking on camera, you will be. It just takes a lot of repetition. It will get easier. Keep the videos for yourself for now. If you start sharing your videos on YouTube, you’re going to monitor what you’re saying and try to sound good. I want you, if you’re heartbroken, to be able to cry right on camera and document that, because you’ll treasure that video 10 years from now.

For your first video, start with your MacBook Pro and a webcam. Or, if you have a smartphone, even better. Use a phone tripod or a selfie stick.

Think of something recent that you want to remember. It doesn’t have to be an epic story, but a piece of your life that’s a snapshot of your life—a sign of your time and what’s going on for you right now. It could be as simple as:

I went to work today and my co-worker is such an asshole. Every time I go, he always has a nasty comment for me and I’m so sick of it and I don’t know what to do to handle this.

Put that on video.

Learn Matthew Dicks’ Homework for Life where you document something that happened everyday. Something that could be the beginning of a story or a piece of a story. It can be really small, but if you do it everyday, it’ll become easier. Then, take 2-3 things that happened to you, put them in a basic outline and just talk.

The temptation, when you’re recording, is to look at yourself. Don’t do that. Look at the lens.

If you think you might not remember what’s in your outline, take a piece of paper and write 3 bullet points in really big writing. Tape it just underneath your camera.

How to speak: Speak with your attention on the soft edges of your heart and you’ll be surprised at how much warmer your voice becomes. Speak slower than you need to, too.

Also, don’t re-record it. You’ll want to. Don’t.

Finally, spend the couple of hours to learn video editing. iMovie is sufficient. Jason uses Final Cut Pro. Create a title screen with the bullet points of what you talked about in your video. Otherwise, you’ll have no way of cataloging your journals and know what’s inside.

More Goodness:

Like this episode? Bookmark it by pinning this: