The Other Side of the Camera

Returning home after filming the DVDs was a bit strange–many of my go-to supplies would not arrive home for a week or so, and the constant pressure to practice one more time had vanished. Making the DVDs was an exhilarating experience–scary, fun, exhausting, and awkward.  So far out of my comfort zone, the horizon was a faint line in my emotional landscape.


I don’t like being in front of TV cameras. Luckily for me, North Light put one of the editors, Amy Jones, into the DVD with me, so there could be live interaction instead of droning lecture.

But it is hard to work on an art project and look natural with three giant TV cameras in front of me. I was, however, grateful for the lights, which kept the studio warm.

Phil, checking details before filming starts.

Phil, checking details before filming starts. The bookcase was carefully decorated with pieces from the book and some props to create color and height.

It’s good to be out of your comfort zone, that’s where the real creativity comes in. I had forgotten a few basics, and had to take a deep breath and ask for help. I was amazed at how reluctant I was to ask for tape or gloves. I was reminded again that asking for help gives other people a chance to be generous an to offer help.

The projects went well, and the DVDs will be offered on the North Light shop in a few weeks. (And yes, there will be a giveaway here on the blog.)

There was time for coffee; Amy Jones from North Light waits for the go-ahead to start again.

There was time for coffee; Amy Jones from North Light waits for the go-ahead to start again.

The first one demos Monsoon Papers in the latest version–made inside, without a water hose, in a small container. Just as vibrant, just as fun. Much less mess.

The second DVD covers several ways to carry loose-leaf journal pages: boxes, 3-ring binders, folders. It was fun making them all. Of course I still have regular journals, but the loose-leaf versions have so many advantages, I’ll be using them for a while.

There were several projects I didn’t have time for, which was a relief. Better to have too much than not enough. I’m creating some step by steps for those to put on my website as extras.

Some tips I learned for making DVDs:

  • Show the finished project first.
  • Start with an interesting fact instead of introducing yourself
  • Get to the project quickly, add background when the viewer knows what is happening.
  • Wear solid colors. They are less distracting and create a better background for your art.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, a DVD that lasts an hour takes 8 hours to film.
  • Don’t fret so much what you look like. It’s who you are and the DVD is about your art, not about the fact that your nose is shiny and you broke two nails going through the TSA line.
  • Have fun. Filming doesn’t last long, but relationships do.

I’m glad to be back where it’s warm. Temperatures far below freezing don’t hold the charm they did when I owned cross-country skis.

–Quinn McDonald is glad to have stretched out of the comfort zone and glad to be back in it.