First-Draft In Video

In a stack of papers called Writing.

  • Aug
  • 08
  • 2008

I’m sure this gentleman is a nice fellow, that he’s got lots of things to tell the world, that he’s incredibly smart, and that he could teach me a thing or nine about how to better use my computer. However, this is the video equivalent of a first-draft essay being turned in as a final draft. As it ends up, that’s great because this does a nice job in making the point about the power of editing. Students always hear about how important it is to edit and see it played out on paper. Seeing an example in other form of media might make it click into place. Show this video instead:

Buzzing : Grammar Errors

You can hear his words, right? But that buzzing’s distracting, huh? That’s something easily fixed with just a little more time and attention. Recording clear audio is obviously not beyond his capability given the technical knowledge shown by putting this video together in the first place. Grammatical errors are often the same. Didn’t proofread, hit print mere hours before the due date, saw the error but didn’t want to go back and find even more to fix, there are lots of reasons lighter than lack of ability why “then” gets put in place of “than” and such. Is the final piece understandable? Sure, but it’s distracting.

URL “Oops!” : Typos

And how about that flub with how to spell Mozilla at the beginning (0:40)? That doesn’t encourage the audience to trust what this author is about to say. Taking the time to record the audio over again (lay down another audio track, edit out the part where he got it wrong, etc.) would have made this a much stronger piece, something an audience would be far more confident putting faith in. Typos achieve the same drawback: they cause the audience to question the author’s expertise.

There’s More

“You can click on Extensions and add other Extensions” (1:19). But what if the audience doesn’t know what an Extension is? That’s a safe bet about an audience that doesn’t know how to change their Firefox Theme. That search for “status bar… something” (1:28)? Why did he even search for that status bar extension? I thought this was about setting a new Firefox Theme. Seems unplanned, right? Clicking on a Theme he’s “never actually looked at this one, Zune, or something” (2:10)? Shouldn’t he know where he’s going if he’s creating a video teaching how to do something? I haven’t found any spot where he’s wrong, so he has his facts down well, but I also must admit that I stopped watching when I heard “I’m going to skip ahead, skip to, like, twenty or whatever” (2:33). That shows an author who is wandering around without a clear sense of direction, just picking page twenty at random.

In my collection of anti-examples, I’ll keep this video at the ready. Play the first few minutes of this and ask for comments. Ask how this might relate to this class. Later, compare it to the beginning draft of the latest piece of writing. The ideas are coming along just fine, but it’s so clearly a first draft not ready for final publication. More editing needs to happen. Get a few more eyeballs on it and take suggestions. Maybe even having students write comments to this author would help with their peer editing. I’ll keep alert for a first-draft video that appeals to the non-computer constituency. But this video could work well in explaining why ideas, organization, conventions, and [fill in with areas of your writing rubric] matter.

1 comment

1. Bookmarks about Extensions says:

[12/22/2008 - 11:30 pm]

[…] – bookmarked by 5 members originally found by mstatz on 2008-11-17 First-Draft In Video – bookmarked by 5 members originally […]