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Weekly Video Tip: Sidebar Content

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By Stephen Schweickart

The next time you’re about to shoot a video, thinking outside the box can give you a lot more bang for the buck. On network TV news, they’re called sidebars. In everyday life, they involve looking for stories within stories. For example, filming the picnic at the family reunion takes on a whole new dimension when you chat with the 80 year old grandmother about how society has changed, or the recently returned veteran about what it’s like in the Middle East. Talking with the newlyweds about the challenges of married life, the recent college grad looking for a job, or a retiree about volunteer opportunities can also generate human interest stories that might otherwise go untold.

At the professional level, look for local opportunities to gather useful information. The landscaper working on a neighbor’s lawn could be a wealth of information on everything from trees and shrubs to drainage and moles. The nearby painter can talk about the properties of latex and oil based paints, different styles of brushes, and how to prepare surfaces. The local electrician can discuss wiring codes, safety precautions, and proper wiring techniques. A little creative thinking can provide countless avenues and opportunities for spin-off content to keep your social media pipeline full of interesting video. Before you know it, you’ll have an archive to draw on to keep your content fresh. However, if you fall behind, don’t despair. Do what the networks do; dust off a golden oldie, and show a rerun. But don’t let it happen too often.

Stephen Schweickart is the co-founder of VScreen. For more information on this topic, visit VScreen’s site at http://www.vscreen.com/.

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