A while ago, I picked up a magazine. I flicked through the pages, smelled the freshly printed paper and ran my fingers along the colourful matte cover. I was around 10 years old and that was the earliest I can remember dreaming of writing for a magazine.
That was 2001, this is 2016. Things are different now.
Print media is dying faster than I can type to save it. Even online writing is starting to dwindle, while blogging is becoming the new trend in written media. For every one job/unpaid or paid internship I see for writers, I see 50 for bloggers/social media managers. Book shops are closing down, magazines are becoming less popular and my dream is becoming more distant every day. Instead of cracking a freshly printed spine, I’m opening an app. Instead of flicking through the pages, I’m swiping in all manner of directions. I no longer see a typewriter and notebook on my desk, instead it’s a keyboard and mouse. The humble dream is fading and being replaced by the reality. The iReality.
Even with everything I have been doing to try and become relevant in the world of writing, I can see that I’ve come into it at a strange time. Australia is such a small place as well, so there isn’t all that many places to gain experience in writing, let alone get the ball rolling towards an actual career. I’m super grateful to have been given opportunities like my internship at PC Powerplay, Hyper and PC & Tech Authority. Every time I see my name and work printed in one of those magazines, I light up. The dream feels real again, for a short while.
I know that writing isn’t going to get me anywhere stable and as unfortunate as that is, it’s ok. I’ve had my work printed and I can cross that off the bucket list. I’m still doing the internship, I will stay there as long as they are willing to have me, but I have been thinking about the future. I’ve been thinking about what is on the horizon for me, and I’ve realized that it is more than likely going to be video production. Still in the video games and technology realm, but video production more so than writing.
I’m finding myself constantly upgrading parts of my life to accommodate video without even thinking about it. I’ve just finished hanging the top half of a green screen in my study, just to open up a few more options. I’ve sort of accidentally accumulated everything I need to make videos, except for the passion like what I have with writing. I think that video is going to be the next logical step for me, in terms of creativity, career and feeling rewarded. I do genuinely enjoy making videos so it only makes sense that I’m starting to subconsciously lean that way.
Right now, I feel like writing is at it’s peak in terms of share-ability. You can write just about anywhere, for free, and share it with the majority of the world, for free. It doesn’t cost much data to read an article or blog post either, so it’s easily the most accessible format for the distribution of information. Video on the other hand is still limited. It’s harder to make a video, albeit significantly easier than it used to be. Accessibility to the production of video has become streamlined with the advent of the newer generations of smart phones that allow you to shoot incredibly good footage, edit and upload all in the one device. But aside from a few minor constraints of video production, the biggest hindrance, without a doubt is data limits and speeds.
Australia has notoriously sub-par internet and at times even laughably bad. I’d say it takes me roughly 75 minutes to write a standard blog post, including researching anything I need for the article, taking photos, arranging the article and then uploading/sharing. To make a 3-5 minute video takes around 4 hours including conceptualizing, setting up for filming, filming, editing and exporting. Then it can take anywhere between 5-10 hours to upload a 1-3GB video, that’s before sharing it on social channels. Writing definitely has efficiency on it’s side but one day very soon, data will speed up and have larger allowances, and when that day comes, I’m almost certain that written content will take another big hit.
But just how effective is an article compared to a video? Well, ultimately it comes down to the content and delivery, but I do believe that in this age of digital media, a well produced video is more likely to have a lasting effect than anything written. I also feel like people think that writing is easy and “anyone can do it”, which is true, anyone can do it but like most things, they have to work at it. Where as video on the other hand still feels like this amazing and out there skill. People see me vlogging in the street and come up to me and ask what I’m doing. They are astonished that I not only have a nice camera, but also know how to use it. I’ve half-heartedly put together cringe-worthy videos that have gotten 30,000+ views that have gained me a lot of exposure, to the point where people recognise me in the street. On the other side, I’ve put hours, even days worth of effort into articles that have been published by insanely big websites and magazines that haven’t gotten me anywhere near as much exposure. Why is that?
With all that said, I think I will always need to write. I will always need to blog, type, word vomit and rant in a written format. However, in terms of career, qualifications, stability, goals and achievements, video is seemingly the best route for me to take. I’ve spent the whole day writing articles (and loving it) and reading my own articles in print, but at the same time as watching maybe 15-20 videos on YouTube, I have to ask the question – is writing dead? Is video the answer?
As I type this out, bashing away at the keyboard I can’t help but wonder how this would have gone as a video…
What are you thoughts on writing vs. video? Any experience on the matter? Any writers or film makers want to weigh in?
All opinions here are my own, formed from my own experiences over the last few years going from blogs, to websites, to zines, to print media. Take as you will.