In this season we had the opportunity to challenge ourselves and step out of our comfort zone. I challenged myself with a TikTok series were I would present some of my demos that I have stored in my hard drive.
I used to make a lot of guitar videos back in the day, like a lot. They were mainly videos of me just playing a cover of some of my favorite songs. So in a way, it wasn't uncharted territory for me. I had some experience. However, in those videos it was all about the guitar and I was behind it. I tend to always shield myself with my guitar. Personally, there was 2 main challenges for me by making this new TikTok series. The first one was talking in the video. Believe it or not, even though I sing and record my voice for singing. Talking in a video is one of the cringiest things for me. I'm so self-conscious about the way I talk and sound. Anytime I can avoid it, I do.
The second challenge was showing my music that wasn't remotely close to being finished. There's something very vulnerable about that. Art can be very personal and these songs weren't ready for others to hear. These are demos that only I had access to and could listen to them. This challenge is more trauma triggers than anything lol. I remember when I was younger I would show people my demos and I would get a bunch of comments saying how it needs this and that, it was too this and too that, how I needed to change this and that, and how it didn't sound quite finished. THAT'S WHY THEY ARE DEMOS. They are works in progress. I know they need work. I was just showing the process. Not trying to collaborate with people. It is my art and my vision. Of course, I'm open to constructive criticism but there's a place and a time for that. I will specifically ask a very select group of people for their opinion and critique. Sorry for the mini rant. I'm sure any artist feels the same in some way. Anyways, sharing my unfinished demos with TikTok was triggering for sure.
To be fair, I have gotten way better at production that I don't have an intense fear of showing people my demos like I used to, but still there is some trauma residue. Speaking and showing
my demos were the challenges I faced.
In a way, I'm pushing myself to show more of my personality and share a more vulnerable side to me, even though to some of you these things might sound trivial and quite a vulnerability exaggeration but for me it's not. It's similar to the popular fear of public speaking (which I don't have, ironically) but more like social media speaking. If there's such a thing.
The funny thing is that I'm not popular at all on social media. So this fear was really more mental than anything. On TikTok, the series did okay for being a random series in an account in which I barely post anything. On Instagram, it was pretty much nonexistent haha. I'm completely okay with that. Baby steps.
The Process Behind
So let's talk about the actual process which was very simple, really.
First things I did was go through my demos folder. I have about a couple dozen worth of demos but some were really super rough and others were honestly not good at all. Luckily, for me I'm a very well organized geek so I already had implemented some sort of rating system which quickly allows me to know which are the best demos. Honestly, this made things way easier for me. If I can recommend something to any type of artist is to stay organized as much as possible. It'll pay off in the long run. When you need things quickly and know exactly where they are. It's a life lesson for sure. Anyways, back to the process behind. Let me show you my demos folder called, "Production"
So here's a quick explanation to the ratings.
A = The best demos/ideas I have
B = Good demos, just need a tiny bit of work
C = Not bad, they need some good work to become great
D = Ideas I didn't end up liking and are pretty much unsalvageable
z = Already done/released
no rating = Still on its early stages so can't rate it yet
I opened all labeled from A to C and listened to them. I only chose the ones that were closer to being finished or had a good sound. Some of the demos were a bit old so I had to replace some audio plugins that didn't work anymore or that I just didn't have anymore.
From there it was recording time. I decided to record all 12 videos in one day because I thought it would just make it easier on me on the long run. That's how I use to make my guitar videos. I used to record a batch of them at once because setting up my room for recording was a hassle and so I would record as many as possible. This time, it wasn't for the hassle but more because it was just convenient and not that difficult.
I grabbed a handheld microphone and connected it to my computer and had my voice and the music running to my headphones. Now, to record the audio with my phone camera was gonna be tricky but I got clever. I bought an inexpensive adapter that basically allows me to connect an 1/8 inch cable running audio to my iPhone. It worked like a charm. When I recorded my guitar videos, I would record audio and video with two separate devices, and had to combine them in Premiere Pro in post. It's a bit of work that can be avoided. So I did. The phone (camera) would record both the video and the final audio all at once. No more need to look for the matching audio to the matching video and carefully syncing them.
At first, I didn't know what I was going to say in the videos so I went through a couple videos just recording different lines. Until I got the one I liked and when I got more comfortable speaking into the microphone. From there it was pretty straight forward.
Open demo session
Move on to the next one.
It got a lot easier towards the middle. However, on the last couple I had to push through a bit. I was getting over the repetition pretty quick but luckily it wasn't too bad. I got all my videos done in a few hours.
I posted each video on TikTok, about 1 per day. Sometimes two. Sometimes every other day. I added text to them and the logo I made for the series.
After 2 weeks the series was done and I was very proud of it. Even though it wasn't a big deal, it was to me. Also glad to have a gained a couple consistent fans that would interact and comment on most of the videos. They would ask great questions and leave very positive feedback, which was my goal. In the video I sort of ask to let me know your opinion on the demo and if you'd like for me to release it. I'm glad I put that call for action because that made people engage and got to know that some people REALLY like my music and my art. The best feeling in the world for sure.
Thank you, Simplex Minds for the challenge. I enjoyed it very much. I have other ideas for more TikTok series that I feel can be much more successful than this one. For sure more fun than these. Looking forward to putting myself out there a lot more.
You can watch the full mini series on TikTok.