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When The Writer Makes a Reel

what i learned while making my first reel

Instagram Reels have dramatically increased in popularity over the last year or two (I don’t have the energy to verify if it’s actually been 1 or 2 years. It might be 3, honestly, I don’t know). And despite the fact that I knew I should be making reels for One Step, I was super against it. Not against it, I didn’t think it was bad, I just didn’t want to do it. 

For one thing, I’m primarily a writer and, therefore, communicate best through writing. I don’t mind being on camera, but it’s a little exhausting to do that on a regular basis. I’m also really verbose, and the thought of trying to create meaningful content that fit in a 30 second window was actually exhausting. I’d rather write a 500 word blog post. 

For another thing, I felt like I had just mastered Stories. No, mastered is too strong a word, but I had at least gotten into a good rhythm of creating Stories on a weekly basis. Now I had to add another thing to my content calendar? No thanks. 

Thirdly, most of the reels I saw were people dancing, lip syncing, or pointing to random words. That’s fine for personal use, but nowhere in our company brand book do we cover dancing. And how in the world is me lip syncing to Britney Spears going to get you to do direct mail marketing? 

Fourth, and this may seem ridiculous, but honestly the lighting in the office and at my house is horrible. Every time I do a story it takes me FOREVER to get good lighting. And if it’s the wrong time of day, forget it, the whole thing has to wait until tomorrow. 

All that to say, I stubbornly avoided reels for a year (or maybe 2 or 3). Until…

Christmas morning 2021 I got Covid. So. Fun. And it took me down, reader. Please don’t misunderstand, I was very lucky and was able to stay home and did not have serious complications. But I was bed ridden for 2 days and quarantined in my room for 4, and I have never been so bored. I was so bored, in fact, that I made a reel.

It was a completely idiodtic one that involved me lip syncing to one of the songs from Encanto. I did it on my personal account, published it, and didn’t think twice about it. Till I went back a half hour later and WOW! I was floored by how many impressions and likes it had gotten. I’d never gotten that much engagement on any of my stories. I was shocked. 

I reelized (see what I did there?) that I had to quit being stubborn, suck it up, and start doing reels for One Step. I immediately bought a ring light. I started obsessively watching reels for “research.” I determined that my reels would be witty comedy sketches, NOT bogus dancing, and I would create academy award winning content to build brand loyalty and drive sales. Look out, Reels, Bri is about to change the game! 

But when I came back to work after covidays, I realized those amazing, witty, detailed, comedy sketch reels take a lot of time to film, and longer to edit, and my boss has to approve all of them. That was great for a long term strategy, but I needed to start posting that week or else I was going to loose all my motivation and momentum. So my first business reel ended up being one of the exact types of reels I had thought was so dumb before…just me dancing a fake hula and pointing at some words. 

Reader, it is so dumb and cringy. Watch it and see for yourself. I really hate it. But, again, it got more impressions and interactions than any of the stories I had been doing for One Step in the past 2 years. Plus I learned a lot of editing tricks I didn’t know before. And it only took two hours.

Will I ever become a mega influencer winning all sorts of awards for her witty sketch comedy. TBD. But the experience taught me a couple valuable lessons:

  • No matter how dumb you think something is, its even worse to be the one simply sitting there mocking others who are trying something that you are too scared to try yourself. 
  • The first step doesn’t have to be perfect. How can it be? It’s the first step. Just take it. Then take the second step, and so one and so forth towards perfection. 
  • Good lighting and a good filter fixes a whole lot of mid thirties skin ailments. But I have yet to find the fix for my sad hair.

Thanks for listening, reader. Have a good one!