One Take Only

Anyone that has ever filmed with me, or watched our videos, knows that I have a “one take” rule when filming. Barring technical difficulties or catastrophic failure, there’s no second take on filming a video. Outside of the obvious time saving benefits of doing one take instead of four, I think it’s the best way to present information for several reasons.

  1. If you truly know your stuff and are confident in the material, you shouldn’t need more than one take. Truly. If you can’t get the point across without having to stop the camera and reset, then maybe you shouldn’t be teaching that concept or drill.
  2. It’s more organic and believable. If you just start the camera and roll, you will tend to be more natural and teach like you teach in real life. This is a lot more appealing to the everyday person and makes the ability for them to perform this movement/concept seem a lot more believable.
  3. Mistakes are normal and natural. Most people will say the wrong thing, say a wrong word, or fuck up a demo, and immediately cut the camera and start over. Why? Who cares? If you made that mistake while teaching a live class, what would you do? You’d simply point it out, correct it, and move on. It’s normal. It’s more real. I don’t give two fucks about the guy that has fancy choreographed technique videos. I am more likely to trust and believe someone that points out an issue, knows to correct it, and does so. They are human and again, way more believable. Unless you say something like “blocking punches with your face is the most efficient way possible and saves energy” then.. well.. yea, you might not want to post that video.
  4. It forces you to own up and get it done. If you are someone that does twenty takes, you’re more likely to overanalyze how “good” your video turned out. If you know you only have one take and no matter what you’re posting that video, you become a person of action. You learn to get to the point more clearly. You learn to get things done and not hesitate. This is a huge gain for anyone. Who cares if your video sucks? Just ship it. Get it out there. Let people take it in and move onto the next one. There isn’t one person in this world that has been around putting content out that can’t look back and say “Ugh, can’t believe I used to teach that.” It’s a testament to your continual improvement. It shows that you aren’t perfect and that you have spent time continually getting better… and you have proof. But if you wait around worrying about whether shit is good or not, you’ll never get the feedback to find out.

Most of the time people focus on making “perfect” videos because they are afraid people won’t like them. Well, I hate to be the barer of bad news, but no matter what you put out plenty of people will like it, plenty of people will absolutely fucking hate it and tear it down, and the majority of people won’t actually give a fuck hahaha. I don’t put things out for popularity. I put things out because maybe it will help one person. It will definitely force me to grow as an instructor.

I take a very similar approach to writing. I usually give myself only 15 minutes to write. No matter what is on the screen after 15 minutes, it goes out. It gets posted.

I challenge you to start approaching things this way. Test yourself. There’s nothing wrong with fancy videos and editing and such, but don’t obsess over it. Don’t let it cripple you. Don’t let it keep you from action.

The following video is of one of my phenomenal instructors at the gym. I texted her in the morning and told her she’d be filming videos that night. Told her to select two concepts or techniques she wanted to highlight. When she showed up that night, I told her she had one take. You can see her a little timid in the beginning, then as she teaches you see her get into it, then at the end she remembers she’s on camera and gets timid again… “meh”…  That is true organic teaching. Nothing staged.

She’ll overanalyze the video hundreds of times. She’ll say things like “I should’ve done (blank)” or “I can’t believe I said (blank)” or “Ugh, I look ridiculous.” I used say the same stuff. But it doesn’t matter.

She killed it. First take of video EVER. Nothing choreographed. Her partner didn’t even know what they were doing until right before we hit record.

With every video she will get better and better and better and she already started off great. This will make her a better instructor and a better student.

Check it out, share your thoughts, and if you’ve been thinking about doing videos, just do them. Who cares how they do at first. Who cares what people think. You’re going to get torn apart, it’s natural. Hell, I might be the one talking shit about you, but again, who gives a fuck what I think?

Be good, train hard, stay safe

-aaron