If you watched my video from Wednesday (18th Oct 2023), it will have been hard to miss the large piece of white fluff dangling off my chin towards the end. This was akin to having baked beans in your beard, egg on your shirt, lipstick on your teeth or toothpaste around your mouth. It’s cringe. You can watch the video here.
So, imagine my reaction when a week after filming, I sit down to edit and see that odious piece fluff clinging on to my chin like parasitic leech. It was bad enough that I already look like I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards. I buried my face into my hands and wailed like a banshee.
Unfortunately, in my line of work, things like this happen all the time. Sleeping rough and waking up at 5am every day for a week means that personal hygiene can slip. If it’s not fluff on chin, it’s an unzipped fly or bad hair.
What’s done is done, and how we react to it is what’s important. This goes for all mistakes when filming in the field.
Here were my options:
- Try to re-shoot the scene in my van weeks later and make everything look the same.
- Ignore it, nobody will even notice.
- Use it my advantage and poke a little fun at myself.
- Delete the clip and use voice over to end the video.
- No. It won’t feel authentic, and my hair has been cut.
- People will definitely notice, and an internet meme may come out of it.
- Yes. I don’t have an ego, so I am very happy to make fun of myself and it will let people know that I am well aware of the chin fluff. It will disarm people.
- No. I don’t have any b-roll for this and people will click off the video.
Whenever something goes wrong in the field, my policy has always been to ‘keep it in’. The benefits of this are huge! I believe that the most important quality of anybody is honesty, integrity and being humble.
I don’t like to watch people who are too polished, I find those people difficult to connect with. I want to be watching the real person, not an Autocued version of that person. If you trip over when filming, keep it in and laugh at yourself. If you can’t get your words out, keep it in until you get it right. If your video camera is blown over by the wind, keep it in and show people how challenging it is to film alone.
My response to the chin fluff was to magnify it by zooming all the way in. By doing this, I am letting the viewer know that I am aware of how ridiculous this thing is, I am disarming everyone, and I am amplifying the humour. Now, people are laughing with me instead of laughing at me.
The 2018 KFC Crisis
When KFC ran out of chicken in 2018, leaving over 500 outlets in the UK without their most important ingredient, they turned that monumental mistake into an award-winning advertising campaign that won the hearts of a nation. The people of the UK do not take kindly to empty, corporate apologies, but humour, honesty and humility we love.
You can see how KFC changed their logo on an empty chicken bucket above. Genius. Their apology went as follows:
“The chicken crossed the road, just not into our restaurants. A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It’s not ideal. It’s been a hell of a week, but we’re making progress, and every day more and more fresh chicken is being delivered to our restaurants”.
KFC’s clever PR showed how best to deal with a crisis. Admittedly, fluff on the chin is not exactly a crisis, but the principles are the same.
Recommended Video of the Week
This is a great video that discusses some of the difficulties faced by photographers who want to grow on Youtube. It makes for a great debate on creating videos for yourself and what you love vs what will perform well on the platform.
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