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Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance producer, photography instructor, tech innovator, and when needed, disaster aid specialist. Disclaimer: Michael is a participant in Bhphoto & Amazon affiliate programs that provides an advertising commission if you purchase through links on this website.


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06.22.10         michael's insights  

What is a "Mistake / Improvement" List?


Something I have started doing on my projects is keeping track of all the ways I screw something up. It's applicable to any type of skill that you are trying to learn and I believe speeds up the learning process. Mistake & Improvement lists can be written anywhere, but I use "notes" on my iphone because I always have it with me.

Human nature is such that we do not feel comfortable saying we did something wrong, it seems to me that if we made a mistake, it is better to say "Ok, I messed that up, what can I do better next time?" than thinking that I didn't mess it up in the first place.

The faster we can own up to our errors, the easier it is to correct those errors in the future.

I would also like to point out, that it is more effective to write down a possible way of doing it better if you have one, instead of just listing the mistake. The next time I undertake the same type project, I carefully review the mistake list from the last time I tried and focus on what I need to do better.

Here is a typical example of a mistake list (what is important here is not the mistakes themselves, which are quite embarrassing, but the technique of trying to get better by listing ways to improve):

"Canon T1i DVD Production Mistake & Improvement List"

- Tried to moving video without IS or tripod (looked awful) --> be sure to always use a tripod, IS or stedi-cam
- Didn't shoot Video section with Live View section, wasted a lot of time --> shoot both video and live view sections together.
- Audio wasn't clean on first menu recording, had to redo --> Try not to move around as much when wearing a microphone on shirt
- Accidentally Started new project with wrong project settings (what a nightmare!) --> Double Check Settings before starting new lessons
- Review phase took too long --> Reduce number of Rough Drafts, try to be more meticulous between edits
- Tried subtitles --> they take waaayyyy too long. This was a lot of wasted time. Focus on what you do best- new lessons.
- Spent too much personal time editing--> Have Adam (my editor) edit entire project.

The next video, which was the 7D video, I carefully reviewed these notes before starting, and didn't make any of these same mistakes. (But I did make new ones instead! lol)

There is something really powerful about owning up to things we do wrong, writing them down, figuring out ways to improve, and then visualizing the correct way to do it.

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