Use the same techniques as Pro video editors to craft a movie worth living.

Photo by Diana Parkhouse on Unsplash

“Give yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct your character through excellent actions and determine to pay the price of a worthy goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths.”


How prepared are you for what’s to come?

How often do you learn from others?

Are you just learning from your failures?

I edited my first video back in 2005.

It was just a compilation of pictures that I animated.

Then I forgot about video editing for a decade, up to 2015.

I bought a Macbook Pro laptop two years before that, with the iMovie video editing software.

I created my Youtube channel in 2012:

I was not uploading any video.

I got serious about video editing in 2018 when I started my #ChillaxingWithMad series.

I did interviews with my colleagues at work. Unfortunately, I cannot share the videos externally as they were filmed on the premises.

However, I will be launching my #ChillaxingWithMad Live sessions in the coming weeks.

If you want to watch those live sessions, subscribe to my Youtube channel.

From 2018 to mid-2019, I have been using iMovie to edit my videos every month.

Then I outgrew iMovie, and I decided to elevate my game. I bought a license for Final Cut Pro 10, the Apple Professional video editing software.

It was not cheap as any Apple product. But I preferred it to the subscription model from Adobe Premiere, the other big player in the video editing software.

Yes, I know plenty of free alternatives like Da Vinci Resolve or Hitfilm Express, to list a few.

I was used to iMovie, and I loved the experience. It made sense for me to switch to Final Cut Pro 10.

As of today, I am not a professional video editor. Yet, I have come a long way in the past three years.

I have learned a lot about video editing, and I want to draw a parallel between video editing and life editing.

Over the past 3 years, these are the 3 workflows I integrated into my video editing process:

  1. Preparation,
  2. Plugins,
  3. Presets.

Let’s examine each element in video or life editing.

1. PREPARATION — When I start video editing, I will create one folder on the fly for my new video each time. I will drop everything there. Then I would go to my video editing software and create a new project.

Yes, that would have made sense if I was doing a completely different video. Yet I was always doing my #ChillaxingWithMad series.

I was not efficient. I was repeating the same tasks each time. And my workflow was a mess.

I was an amateur video editor.

In video editing — Now, contrast that with my new workflow where preparation is key. The preparation starts before I sit to edit.

While filming, I am redoing takes twice or three times to have the best shot. I am thinking about the thumbnail of my video.

I am batching my videos. I will film 2 episodes in a row for my #FiveMinutesFriday series.

I have created a template folder with all the subfolders on my laptop: an A-Roll folder, a B-Roll folder, a Sound-Effects folder, and an Export folder where I will export my thumbnail and my final video.

I have also created a template event and project folders in my Final Cut Pro software with all the regular assets I need for each video.

When I start a new video, everything is ready: retrieve the footage, duplicate the template folders, and I am ready to go in less than 5 minutes.

Preparation has been a game-changer for me. I could reduce my editing time to 30% because I was more prepared before doing my first cut on the timeline.

In life editing — We can adopt the same mindset in life. We often are too excited to jump into a new endeavor.

Yes, that is a great mindset to have: just start doing. And we will figure out the rest as we are going.

Yet some projects in our life require a lot of preparation upfront. As the saying goes:

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

We should not also use preparation as an excuse for procrastination.

Being prepared well can include ensuring we have the minimum needed to execute correctly.

Being prepared means also visualizing the 2 extreme scenarios: the best case where everything goes as planned, and the worse one where everything goes sideways.

For the latter, maybe we can think of mitigations or contingency plans.

Preparation can be as simple as setting up a routine when we start a new task: make sure that we are in the right environment, we are focused on the task at hand, and we will have the right amount of time to produce a first complete draft iteration.

If we take the time to be prepared in life, we will be able to execute with less stress, and we will be more efficient in achieving what we want.

2. PLUGINS — Even when I switched to Final Cut Pro, I was just using the options provided by the software.

Even though there are a lot of tips and tricks to do amazing things in the software, I was unaware of them.

So I felt frustrated that I could not achieve amazing text animations or transitions in the software.

In video editing — Even if Final Cut Pro is an excellent tool for video editing, it does not have all the options to be combined easily to get a great result, just one click away.

That is where plugins are the Swiss knives of Pro video editors:

In computing, a plug-in (or plugin, add-in, addin, add-on, or addon) is a software component that adds a specific feature to an existing computer program. When a program supports plug-ins, it enables customization.

Source: Wikipedia

Yes, you could spend hours or days trying to achieve a great text animation in Final Cut Pro, or you can just buy a plugin for as cheap as $10 and achieve exceptional results with a simple drag and drop on your timeline.

That is the advantage of using professional video editing software: you can find thousands of assets online in various marketplaces to achieve professional-looking videos for a small amount of money and save hundreds of hours in the timeline of your life.

In life editing — Yes, we can figure things out ourselves by experiencing and failing. Yet we have so much time in life and so many things to learn to be able to be whom we aspire to become.

We would need 1 000 lives just to learn what our parents told us from birth to our 18th anniversary.

Yes, we love to say that we are self-made when we successfully feed our ego. Yet we are less prone to this kind of self-acclamation when we feel that we are not where we want to be in life.

We can compress time and learn more by living a thousand lives by looking for life plugins.

We have Wikipedia, Youtube, Google, and most of the human knowledge, just one internet connection away.

We can read books (not only from Amazon). We can seek training online or offline for small fees.

We can seek mentors. We don’t even need to have living people as mentors. We can pick someone we admire and consume their content on the internet.

There are many ways to find people who have figured out what we want to accomplish. We need to have this plugin mindset.

We don’t always need to reinvent the wheel of our life. We just need the will to reinvent ourselves as we experience life.

3. PRESETS — Sometimes, I will do some modifications to a part of my video. Then as I go into my editing, I would feel the need to redo the same effects in another video.

As an amateur, I will try to replicate the same effects manually. And that, my friends, is not the best way to accomplish excellent video editing.

In video editing — I recently learned that I could save all the modifications I added to one video as a preset directly in the software.

I can save all the modifications of the audio, and the picture of a video as a preset and apply that “style” to another video as a preset:

“A default, in computer science, refers to the preexisting value of a user-configurable setting that is assigned to a software application, computer program or device. Such settings are also called presets or factory presets, especially for electronic devices.”

Source: Wikipedia

As I go with my edits, I am also developing my style. Instead of trying to recreate that style each time, I can save it as a preset and use it as I see fit.

Using presets saved me many hours of repeating the same fine tunings, again and again.

In life editing — We need to be able to learn from our failures. We all agree on that. We all believe that failure is one of the most outstanding teachers in life.

One way to learn from our failures is to reflect on them. We need to have the courage to explore our shortcomings, if any, where we fall short.

Then we need to document it in a journal, for example, so we can go back to it and learn from it.

Yet this is not the kind of preset we are talking about here.

Here we are referring to a repeatable, systematic way to get the same results, again and again.

Often in life, we might be forced to learn from our failures. But we rarely learn from our successes.

So we fail to register our success as a preset in the timeline of our life.

Indeed when we succeed, we pat ourselves on the back, celebrate it, and move on.

That is the one mistake in life that we rarely reflect on: failing to capture what made a project or an action successful so that we could source the same ingredients for our future success.

Yes, sometimes it is pure luck. Even so, acknowledging that it is luck will help us have our ego in check.

Capturing the ingredients of our success is the best preset for a successful life.

There is one extra thing for those who have made it here. Yes, you can feel my passion, not about video editing, because it is just a means to an end.

You can feel my passion for storytelling and how it all comes together from the timeline of Final Cut to the timeline of our final life cut.

SHORTCUTS, NOT MOUSE CLICKING — When I started video editing in iMovie, I mainly used the mouse to accomplish actions in the timeline.

That was because iMovie has limited options (a lot for an amateur!) compared to Final Cut Pro.

There are so many options buried in the first, second, or third level menus of Final Cut pro that using the mouse to edit is the worst advice I would give.

In video editing As I was driven to spend less time in Final Cut Pro and more on my lifeline, I started learning to edit using only 2 things: my trackpad and keyboard shortcuts.

Using shortcuts to edit my videos is the best decision I have ever taken to elevate my editing skills to the next level.

Editing a video is about doing the same thing a thousand times. Taking the time to learn the shortcut instead of using the mouse is like day and night.

In life editing — There are some traditional ways to do things. People will do it the easy way. It might take them years to do it.

Sometimes it is justifiable. Not everything in life is a hack. Sometimes you cannot take a shortcut. You have to walk the whole path to reach the destination.

Yet there are so many ways to accomplish things in life by setting the right habits.

Implementing the proper habits is the best way to access shortcuts in life.

Many books can help you implement healthy habits, Atomic Habits (James Clear) is one of the best books.

If you have time for only one book for life shortcuts, read Atomic Habits.

By preparing more, buying plug-ins, saving my presets, and editing using my keyboard shortcuts, I drastically reduced my time at the end of the line.

I am approaching my life with the same mindset.

I get more prepared. I take advantage of other people’s experiences and plug them into my life if relevant. I learn both from my failures and my successes.

And ultimately, I am setting up life shortcuts through healthy habits implementation in my daily routines.

I am spending less time editing my videos. I am spending more time experiencing and directing the final cut of my life.

If you find this newsletter of any value to you, please like it, subscribe and share it with one person to pay it forward.

#Dare2Care #Dare2Share

#BIOS #BringInyourOwnSoul #LeadHeartship #Leadership

You can read my previous article on The 3 most expensive gifts in life: Make sure they are not on your deathbed. (Friendly link)



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Ahmadou Diallo ✪

Ahmadou Diallo ✪


🤎 Afropean 📖 Griot 🧙🏿‍♂️Mentor 💪🏿 Entrepreneur