What are the 5 steps I use as EDITS in my life?

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

Where is Ahmadou?, my mother would ask when I was younger in Dakar, Senegal.

He is at Karim’s house, watching TV again, would say my sister Ramatoulaye.

Yes, when I was little, I would literally squat my best friend’s Karim house to go watch Cable TV as we did only have regular channels at home.

In the early 1980s in Senegal, we had only one channel, ORTS (Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision du Sénégal), and it was boring as hell for a young child of 7 years old.

I have always been fascinated by the succession of pictures on the screen, those moving people, their stories that opened new worlds for me.

Most of my life, I have been the guy that consumes other people’s stories. It was a great way of living thousands of lives. It was also a way, often, to keep my mind busy so that I will not have a look at the best movie unravelling before my eyes: the movie of my life, my movie.

When I arrived in France in 2000, I discovered that a computer could do more than just opening Paint in Microsoft Windows Operating System and filling the circles with different colors.

My first attempt at video editing was in 2005. I was an intern at AIrbus in Toulouse. At that time, one of my colleagues was interviewed in a local TV network. I took the interview and edited it by adding some subtitles and throwing some pictures in it. Not a success.

Until the end of 2017, I did some videos now and then. They consisted generally of using iMovie from my mac. I would drop some pictures on a template and I was happy with that.

I even created a Youtube channel, which has a staggering number of 54 subscribers, most of them being my friends and family that I blackmailed with love to subscribe to it.

If you have some spare time, I encourage you to go and watch 1 or 2 videos.

No more, please!

Does this make me a failed Youtuber?

Yes, of course. There is no other answer to that question in this universe.

Yet this is only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed since the beginning of 2018, I have been releasing videos on a monthly basis in a vlog series called Chillaxing With Mad (CWM).

In each CWM episode, I interview one of my colleagues to show the story behind the badge.

You can have a look at my latest episode at the time here:

I am in my 3rd season of CWM. I have filmed, edited and released more than 24 videos in 2 years in a half. This might not seem a lot.

Indeed, one of my favorite channels on Youtube is Lessons from the Screenplay, which has released only 51 videos in 4 years. And the channel has a staggering number of more than 1.2 millions of subscribers.

For me, it’s all about quality and consistency.

By the way, if Airbus was Youtube, I am the PewDiePie of Airbus Youtube. Does it matter that I am the only one releasing videos as an individual employee on my channel? Maybe.

The most important thing for me here is not about the figures. It is more about how I became a better version of myself along the process.

Let me explain. To do so, I will follow the 5 steps below to illustrate.

To perform EDITS on my videos, I always use the following steps:

Whether you use Final Cut Pro like le, or Adobe Premiere or DaVinci Resolve or any other video editing software, the 5 steps listed above still apply.

1. Explore the rush videos in my library to know what I am dealt with

In video editing:

The first step is to collect all the inputs I need before starting the edit. It starts with the rush videos that I filmed that will mainly go in the main timeline aka the “A-Roll”. I also collect some overlay videos, pictures, animations that will go on my second timeline on top of the main one, aka the “B-Roll”.

In this initial step, I need to map out everything that I have at my disposal to tell my story. Of course this step is iterative. Indeed I will enrich my A/B-Roll contents all along the editing process with new footage.

I will acquire all the content I need to materialise the vision of the video I want to create.

I will watch all my rush videos to have an exhaustive view of what is available for me.

In life editing:

I failed on some projects in my life. I was not able to overcome some challenges in my life. One of the reasons was that I did not take time to map out what resources were available to me. The first order consequence of not mapping out what I had, was that I was also not aware of what I was missing and where to find it.

I was randomly throwing things in the timeline of my life. As long as I was feeling the gap and feeding the beast, I felt that my life was full.

Then I came to the realisation that the foundations of every project, the first step is to seek having, as much as possible, an exhaustive view of my assets.

Now before rushing to my vision, I first visualize my ruhs.

2. Define the Input/Output (I/O) points to add to my timeline

In video editing:

Once I have an exhaustive view of the content of my library, I start to build the elementary bricks that will constitute my masterpiece.

As I know what raw material I have, I can quickly set my favorites. It’s not about eliminating the things I don’t want. It’s more about keeping the parts that I want to be part of the final video.

As I know where everything is, I am very efficient in selecting my favorite bits. It saves me a lot of time thanks to the previous step.

In life editing:

Now I systematically take time to assess wy raw footage in life. If an opportunity presents itself, if I am facing a challenge, I instantaneously take a decision by defining my I/O points.

This is how I edit what I take from what people tell me.

As I have defined my vision of what I need to fulfill my vision of my life, I take what I think is valuable from other people, critics, haters and naysayers.

I have no FOMO syndrome: Fear Of Missing Out. Because I took the time to know what is in my pallet, all I have to do is select the right pencil to color the empty caneva in my timeline of my life that I will call my timelife.

3. Insert the favorite videos in my timeline

In video editing:

When using a computer, most of the time you can accomplish a lot using the GUI (Graphic User Interface) with drop downs menus and lists.

When I bought my mac in 2013, I invested in a mouse. I unboxed it, used it once and never again.

Why’s that?

Because I can accomplish much more and more quickly with the trackpad, the keyboard and shortcuts.

In Final Cut Pro X, to insert a favorite in the timeline, I use keyboard shortcuts: “e”, “w” or “q”. And bit by bit, I am building my A-Roll and enriching my B-Roll.

I use “J”, “K” and “L” to play reverse, pause and play forward. And because I learned all the keyboard shortcuts upfront and because I have already selected my favorite, filling the timeline is effortless.

And because I use those shortcuts often, they become a reflex while editing my videos.

And in a glance of an eye, a few hours later, my timeline is complete.

In life editing:

As the majority of people, I am a big fan of GUI in the way I interact with the world.

I go to school and let my teacher be my user interface to knowledge.

I go back home and let my parents be my user interface to decision making.

I go to work and let my boss be my user interface to what I can achieve.

I go to the supermarket and let big corporations be my user interface to which processed food I should ingest.

It’s easy, yet it makes me dizzy.

At some point I decided to ditch the user interface and go directly to the command line.. Because I came to the realisation that my time is limited and if I want to accomplish more, I better find some shortcuts in life.

Learning from others, a shortcut.

Reading books, a shortcut.

Having a mentor, a shortcut.

Surrounding yourself with people that feed your light, a shortcut.

Cultivating good habits, a shortcut.

This is how I complete my timelife.

4. Transcode the final result by exporting it into a video

In video editing:

Once I have finished editing my video, it is still in a format that can only be read by the video editing software.

I have completed my video with voice overs, added sound effects, titles and background music.

I make the final touch by color grading my video to make everything homogenous.

Now is export time. It is the final step, the pay day of video editing, when I hit the “export” button.

The vision that I had in my head is now materialized before my eyes.

In life editing:

Materializing an idea, a project into something tangible is a challenge in itself. It can be an easy one if all the previous steps were done properly.

First I need to fill my A-Roll with the most important things that I want to see in your world.

To do so, I transcode my beliefs into actions and habits, guided by my values and keeping in mind the vision I want to accomplish in life.

Then I fill my B-Roll to enrich your main storyline in life that I call my storylife.

To do so, I let my results be the illustration of my actions.

Eventually I use a set of experiences to build a story that I will export to share with the world.

5. Share the video with the world.

In video editing:

Now I have a video file, a set of 0 and 1, which is ready to be shared with the world.

In this process, I started with a linear timeline when shooting my videos. Then I assembled them in a nonlinear way in the timeline of my video editing software. And I will share it with the world that will experience my story in a new linear timeline, the one from my own creation.

I upload the video to Youtube or other video sharing platforms.

Now some bits of me are part of the digital world. My digital trail will be a mark on my digital legacy.

In life editing:

I spend a lot of time writing stories, my stories from my own words. The intention is to share it today with the world. This is the degree one intention. Down in the road, the second degree intention is to leave a testimony to my children and their children.

Each story I write is my way to take ownership of two things: my timelife and and my storylife.

Like the space time continuum, my storylife and my timelife are entangled to constitute the fabric of my life.

By always approaching each challenge in my life as a video to be shared with the world, and by following the 5 EDITS steps above, I make sure that it will be a seamless process that will produce a tangible result.

With this framework, I am the Editor in Chief of my life, my timelife and my my storylife.

What are your best shortcuts to edit your life?

Are you a mouse person or a keyboard person?

What editors inspired you the most?

Leave a comment below.

If you find this article of value to you, please like it and share it within your sphere of influence.

#Dare2Care #Dare2Share

#BIOS #BringInyourOwnSoul #LeadHeartship #Leadership

You can read my previous article on Why is the African diaspora the Trevor Noah of Africa?

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash



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Ahmadou Diallo ✪

🤎 Afropean 📖 Griot 🧙🏿‍♂️Mentor 💪🏿 Entrepreneur