My squiggly career, mental health and studies

My squiggly career, mental health and studies

For a university assignment, I created a video about myself and wrote a reflection on what I chose to speak about and the editing, producing and filming process. I received a high distinction for the assignment and felt super stoked! I could tell you what I spoke about but it’s probably easier for you to watch it. It’s only three minutes and I’m sure you’re not that busy…

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I used this opportunity to convey more information than a resume could about my squiggly career, travels, how I ended up studying a post graduate degree without an undergrad, and my advocacy for mental health. My primary audience is current and potential employers, as I’m using this video to enhance my professional-personal brand and will post it on my LinkedIn Profile. This is why I mentioned my goals for my career and grabbing a beer. I wanted to show parts of my fun personality as I hoped if other fun creatives saw it and they would like that.

My secondary audience are people that are wanting to change career paths later in life. The key messages I wanted to convey were that it’s possible to study without an undergrad and get good grades, even if you didn’t excel in school, and that it’s okay to take time in your career to figure out your passions.

I believe in the power of vulnerability (thanks Bréne Brown) and have struggled with anxiety in the past and wanted to be authentic about this in the hope viewers would see it and feel less ashamed to speak about their mental health. My message was that things get better even when you’re at your lowest and that it’s okay to talk about it.

I wrote a script before filming to cover my key points. To film, I used my iPhone tripod and ring light on top of a dining chair to reduce shadows and steady the camera. I angled myself towards the camera, on the left of the frame, using the rule of thirds. I filmed through the day for natural light but one window without blinds was ruining it so I used foil to block it out, #resourceful.

I sat in front of my vintage telephone table with my favourite books and plants and used my beloved Guinness art to reference beers. I wanted a vintage, homely feel, giving insight into my personality.

I foolishly asked peers for feedback on my background after I had spent three hours filming. Most liked it but a few suggested the dining table and chair were distracting. My perfectionistic qualities got the better of me and I rearranged my loungeroom again to re-film without them.

Speaking into the camera to engage the audience was easier than I imagined, especially when speaking on topics I’m passionate about. I was excited about editing and watched many YouTube tutorials. I used instrumental music as a background through most of the video to engage the audience and faded it when I spoke about mental health to imply a slightly serious tone.

There was one section where the story didn’t line up and I couldn’t re-record as I was out of foil! I used photos from my previous jobs and recorded audio with iMovie as an overlay. In future, I would spend more time rehearsing the script as I think the difference in audio was obvious.

Turns out three minutes is not a lot of time to condense 10 years of working history and values! I’ve learnt to record my script before filming, so I don’t make so much content that I won’t need or end up with parts where the story doesn’t line up as above. Going through so much footage and cutting out large parts was incredibly time consuming. I resolved this by being ruthless and deleting the parts I felt weren’t as important and cutting all ‘ands’ and ‘ums’ out.

Another challenge was getting the audio right. I used my iPhone and there was background noise from cars. I used iMovie to edit the volume and reduce it, but I think the audio could have been better. There was also the self-inflicted challenge about asking for feedback late. I have well and truly learnt to do this before filming!


To conclude, I loved this assignment, even though editing took longer than I expected, I found I was consumed in the process and the hours flew by. It was an incredibly fun experience and I am already learning so much by doing. I’m looking forward to creating more content and building on these skills!

Video credits:

Music: “The Future Is Ours” by Scott Holmes Music licensed under CC BY-NC.

Photo: “Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General David Hurley, inspects the Australian Defence Force Academy 2010 Graduation Parade” by Department of Defence licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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