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How-To X 2: Rice Water for Healthy Skin and Making a Good Video

I hope you all are having a rejuvenating vacation! I’m getting in the New Year mindset, which means I ditch reduce the cookies and start thinking about how to look and feel healthier.

I stumbled upon professional make-up artist Michelle Phan’s Channel on YouTube last night and couldn’t stop watching all of her how-to videos. I started with the creepy Halloween ones which I thought were compelling because they’re so scary. (How to look like a Barbie? Imagine my feminist reaction to that!) Even though I’m not that into makeup (except for the occasional Mary Kay party and stroll through Sephora), I couldn’t stop watching her videos! I soon realized that I wasn’t drawn to them just because of the content, but also because of how they’re made. Here’s one I really like. Watch it and then we can break down why it’s successful:

1. It’s organized. I probably wouldn’t have picked up on this if it weren’t for my many appointments with the amazing Speaking Center, but what does she start and end with? Yes! Preview and closing statements! (See Handout #11: Introductions and Conclusions.) She keeps me interested by telling me what she’s going to do, then reminds me at the end what we did.

2. It’s clear. Content organization helps with clarity, but using an intro and conclusion isn’t the only way she’s communicating effectively. Michelle has a good camera so the image is clear, not blurry or gritty. She’s also in a place with natural lighting that creates an even tone (no direct sunlight or lamps that create hard shadows). The background is interesting but not distracting, and she uses a ton of close-ups so I can really see her materials. She also uses text to reinforce what she’s saying. The text is legible because she’s using a colored bar behind it and an easy-to-read font.

3. It’s pretty. Notice how all of her colors look natural and muted? She’s wearing a white shirt and working on a clear table, both of which match the materials she’s using for the tutorial. I noticed in her other videos her nails always match the look she’s going for. Even if we as the viewers aren’t conscious of her attention to detail, those details create a sophisticated overall look.

4. It’s short. Not all successful videos are short, but most successful videos feel short. Michelle uses music in the background to push us along. (We tend to get wrapped up in music a lot faster than we get wrapped up in someone speaking!) When she talks, she doesn’t turn the music off, just reduces the volume. She also cuts any unnecessary footage, showing us just enough of the demonstration for us to understand without feeling bored.

Oh, and another thing I like? Michelle is an entrepreneur, the brain behind the skin care line IQQU. With how-to videos this successful, how could she not have her own business?

Notice anything else? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Enjoy the rest of your break!



6 thoughts on “How-To X 2: Rice Water for Healthy Skin and Making a Good Video

  1. Bravo, Shannon! Although all of your fabulous blog posts are both informative and interesting, this post has to be my favorite yet!

    In addition to all of the factors of the video that you pointed out, I also liked the fact that she added a hint of humor to her demo. When she finished creating her facial mask, she added the text, “creepy face mask” and “scary,” which made me laugh. Haha.

    Once again, terrific job, Shannon! You never seize to amaze me.

    Posted by disfordani | December 29, 2009, 7:31 pm
  2. BTW: I’ll definitely have to check out her videos. They seem awesome!

    Posted by disfordani | December 29, 2009, 7:32 pm
  3. Sorry for clogging up your comments box, Shannon, but your post is just so great! Haha.

    As you noted, organization, clarity, aesthetic allure, and brevity are all important factors when creating a stellar video. Likewise, I think that all of these pointers can easily shift to an amazing blog as well.

    Posted by disfordani | December 29, 2009, 7:45 pm
    • thanks dani! I’m glad you like it! And I totally agree that these tips apply to blogging as well… excellent call. and I found my neil gaiman notes, so interesting factoids from his talk soon to come! 🙂

      Posted by shannon | December 30, 2009, 12:54 am


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