Today we’ll be talking with Zack Scriven. Zack is a video marketing entrepreneur and thought leader is the founder and lead content creator of Zack driven media, a company dedicated to creating engaging videos for education, motivation, and brand building. In addition to that Zack is an industrial automation engineer.
Manuj, Thank you for having me on your show. I appreciate it.
Yeah. All right. So tell us all about video. So you are a video expert?
No. That’s the thing. I’m not a video expert. Actually, I’m just a beginner.
It’s weird because I’ve always had a passion for video. I’ve done a video when I was like in my teens. So I guess I’m not a beginner. But I don’t consider myself an expert. Really, there was a turning point about a year ago, year and a half ago where I started pursuing video full time. But just a beginner like knowing, like, everyone else, right? And just not trying to separate me from, like maybe a YouTuber that had millions of subscribers. It’s like, they just had to start at 02. So why don’t I just start myself? So I don’t really consider myself an expert on any level, but I have been pursuing it a lot. So from that perspective, yeah, it’s a thought leader, expert, influencer, whatever you want to call it.
Yeah, you are being I think humble. But I find your content quite entertaining and professionally done. So you are definitely not a beginner. But maybe you don’t consider yourself an expert, like at a Hollywood level. But for people like myself, who have not produced as much content on video format, I think you will know a thing or two about video more than the regular person.
So, well, I was at your guys’ point 1.2. And from my perspective, I’m working on this documentary, and I’ve never done a documentary before. So it’s, it’s a new process just for me, nonetheless, you know, we’re on this journey together.
Exactly, exactly. So tell us, how did this start? So you said you had an interest in the video from an early stage? What attracted you to video? And how has that changed over time?
Hmm, yeah. So some of my first videos were me riding a bike, and like taking it off jumps when I was like, you know, 13 – 14 I also, I got an iMac, and like the Sony cyber-shot, you know, just basically pointing shoot camera. And so I would be able to just shoot some videos with my point shoot camera, things like maybe 720 P or something at best, and was probably, you know, decade-plus ago. So editing that on my iMac, and just being able to create a story, or just be able to share something right. I think that was really cool. Being able to see the comments even back then some of them were negative, like, why are you sharing a video of you taking it off like a one-foot jump, obviously, there’s BMX, pro-people doing backflips, who would want to watch this. But there was never really my perspective, I just enjoyed the process of riding my bike, filming it, sharing it. So that’s how as my beginning of video interest started out, I had a career and industrial automation kind of grew up in a family-based business where my parents both did system integration. So I learned that field and was able to get into that field without really finishing even college degree just through work experience, and, you know, just practical experience and just kind of being naturally gifted at just being able to pick, learn things quickly and pursue that. So that was, you know, a really good opportunity for me as well. And I started building videos on the side about the industry, I did a just a screen recording about high performance graphics for industrial automation, like how, you know, presenting information and more of a grayscale environment and having alerts being used for color things that you’re meant to draw the operators attention to that thing on the screen, about their process that they should be paying attention to. I did a video about that because that was interesting to me. And I just wanted to share that wanted to see more people using that. So I was like, well, I’ll just make a video about it. But you know, just continuing to actually do engineering full time. But you know, as of a year and a half ago that it has shifted to doing like video first and then engineering second, right. So pursuing video first. And the niche that I’ve kind of found myself in is helping these companies in that space, get started with video by helping them film that video or having them on my podcast to you know, help them bring out that story or maybe they’re sponsoring the road trip, which I’m doing next month. So that’s the documentary that I’m working on industry 4.0 road trip, it’s a completely crowdsource idea that I was able to bring to life through video and working with brands in this industrial automation space through my work on LinkedIn. And you know, my expertise apparently in the video.
So that’s great, great story. Now, tell us, you know, what makes video engaging? Like what are some of the characteristics of an engaging video? A lot of people try it I you know, I know, like, I’ve tried so many things. And it’s always a hit and misses, but some people just have a knack for it. What makes an engaging video?
Yeah. So I guess there’s like three things. So there’s what is what is this the story? What is the content about? Then, like, Who’s the person that is presenting it? What is my relationship with that person? And then, like the visual eye candy, you know, so is it I i catching right? So there may be a story I don’t even know about and from someone I don’t even know about. But if it’s eye catching and appealing, I’ll probably watch that video, and then I’ll be exposed to that person, I’ll start to build a relationship with them. And then, you know, eventually, maybe they’ll become a customer or a friend or whatever, right? They’ll have some opportunity from that, that just naturally goes through the value chain. You You need to have all three of those aspects to have a good video, right? You need to have good content first, and then you need to have a good presentation. I think a lot of that is authenticity. Just being comfortable on camera. A lot of the people that have millions of subscribers on YouTube, they’re like, well, I just feel awkward on camera. And I’ll say the same thing. Like, I it doesn’t feel any more comfortable to me than it does to you. I just been doing it a lot and just getting more. I guess it’s just kind of taming that subconscious feeling. And just harnessing it and using that power. Yeah. That’s, that’s just something that’s learned over time.
Yeah. And one point you brought up I candy is like, yeah, so do you. Do you think about that eye candy, even when you shooting the video, like as in like the rock capture ball, you sort of rely more on special effects, post-production type of effects to make it more eye candy?
if you can do it in-camera, or you can do almost anything in camera. And the more you can do in-camera, I think the more engaging it’s going to be. It’s supposed to look real, you know? Yeah, so transitions that are like just done in camera. Rather than like some, you know, ripple or fade, you can use those occasionally. But if it’s like a mask, or I think you just think it draws the viewer deeper into the video. So I would try to rely on that. But as far as my own personal workflow, I used to edit all my videos myself. So I basically quit my engineering job, and then to start doing this full time, got a few clients that actually helped, you know, pay me to do the video for them, and collab and also building my own brand. But I was doing video full time editing my own videos. And you know, eventually, I hired an editor. And that’s kind of where it’s taking it to the next level, I wouldn’t really able to be, I wouldn’t really be able to do the documentary if I didn’t hire the editor, because now I’m able to like to be able to plan the content more and coordinate with sponsors and do interviews like this, or podcast, and he’s focusing on editing. He’s also a great storyteller. So he actually watches my video. I mean, we feel like friends, you know, even though he’s from the Philippines, so he’s helping me build out the brand of Zack script and media a little bit more. And that’s why I’m able to tackle this, this big project like, like the documentary, right? It’s going to be growing our bulls, you know, so awesome.
That’s great. And now, a few people who are in this space, they claim to make a viral video. So do you think that’s a realistic claim that they can make viral videos? Or is it just basically an organic thing? Whether, you know, can you predict a video with go viral or not.
Um, so on LinkedIn, there is, it’s a little bit different than like if we’re looking at YouTube or Facebook, as far as what mechanics get a video to go viral. So like on LinkedIn, you know, probably up until recently, you used to probably just be able to gain a big enough pot and conspired against the algorithm enough to make a video go viral, they’re starting to kind of combat that, because that’s let’s just realize it’s a waste of everyone’s time to do that type of behavior. I think that’s why the engaging in the feed is the best behavior because you’re naturally filtering content that is not as relevant to you. And so you’re naturally surfacing the best content just through your own actual engagement, authentic engagement, which is about 3% if you think about it, so even if I have, you know, hundreds of friends on LinkedIn that all create content, all scroll bass 97 of them before I comment on three. I mean, maybe in you know, he might do more or last I mean, but that’s the point, right? It just naturally surface the best content, and so we can get the best information serve to us at the quickest time. You know, yeah. So but yeah, so that’s, that’s the whole concept behind the algorithm. But where were we going with this? This?
No, just talking about vitality of video?
So on LinkedIn, there’s also this concept, which I discovered by accident, where LinkedIn itself can review posts that kind of get generate a little bit of momentum, the velocity with engagement. So they’ll actually have someone review that content and determine whether or not they want to boost it more or like actually boost it less, as, I guess, to help certain content creators out that are just maybe getting started or, like, I’ve actually been confirmed that, you know, they have said this themselves that they have people review it, because I mean, think about if someone posted something graphic, and it just started going wild, they have to be able to review it. But then also, like when I did my top 10, LinkedIn creators video, that got a lot of engagement naturally, and then I kind of just felt like this big surge out of nowhere, where, you know, all of a sudden, my videos getting like three to four, you know, 10 times the amount of views it would normally get, because I yeah, I think LinkedIn helped boost it in the algorithm, because it was like, really helping serve a good message for LinkedIn. Right, you know. So that’s, that makes it a little bit harder to go viral, right? Because then you’re kind of at the mercy of LinkedIn, but you know, on YouTube, I guess, you can look at click through rate, and watch time. Those are the metrics to go viral on YouTube. on LinkedIn, it’s more so comments. Yeah, and likes.
Cool. All right. Now use focusing on a specific niche-specific industry. But can you share your views? What a video can do to any entrepreneur, any startup any professional? How can it sort of elevate their image, their profile? and help them? Maybe again, get more business get a new job? or what have you?
Yeah, so I guess it just you think about your own behavior. And if you’re consuming this video content, right now, obviously, you’re used to using video or podcast to consume content. So naturally, your audience, your customers are going to probably be the same. And so if you’re not serving them that content, then they’re going to be getting it from somewhere else, and then ultimately doing business with someone else. There will still be like physical, I posted this graphic A while back on LinkedIn. And I called it the physical influencer versus the digital influencer, I kind of brown brand myself around like that. The influencer concept. But really, it’s just being online and having a personal brand and creating content and all those things that build up into that influence.
It’s, you know, it’s like, why would you not, you know, so like, there’s still going to be physical influencers, like people calling on the phone, but the vast majority of new business is going to be done online. So you’re thinking of, you know, links, or sales pages, videos, stuff that’s more digitally consumed, it’s a digital product, right? You’re not having to spend your actual time telling that message, right. So today, I did a live stream, I did a four-hour live stream. And there was like, 60, people that and totally watched it, the average watch time was 17 minutes. So during those four hours, there was actually 17 hours of content consumed. So if I was talking to each one of those people individually, it would have taken me 17 hours, but I was able to accomplish that. And for not only that, that video is also going to be viewed more times after it’s going to be distributed out to my podcast, it micro-videos is going to be distributed out to LinkedIn. So I’m able to, you know, take advantage of that those three key elements of video, right, the the vitality aspect, or just the, you know, the icon is just if it’s a quick video, and it has a compelling headline, and some, some subtitles, then it might say, Oh, hey, you know, this, this sub this, this headline catches my attention, right, like, how to gain more followers on LinkedIn, if that’s what you’re interested in, or, you know, how to close more deals, or, you know, my first failed startup or whatever storey you’re trying to tell, or whatever message you want to sell it, that’s in the headline, someone who’s scrolling can easily see that grabs their attention, you can pull them in, you know, give them some valuable content, and then you have a larger network to be able to tell, you know, storeys to email to, and then do business with, and.
Great, great. Now, you brought up an important point about, you know, posting the video getting more followers, and, and so on, so forth. So that means, you know, it’s sort of like a chicken and egg situation, you create the content, and then you need to have something followers who are actually going to view it and which sort of leads to more followers and, and so on. So how does this work? Like, you know, what, should you focus on getting more followers first? Or should you focus on creating content or, you know, which ones you should handle first?
Yeah, this, this problem will never be solved. But so you want to do so here’s the here’s, here’s really what boils down to you want to do content that you’re passionate about, that it’s authentic to you. So then that way, you can stick through the famine, which, in theory, the famine could be indefinite, you could be trying this your whole life and just never actually gain any traction. Let’s just be real, that’s, that’s a possibility. It’s probably a very small possibility. Because I think with any type of, you know, desire, and you know, a little bit of guidance and intelligence and productivity, you can, you can definitely grow, you know, what level that’s still undetermined, but are not guaranteed. But so if you’re doing something that you’re just intrinsically passionate about, then you’ll stick through that famine, and then naturally, you’ll eventually grow. When you are growing. Yeah, there will be times where Yeah, you should look at the data that’s telling you, hey, when you use a thumbnail, that has like, a catchy head phrase versus one that’s like more descriptive, you get more clicks, you get more views, and you grow more, then yeah, you should, you should do that, even though if you personally would probably rather have longer, you know, so you are, in some sense, giving up a little bit of your self, obviously, you know, you need to grow, and you need to have an income. And so you need to do give up a little bit, right? You know, no one’s just going to pay you for it for just doing nothing, right. So you do have to be providing some value in some way. So but trying to find that alignment of, you know, what you’re passionate about what the world needs, and what you know, and there’s like that, you know, that trying try vector diagram, what the, what you’re passionate about what the world needs, and like what you can charge for. So if you can find that sweet spot, you’re good.
That’s great. And let’s talk about the technical sort of execution of the so a lot of people say you can just use your phone looks more natural, a lot of other people say, you know, get a professional, DSR camera and sound and all that. Where do you lie in this in the spectrum?
yeah, so I’m definitely not a good example. But because video has kind of been like my full time passion. And I’d say most people are probably not going to be maybe full time Video Influencers or full time videographers or doing documentaries. So it may not make sense for them to have a very expensive camera. If they’re like, let’s say they’re passionate about car sales, and they want to build a personal brand around, you know, selling cars, and they’re passionate about cars or, or whatever, then then they’re just probably going to be fine with a smartphone, you know, because they’re not worried about the technology, like the gear, right? They’re not wanting to drop a lot of investment into that they’re wanting to get the quickest return. And I’ll tell you, like, the key to my videos is not, you know, did I ever mentioned quality? And those three, no, it was like eye candy, which you can create with a phone, it was the storey of, you know, what you’re talking about the content and the person that’s delivering it. So you can feel connected to a person just as well on an iPhone sensor, or FaceTime, then, you know, a Cinema Camera, right? It’s a little bit different form of art. Right. So it really just depends what your goals are. And I think there’s, you know, obviously a spectrum. That’s why all those gear exists.
Yeah, for sure. So So what you’re saying is, generally, it’s okay to start with the phone. And maybe as you grow your skillset, and you get more passionate about it, maybe go towards more professional equipment. Yeah.
And I think a business would probably be best suited having a professional camera, like, maybe not a full-frame or you know, depending on the size, maybe that’s within their budget, but like having actual studio, I think would be really important, in which case, a camera would be a small cost of that. So it would just make sense to have a, you know, professional studio camera at that point. Yeah. So, you know, I think that would be more of like, it definitely be more of a commitment at that point. And there’s no reason to do that. If you can do you know, a few months of videos on your phone?
Yeah. Okay, that’s great. Now, you being in this space for a while, what are some of the key mistakes that you see people make over and over again, like, you know, that maybe some common things that you find out and you say, okay, you know, not again, you know, this person is doing the same thing again. So what, uh, you know, anything that you noticed like that.
There’s one that I like to call the blue star content creators where they burn hot and they die quick. And so basically just coming out right onto the scene, and maybe doing daily videos, like from day one, or, like, there’s an, like, there’s always edge cases, right? There’s people that do that. And if that’s what’s going to work for you, then by all means, do it. Don’t listen to me. But I’ve seen a few, I’ve seen more fail than that not have failed, so, and then they were like, didn’t post videos for like three months. So it’s like, well, there’s, you know, 10 videos that you’ve posted in the first 12 days, it’s like, well, maybe you should have just posted one video every week for 10 weeks, and then you may be still be posting videos. So that’s why I’m saying like, so just take that into consideration. Like, don’t try to bite off more than you can chew. Or just try to be too ambitious. Like Cody Warner, who is on YouTube, he did daily videos for like 365 days straight last year. And so for him that that’s what works, you know, so I think, you know, do do what works best for you. But that’s one thing that I’ve seen people doing wrong. And then yeah, the other thing is, like, I’ve seen some people like kind of go up and well now maybe I’m also guilty of this too, because I’ll also post a video from this camera or just from my phone, but I was gonna say sometimes I’ll see some people like, they’ll develop a certain level of consistency. Like be like, let’s say they’re using thumb captions and thumbnails. And then maybe, then they stopped doing that, or maybe they stop using sub tap subtitles. So that I guess, you know, I’ve done that in cases where I’m just trying to get a quick message out without having to take the turnaround time to actually do the captions, which you know, it takes a few hours or up to 24 hours. Like if you use a service like, you know, splashy Oh, which I am a brand ambassador for. So so so like I said, I’m breaking even here I am breaking my own rule. But that’s just something to consider. Yeah, it’s really hard to do a lot of content because like, you know, when you’re first starting out, you’re doing something else also to probably pay the bills, you know, so you still have to focus on it. You can’t just dive 100% into it, and then just forget your day job, or you know, or forget or forget your family. That’s another one that you should be wary of. That’s another thing. I mean, social media is it’s very addictive. So that’s another thing to consider as well.
Okay. Let me come back to that. Now, you mentioned this service, what is Splasheo?
so splasheo, and basically think of it as a service as a software. So it’s people that are editing your videos or their hand, transcribing them, and embedding those captions into a video, as well as putting like, kind of a wrapper around it with like a headline and colours and a progress bar, doing that for you and delivering the video back QN 24 hours, like via Dropbox link. So that’s, that’s really cool. And then you just, there’s like a web page, you just submit your video, they send it back to you, you get a link in your email, and then you can just post it, I was doing, at first, like to add just to add captions to my videos, I was using this method where you upload a video to YouTube, they auto transcribe it SRT file, you can kind of go in and tweak it, you could download that for free, you can upload that to your LinkedIn videos, if you’re uploading from the desktop client, so I was doing that. And then there’s also other services that will help, you know, create that SRT file for you or, you know, even embed that that file for you. But what I liked about splasheo, is that their people are doing that can transcription, which is like a service like rev dot com. They also do hand transcript description for $1 a minute. And so I also use them for transcribing my YouTube videos.
So yeah, this slideshow, and it’s cool, because they, they hooked me up with one of their affiliate accounts. So I’m able to just promote their service, just naturally, because my audience would benefit from that knowledge. And then I’m able to earn an affiliate commission. And that helps me continue to do what I love and helps equip people to help get their message out, which is what I’m what I’m you know, all about. So
that’s great. Now, coming back to the previous point that you mentioned, you know, creating videos consistently one of the things that I I personally struggled with, and I, you know, I know a lot of people struggle with is coming up with new ideas, new topics to make videos on, that goes for any kind of content that will be blogs or, or text-based post or whatever. So how do you generate these ideas? How do you come across a fresh ideas and keep track of them?
Yeah, that’s a great question. So I think a natural part of content creation is content consumption, it’s a circle. So naturally, you’re just going to be inspired by stuff that you watch, you know, I mean, I made this reference earlier. And the podcast I was doing, it’s like, I, you know, Sony releases the new a 6400, and invites, you know, 30 of the top YouTube tech creators over to, you know, island to do content. And, you know, here I am consuming their videos. And, you know, you know, few days later this, this camera shows up in a box on my doorstep. And now here I am creating videos with it. Right? So, right, so there’s a natural part of consumption that helps like kind of drive your I mean, there’s, you know, gear, rabbit holes and stuff like that. But I think naturally keeping that interest high, right, or might be watching one of Peter McKinnon’s videos and getting inspired by some of the cinematography, or some of the creative transitions are beautiful, or maybe, you know, I’ve been inspired by Casey, nice dad and his kind of, you know, blogging style, or I think content consumption will help you create new ideas of videos, and then also collaborations like this. I did this podcast earlier as four hours and had like, 10 people on so you know, and then just the theme was industry 4.0. But from that I have a tonne of content now to, to post. And so, I mean, ideas are just as hard to, you know, for me is for you, right? So, like, I have all these grand ideas, right? So like, I want to do this video or that video. And so ultimately, you have to make choices about what I want to spend my time filming, how much time I want to spend filming how much time I want to spend editing, do I want to put film it in 4k and triple my file size, and then increase render time and increase file upload time? Or I just want to get a quick video out at 10 AP? Right. So like, those are questions that you have to really ask yourself as far as you know where you’re spending your time on?
for sure. All right now, talking about your entrepreneurial journey. What kind of like did you make any mistakes? And what did you learn from them?
Um, yeah, I’d say only real mistakes that I’ve ever made has been just revealing too much information. And that’s, that’s kind of also my benefit as well, too. That’s the one thing people love about me is my authenticity. But sometimes I could take that too far. So if there’s a spectrum, I kind of lean more towards the open side, and sometimes that does get me into trouble. So that’s one thing.
And then just more so being conscious of phone screen time, and how that’s impacting my own family life and my own productivity with LinkedIn. And it’s, it’s easy because, like, watching your video, get lots of views and likes and responding to comments is fun. And you could do that all day. And I have, you know, so it’s like, yeah, maybe that’s not the best use of my time, but maybe it has helped me get to where I’m at. So it’s hard to judge.
Yeah, well, that’s, those are very good points. All right. Great. This has been very interesting conversation learning all about the video. Now before I let you go, can you tell us how people can reach out and if they want to work with you or just get your advice on video?
LinkedIn linkedin.com slash Zack Scriven, Zach with a K and Scriven rhymes with driven or Zack Scriven media YouTube channel, I post blogs there and content about you know how to grow on LinkedIn or just in general being maybe if you want to be a LinkedIn influencer, or maybe just want to get better on video to, you know, level up your own profession or your own business then that’s the content that I’m putting around lot of motivational stuff and you get to you know, I guess build a relationship with me right. I also have a podcast the Zack Scriven podcast. And yeah, that’s me. So thank you. Thank you, Manuj.
Thank you so much for being with us today and sharing all your knowledge about video creation. Thank you.
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