It’s funny the little idiosyncrasies you learn about your staff when editing our video tutorials. I’m very detail oriented when it comes to editing out pauses and “filler words” out of our videos because I think it makes a huge difference in terms of the videos being succinct and efficient. I’m so anal retentive about having clean sentences that even if the pause is just half a second, I have to remove it.
I’ve logged so many hours editing video over the past 3 years that I have trained myself to not use filler words. I remember our first tutorial, Drawing a Still Life with Crayons, was a total disaster in terms of filler words. I was relatively inexperienced at that point, and I didn’t even hear myself saying “kind of” in almost every sentence until one of my interns pointed it out to me. “Kind of” is difficult to edit out since it’s usually buried in the middle of a sentence, so it was an absolute nightmare to try to remove as many as I could.
I was patting myself on the back yesterday because I recorded a 30 minute portfolio critique all in one take and didn’t use a single filler word. (although, that’s how I do all my portfolio critiques, I don’t split them up into several takes) That had to be a world record for me!
One skill I’ve taught myself is to speak at a slower rate than if I were having a casual conversation with someone. If I were to speak at my normal speed on video, the thoughts I’m formulating would never be able to catch up with my voice, which is when the filler words popup. Now, when I speak more slowly, I give myself just enough of a delay for my thoughts to be ready to turn into words.
I’m become so conscious of filler words that when I listen to live interviews on the radio, every “you know,” “sort of,” “um,” “so,” leaps out at me. Before I started editing video, I don’t ever remember noticing that when listening to the radio.
I’ve edited our staff so much that I know what each person’s most frequent filler word is. Casey says “you know,” Alex says “kind of,” Jordan says “and uh,” Lauryn says “uuuuuuuum,” “Deepti says um,” Cat says “like,” and Eloise simply has long pauses. (I like those long pauses, they are so easy to edit out!) I’ve edited enough video that I can now look at the visual of the sound file in Premiere and practically pick out each person’s filler word.
There are skills that are obvious, like learning how to use a camera, how to set up a tripod, but it’s these tiny quirky skills you learn along the way that sometimes make all the difference.