What Excellence Looks Like as Visual Storytellers

Caleb Marsh
August 2, 2022
8
min read

What Excellence Looks Like as Visual Storytellers

Caleb Marsh
August 2, 2022
8
min read
Everyone who has a job bears a responsibility to do that job with excellence.

At Redd Legend, we are constantly striving to become experts in our field — we want to do everything the best we possibly can, with excellence. The process of becoming an expert is difficult itself, but there are some behaviors that speed up the process. The YouTube rabbit trail recently led me to a video that I thought was pretty valuable in understanding how to become an expert and cultivate excellence. Below is an email that went out to the team discussing that video.

Hi team,

I mentioned a video Monday that I think provides some value to us as we pursue excellence as individuals and as a team. This video explores what makes one an "expert" and aligns with our core values. This video is less than 20 minutes long; take a look at it sometime during work hours. We will likely bring it back for discussion in the coming weeks.

There are four key concepts in the video:
1. Repetition
2. Valid environment (structured, patterned)
3. Timely feedback (success/failure response)
4. Deliberate practice (action at the edge of ability)

Repetition is the most intuitive requirement for expertise. The old adage "Practice makes Perfect" is terribly flawed, but holds a critical truth. If we want to get good at something, we need practice. This is why it is important that we remain patient and put in the work to create hundreds and hundreds of videos, photos, captions, etc. Repetition allows us to build muscle memory for the technical aspects of our job, which frees up our focus for the more difficult creative aspects of our job. As marketers and storytellers, repetition is the foundation of our opportunity to get better at what we do.

When it comes to a valid environment, we are at a disadvantage. A lot of our environment is qualitative, not quantitative. We are trying to make people think things, feel things, and do things. We can't really measure people's thinking, but instead we can as people what they thought and what their purchase/action intents were after watching videos or engaging with our work. We also can't measure what people feel, but we can watch them as they are watching videos and get feedback. In theory we would be able to measure whether people act, but we often don't have access to the data that tells us whether people engaged after seeing one of our videos, photographs, social posts, etc. If we do some work to improve the environment in which our work lives, we can turn it into a valid environment that provides meaningful feedback.

The timeliness of the feedback is going to be influenced by the environment we create. We should be actively putting ourselves in situations where we get immediate feedback on our work. The easiest and best way to do this is to show our work to people, ideally outside of the team, ideally in the target market, and watch and discuss their reactions. A second great option is to share work within the team. When we are working on a project and have a draft ready to go, I encourage everyone to share it with those around them. It doesn't have to be someone "in charge" or someone senior to you in the company; especially as we keep growing I want to encourage getting feedback from everyone around you. The biggest benefit to sharing with the team is the speed with which we can get a project in front of a teammate, get feedback, implement changes, and take it back for more review. This is one of the biggest reasons why we do not plan on going fully remote — the timely feedback and collaboration that comes from it gives us a huge boost in our journey to become better at what we do.

Deliberate practice is the final piece of the puzzle. I firmly believe the saying, "If you're not growing you're dying." Our skills as creative professionals are both random and structured. We have a lot of skills all over the place (Photoshop retouching, setting up C stands, choosing good emojis for a caption, color correction, etc.), but we also have foundational skills that form a structure that holds everything together (story structure, putting ourselves in the mindset of a client, cinematography basics, etc.). I want us to think about our skills and expertise in a structured way. We each have a set of abilities, some in which we are experts and some in which we are beginners. We should be continually adding new tools to our belt and working on the skills in which we are beginners, while simultaneously maintaining and improving things we are already good at. This is deliberate practice — practice at the edge of our comfort zone. Continue what you're good at, and continually do things you're bad at in order to get good.

This team has an incredible amount of talent and experience for how young we are (both individually and as a company). We are all young, and our company is young. Each of you should be confident that you already do a great job at your job, but I don't want us to get comfortable or rest on our abilities. There will always be room for improvement, and I want us to look back in the coming decades and see continuous growth in ourselves and in our level of expertise and excellence in our work. AJ and I are committed to investing in opportunities for everyone to learn, so if there is something that you think will help you be better at your job or at life in general, bring it to us and we will support those efforts to grow as we are able.

Have a great Friday and weekend,

Caleb Marsh
CEO
Join our newsletter to stay up to date on features and releases.
By subscribing you agree with our Privacy Policy and provide consent to receive updates from our company.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
© 2023 Redd Legend Media. All rights reserved.