Shortles 2: The Shortening!

TL;DR – Shortles is a way to organize the content for the new series, set some goals, and creating a daily habit of creating art.

I’m shaping Shortles into something I can produce week after week. It’s going slower than I like, partly due to some artist jitters, but mostly (like 95%) due to feeling run down. I gave myself 3 goals, to help focus me, and help me remember that my health will not, and cannot, stop me. Only I can stop me!

So, I’d rather not stop me. I’d rather say, “Hey me, let’s get to it!” Then I can, “Hey, you’re right!” And get to it. The thing I’m looking the most forward to are using Agile Scrum for Video production (a method I’m outlining that I think makes a lot of sense) and also learning a LOT about what can be done with portable, quality, simple video equipment.

What’s this post about?

  • Goal 1: Make Content Every Week!
  • Goal 2: Agile Scrum for Video Production!
  • Goal 3: Learn, Learn, and also Learn. In addition? Learn.

Goal 1: Make Content Every Week!

Goal 1 is to make new videos every week. I’m planning this while my health is iffy, but it’s both aspirational and quite critical that the content come out consistently. Everything I’m doing is gearing up around the idea of producing 3 videos a week. I think I can do this. My only fear is that I’ll have weeks where I nail it, and get all three done in a week, and then have a week where for some reason I don’t get three done. Fear is a little bit strong, but it’s the most accurate word in this case. The best thing to do when you’re afraid? Do the thing anyway!

The best pattern for releasing content on YouTube is to release something every day. Barring that, the next best is to release things on some kind of schedule. You’re better off releasing one thing every 2 weeks, at the same time, regularly, so people can come to rely on it, than in producing 20 videos in a burst.

At least, that’s my current working theory. We’ll see how it goes once things get rolling! For now, I’m focused on building a format, writing scripts, finding a rhythm for that, designing logos, and all sorts of things!

The best part, though, is that I have an ace production methodology behind me. All my years of film and video production, coupled with years of software production, have crystalized, to me at least, that the Scrum framework is the best thing to apply to this production.

Goal 2: Agile Scrum for Video Production!

Scrum is an Agile software framework for breaking complex, continuous effort into digestible, deliverable chunks. As defined by the Scrum Alliance …

The Scrum framework in 30 seconds

  • A product owner creates a prioritized wish list called a product backlog.
  • During sprint planning, the team pulls a small chunk from the top of that wish list, a sprint backlog, and decides how to implement those pieces.
  • The team has a certain amount of time — a sprint (usually two to four weeks) — to complete its work, but it meets each day to assess its progress (daily Scrum).
  • Along the way, the ScrumMaster keeps the team focused on its goal.
  • At the end of the sprint, the work should be potentially shippable: ready to hand to a customer, put on a store shelf, or show to a stakeholder.
  • The sprint ends with a sprint review and retrospective.
  • As the next sprint begins, the team chooses another chunk of the product backlog and begins working again.

– See more at:

So, the work is divided into two week sprints. The goal is to deliver everything that’s been committed within those sprints. That includes, GULP, 3 videos a week, 6 scripts a week, and more!

I’ve decided to use my JIRA, Confluence and Google Docs to manage and track this. In the past, when I’ve produced videos, one of the tasks that always took a long time was organizing production information. For this, I know that I’ll need to produce a YouTube video, add metadata, link it to Twitter, embed it on Facebook, and perhaps make an Instagram post. Rather than try to look up all that information, my goal is to design some Google Doc forms I can use to track the production information. Then I’ll track the effort in JIRA, and keep track of past productions in Confluence.

Writing up all this production activity as user stories makes sense to me; the critical part is the acceptance criteria. Each story I’m building includes acceptance criteria that helps remind me what’s important about what I’m doing, and also keeps me from losing track of deliverables.

After a few sprints, I’ll know how sustainable this is; I’ll have literal time and effort data that I can use.

Goal 3: Learn, Learn, and also Learn. In addition? Learn.


There’s a part of creating art that’s about the act of creation. The doing of it all. When we think of great artists, we remember the amazing works they made. What we tend to discount, or not even think about in many cases, is the amount of work they created that no one ever saw.

Jim Henson is the one I think about. He made some kind of art, did some kind of work, every day of his life. Of the amazing art he produced, or helped produce, or encouraged others to produce, at best, we saw 5-10% of it. Think of a movie like The Dark Crystal. We see this amazing world. Fully realized creatures, sets, music, so much beauty.

The original version of the film was, essentially, a foreign language movie. The Skeksis had a fully realized language they spoke in; additionally, the language had no subtitles. After screening the movie to test audiences, the decision was made to redub the movie fully into English. The language of the Skeksis was lost. In a sense, that work of art ended up on a cutting room floor. Now, think of all the designs that went into making the Skeksis themselves. Drawing after drawing, sketch after sketch, iteration upon iteration, until the designs felt right. The same thing was true for the urRu, the Mystics from the movie. So many designs, so many drawings. After the drawings, comes models, costumes, fittings, so much more. Every thing we saw on screen had that kind of history behind it; work upon work of art created.

Art is all about learning, to me. It’s about the doing of it, the action of it, making something every day. The best way to get good at music is to play every day, practice every day. All art is the same. And through the doing every day, of something, you learn.

That’s what this is for me. I made a plan, so that I’d have a set of guidelines to fall back on should I ever find myself stuck and unsure what to do next. But the point of it all is the doing of it. Though the making of all this art, I’ll learn to make it better, I’ll learn to call it art, I’ll learn what people like and what they’re indifferent about. But above all, I’ll learn what I can do, and learn how to do it better as I go.

I don’t need a perfect plan to move forward. All I need to do is move forward. Once you’ve got momentum going, it’s easy to change direction. It’s always easier to steer once things are moving ahead!

Learn, Learn, and Learn! It’s going to be so much fun!