I met Mel DuPont when we both volunteered to do video services for Providence's monthly Pecha Kucha. We exchanged business cards and have since caught up with each other to have lunch and talk business. Mel is a fun loving person who has a serious passion for video making. In this interview, Mel will talk about her transition from the techinal writing world to making web ready videos for small businesses.
// Tell me about yourself.
I'm Mel DuPont. I live in Pawtucket RI, and I have been making videos for websites since 2008. I'm a writer and a geek.
// When did you realize you wanted to do web videos?
I'd been a technical writer from 1995 to 2009, and in that time I got to work on so many geeky projects - everything from rewriting knowledge base articles to testing software to writing a training guide for operating a bright-strip annealing furnace. I really enjoyed interviewing engineers and developers, getting to understand what they were doing and why, and writing it down so anyone could understand.
I started burning out when my technical writing work segued into producing regulatory documentation, which is more grind-by-numbers than geekery.
I had time to sit back and reflect, and I realized that, over the next decade or so, the major technology players of the world - India, China, Japan - are going to be cranking out college-educated kids who speak English as a first language, who can write technical and regulatory documents just as well as me (or better), and who will do it for less money.
My industry was drying up. Rather than wait to be forced out, I decided to dive into building the skills for the next career that intrigues me - creating web videos.
Why learn how to make videos? Well, having written a lot of excellent technical documents - and having struggled to get constructive feedback on them - I can tell you that very few people are readers.
It doesn't matter how good your writing is, if no one wants to read it. You can put typed content out there all you want - but if you're sending, and no one's receiving, you're not communicating.
If you want to reach an audience today, you'd better turn your brochure into a video, your blog into a vlog, your novel into a film. People don't want to read. They want to watch video.
// Who inspires you?
People who inspire me: everybody I see working hard to follow their passion, grow their skills, and contribute to society. People who work to fix their problems inspire me. People who envision a better tomorrow inspire me. People who challenge conventional wisdom inspire me. People who say "I can" and "I will" and "I am doing it" inspire me. People who ask "How can I help?" inspire me.
I follow a lot of inspiring people on Twitter - people I know personally, and famous people, and total strangers... What keeps me following a person is, when they tweet, are they out there, doing something good or fun or amazing? If they're just griping, I won't be following for long.
// What are your current projects?
I just delivered three videos for Providence comedy troupe Unexpected Company (Unexpected-Company.com), and did a side project to provide some footage for an upcoming Hasbro ad campaign.
I'm currently planning a video with KathyBlackOnline.com (she's offering a retreat in October), and I may be creating a pair of videos for a group of doctors in Connecticut. Beth Hicks (Wordsole.com) and I are wrapping up writing our first short film, and we could be shooting in the fall or spring. I'm recording a keepsake video with another friend, and there is talk of a comedic tribute/homage short, as well as a B-horror short. I never would have predicted this much activity and variety, but I like it! :)
// What are your goals for the future?
I'm a growth freak. I want each video I make to have a greater impact than the one before - more views, more "likes", more conversions to followers and/or sales. I want to produce better and better videos for my clients - ones with more emotional connection to the viewer, ones that look, sound, and flow better. I someday want to provide a small staff with steady, paid employment. I want to complete my first short film - hopefully we'll shoot this year or early next. Long-term, I want to produce some videos that help some folk - by making them laugh, by educating them, by empowering them and inspiring them. That would be nice. ;)