My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #408: Mind over Matter

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 07-22-2011 01:23 PM 6733 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 407: Blame It On the Heat Part 408 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 409: Diversification »

Yesterday, I added a short video to my scroll sawing class lesson. I was kind of amazed that even though the video is only just over five minutes, it took me over half the day to do. I say ‘kind of’ because one wouldn’t think that something that short should take so long to accomplish. Especially when you see the quality. Not that it is really ‘bad’ mind you. I think it gets the point across Ok, but it isn’t really something that I would call ‘fancy’ either.

I don’t think Martin Scorsese has anything to worry about.

Doing videos is really somewhat hard for me. I don’t know why it is so difficult. I think that I have this mental block about it and I just need to get over it. I have spoken to others who make them and they have given me some good pointers and ideas and I do try to follow their advice, but it seems to me that once the camera is rolling, I just get tongue tied and goof it up.

It isn’t that I don’t have confidence in what I am doing. Scroll sawing to me comes very easily to me. Many times when I am scrolling a project, I think of how I would present the particular technique that I was working on so that I could share what I know with others. I like the thought of sharing information and teaching. It does me good to see others learn and appreciate what I offer them.

But put a camera in front of me and I just seem to go blank. What was I going to say? What was I doing? Why am I even here?

I found myself questioning if it was really necessary to add a video to the lesson. After all, there were step-by-step pictures. Would a video really add anything to what was already said?

But part of me knew it would add to the class. And with me being me, once I came to this realization, I was not able to put the cat back in the bag and ignore that it would be an asset. The teacher inside of me wouldn’t allow me to let it go. So I bit the bullet and just went for broke.

I think a large part of it is me. (Obviously!) when I write here every morning, I do so with the attitude that I am just thinking with my fingers. I don’t think too much about my audience or who I am talking to or the number of people that will read this. I just type off the top of my head most of the time. I find that if I do think too much about things and think to myself ‘what would this person or that person think about what I am writing here’ then I tend to shut down and have a difficult time. It is very hard to write to particular people or a particular group and think that you will say what everyone will want to hear. People are all different and rarely will you get a large group to agree on everything.

Just in stating that alone, it helps me see what some of my problem is with the videos. I am trying to make them with a certain group of people in mind, instead of just doing things as I normally do. I think that messes up my thinking and makes it very difficult for me to pull off.

In thinking back to yesterday, after several false starts, I finally got frustrated and came to the choice of either giving up altogether or having a ‘this is me and this is what they will get’ attitude and just shooting it. Although the results were nothing that would win an award, I think that I got the points across that I had intended to and even though the pattern did want to come off a little at the end, I feel that the important things that I wanted to show were there and it was a ‘go’.

It reminds me of when I used to play the piano. When I was on my own, I played much better than if I knew someone was listening. If someone were there watching, I would be thinking about them instead of the task at hand and it would be inevitable that I would make mistakes. However, when I was on my own, with only my cat Jasmine listening (she loved to curl up next to me as I played) I did fine. I remember one particular time when I was working on Chopin’s Military Polonaise which was an exhausting piece to play. Playing it was like running a marathon and usually by the end of it I would feel like a noodle and certainly make errors or just give up. Once and only once, I played it start to finish flawlessly, with only Jasmine to hear. I don’t think I ever accomplished it at that level again, but it didn’t matter. My favorite critic had heard it and that was enough for me.

What helped me finally get through making this little video was that I had to just stop thinking and do what I knew. I realize that I still stumbled a bit here and there, but for the most part it was acceptable and hopefully it was helpful to many.

I truly admire those who shoot videos and look so naturally at ease on them. I think that it is probably due to the fact that they love what they are doing and want to share it more than they fear the camera. I know that with at little work that I can have that attitude too. I just need to act confident and I will be able to get through it.

I thank you all very much for your cheering and nice compliments on the videos. After reading them, the first thing that came to my mind was “Really? They liked it?” and hearing that it helped some of you better understand what I was explaining was the best review that I could have asked for.

I will get over this fear I have. I am sure of it. To be honest, there have been times when I have dreaded doing this class, not because I don’t want to spend the time and teach, but because of the impending videos that I knew would be required to do it properly. But I have made the commitment and I promise that I will do my best, as I believe my desire to teach and share exceeds my fear of videos. So I will give it a try.

Thank you as always for your kind encouragement. I truly appreciate it very much and I believe it will help me be a better teacher.

Have a wonderful Friday.

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

13 comments so far

View NH_Hermit's profile


394 posts in 3090 days

#1 posted 07-22-2011 01:52 PM

I just finished watching the video, and did not get the sense that you had any concerns about making it, but I do understand your concerns. I sound much better singing in the shower alone than when someone is listening. I just enjoyed watching and learning. I do hope this material has a copywrite in some way. It would be a shame if someone else took the credit or made a profit from your excellent work.

-- John from Hampstead

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3071 days

#2 posted 07-22-2011 02:02 PM

Great testament to the saying “Just Do It” Sheila…. I procrastinate a lot when it comes to my shop projects. I look at a few things I have done and still remember the “Fear Of Failure” that would creep over me when I try something I am not accustomed or comfortable with. For instance I was deathly afraid of wooden hinges… Yet I keep being drawn back to them time and time again (even after loosing my temper countless times…lol). My first project I ever used wooden hinges I swear I made over 10 of them before I finally started to get the swing of them. I know I will never be an expert at it, but after many attempts I now know it is a conquerable feat in my book….

Thanks for the inspiration Sheila….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2914 days

#3 posted 07-22-2011 02:06 PM

Thanks John – I did my job then! :D

As far as copyright goes, material is copyrighted by default to some extent and anything beyond that is really difficult establish. It is hard to ‘police’ too without vast resources. I suppose that I just have to hope for the best.

And Dan – conquering those hinges was a great thing for you! Sometimes the ‘just do it’ attitude is the only thing that gets you ‘unstuck’ from yourself. From the look of your beautiful work, you are well on your way! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Rick13403's profile


256 posts in 3499 days

#4 posted 07-22-2011 02:06 PM

Good morning Sheila, I watched the video last night and thought that it was well done and got the point of the lesson across quite nicely. Keep up the good work.

-- Rick - DeWalt 788 & Ex21 -

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2610 days

#5 posted 07-22-2011 03:20 PM

Shelia you keep doing what your doing . Like anything we do the more we do it the better we get at it learning the little tricks along the way .

Your doing just fine and it shows with the comments that have been received So pat yourself on the back for another good class

-- David ; "BE SAFE BE HAPPY" Brockport , NY

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2836 days

#6 posted 07-22-2011 03:58 PM

I think the video was done fine. I don’t do videos. Some can though and it looked like it came naturally to you. You seemed to be confortable on it. I’ve never met you in person, but got the idea that you were being yourself. I think this is key to any video unless someone is very good actor.
I have seen a lot of videos where someone just looked out of place. I could tell that these videos were of someone trying to be something they were not and were not very good at acting, and it showed.
So, with the good actors excluded, I find that the bet humerous videos are made my funny people. Great dramatic videos are made by by people full of drama. “Jackass” the movie type videos are made by obnoxious little…....Never mind, we’ll leave that section of YouTube for people to discover own their own.
The short version is I think you’re doing great at the videos as long as you continue being yourself.


View BertFlores58's profile


1697 posts in 2916 days

#7 posted 07-22-2011 04:11 PM

Good morning Sheila,
Practice makes perfect…. You already had several videos and compared from previous, yesterday’s video is the best… getting better… the best is always the latest but not the last. Make another one.

By the way, haven’t you noticed that you had saved words to type when you do it in video. Additionally, the words you uttered in that 5 minutes are much longer compared if you write it.

Keep it going and just be natural (not minding the video). We are not after the perfectness of the film shot but what the woodworking lessons we can get from it. So why concentrate on the mind over matter… what we need is your mind that matters… I really appreciate your teacking method… so well organized!

-- Bert

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2610 days

#8 posted 07-22-2011 04:20 PM

William ,

I only met Shelia and her partner (Keith) at the show in Saratoga Springs , having talked to her for awhile and online and e-mails . I’m saying you hit it right on the nail head , she was being herself . They both are good people . Keith it took a bit to get him talking but he did a great job at the booth , while Shelia put on a seminar. Would love to see them come again next year .

-- David ; "BE SAFE BE HAPPY" Brockport , NY

View helluvawreck's profile


31030 posts in 2861 days

#9 posted 07-22-2011 04:28 PM

Sheila, I thought the video was just great and added a lot to your tutorial. I belong to a site called and have used the link that shows the various courses she has on shooting and editing videos. She also has about that many on digital photography as well. I’ve been there about 3 years and have taken a lot of web site courses. If you ever want to learn about any of these sorts of things in a deeper way I can say that the courses that she offers are video based courses and are very comprehensive. You might want to take a look and see all of the different subjects that she offers courses on. God Bless.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3155 days

#10 posted 07-22-2011 04:28 PM

As for videos, some folks make and post them with absolutely no regard as to content. Rarely IMO does that result in a successful video. Just like most of our good projects, a good video takes planning. That’s why I’ve not posted any yet. :D I’d love to be a fly on the wall at Steve’s place watching him do one of his videos(the whole process). Keep up the good work.

I’ve not watched the class video yet, but I’m sure it serves its purpose. FWIW, I’ve seen some reeeeeaaaally bad videos on LJ. Folks even comment “Great video”. Yours are not among them. :)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View helluvawreck's profile


31030 posts in 2861 days

#11 posted 07-22-2011 04:38 PM

I liked Sheila’s video because it basically was a video that showed her cutting for 6 minutes. She seemed to be concentrating on her sawing and and was saying what was coming to her mind while doing so. It was very relevant to the course. Now, I don’t know anything about making a video. However, I guess there was a lot of editing etc. that went on if it took that long to do it. However, it did come across to me as a good teaching video. Learning by watching and listening is a wonderful thing.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2914 days

#12 posted 07-22-2011 05:00 PM

Thank you all very much for the positive reviews. I do hope to get better over time. By doing several of these videos for the class, it will help me feel more comfortable. Much of the time that I spent was relearning how to edit and convert and upload the video to YouTube. The problem is that when I don’t do it often, I forget how and have to relearn how I did it before. Hopefully, the more I do it, the easier it will be and it will be faster.

I am glad that you felt that it was decent. It means a lot.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Transition's profile


340 posts in 2538 days

#13 posted 07-22-2011 05:47 PM

I think the addition of the video is very important. There is so much there that can’t be staed briefly in words or shown in pictures. What is “slow”? What does it mean to “gently guide”? The video demonstrates these concepts in a way that is not easily done with words.

And you did a nice job. I don’t think I would have thought twice about the quality, except for your mention of it here.

I’ve shared your piano experience, and I’ve given a number of technical presentations and short courses. Since you seemed to be less than perfectly satisfied, here’s my two cents in the way of constructive criticism:

Keep it simple (I think you did that fairly well here). It’s probably better to have several short videos, than one long one. You can always splice the videos together with simple editing software like Windows Movie Maker. One comment on splicing – put in a transition that gived the brain a second to rest. I like fading out to black and then back in from black.

If you are making an educational video, write up an outline of what you want to impart to others. This is where you think about your audience and I think planning is key. Post the outline where you can see it while you are working. Stick to the outline, concentrate on the message, and forget about the audience.

Shoot a rehersal video first. This will help you work out some of the kinks such as refining your outline. It will also help to take the edge off of performance anxiety. It seams like a lot of work, but it would probably mean only an additional 10min for the video in question.

For me, even the simple videos take hours to put together. I approach them knowing that I’m not going to just shoot a quick little video, but rathe with the mindset of “this is what I’m going to to for the day”.

Again, I think your video quality is just fine. Most of all it imparts valuable information!

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

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