Monday, May 21, 2012

How to make a horrendously bad nail tutorial video


Yesterday I made my very first nail art tutorial video. I did it as a submission to soguesswhat11's contest (which you can find here). As I say, it was my very first--I have never made one before, and I'm pretty darn certain I will never, ever, EVER make one again. I think I made just about every mistake you can make, so I thought I'd pass on to you my tips and tricks for making the most horrible, awful, craptastic nail tutorial video ever. If you think I'm kidding, you can see my video here..

Fear not! It's not easy, but if you follow these 9 steps diligently, you will see results:

1) Use the webcam in your laptop to record the video.
This is particularly effective if the webcam is fairly old and doesn't really have good resolution. This will keep things from being in focus too much.

2) Forget that your laptop is sitting on a cooling fan.

This will make sure that the webcam is sitting up high and is as far away as possible from your nails, so that you can't see anything in any sort of detail.

3) Decide that the solution to (2) is to position your laptop screen at about a 30 degree angle.

This will make sure you can't see what's on the screen while you keep your hand in place, unless you resort to Twister-like contortions. The purpose of this is to make sure you'll go out of frame at least once while recording, and when you do manage to stay in frame, you will be clueless about whether or not what you're doing is visible on any level.

4) Make sure that you have your webcam turned to mirror image (horizontal flip).

This will make sure that any writing on bottles or other items that you hold up to the screen will be in mirror image, and thus unreadable to your viewer. Of course, because your laptop is so far away from your nails and the angle of your screen makes it impossible to see anything, you won't realize this until you're done filming, and will have to do the whole thing over.

5) Attempt to decorate the accent nail that requires your off-hand. 

Why use your strong hand to be sure that you have control over what you're doing? That's mainstream--it's what the good tutorial makers do. But not the likes of us! Instead, use the Inigo Montoya method of relying on your weaker hand. It draws things out endlessly and ultimately makes things more painful for everyone involved (especially your viewer). And at the end of the day you'll probably never find the six-fingered man anyway, so who cares?**

6) Place your stamping plate strategically in front of you, and leave it there throughout filming whether you need it or not. 

This will greatly cut into the work space available to you, and will ensure that the viewer can see all the crazy hair that is escaping from your pony tail and is sticking up out of the top of your head in the reflection of the plate. Now that's entertainment! And wait, when was the last time you tweezed your brows? Doesn't matter...Nobody will be watching by this point anyway.

7) Don't wait for your 4 layers of polish to dry completely before stamping on your design.

This will push all of your polish into one big rippled lump on one side of your nail. You will then sit and stare at it on-camera for a few seconds trying to figure out if there is any way you can salvage the design, while saying 'ummmm...' to yourself repeatedly. Just as you've been doing that long enough for the viewer to think you've had a stroke, you'll come to terms with the fact that no, there is no way to salvage it, you've just wasted another hour of your life and you're just going to have to start from the very beginning all over...again.

8) Erase your recorded footage, re-prep your nail and materials, and begin the recording process yet again. About 2 minutes into the recording, realize that rather than start over again you could have just cut off the very end of the recording and re-done the last step only. In light of this revelation, yell out a profane word at your webcam.

9) Begin again.

If you've followed these steps correctly, you should now hate the sight of your design, your chosen polishes and image plate, and your laptop webcam. You will begin to wonder what made you want to design a video in the first place, and you will be tempted to bang your head onto the table until you get a concussion, because at least that would feel better. But do not do be fooled, you are not vanquished, no! Because this desperate mass of self-loathing being projected on to your materials is the signal that you have achieved what you set out to do, that you are now done--you have reached your goal of creating the world's craptastic-est nail tutorial video, and are now ready to edit and upload it. It took stamina and drive, but you hung in there, and you did it! Congratulations!

(No, I'm not bitter...Why do you ask?)

Thanks for reading. :)


**If you don't know who Inigo Montoya is, go read The Princess Bride right now (no, don't watch the movie, seriously, it's gotta be the book). You won't regret it. I'll wait.


  1. Success comes from experience. Experience comes from failure :)


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