Why Creative Instagram Stories Are The Next Big Thing In Social Media with Dillon Osborne

  • One of the best things you can when it comes to Instagram Stories is to learn how to manage the 15 seconds you are given. To do that, you need to know how to edit your videos in a way that maximises the time you have.
  • Use techniques you have seen on TV and in movies to inspire you to be creative.
  • If you’re using video, you don’t need to tell people what you’re doing as people can see that. Think of more creative ways to share your story.
  • When it comes to video there are both visual and audio aspects. What people don’t realise is that your visual and audio don’t need to correlate.
  • Show you’re doing something and try to tell a different story; it will hold people’s attention much longer.
  • Make the most of b-roll content.
  • You don’t have to use fancy equipment, as video can be filmed on your camera phone. Once you start worrying about what camera you’re filming on, you miss the point of creating relatable content.
  • Film as little as you can so you don’t have to edit as much. To edit on your mobile, Adobe Rush and Splice are great options.
  • Although it can be awkward to film yourself in public, it’s easy once you learn how to be tactful. Look at your surroundings and decide the perfect opportunity.
  • If you need to transfer music to your phone, use a Dropbox that you can access through Adobe Rush.
  • If you think people will be viewing your story without audio, add subtitles letting them know they may want to listen.
  • To get started, you need to understand the story. Find out how you can tell a story without speaking.
  • Every story needs a start, middle, and end. Make sure your story has an opening and closing scene, so people know what is happening.

Aim to have 2-3 minutes of content a day, any more than that and people will start to switch off. Think about the stories you watch; do you skip if it’s too long?

  • Introducing Dillon Osborne – 04:45
  • How to Limit the Content You Post, Without Cutting Back – 11:00
  • Finding Your Creative Flair – 16:00
  • Showing Your Personality in Your Stories – 21:31
  • Tools and Equipment – 27:13
  • Directing People to Your Long-Form Content – 39:30
  • How To Get Started With Creating Your Own Stories – 44:02
  • Live Masterclass Sign Up
  • Adobe Rush for Mobile
  • Splice
  • Epidemic Sound
  • Diltakesphotos Instagram
Transcript below


Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the podcast, and I am your host Teresa Heath-Wareing, as always. How are you. This week we are talking about one of my favourite subjects, Instagram, and more specifically, Instagram stories. But before we jump into that, I just want to remind you that this Thursday, Thursday the 18th of July, I am running three, that's it, not one, not two, but three, live master classes. I've done three so that hopefully, no matter what time zone you're in, you're going to be able to find a time that suits you. And you heard me say before that I love doing these master classes, I love doing live training, and I love answering questions and helping, so I really hope you've signed onto it and you're going to be joining me. If not, you can head over to and you can sign up there. I can't wait to see you there.

Okay, on with today's episode. If you've been following me for a while, you'll know that I love Instagram. It's my most favourite platform at the moment, has been for some time, and one of the things that I love most about Instagram is Instagram stories, because I love how creative they are, how quick they can be, and I just like that kind of honesty of someone being on camera or showing you their day. I find them really interesting. And I don't know about you, but I always have certain go-to people that I like to watch, and obviously, given the algorithm, it puts those people at the front of my feed all the time. Today's interview is with someone that I've been watching on Instagram for a long time, and I love his stories, so I had to get him on the podcast, because I want to share what he does with you, and I want you to go check him out because he's amazing.

Today I'm interviewing Dillon Osborne, who is a freelance creative and storyteller who believes in ideas. He works with people to create engaging and exciting stories and bring them to life visually. Dillon is one of the most creative Instastory creators, have I just made that up? Does that sound right? That I've ever seen. So I met him through another guy who I had met at an event, and I started following this guy, and he mentioned Dillon in his stories. So as you do, I clicked and had a look at Dillon, started looking at some of his stories, and honestly, they were brilliant. They were the most creative stories I've ever seen. They were quick and interesting, and they literally kept me captivated, and I've carried on watching them for ages. So I wanted to bring him onto the podcast because I really wanted him to talk about these stories, and also share with you how he creates them, what he comes up with. Because there are very few people doing Instagram stories like his, and like I said, his are super creative, and you really do find yourself wanting to watch them over and over.

Dillon and I, I have to warn you, had quite a laugh. He is such a funny guy. We really giggled about quite a lot of stuff, which is great. And he talks through how he got to do what he does now, how he got creative on Instagram, and how he started using insta stories to really showcase what he does. But then the great thing about this is, he talks us through different apps he uses on his phone. Because he does the entire thing on his phone, which is kind of unbelievable, and he tells us what apps he uses and how he puts it together and some of the considerations.

Dil is obviously a creative, so he is obviously going to have a good eye for this sort of thing. He's obviously going to be able to put together a good video because that's his job. So I'm not saying that … Me or others may be as creative as him, but I wanted you to definitely have a look at what he does, because I really think this is going to help you think about your stories more differently. He says some really funny things and really interesting things like, I think at one point he talks about the fact that, when we're on camera we tend to tell people what we're doing, and he's like, “Please stop telling me what you're doing. I'm watching you, I can see it.” So that was really cool, and made me think about how I do my stories.

I think you're going to love today's episode, so I don't want to drone on and keep talking, I want you to jump strange in and see what you think. Make sure you check this guy out, he's amazing.


Introducing Dillon Osborne


I am so excited today to welcome the very lovely Dillon Osborne to the podcast. Welcome Dil.

Hi, how's it going? Thanks so much for having me.

My absolute pleasure. I've got to be honest, we've just been chatting all prior to being on this interview, so we've been chatting for about 30 minutes, which is terrible, we joked that this podcast obviously is going to be really short, because obviously we've done all our chat. But it's so good to have Dil on. I've explained in the intro how I found him, and I've been watching his stories, and I recommend that anybody goes and watch his stories, but I knew I had to have him on just so that he could talk to us about this, because it was so cool. But before we get into that, Dil, can you explain to my audience a bit about who you are, and how you got to do what you're doing now?

Yeah. It's a funny one, I have been a graphic designer and a photographer for the last, I like to say about 15 to 18 years, somewhere around that. Got out riding bikes and kind of developed a love of photography and making videos. I've worked professionally as a graphic designer and art director for the last 15 years, and part of that journey I worked in a bike shop. It taught me a lot about building and creating artwork and solutions and stuff, and how to develop it with no budget. It was just one of those things. It was a small bike shop that became one of the largest online retailers in the world. So I learned this insane amount working with them, and the first time I was given a job with them they had asked me to do this thing, and we had this budget, and I was like, I'll try to work it out. I eventually solved it, and that was sort of how I did things for about 10 years with them. I didn't realise the value in that until I then made a move into creative agencies in breakfast, and it sort of just spiralled into this weird thing.

I have, over that time, used that skill and developed it into an Instagram, which to me is just a bit of a laugh, it's just kind of a good fun, but it's become a real important tool for me, as a creative person, now I've gone through the stage of working brand-side into client-side, and now I work freelance. So I now operate full-time freelance working for myself, and Instagram is like my show reel and my expressive outlet. It greys the line sometimes for what it is, but it's an interesting question to answer, because most people are like, “Are you an Instagrammer?” I guess. I guess I am.

I love that, because actually there are so many people in an industry, whether it be a creative industry, as a videographer or a photographer or whatever, who sometimes do not perform how they are telling other people to. So it's almost like, practise what you preach. And you totally do that. And also, do you feel that you can get away with being as creative as you want? Because often clients are a little bit more nervous, and maybe if they see you do it, they might then go, “Actually yeah, I love that.”

Yeah, I think so. When I started doing these stories, these stories basically developed from, I kind of wanted to make some more videos, and I had started watching Casey Neistat before he did daily vlogs. I'd been watching his [inaudible 00:08:02] and I really liked it. The concept of talking to the camera resonated with me a lot, because for years I'd filmed my friends, and while my friends liked riding my bikes and doing tricks and stuff, getting them to do things for me was quite difficult. So when I saw him doing this, it was before he started daily vlogs, I said this is interesting.

When he went to daily vlog it snapped, I was like oh, this makes sense to me now. I can tell a story like this. Because this is what I do with home videos, so let me try and work this into what I want to do. So I started doing it on Instagram, and it started as your regular, “Hi guys, [inaudible 00:08:41] sandwich.” Just sitting there doing something mundane. And then I [inaudible 00:08:45] thought, “What can I do? How can I push this, how can I make this more creative?” Since that point to where I am now it's like … I said to my wife early on, “I want people, my dream would be for people to hire me to do stuff because of the way I do things.” I'd rather get hired to do a job because of me rather than to do a technique.

That's kind of how things work now. People quite often come up to me and they go, “I watch you on Instagram,” or, “I've seen this video you did for this other client. I really like your vibe,” or, “I like your style. I'd love you to come and have a chat to see what you could do for us.” Nine times out of 10, that ends up me doing some version of me, maybe not me talking, but some version of my style for them, and I think yeah, people feel a lot more confident in doing that, because they're seeing me do it, and they're coming to me, they're being proactive kind of, going, “We kind of want to change things up and do this style. Can you apply that to us?”

Yeah. I love that. I think as well, it's interesting thinking about how, I know you're in this creative industry, but social media in general is getting way competitive. Well it is, has been for years, but Instagram over the last two three years has got more and more competitive. Stories are being featured more and more, but you've got to keep people's attention. And one of the things, and it's really hard for us to talk about, so urge everybody that's listening to go and, and obviously I'll link it in the show next to Dil's Instagram and you can go and watch some of his stories. No pressure Dil, you've just got to do really good ones now. I'll let you know when this is coming out, and you make sure there's some bloody good ones on there. [crosstalk 00:10:17]

I'll do my best.

Otherwise I'm going to send people there and they're going to go, “What is this?”

[inaudible 00:10:20] the sandwich.

Just all together. The whole thing about trying to keep your attention, and one of the things that I love is that you create content, you know … And digress aside, but have you heard of Mrs. Hinch, Dil.

Yeah, the cleaner lady. That really belittles her, but yes, only because my wife buys the Minky cloth.

I love it. It's so funny, if i ever mention this it's always a husband saying, “Oh my God, my wife just listens to her all the time.”

Yeah. She came home with a bucket of stuff. “[crosstalk 00:10:50] this.”

You mean like [inaudible 00:10:53] cleaners, right.


That's so good.

Yeah. [inaudible 00:10:55] and I have to use the what?


How to Limit the Content You Post, Without Cutting Back


Yeah, I bought them for my husband. People think I'm joking. He came home, it was like Christmas for him. So she does stories all the time, and sometimes, when I get to her stories, and I see all those tiny dots at the top, that makes me see that she's done literally 50 stories in a day, I get like, “No, move on, I can't watch all that.”

Too much pressure.

Yeah, and it's an investment in time. And I know it sounds the most ridiculous thing that, I'm not willing to invest that amount of time in you today, Mrs. Hinch. What I love about yours is, you manage to cram in a lot of content … Because basically let's explain, you're not just straight up recording an insta story, you are putting together video within one story, and therefore you can get a lot of detail in with those 15 seconds, and therefore you might only have what looks like, I don't know, 10 stories that you've done in a day, but actually you've managed to cram in so much more into that, haven't you.

Yeah. My stories started, like everybody else, [inaudible 00:11:55] front facing camera, talking to the thing, you're doing it 15 seconds. Then I started learning to manage the 15 seconds, and try to get a lot out in 15 seconds, and be able to use transitions in between the Instagram app itself, so I would use … I'd make a camera movement at the very last second, then I'd make another move on the new second. That's very tricky to do.

Then I kind of had this idea where I was like, well what if I edit these things? So I was looking around, there was no vertical editing platform, so I used to use iMovie, built into the iPhone. I was like, I could film a minute of footage, and there would be four stories, but it would be a load of stuff, rather than just a 15 second clip of me talking. So I started filming cutaway shots of really the environment, or set up things where you see me walking in and out of shot, and I was editing it out on iMovie. But what was mad was you could only edit horizontal movies in iMovie. So I'd edit it, you'd end up with the two black bars at the back, on each side, and a vertical video in the middle, and then I'd export that as like a 1080 HD video. But if I brought it into Instagram, if you double tap that video, it filled the screen perfectly, so you end up with a … But it was really questionable quality.

But that was the only option back then. I hadn't seen anybody else doing this, because I started doing the stories a couple of weeks after Instagram launched the platform. Stories feature, more so. And I started editing them pretty soon after. I was editing them this way, and I hadn't really seen anybody doing anything like this until I found Jessie Driftwood through some links. That was early day sort of Jessie Driftwood, before he'd gotten insanely big. I suddenly started to see some of … He's the first person I've ever seen editing this. Because when I first started doing these stories I said to my wife, “I'm going to take the vlog platform and put it on Instagram, because it makes more sense for me. My phone's with me everywhere. So why vlog on YouTube when I can vlog on Instagram, and at the end of the day I hit upload and it's done. I don't have to do this big edit.

So I sort of slowly developed that into this process of filming a clip as I go, dropping it into my timeline on iMovie, and then editing as I go. So with the last clip I filmed, I would drop it in, export it, upload it. And it was a pain back then, because we didn't have apps to cut up your clips into 15 seconds, none of that existed. So there's all these apps now that I use that are insane, which makes my process even quicker, but back then I was editing a two minute video. And I would have to open that two minute video in my phone gallery, and I'd have to trim it to 15 seconds, save it as a new clip, then go back to the original one and find the next … So it was manual. And I did that for like months and months, until I found other options and new apps started coming out, things like Splice, that started dealing with vertical video. We've come a long way from those days of iMovie, and when I think back to that now I'm like … You know one of those, you abound like you're dad, you're like, “You don't appreciate it. I used to sit for hours cutting that up …” It's like bang, throw it into continual and let's cut.

That's brilliant. That is so funny. Let's go to the fact of, when you create your insta stories, you do the … I want people to go and look at, and want people to think about your insta stories and how they can make it more creative, but we did just talk before the podcast that, obviously, Dil is a creative person, this is what he does, so he obviously has a very good … Eye is not the right word, that's not good enough, but this is what he lives his life for. So actually a lot of the success of his story is down to the fact that he's very creative in this space. It's not to say that you can't go, and people listening can't go, and try it, and make theirs a bit more creative, or add a few different elements for sure, but obviously a lot of what you do is because you're so creative.


Finding Your Creative Flair


So just explain, because we watch your videos … When I say we, I have to explain still that my husband and I love them, and we'll be watching it be like, how long did it take you? Because you will literally set up your camera and walk past your camera. You will set up … You might be going on the train or the tube or whatever it is, and your camera will be the other side of the tube and you're sat on the seat doing whatever you're doing. Do you physically have to think, every single point, where am I going to do this, what am I going to do? Or is it now becoming very natural?

It's become very natural. I think at the beginning I sort of dithered a bit, but I've always kind of done videos like that with my own family, and I used to make these videos at home, and then I would just WhatsApp them to my wife, and it was all about things she left lying about that annoyed me. Then she was like, “You should stick these online.” So I've kind of always been doing little videos, but at the beginning I would've thought about it a lot more, where now it happens. Now I'm literally in the middle of a conversation with someone, I could be chatting to them, and while I'm talking to them I'm just putting my phone down against something. They're like, “What are you doing?” I'm like, “Just two seconds,” and I'll do a little bit, and then I'll just carry on. So it almost fits seamlessly into the conversation, you don't even realise I'm doing it sometimes.

But putting the camera down is a funny one. It's definitely easier where I live, because I live in Belfast in northern Ireland. It's definitely easier here than it would be, I tried to do it in London on the underground, very trick. There's a lot of sceptical looks for multiple reasons. But in northern Ireland people are very friendly. One of the biggest problems I have is, I'll put my phone down and people pick it up and give it to me, because they think I've left it lying there. I'm like no, thank you, you've just cocked up an entire sequence.

Well done.

[crosstalk 00:17:21] you're like cheers, and they've been like, “Excuse me, you've left your phone here.” I'm like, no I haven't, I actually tactically put it there.

I put it there. That is so [crosstalk 00:17:28].

I will basically use that to enter a scene, I guess. So it's taking technique that I've seen on films and TV shows for years. It's weird, because people think it's a whole new thing, this whole vibe. It's not, you've been watching it in movies for years. For years. It's entering scenes, it's how you keep that in control. And vlogging and YouTube and everything has changed a lot of that, and now there's almost two much focus on it. And I find you need to do that if it's part of the story, but don't do it just for the sake of doing it.

Yeah, that's a good point. But the other thing that it does is, it speeds up … For instance, and I would love to be more creative, and I want to get more creative, hence one of the reasons I want to do one, but I will literally go to camera, “Now I'm just going into a coffee shop and I'm going to get a coffee.” Whereas when you do it, you're like, there's a shot of the shot. There's a shot of you, or video as you enter the room, or enter the door, then there's, here's the coffee hitting on the table, here's you drinking the coffee, boom, and that's what, how many seconds.

Yeah, you can do that in four seconds.

Yeah. And you've managed to creatively, and engagingly, let me see what you're doing without you doing a 15-sourced, “I'm going to get a coffee now, I'm going in the coffee shop.”

You've got it there. That's the key. I do some workshops and talks here in Belfast about this, and a large part of what I talk about is, please stop telling me what you're doing, I can see it. I am guilty of doing that. I literally did a story this morning where I'm like, “I'm sitting having a coffee at the Coast,” and you can see that. But that was part of the narrative. but the problem is, I always say that there's two strands happening at the same time with any sort of visual video storytelling. There's the visual side of what you're watching, and then there's the audio side of what you're being told, and those things, for me, don't necessarily have to be the same thing.


I think that's a lot of the stuff … If you've ever watched Casey Neistat, that's what he does, and that's what most people miss. People see Casey and they see a guy skateboarding down New York vlogging, and they think, “That's what need to do: skateboard down the street and tell people that.” So people do it, they go out, they get the the rig, they go out and they go, “I'm skateboarding down the street.” I'm like, “I know. I'm watching you do it.” Casey never tells you that. Casey will just be telling you about something else.

So that was something that sort of opened up my eyes a little bit to that style of storytelling. So when I'm doing it, I'm showing you I'm doing something, but I'm trying to tell you a different story. Because what that does is, it disrupts your attention span, it makes you think, it makes you access different parts of your brain, and then holds your attention a little bit longer. Because when I started doing these I used to get people's screenshots, their little dots at the top, it would be like, “Oh my God, Dillon …” I think the most I ever did was like 20 dots at the top, 20 stories. But I try to trim those down as much as I can, and try to put them into batches.

But now I've got to the point where I'm kind of comfortable, two minutes, three minutes max. I don't really like to go over that unless I'm doing something very interesting. The idea of that is that you try to cut back on it by going to the coffee shop, show clips of the coffee shop, while you talk about another thing you're doing, so that you don't have to explain you're at the coffee shop, and then explain, “I'm going to do this job now. Try to do the two at the same time. It's how films are shot. People use that term B-roll, and B-roll is a thing, but it shouldn't be a focus on B-roll. B-roll's there to play a role in your video. It's to show a story, or set a scene, or pass time quickly, so you can tell a lot. The whole thing of, an image says 1,000 words, so what does a video say? So why the hell are we telling everybody while we just video? We're all guilty of it. I do it myself. But it's just funny when you [inaudible 00:21:18], oh God, I've just told you what I filmed.


Showing Your Personality in Your Stories


Yeah. That's brilliant. The other thing that you do which I love, which again, I try and talk to people about, is that especially if you're creating a personal brand, which sounds really grandeur, it's not that, if you are your business, if you are the face of your business, then obviously you are trying to get people to know, like, and trust you, and you're trying to get people to relate to you. And one of the things that you can do is, obviously putting your face on camera helps, but also showing some of your personal side, and your personal life.

Now how much you show of that is entirely down to the person obviously, it's got to be your decision. But you, Dil, and one story comes to mind, which absolutely was a scream, and if it's not in your highlights you've got to go and add it, because it was brilliant.

You can explain, but is it the one with my daughter calling me out?

No. I haven't seen that one, I need to see that one.

Okay, I'll tell you that one afterwards.

Okay. This one was when Dil went home one day and couldn't get in, so any … I was going to say any normal person, but that sounds really insulting Dil, it's not.

Any person who's allowed his own keys to his house.

But Dil decided to do a story of everything he was trying to do to get in the house, and it was absolutely hilarious and brilliant, and so creative, of a situation that quite frankly-

Pretty shit.

I'd be losing my rag. I'd be there like, flipping idiots, I want to get in the house. But you turned it into this kind of, all this hilarious thing that you were trying to do, and you were talking to the cat, which is … And you're like, this cat is … Because the cat wouldn't let you in.

Yeah. The cat was just sitting there looking at me like, “And what?”

Yeah, “Got a problem [crosstalk 00:22:59]?”

Yeah, it's outside, it's raining, who cares.

Yeah. And it was just brilliant. It was so, so good. The funny thing is, as I was watching it unfold I'm thinking, “But why don't you do this?” Then, it's funny, because some people must have been messaging you in between or something.

Oh yeah.

And saying … Your neighbour messaged and said …

Yeah, he sent me a photo from outside going, “What are you doing?” So I got home, basically, my wife leaves the keys in the door in the inside, and I can never get them out. So the problem is that I'm always like, either leave the door unlocked, which is not a great idea and I don't do that, and so many people were like, “Never say that.” I'm like, “Just take the keys out of the lock so I can access it.”

Yeah, so you can open it.

But she was asleep, and she's one of those people, she's a deep sleeper, so when she's out she's out. And no one would wake up, so I was trying everything, the cat was looking at me, I was so … What was quite funny about that was, I'd got a ladder out, and I managed to climb over and access my garage, because I had keys to that, get into the garage and got my ladder out. I was climbing up, trying to rap on the window. It wasn't a ladder, I couldn't get that, I had a stick. It was a big stick, [crosstalk 00:24:05] sticks taped together, and I was banging on the window of the bedroom. She didn't wake up. It was mad.

One of the funniest parts of that was, at one point I shouted into Alexa. I shouted, “Alexa, turn on country music, maximum volume.” Thinking, truly she'll wake up. But what was so funny about that was, I was inundated with messages saying, “Oh my God, my Alexa's just kicked off.” Everyone's Alexa started playing country music who was watching the story out loud. So I was getting these videos back from people.

That video was one of the longer ones I did, because it was a lot. Because I was effectively sharing that in real time, and it was trial and error. The reason I share things like that is, I describe myself as a pessimistic optimist. Because bigger picture, I'm very optimistic, but individually I'm very negative and [inaudible 00:25:00]. So I might burn and complain about stuff, but at the end I'll solve the problem. “This is the worst thing ever,” but I'll solve it. I won't just quit it. So I'm pessimistic in my optimism. That was one of those opportunities where it's like, I could just sit here on the steps and sulk because I can't get into my house, or sleep in the car, or I can at least use my misfortune here to entertain others.

What was interesting about that story was, there was no editing. There were no clever tricks. Every single bit of that story was filmed front-facing camera, straight through the Instagram app. And there was like 20 bits to that story. And that was the most engaged story I've ever done, in two and a half years of doing daily stories on Instagram.

That's amazing.

That got the most engagement [inaudible 00:25:47] asking me to send them, for days afterwards, people were still messaging me things, laughing. And it just trumped the engagement over everything else.

But I think it's-

Yeah, it shows you the importance of narrative.

Yeah, the realism of it, and the hilarity of it. Also I've got to add one more thing, which was hilarious. Once you set off the Alexa and got her to play the music really loud, you tried to then shut her up, but of course she couldn't hear you, because she was [inaudible 00:26:19].

Yeah, so loud. And it was like midnight, so I was shouting through the post bar, “Alexa, turn it off! Turn it off, Alexa!” What was amazing was, that's when all the helpful people online just go, “You could control it through your app on your phone.” I'm like, that wouldn't have made a fun story, would it? Hey, I could've switched it off very calmly with my app.

[crosstalk 00:26:37]

[crosstalk 00:26:37] do that, but-

How funny, to see you screaming through a letterbox at Alexa, trying to get her to shut up at midnight. Brilliant.

It was [crosstalk 00:26:45]. But bringing that personal side in definitely helps because you become relatable, people feel they know you. It's quite awkward, because if I meet people at an event, or people maybe stop me on the street and be like, “Hey Dillon, I follow you on Instagram,” and I have no idea who they are, if I've maybe spoken to them for months. They're like, “I'm claire,” and I'm like … And then you find out their names, like “Superfood Blogger.” And I'm like, well Jesus, I don't know that. You could've introduced yourself as the Superfood Blogger, you're saying that unclear. But people do, you build these relationships, and that's how I've met so many people now, is just through that personal side.


Tools and Equipment


That's exactly why you're on the podcast, because we have a mutual friend, and through his insta stories he was talking about you, and I started watching your stuff. Then, just like I said, loved it, thought it was fascinating. So okay, let's get into some of the tools and techniques of it. You record pretty much everything on your phone.

Yeah, 95% of it.

And what's your phone, just standard iPhone?

iPhone A-plus.

Okay, so it's obviously a good iPhone, but in fact that camera on the iPhone, I have those wow-y woo-y, whatever, so I have my iPhone for my normal stuff, but I actually bought that because the camera was so good that I literally only use that for a camera. Although sometimes it just … Because it puts effects on and sometimes they don't look real enough. But basically any camera phone is going to be good, isn't it?

Yeah, it is. I think when you start worrying about what it is you're shooting on, you're missing the point. I used to film these on an iPhone 6 at the start, and then I remember when I went to the [inaudible 00:28:30] you had portrait mode, and all those other things. But I filmed that on iPhone 6, I filmed it on front facing cameras, rear facing cameras. It's kind of irrelevant, as long as it films and it's fairly good. I mean most people now will have a phone that films HD, and that's fine, because that's what you're getting on Instagram.

Yeah. So you're filming it on your phone. Do you film a certain amount of footage for a certain amount of outcome of story, or is it not like that, it's just as it happens?

Yeah, I film in, not chronological order, but … Well yeah, is it chronological order? It's the order of the story I want to tell. So I try to shoot it in sequence, is what I'm saying. So I don't really film an excessive amount, because the point of me doing them on my phone is all for ease and speed. Because I have friends who do YouTube videos who are like, “Dude, why don't you just film them on your proper camera?” Because I have proper cameras. The quality would be so much better. And I'm like, it's irrelevant. It's not the point. And the point is, if I shoot that on my camera it's going to become too big a job.

So the point actually on my phone is that, my phone is on me all the time, it's easily accessible, so every part of that process needs to be easy. So if I'm building a story I'll film it in order, in sequence, as tight as I came. I might have to film a pickup shot later today, but I try to film it in order, and if I'm speaking, I try to either film for like one minute straight where I talk and tell different bits, and I'll take a break in between sentences. So I'll be like, “Hey guys, what's happening. It's Monday, I'm down on the beach here, I'm going for a walk,” and I'll stop. And then I'll just think for a second or two about my next sentence. And then I'll say the next bit. “Today what I'm trying to do is, do shots down the beach of this thing that I'm working on.” Then I'll just cut that dead space out in the middle. Because that's that bit where, that lull is where people lose concentration. That's why I'll do that.

I try to film as little as I can, so that I can edit less. I want to basically film it, drop it into my timeline on my phone, and just trim out the irrelevant nonsense, and then export it.

So then, you're filming it in your normal camera on your phone; what apps do you use then to edit, to put that together?

Now currently I use Adobe Premiere Rush, and it's part of the creative cloud package. Now, because I do this professor's job, I have that class, so that helps. If you don't have that, you can look at the likes of Splice, which is really really good, or Carve. And then probably one of the best options out there is an app called Luma Fusion, which is insane. If you're an iPad editor, you could basically scrap a computer to edit with Luma Fusion on your iPad. But you could do it on your iPhone as well. The controls are insane, the amount it allows you to do, everything from titling through the colour grading to editing, it's very detailed. But I would say stay away from it unless you're an experienced editor, because you'll just get lost in the functionality. Whereas Splice and Carve are dead simple.

And the nice thing about Carve is, you can film in-app, which is good. So you basically create a timeline, you film your seconds, you stop, it adds it to the time, and then the next bit you film, adds it to the timeline. So basically you're building these layers of a story, so you don't have to then add it all at the end, which is quite cool.

You can still take bits out of it, like … Because obviously when-

Yeah, you can still trim bits and clip bits.

Yeah. Because when you, obviously, put your phone down and then go into position, your phone is recording, there must be a lot of footage that you're deleting off so you're not seeing your hands coming in and out of shot.

Yeah. There's a lot of me walking awkwardly out of shot and standing and waiting for people to get out of the way, and then that bit where I casually dander in as if the phone was always filming, there's always a phone there, don't worry about it. There's a lot of that to delete.

Just quickly as well on that, do you ever feel like a right idiot?

Every day.

Honestly, that for me is my biggest thing. I see these great stories of people physically moving as they're talking, and I can't do it. Or I find it difficult. In a lot of my stories I'm just sat in my office, because it's like I just would feel like a real plunker. You've just got to get over it I guess.

Yeah, feel like a total burke, that's the way I feel when I'm doing those things. But you do, you kind of just have to remember that the people that are judging you probably don't get it, or just think, there's a bigger picture here. Like, you might laugh at me but it doesn't really matter. But there are times when, when people get to know you and they kind of get the idea, it's okay, so you just have to sort of persevere through that. But there is that awkward side, and it never finishes. You have to be a bit tactful. People often say, “How do you film yourself walking in public, right through the middle of city centre? The way I do that is just, I am very, very aware. I'm just one of those who're very self-aware, and I'm very aware of my surroundings, so when I'm walking I'm like … Do you know what, you watch the Lego Movie?


When they're running and the Master Builder's just seeing all the details, and they can see all the parts and they build something as they go, that's kind of my brain. So when I'm walking I'm analysing everything, and I'm looking basically, is that group of kids going to give me abuse as I talk on my phone? That old man doesn't even realise … So I'll wait till the kids pass, and then I'll say my sentence as I'm passing that crowd of older people that aren't going to judge me, or if they do they're not going to say anything. It's very tactful, and in the end it looks like, he's just walked right through the city centre and hasn't been bothered by anybody. But actually I've been very strategic.

Yeah, and you've thought about that. That's awesome. So editing, and I've got Adobe Rush, I haven't used it yet, but I have the Adobe package as well, so we can obviously get that free on our phones, so if you don't have that then obviously we'll link up to those other ones as well. And you're literally editing.

The other thing that you do in your stories which is really interesting is, you will use music in them, won't you.

Yeah. That's a tricky one. It's a real tricky one. If you use Splice, Splice gives you a tonne of free songs, loads. I've basically burned through them all, and so I've used them all a few times, and I was like, I'm done, I need another solution. So I looked around, a few options, and you can sort of bring tracks in from other … There's other means to do it. If you've got iTunes you can bring tracks in. But then you run into issues … Like if you do an IGTV video like Instagram or [inaudible 00:34:51] stories, you can normally get away with using copyrighted music, but it's still not ideal.

It wasn't until I was talking with my friend Ryan, our mutual friend, who came up with this cool way of doing it through Dropbox, and I use that technique now. I create a Dropbox account, create a Dropbox folder … I use Epidemic, I am subscribed to Epidemic sound, but if you've got any music [inaudible 00:35:13] subscribed to, I'll download my tracks each week, I'll put like 20 tracks, and I'll put it in my Dropbox, and then through Adobe Rush you can access the Dropbox. So I'll go through and I'll put in a few … I have songs I normally use, I'll use funk and hip-hop sort of music and I'll do that.

But what's so cool is, now quite often I'll just actually go straight on to Epidemic on the mobile app, so I do everything now primarily through phone. So I'll actually go to Epidemic, find the track that I want, download it from my phone, and save it straight to Dropbox, all on my phone. Then open up that Rush, then access that track through the Dropbox account, all on the phone. I'll do it, bypass computer every step of the way. That's kind of a challenge that I like. It is tricky, but once you get into the swing of it … I could literally edit while I'm walking, or sitting on a bus. I don't have to wait till I go anywhere. I can edit while I'm doing stuff, while I'm waiting for this. It's become very handy.

Yeah, it's good. Basically, are you only plodding sort of once a day in the evening, after your day's happened?

Recently I have. I used to edit everything and upload as I go. It was almost real time, and I liked that because people's interaction and engagement was great when I'd do that. Because they're like, oh, I'm there, and they'll maybe come and find me. But then it becomes a bit of a hindrance, you maybe get some oddballs following you about, people will want to meet you or stop you in the street if they know you, or maybe it's a friend of yours. And I'm like, actually, do you know what, I know it just like I'm just swanning around in a city doing nothing, but I'm actually filming this on my way to a meeting, or to a job, so it's become a bit of a hindrance. So I started plodding batches, a batch in the morning, a batch in the afternoon.

But then recently, in the last month, I'm making changes to a lot of my stuff, so I've been a little bit inconsistent with my plods. I've been editing stuff and plodding it in the afternoons, or sometimes late at night, but that's just because there's a lot going on, I'm trying to do a lot of stuff. So at the minute I'd like to upload a big batch at the end of the day. Because it's daunting on the viewer. And so much of what I believe is about respecting people's time, and so I don't like to put something up that's not a respect of time. If I feel like I'm wasting your time, that annoys me, so I'm always … That's an ongoing battle with myself. Sometimes I [inaudible 00:37:26] my watch and I'm like … My goal is, if it holds the attention of my wife … She'll skip sometimes, skip, skip, I'm like, “What are you doing?”

“That's my story!”

“I get the point.” Like “Aw, no!”

That's so funny. Obviously-

Trying to get that balance right is hard.

Every day it's like, to my husband, “Have you watched my story today? You'd know that I did this if you watched my story.

Sure, that's become a hard one to … Just general conversation with people now. Because it'll either be one of two scenarios. I'll either go, “Lat month I was in Canada,” and then they go, “Oh yeah, I saw the stories” …

Yeah, they know.

And I'm like, okay cool, well you know when I was in the helicopter?” And they're like, “Yeah, that was so cool. Or, the worst bit, where you go, “I was in Canada, did you watch my stories where I was in the helicopter?” Then they go, “No, because I've got other stuff going on in my life.” And I'm like, oh, well I just seem really up myself now. Well I don't want to tell you the story, go watch it.

You know what is funny though, I've done that. It's like … Because you think, “I don't want to repeat myself if you saw the story, but then you do so like a real idiot, because you're like, well obviously all you do all day is watch my insta stories.

Yeah, obviously you've nothing else to do but watch my nonsense.


It's become like, creating these things online has made other conversations really awkward sometimes. Or some of them just ask me a question about something I did, I'm like, “Did you get that?” I'm like, “Why do you know that?” “It was in the story.” “Oh right, I forgot about that.”

Yeah. It's so good. So Canada, I'm glad you brought that up. This is interesting, because you actually created a video for YouTube about Canada, didn't you?


How long was that video? It was quite long, wasn't it.

About 14 minutes I think.


Directing People to Your Long-Form Content


So you were doing your insta stories while you were in Canada, and we were just talking beforehand, and we were in California at the time. So we're watching these stories, and then what was really nice, because I don't tend to watch a lot of long form content on YouTube … I have YouTube open all the time when I work, but it tends to be for music and various other bits, but I'm not very patient, and I don't tend to watch stuff. But what was really interesting is that I had seen all the content you'd put out, and I'd seen that you were making a film while filming, and then I watched the video and I watched the 14 minutes, sat there, the entire thing, on my phone, and it was interesting. It was almost like it was easier for me to do that because I knew bits of what was coming, because you [inaudible 00:39:57] what was coming. So that for me was a really fascinating link, because you would almost argue that, if you're recording it on one media, that I then don't need to go and watch it on another one. But it actually added to it, if anything.

You know what, a lot of that comes down to a phrase we hear a lot, micro and macro content, and really having an understanding for what that is. So I'm very adamant that I don't want to cover the same thing in my vlog as I do in my Instagram stories. So when I actually went out there I was going to meet a guy called Dunner, and I had some plans that I wanted to make with him, and he had some plans that he wanted to make with me. Then when we got there and we met each other, we'd never met apart from Instagram, so I when I got there I was like, “I want to do these YouTube videos,” and he had these ideas. Then we met each other and we were like, you know what, this is actually pretty chill. Neither of us could really be bothered, we were just enjoying hanging out.

So my main purpose was to take photos, because that's my name, so I was like, I'm going to take some photos in Canada. My issue is that I trip up a lot with what platform I'm working on. Ryan and I joke about it, theory called platform anxiety, when we don't really know what platform to be plodding. So when I got there I was going through a mad bout of platform anxiety, what do I do, and I thought, you know what Dillon, just what do you want to do primarily? I was like, I want to do photos. I want to take nice photos in Toronto, I've never been here. I made that my main goal.

So A-level was take photographs. My stories documented what we were doing day to day, quickly. They were edited, they had music, but each was a production of the day. Then overview, highlight of everything, was this vlog. But the vlog I filmed, like a parallel story, that featured elements of the stories, but the narrative to that was slightly different. So when you watch it, it's actually not … There's elements of the stories in it, but hopefully there's not a lot of repetition in that respect. There's a bit of it bodged together, that was a very messy video for me, and I'm travelling to the states in a few weeks and I have plans of how I want to execute it differently.

But it was a big learning curve. Yet I've always kind of done that. I've always tried to do all of those things at the same time, because people consume Instagram stories differently. And you've just said it, you're not a long form fan. I love long form content on YouTube. My wife and I watch YouTube like TV. We have done for about five, six years. And I love consuming long form content. But that's not for Instagram, so it has to be quick, because people are consuming Instagram on the go. Most of the time people consume my Instagram, believe it or not, without sound, which is just mindblowing. Because I'm like, most of mine is me talking.

Talking, yeah.

So what are you doing? So I've toyed with the idea of subtitles. Sometimes if I'm doing a key thing you'll see me throw a subtitle in, to basically show the people who are watching without listening, if you're interested in this, this is what this is about.

You probably want to listen to it, yeah. What was something as well which I really like, and I do encourage, and we've talked about before on the podcast, is you took one trip, one opportunity, and created three really good bits of content out of it. So you had your photos, which are on your feed, which are stung.

On my feed, yeah.

Really, really good photos.

Thank you.

Then you did your stories as you were there. So for me, that was obviously a long time ago, but some of the feed, I think, is still … And I followed … Is it Dunner, did you say, is your friend?

Yeah, Dunner.

I followed Dunner as well, and some of his are still the [inaudible 00:43:16].


You've got that bit of content, you've got your insta story, and then obvious you did your long form, putting together your YouTube, which come out, obviously, after you got back and once you edit it and that sort of thing.


So for me it's like every time you go anywhere, if you're going to do something like that it's like, okay how can we make the most of this? How can I exploit this moment?

Yeah, exactly.

But it is.

You're right there.

It's basically saying, I'm at this point now, I'm doing this thing, so I want to make it absolutely bang-on amazing, and use it for everything it's worth.


That's awesome. So to finish off, because you've given me so much of your time, and it's very valuable time, I appreciate that.

Not at all, it's been fun.


How To Get Started With Creating Your Own Stories


If someone wants to get started, they're looking at your stories thinking this is cool, as a couple of quick steps, or a couple of things for them to think about, what would you recommend for them to get started to create something a little bit more interesting on their insta stories?

I think the best thing to get started with is, the main thing you need to get it right is, understand story. People say story all the time, but that's the point, it doesn't matter what it's filmed on or the production or the tricks. It's about the story. So you've got to take something very mundane, I used to use coffee and beer a lot because it's simple, but if you take something really simple and try to make an interesting story, telling you what you're doing visually without talking first, then it teaches you for shot setups. If you make it a cup of coffee, think about the elements. Coffee's the easiest one to start with for me, because there's so many elements, and it's such a beautiful process if you make it, if you're into coffee. But it doesn't need, it could be, if you make freeze-dried coffee you need to find, how can I make this funny? If it's freeze-dried, let's start by putting the coffee container in the freezer and opening it that way. So just as a bit of a play on the words you take it out.

Then even with the freeze dried coffee you've got a few elements. You've got the drawer coming out of a cupboard, putting it on the counter, lid coming off, getting a spoon, spoon goes in, scoops it out into the cup, water add, you've got the stir, then you've got the sip. You can do that in so many different ways. The thing is, people miss out all those little details. They miss out the bit where they unscrew the lid, and you've got that sound. So you can basically make a 15-second video of you having a cup of coffee very interesting.

Then once you start to do something like that, and you start to take it out, do a lot of [inaudible 00:45:41] coffees, so I've got the glass cam, I actually get to see … So when I'm pouring my coffee I don't just pour my coffee in my kitchen; I lift it up onto the window sill so I've got the sunlight in the background, or sometimes I'll pour the coffee outside if it's cold, so you get the steam coming off it as you pour. Just those little elements that make it a bit more beautiful to watch. Really in the end, I've just made you watch me making a coffee. Which is insane when you think [crosstalk 00:46:04]

It sounds ridiculous.

[crosstalk 00:46:04] someone's house for a coffee you don't sit there and watch them. “Oh yes, [inaudible 00:46:07].”

“Can I see that stuff again?”

Yeah. But understand, it's take something very simple, and try and create a short concise story of it, and you basically do that by using the theory of the story arc. It's basically just meaning, start, middle, and end. It's something I've told you about, Ryan and I discuss this all the time, we are very intense when we talk about Instagram stories. We've always discussed story arc, and it's basically like, every story needs a start, a middle, and an end, so you need some sort of scene setter. That scene could just be a shot of your kitchen, or it could be, if you're barbecuing, a shot of your garden with the barbecue, whatever that is. Something to set the scene that gives your viewer context, that puts them in a place where they go, “Okay, I understand roughly what's happening.”

So if you do an Instagram story, and you can do four individual stories, 15 seconds each, and use a story arc, you use story one and story four as your bookends. Story one's giving context, story four is the conclusion. Then story two and three are the beefy context. So story one is, “Good morning guys, it's sunny, I've got the day off work, I need a nice brew.” Then story two and story three are the coffee being made. Boom, boom, boom, all the bits, all the cutaways, and then you pour it. And story four, it doesn't have to be 15 seconds, it could be five seconds again, is you sitting down to enjoy that coffee in your garden in the sunshine. Or, you drop the coffee everywhere on the floor, and then it just cuts to you looking at it like, “Uh, I'm going to do it again.” But [inaudible 00:47:40] you've set the scene, you've made the coffee, you've drank the coffee. That's it in its simplest form. If you can do that for a start, and understand that process, then everything follows suit.

If you're going on a trip across the world to Indonesia to go surfing for example, you need to set the scene. You can't just suddenly be like, “Hey guys, I'm in London today doing a story,” and then the next day you're on a beach in Bali, and someone's like, “Where are you, how did you get there?” Because people are interested in the journey. They're not interested in the end destination.” It's like yeah, cool, you're there. Tell me about how you got there. Because if you then build up, [inaudible 00:48:19] here's the context, I'm with my friend such and such, we're going to this location, let's go, then film a cool sequence of you doing it, and then it closes with, we got where we're going, thanks very much for watching, it's amazing.

It's the basic story of everything we watch. We all forget it. We all just start an Instagram story randomly in the middle of something and think everyone knows what the hell is going on.

Yeah. It's such a good point. Such a good point. Just one quick last thing that came into my head, do you use, like a gimbal or something, to steady your phone, or not?

No. I get asked that a lot, but I don't. Again, my key items that I use: phone in my hand, I use a clip-on lens by a company called Lemuro they're like a German lens … Make phone lenses and cases. And screws into my phone, and it's a wide angle lens so I can film myself talk. So I've got my phone, my lens it clips in, and then I use my wallet as a tripod. If I'm nothing using my wallet it's leaning against a brick or a wall or a pole. Which is ridiculous sometimes with my [inaudible 00:49:19] and my thousand-pound phone and my wallet with all my cards are lying on the ground somewhere.

Yeah, just leave it randomly as you're walking up and down the shot, someone then takes it.

I have had a few occasions where people have worked it out, and they've come over and you could see them being sketchy. You've got to be aware. But the reason I do that is, I don't want to add any complication to the process.

No, totally.

Because it won't get done. The point is, it's got to be streamlined. Because if I'm thinking, “I'll get my gimbal or I'll get my tripod,” I'm thinking about my tech, and I'm not thinking about my story for a viewer.

It's not natural, is it. I you're having to do too much setup, you're going to lose that very natural-

Spontaneity, yeah.

Yeah, absolutely.

So I try to keep it that simple. Sometimes I'll have a thing called a think tank whip band around my wrist, it's like a stretch of cheap cord around my wrist, and if I'm near a pole or a fence, you can stretch it and wrap it around the phone, so the phone can bracket up on a fence or on a pole if you want to higher shot. Most of the time, I get to the point where I go, I'd love this shot to be at head height, but it's impossible here, so it's going to be a ground shot. Because that's the best, most efficient way for me to create this story. And it's not about where the shot is. If it is about where the shot is, you just use surroundings.

I do top-down shots in my kitchen a lot, and I was explaining this in my workshop last week, where people were asking me what bracket I use to hold the phone out far. And I was like, “I use a wooden spoon, with my phone balancing on a wooden spoon, and a book or a heavy jar inside my kitchen cupboard, weighting, counterbalancing the phone.” Because I only need like two seconds. Why would I build a rig for that? All those things are there. Use what's around you.

Love it. Dil, thank you so much for your time today.

No problem.

It's been an absolute pleasure having you on.

No problem.

I will link up to everything. Do go and watch his stories because they are wonderful, and really interesting, and just give you a very different perspective about how it could be done. Or even if you can lean toward some of that, then you would have a way more engaging story than the average one. Dil, thank you so much for [crosstalk 00:51:23].

Thank you so much for having me. It's been great. It's cool, I love connecting with people, and it's weird how you meet all these people just through Instagram, and all these sort of platforms. I think there's a lot of power in those platforms that we don't necessarily use. So thanks so much for having me, this has been great.

Wonderful, thanks Dil.

He was such a nice guy. Really down to Earth, really funny and smart and super creative. I just love chatting to him, and I think I said on the podcast, we'd been talking for probably a good 30 minutes before we started it, and then carried on chatting afterwards. It was really really nice to finally have a conversation with him, because weirdly, we haven't ever … Well we've never met, and we hadn't ever really spoken since I'd started following him, he didn't know who I was, so it was really really nice to have that conversation and really get to know each other, which was awesome.

That's what I love about social media, don't you? Like, I know there's lots of negative things, and have to say I looked at my Facebook the other day and thought, “I'm so sick of seeing rubbish.” Not as in people are posting rubbish; as in, Facebook are choosing to show me stuff that I'm really not interested in, which I find amazing, but anyway … So sometimes, even doing what I do it gets me down a little bit, but then I remember things like this, that I've met this really nice, funny, interesting guy, that if I head over to northern Ireland again, which I used to go to northern Ireland a lot for another job that I had years ago, but if I do head over there, I can call him up and go “Hey Dillon, let's get a drink,” or go grab some dinner or whatever. So I find that amazing, that we can do that.

Anyway, I've said as well, I love insta stories, so if you are on Instagram, please do come and find me, because I do love connecting with people and that, and I love watching other people's stories as well. I spend far too much time doing that. So do please go and check that, and also don't forget that master class this Thursday, obviously if you're listening to this as it comes out. If you've missed it, I'm so sorry. But do go and check that out,, I'd love to see as many of you on there as possible. Anyway, have the most amazing week, and I will see you next week.