Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem,
I started the Muslim Video Blog series because almost everyone else from Ummah Films was working our first short film, Tomorrow Never Comes. My role in that film was the writer/editor but since the filming of the movie took longer than was originally projected, I wanted to practice my editing skills before I got rusty. I started looking for something simple and easy to film so I can have footage to edit on a consistent basis.
Instead of recording just random video clips for editing, I figured why not record something that may be beneficial for those who watch it InshAllah. Something that has a positive message, which would be a good reminder for others and myself. I tried to google the net to see who other Muslim Video Bloggers have done, and I didn't find any Muslim Video Bloggers. So I turned on my camera, sat in my chair, and spoke to the lens with my thoughts and ideas. Seriously, I wasn't sure if anyone would watch the clips, maybe just a few friends.
What is the point of spending time making a video for an audience if no one is going to watch it? The idea was to make it entertaining so people would watch it and maybe even pass it around to others. At the same time, I didn't want to mock Islam like many of the other videos (by Muslims) on the net. I wanted to try something different and unique so I started to check out what some non-Muslim video bloggers have done. The only style (quick cutting between camera angles) that caught my interest was zefrank so I borrowed the technique from him. Unlike his blog of discusses mostly left-wing politics which is designed for his type of audience, I wanted to provide topics that Muslims can relate to since I figured most of my audience would be Muslims. I didn't want to repeat the topics that we all have heard a million and one times so I decided to start off with more of the informal topics, the kinda of issues that you may discuss when your just hanging out with your friends.
I think that is why people think the Video Blogs are funny. I guess comedians use the same technique. The talk about stuff people only "think" about but necessarily bring up in public. I'm not a comedian or an actor. I'm just a brother named Ali sitting in front of a camera thinking out loud. The $25,000 Muslim Marriage video is great example of thinking out loud. It talks about the stuff you think about (maybe sometimes discuss with friends), takes you through the typical wedding day from a guest's point of view, and then concludes with an alternative from the norm. I think the reason most people like that one the most is because almost everyone has been a "guest" in one of those type of weddings with similar ideas floating in their minds. I just brought the ideas into the surface and people laughed. But the idea wasn’t necessarily to make you laugh but more importantly to make you think about it InshAllah.
Many of us, just like myself, need reminders from time to time. As you know there are ton of Islamic books out there but most of them go unread. There are lectures going on all the time but only a fraction of people attend them. Combine that with the fact the majority of the audience having short attention spans (thanks to television), it can become very difficult time to sit through a 3hr lecture, especially if the topic is not relevant, and pay attention.
I figured if I was going to do this whole video thing, why not think outside the box and maybe make it entertaining. Of course, I can't always be funny but as long as it isn't boring, maybe people would watch....maybe people would benefit from it. If my goal was to try to outdo myself each time, it would be insane. There will always be people who like one show better than the next who will find the next show less appealing. For the record, I’m not a comedian or an actor. If the video comes out good, Alhamdulillah. If it annoys you and you dislike it or me but it still helped you by reminding you of doing more good deeds or less bad deeds, Alhamdulillah. I'm not looking for the popular award. I’m not even trying to get into the film industry or get fan base or anything like that. I'm just a normal brother trying to make videos that will be beneficial for those who watch it, including myself.
your brother in Islam,