I recently participated in an online challenge called the Insane Instagram Reels 30-Day Challenge hosted by Jonathan Tilley, a well-known voice actor and Instagram coach with a program called My Content Calendar.
What is this Challenge?
This was a challenge, but it was also a contest. I did not join because I wanted to win. I joined because I wanted to challenge myself to up my Instagram game.
I am a My Content Calendar (MCC) student and to be honest, besides having watched the course content, I had not done much with my Instagram account besides the occasional post and reel, here and there. As an MCC student, I did receive a personal invitation to join the challenge, but what really motivated me was that I saw that some of my voice over friends had signed up (calling out the fantabulous Dalia Ramahi and Trecia Lovering).
It turns out that over 500 people signed up for this challenge. Most were voice actors, I believe, but there were other types of creatives and professionals, as well. This challenge was for anyone on Instagram, not only MCC students. But did these 500 people complete the challenge? Keep reading to find out.
In a nutshell, the challenge was to create one Instagram reel per day for 30 days. Sounds simple? Well, I thought so, too, when I first signed up. Little did I know…
What we had to do
It was not as simple as creating one reel per day. What I didn’t realize that when I first signed up, is that we had rules that we had to follow. Rules, you say? Yes! For example, our reels had to be related to our business, so for me, all of my reels had to be related to voiceover. Those foodie posts were not going to cut it for the challenge!
On top of that, we had curveballs, extra challenges thrown at us each week. What kind of curveballs? Oh, there were so many! The reason for the curveballs was because Jonathan wanted us to try different techniques available to us on Instagram. And he wanted to push us past our comfort levels and on to a higher one.
We also had to make sure to tag our reels properly each time. Just one slip up meant that you were out of the running. This means we had to read the instructions and follow them.
We also received growth points when we followed the rules and did the curveball challenges. The curveballs were optional, but helped move us up in the competition.
Part of the challenge was to also support your fellow challengers on Instagram, as well as through our private chat group. The support was amazing!
Some new Techniques and Reels Styles
I tried a bunch of techniques that I had never used before, as well as created some different styles of reels that I never had done before. Here are some examples.
- Used a cover image that I created in Canva
- Used numerous cuts/edits and transitions
- Text on top
- Create a secondary character and had a dialogue with this secondary character
- Fast moving imagery
- Remix someone else’s reel into a new reel of my own. For example, I did some of those voiceover challenges, including one with the infamous Nancy Cartwright!
- Lip sync
- Using Instagram functions like speed and timer
- Sound Effects. I used the fart sound effect. Yes, I did! I just could not help myself! Someone had to!
- Mixed sound levels
- Point at text
- Did some collab reels with my daughter, Laeticia, who is also a voice actor. She graciously participated even if she thinks my reels are cringe! LOL.
What I Learned About Myself
I like to make people laugh. My favorite reels were the ones that were comedy-based. My kids think that these reels were super cringy, but hey, I say bring it on! The cringier the better! LOL
What I learned about Instagram
Instagram is extremely glitchy! Save your work, often, really often.
But hey, as frustrating as it is to use, it’s a free platform that allows us to shine and show off our creativity!
Don’t just use the platform to show off. Sure, it’s great to be able to share some of our wins and projects, but nobody wants to follow a show-off or braggart. Use the platform to inform, educate and entertain. Yes, by far, people want to be entertained. That’s why those dance videos are so popular. We have really really short attention spans these days, so keep the reels short, tightly edited and to the point.
Also, engage with other people’s content. It is called social media, not “me media”. So be social! Not only will other people more likely engage with your content, but the algorithm likes it when you are interactive on the platform.
Over 500 people signed up for the challenge and only about 9% of people made it to the end! And yes, I was one of them! Only 9% of the challengers made at least one reel per day, for 30 days AND followed ALL of the rules.
I’m really proud of myself for having completed the challenge. I did not win, but I was not out to win. My goal was to complete the challenge and to up my Instagram game. And I did it! I was creative, funny and really put myself out there.
Having completed the challenge showed me that I have grit and determination. I challenged myself and I forced myself to push through. Trust me, there were times that I did not want to create that reel. Sometimes I did not have the time to do it, but I had to make the time. There were times that I created something and then Instagram glitched and I lost all of my work and had to start from scratch. The more complex my reels were, such as with many cuts and edits, the greater the chances of Instagram freezing on me. I was even sick on one of the days, and still managed to create a reel. For most of my reels, I did go on camera, and sometimes I went on camera even though I really did not feel like it. I was so so tired at the end of the 30 days, but I was so happy that I did it!
Voice actors can stay behind the mic and pretty much never show their faces, so it’s a great thing to go on camera and to show the public and potential clients who you are, what you’re about. I played and I had fun. I really did. I made myself laugh with some of my reels. I had great feedback from a lot of people who had seen my content. And I did grow my following and continue to do so, which is definitely one of my Instagram goals.
Now that the challenge is over, my goal is to post 1-3 reels per week. I do want to continue to create content that is entertaining above all.
I want to thank all of my fellow participants for all of your amazing support, and of course, Jonathan Tilley and team Tilley for everything that you did for us challengers!
Jonathan is going to be hosting another reels challenge in January, so keep an eye out for it if you want to participate or you can sign up to be notified by clicking here.
Come follow me on my Instagram journey at Theresa C. Ho (@trulytheresavo) • Instagram photos and videos and I’d love to follow you back! Hope to see you there!