5 ways AI smooths out my freelance video workflow

As a freelance creator, here are 5 things AI does that have made my life easier, my hours longer, and allowed me to focus on what I do best — being creative.
January 2, 2024
Amy Romer
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As a freelance creator, I’m the CEO, CFO, and CMO of my business. Time is money and so every minute counts. This year, I considered hiring an assistant to help me with various non-creative tasks. Things like chasing money, background research, and promotional social media posts (which I passionately dislike). 

Then, Open AI seemed to just…happen? It was as though the universe had gifted me my very own, very frightening, but also very good PA. 

Over the past year, AI has gone from “Meh?” to “Holy cow”, and although I’d still love a real-life human person to help me with my business, integrating AI has been nothing short of really good. 

Here are 5 things AI does that have smoothed out my freelance video workflow, making my life easier, my hours longer, and allowing me to focus on what I do best — being creative.

Summarizing lengthy texts

If, like me, you’re the kind of creator who works on stories that are in some way technical — whether it be the subject matter or your production setup — you’ve likely been tasked with skimming through multi-page documents and sprawling websites trying to find that one nugget of information you need. Well, AI-powered text summarization tools are doing a great job at streamlining this process. That could be a general-purpose AI chatbot like ChatGPT, or a tailor-made summarizer like WordTune Read.

Now, I’m not saying “don’t read stuff.” If anything, text summarization has the opposite effect. By telling me exactly what’s in the text, not only will I find what I need, but I’ll find things I hadn’t been looking for, without getting lost in the weeds. See it as a scientific abstract or index directing you where to go.

Or, say you need to write a synopsis of your latest video for your website and social media channels. You can use Descript’s AI Summarizer to produce a concise summary straight from the script, saving you time (and sanity) doing it yourself. And if, like me, you’ve been tasked with writing story summaries of various lengths for various audiences on various platforms, you know how difficult and tedious this can be, particularly as an insider on the project.  

Descript’s AI Summarizer turns a lengthy interview into a tidy paragraph.

Creating marketing stuff I don't have time for 

Marketing is a crucial component of any freelance business, but it often takes a backseat because, well, there’s just too much other fun creative stuff to be doing. Luckily, AI can handle a lot of the marketing stuff for you. 

For example, based on your script, Descript’s AI Social Post Writer is able to churn out a number of options for shorter promotional copy. You can prompt it for refinements, alternative suggestions, or just copy paste it straight to your channels. Hours saved.

Generative AI tools can also churn out email newsletters, blog posts, and even ad copy. You know, the stuff that’s better suited to people with business degrees, not fine arts degrees.

I’m not saying it can replace you in your content. Your thoughts are not replaceable. But for more generic, project specific, or promotional posts, AI is golden. 

Mind mapping ideas

It’s been said before, and I’ll say it again: AI solves the blank page problem. Artificial intelligence is emerging as a surprisingly effective collaborator in the mind mapping phase of a project.

Plugging in prompts like: “Mind map stories about climate change” or “Mind map the color blue” will offer you a number of ideas and themes you wouldn’t have otherwise considered. Things get even more smart when you ask “What climate change stories could have a blue theme run throughout?” The answers were pretty inspiring. 

ChatGPT mind mapping stories about climate change

I do think there will always be value in bouncing ideas human to human. AI will never produce an original idea — not yet anyway. AI also can’t read between the lines, or understand the context of who you are as a storyteller. It can’t say: “Hey, I know who’d be a great contact for you! I’ll put you in touch with my friend.” Or, “Are you sure you want to go down this road? Last time you did this, you had the worst time.” 

But, for very early, very general mind mapping, it’s a pretty amazing tool.  

Finding flaws in my budget 

One day, I had a really complicated two-year project budget. At the end of the two years, the budget didn’t align with the money I had left. It was my job (and duty) to find the discrepancy.

I sat with my head spinning as I thought about the best way to tackle this giant spreadsheet. Then, I remembered ChatGPT. A copy, a paste, and the prompt: “Find the discrepancy,” and boom. My sanity was saved.

As soon as the mistake was presented to me, it was obvious. Nevertheless, it would have taken me an hour or more to find on my own. Of course, I still did my due diligence by double and triple checking. Don’t assume AI is always correct. It’s not.

But the time it saved! It felt like a game-changing moment where I saw into the future and it was bright and sparkling and didn’t involve hours of administrative tasks.

Speech to text

Transcribing spoken words into written text is a crucial step in video production. It’s also a time-consuming one. Back in the day, it would all be done manually — listen, transcribe, listen, transcribe. Then, AI apps came along and made things way easier, transcribing your audio in a few minutes, leaving you with only a bit to tidy up. Now, video editing platforms have stepped up and integrated transcription into their software. Descript automatically transcribes your audio, which you can edit just like a doc from within the video timeline. 

You can also use Descript for text to speech. Say, for instance, you switched around a couple of words in your script and didn’t notice it until you sat down to edit. Now, you can use Descript’s in-house AI voice tool to overdub what you meant to say. 

A word of warning

Don’t assume AI (in any context) will get anything right. It should be treated like Wikipedia — a great starting place, but not reliable. 

Also, as a journalist, I feel it’s my duty to say that there’s a time and place for AI. For example, text to speech has been game changing for print news accessibility, as has speech to text. But using AI to falsify someone else’s spoken words, or create sentences from scratch, isn’t okay in most situations. 

That doesn’t mean it’s not a great tool for content creators. Whether you’re a vlogger, product reviewer, or educator, AI presents an exciting opportunity that will no doubt save you lots of time and reshoots. 

Integrating AI into my video workflow is a no brainer. It boosts productivity and creativity when used appropriately. From help with research to transcriptions to project management, AI is here to stay. Embrace it where it works for you. 


Amy Romer
Amy Romer is a visual journalist producing stories with words, photography, video and audio. She's a National Geographic Explorer and Global Reporting Centre fellow.
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5 ways AI smooths out my freelance video workflow

As a freelance creator, I’m the CEO, CFO, and CMO of my business. Time is money and so every minute counts. This year, I considered hiring an assistant to help me with various non-creative tasks. Things like chasing money, background research, and promotional social media posts (which I passionately dislike). 

Then, Open AI seemed to just…happen? It was as though the universe had gifted me my very own, very frightening, but also very good PA. 

Over the past year, AI has gone from “Meh?” to “Holy cow”, and although I’d still love a real-life human person to help me with my business, integrating AI has been nothing short of really good. 

Here are 5 things AI does that have smoothed out my freelance video workflow, making my life easier, my hours longer, and allowing me to focus on what I do best — being creative.

Our full-featured video editing tool is as powerful as it is easy to use.
Look for our all-in-one audio & video production that’s as easy as editing a doc.

Summarizing lengthy texts

If, like me, you’re the kind of creator who works on stories that are in some way technical — whether it be the subject matter or your production setup — you’ve likely been tasked with skimming through multi-page documents and sprawling websites trying to find that one nugget of information you need. Well, AI-powered text summarization tools are doing a great job at streamlining this process. That could be a general-purpose AI chatbot like ChatGPT, or a tailor-made summarizer like WordTune Read.

Now, I’m not saying “don’t read stuff.” If anything, text summarization has the opposite effect. By telling me exactly what’s in the text, not only will I find what I need, but I’ll find things I hadn’t been looking for, without getting lost in the weeds. See it as a scientific abstract or index directing you where to go.

Or, say you need to write a synopsis of your latest video for your website and social media channels. You can use Descript’s AI Summarizer to produce a concise summary straight from the script, saving you time (and sanity) doing it yourself. And if, like me, you’ve been tasked with writing story summaries of various lengths for various audiences on various platforms, you know how difficult and tedious this can be, particularly as an insider on the project.  

Descript’s AI Summarizer turns a lengthy interview into a tidy paragraph.

Creating marketing stuff I don't have time for 

Marketing is a crucial component of any freelance business, but it often takes a backseat because, well, there’s just too much other fun creative stuff to be doing. Luckily, AI can handle a lot of the marketing stuff for you. 

For example, based on your script, Descript’s AI Social Post Writer is able to churn out a number of options for shorter promotional copy. You can prompt it for refinements, alternative suggestions, or just copy paste it straight to your channels. Hours saved.

Generative AI tools can also churn out email newsletters, blog posts, and even ad copy. You know, the stuff that’s better suited to people with business degrees, not fine arts degrees.

I’m not saying it can replace you in your content. Your thoughts are not replaceable. But for more generic, project specific, or promotional posts, AI is golden. 

Mind mapping ideas

It’s been said before, and I’ll say it again: AI solves the blank page problem. Artificial intelligence is emerging as a surprisingly effective collaborator in the mind mapping phase of a project.

Plugging in prompts like: “Mind map stories about climate change” or “Mind map the color blue” will offer you a number of ideas and themes you wouldn’t have otherwise considered. Things get even more smart when you ask “What climate change stories could have a blue theme run throughout?” The answers were pretty inspiring. 

ChatGPT mind mapping stories about climate change

I do think there will always be value in bouncing ideas human to human. AI will never produce an original idea — not yet anyway. AI also can’t read between the lines, or understand the context of who you are as a storyteller. It can’t say: “Hey, I know who’d be a great contact for you! I’ll put you in touch with my friend.” Or, “Are you sure you want to go down this road? Last time you did this, you had the worst time.” 

But, for very early, very general mind mapping, it’s a pretty amazing tool.  

Finding flaws in my budget 

One day, I had a really complicated two-year project budget. At the end of the two years, the budget didn’t align with the money I had left. It was my job (and duty) to find the discrepancy.

I sat with my head spinning as I thought about the best way to tackle this giant spreadsheet. Then, I remembered ChatGPT. A copy, a paste, and the prompt: “Find the discrepancy,” and boom. My sanity was saved.

As soon as the mistake was presented to me, it was obvious. Nevertheless, it would have taken me an hour or more to find on my own. Of course, I still did my due diligence by double and triple checking. Don’t assume AI is always correct. It’s not.

But the time it saved! It felt like a game-changing moment where I saw into the future and it was bright and sparkling and didn’t involve hours of administrative tasks.

Speech to text

Transcribing spoken words into written text is a crucial step in video production. It’s also a time-consuming one. Back in the day, it would all be done manually — listen, transcribe, listen, transcribe. Then, AI apps came along and made things way easier, transcribing your audio in a few minutes, leaving you with only a bit to tidy up. Now, video editing platforms have stepped up and integrated transcription into their software. Descript automatically transcribes your audio, which you can edit just like a doc from within the video timeline. 

You can also use Descript for text to speech. Say, for instance, you switched around a couple of words in your script and didn’t notice it until you sat down to edit. Now, you can use Descript’s in-house AI voice tool to overdub what you meant to say. 

A word of warning

Don’t assume AI (in any context) will get anything right. It should be treated like Wikipedia — a great starting place, but not reliable. 

Also, as a journalist, I feel it’s my duty to say that there’s a time and place for AI. For example, text to speech has been game changing for print news accessibility, as has speech to text. But using AI to falsify someone else’s spoken words, or create sentences from scratch, isn’t okay in most situations. 

That doesn’t mean it’s not a great tool for content creators. Whether you’re a vlogger, product reviewer, or educator, AI presents an exciting opportunity that will no doubt save you lots of time and reshoots. 

Integrating AI into my video workflow is a no brainer. It boosts productivity and creativity when used appropriately. From help with research to transcriptions to project management, AI is here to stay. Embrace it where it works for you. 


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