by Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn
We are a husband and wife team who write together as well as individually. When the Pandemic hit, we were as shocked and confused as everyone else. Not only by the world’s sad state of affairs, but we missed our friends. It took a few months to realize that the Pandemic was going to take some time to resolve. So, we decided to launch a YouTube channel, “Chatting with Authors.” We produce casual interview programs via Zoom and air them on YouTube.
This is the second of a two-part series that discusses the ins and outs of making it work and some pitfalls to avoid.
Once you have all of your technical details worked out and, most important, are comfortable using them, next comes the talent (people you want to interview).
INITIAL CONTACT- First, we sent an initial letter to inform authors of the program, what it was going to involve and asked if they were interested in being on the program. Surprisingly, we had little response to the idea. We set up three Zoom recordings of those who were interested. After editing them and scheduling them on YouTube, we were able to refer the authors to the three programs. That’s when the flood gates opened!
FOLLOW UP- We scheduled two to three Zoom recording sessions per day. We found that any more, and we were getting too “punchy” toward the end. The best was two or three. Once the talent was scheduled for recording, we asked them to send a headshot, website address, short bio, and five questions they would like us to ask them on the show. Once we received their information, we scheduled a phone interview a week before their Zoom session. This is where we discussed the procedure and went through the bio and questions (we usually had to edit the bios and questions to fit in the 30-minute recording session).
DURING ZOOM RECORDING- We discovered gremlins in the internet that can cause all sorts of problems, especially when interviewing people in different countries or the east coast (we are in California). So it is best to schedule an hour even though our show is 30 minutes. Once you get them online, check audio and visual. Remedy any problems, like echoes, before you begin recording.
Be sure to keep the talent on after the recording is finished to discuss any problems that may have occurred during the session, i.e., visual static, audio blank spots, lights falling (it happens!!), and decide if you need to redo the interview at another time. This happened only twice out of 64 shows.
AFTER THE SESSION- Immediately after the recording session, summarize the interview for your PR for the show. We have a specific logo we use and superimposed their headshot on it. When we schedule our airings on the various platforms, we use that summary and logo.
A week before we air their program, we send them a notification of day and time, a copy of the logo, address, and summary we are using.
IMPORTANT! Always ask them to confirm that they received the information. Always!
DRESS-be sure what you wear will not disappear into the background. And council your talent to be careful if they are using a green screen or a background. We had a few people who were armless and faceless or bodiless until they changed their clothing.
THE STUDIO- We record from a corner of our office, early in the morning every Thursday. So, each Wednesday evening, we set up the studio and take it down every Thursday afternoon. It may seem like a pain, but it does get easier as you do it.
Things to watch out for:
—If you are recording on your premises (home, garage, outside), be sure you know when the gardeners, carpenter, cement workers, trash pickup, etc., are coming anywhere in the neighborhood. It can get embarrassingly loud!
—Be sure your lights are soundly taped down or strapped. One of our lights managed to stay put during the first two interviews of the day but came crashing down on the third one. We acknowledged it but kept the interview going.
—During the phone interview prior to recording, you will get a feel for the nervous state of the talent. If they have never done this before, they can get pretty frazzled. So encourage them as you record their interview.
With much planning and practice before your first recording, you will have a blast doing interviews with friends, meeting new people, and, most of all, making connections. We have written five books and recorded 64 shows together, and yes…we are still married!
(For questions and/or information on how YOU and your writing can be hosted on “Chatting With Authors” please contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org )
This blog was posted for Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn by Jackie Houchin