How to produce a Zoom/YouTube Series and make it work…correctly, part 2

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!

 

Janet Elizabeth Lynn
Author of mysteries, checkout my website www.janetlynnauthor.com
Check out our latest Skylar Drake Mystery.
 

(For questions and/or information on how  YOU and your writing can be hosted on “Chatting With Authors” please contact them at: lynnslp@earthlink.net )

 

This blog was posted for Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn by Jackie Houchin

 

How to create a Zoom/YouTube series and make it work…correctly, Part 1

By Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn

We are a husband and wife writing team who write individually, as well as co-write several books. We were shocked and confused, like many of our fellow authors when the pandemic hit.

Because the nation was given the “stay at home” orders at the onset of the pandemic, all live meetings, in-person book signings and book launches, speaking engagements and appearances in panel discussions came to an abrupt halt.  As writers, our marketing and promotion plans were put on hold.

One day we saw a YouTube interview with a musician that was recorded via Zoom, the online video meeting app. The interviewer and guest were shown side by side on the screen. After we watched several different examples of these YouTube interview videos, we had a brainstorm… why not conduct our interviews via Zoom on our computer?  We learned that doing this was not complicated at all. The result was our YouTube channel, “Chatting with Authors.” We interview authors of all genres about their work and life outside writing.

This is part one of a two-part series that discusses the ins and outs of making it work and tips on how to avoid some of the pitfalls.

What was needed:

(1) YouTube account (free) Go to YouTube.com and sign on. 

(2) Zoom account (free) Go to Zoom.com and sign up. 

(3) Computer (laptop/notebook, desktop, or tablet) with a built-in camera and microphone.  

 

 

 

(Some people use their smartphones on a stand with a “ring light,”  but it can be very difficult to monitor what is happening when the screen is small and far away from you.)

 

If you do not have a built-in camera, you may be able to connect a DSLR (digital reflex camera) to your computer. Ask for help from a tech-savvy friend if this is getting too complicated

 

(4) Make sure you have good lighting. Use a couple of lights (position them on either side of your computer.) They don’t have to be fancy lights, even table lamps will work. (Try not to sit with a window behind you.)

 

(5) A pleasant, but not distracting, room for your background.  If you don’t have a suitable space, try a solid, blank wall. Zoom provides digital backgrounds or you can use your own. 

 

 If you don’t have one, purchase “greenscreen” fabric on-line.

 

 

(6) A good Internet connection.

(7) Decide how long your interview will be (30 minutes, 1 hour, or longer) then schedule a meeting with your guest and be sure to set record while you chat on Zoom. When you are finished, upload your program to YouTube and tell your audience about it. That’s all there is to it.

(8) An opening title graphic or photo. You can create one yourself, use a template (available online,) or have someone create one for you…as well as a sign off.

(9) Before you decide to “go live” with your YouTube program, do a few “test interviews” and upload them to YouTube. You may delete them after you’ve viewed them. When you are satisfied with the lighting, background, clothing, hair (and make-up), and running time, you are ready to do your first interview.

 

(Continued next week with Part 2)

 

(Posted for Will & Janet by Photojaq)

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