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)