How To Go From Blogging To Video Blogging Without Hurting Yourself

How To Go From Writing Your Blog To Video Blogging (Without hurting yourself or those around you) - Don't Get Me Started!

I started blogging a few years ago off and on but when I became the official blogger for Project Runway (Season 3) last year on bravotv.com it became apparent to me that I was going to have to throw caution to the wind and begin blogging on a regular basis. And as I am who I am, that meant creating a website for the blog. (Something I knew nothing about) But I found a great do-it-yourself web hosting site (http://www.web.com/) and within two weekends of learning and spending fourteen hour days, alas, the Some Like It Scott site was born! I still love it when people ask me who designed my site for me for it is me, myself and I (and lots of trial and error). So over the past year of posting to the blog at least five times a week and keeping the other pages current (while holding down a really demanding full-time job that has me traveling all over God's creation) along with the rest of my life, I made this much harder than it probably needed to be. Most people do a one page site, mine had 9 pages (got smart and archived a couple and added one so the site currently has 8 pages) and so that meant that you needed to update those pages at least once a week and then you have the Jewish guilt that people come to the site and aren't seeing anything new so they're not coming back again so you start just moving things around on pages (out of sheer desperation) so that the page will look new and hopefully no one will find out or worse, hate you for it. At any rate, I finally found my stride and was keeping everything semi-up-to-date when people started writing in asking when I would start video blogging. Now you have to remember that when you're writing no one sees your process so they don't know if the ideas just flow or are painful to get out and no one is going to start to stalk you because they have no idea who you are or that you're sitting writing in a ripped up t-shirt and sweat pants, having not showered in two days with your hair looking like some sort of exotic greasy moss so if they saw you they definitely would have no interest in stalking you. (Yet it does happen, a story for another day) How to go from writing your blog to video blogging (without hurting yourself or those around you) - Don't Get Me Started!

Once you decide to start video blogging the first thing you need is a camera. I did some research (but probably not as much as I should have) and decided on a Logitech Quick Cam Ultra-Vision (Special Edition). It has the microphone built in so there are less moving parts to deal with and that's a good thing. It hangs off your monitor or the hook can be manipulated to lay flat (thought I was breaking it the first time I did it). So I install the software that came with it and plug in the camera. Voila the worst picture I've ever seen in my life. I looked like a photo negative and then it would get so bright it looked as if I had just landed on Mars (the red planet). I was so frustrated and although the software said it had looked for the latest update and none were available, I went to the Logitech site (after three frustrating days and buying all sorts of cheap lights thinking it was the lighting and that I needed to be lit from behind, in front or from somewhere in Europe thoughts of returning the thing and never buying another camera seemed as if they would make a blissful reality) and found a later version of the software. Once installed the camera did everything the reviews said that it would. Now the real decisions would need to be made.

First you have to decide with yourself whether or not you're going to take naked pictures of yourself. (Okay, this really wasn't anything I considered but you do think about it as the camera is right there and it just seems so easy. Easy if you're not a Jewish boy obsessed with the bagel that your middle section has become which renders it impossible for you to even look at yourself naked when you come out of a shower so you may be completely gangrene from the neck down and never know and you're certainly not going to be filming it). Let's just say this was never an option for me.

For me, I wanted my video blog to be different from the Don't Get Me Started blog I write and yet have a point of view and be very "me" for lack of a better term. So I started watching other people's video blogs. To be honest, I didn't get through very many of them. Why? Because with the convenience of having cameras everywhere and affordable, everyone is video blogging these days from the teen who talks about what she ate last night for dinner while her mother is calling her in the background to people like Rosie who just turn the camera on and let her stream of consciousness be caught by the camera. That's all well and good if you're Rosie, because you're famous, anything you do people find fascinating but not so much if you've never had your fifteen minutes of fame. So as quickly as I started watching other Vblogs I stopped and thought about what I wanted to talk about and who I wanted to reach. One of the blogs that I had written that had garnered a lot of attention (and got me a regular writing gig for the Sierra Gay Mens Newslettter) was a blog I wrote about being a forty-something gay during Pride week and wondering where I fit in. The responses I got from men who were as I call them, "average garden variety gays" was staggering and I thought to myself, "Yeah, I have something that other people can relate to here. Not everyone can be gay thin and not all of us are walking around at a Pride parade with our assless leather chaps and harness on with a rainbow flag tattooed to our left buttocks." And so the Forty-Something Gay video blog was born.

The next step is deciding the way you want to be filmed - long shot or headshot. This will make a difference (in whether or not you wear pants) and also how much of what's behind you will be seen. I draped fabric behind me, had lights all over the place and then eventually decided to keep it simple and go for the head and shoulders shot with my vintage signed litho from the Wizard of Oz behind me. Clothing is a trial and error process that you just have to do with as open of a mind as you possibly can. Because of the camera and the way I was shooting (and the sixteen Oreos I'd eaten) nothing was going to look great to me so you settle for what looks "good enough" and go on your way. After all, you can change your shirt, getting rid of your six chins is a little harder without a lot of Scotch tape, makeup and the right lighting!

You then have to decide on the content. Are you going to just turn the camera on and let it rip or do you have an idea what you want to say? A lot of the VBlogs that are popular now like Ask A Gay Man have a lot of edits to make them look the way that they do. I decided not to go that way for mine. First, it takes a lot of time to get the editing right and I'm one person doing way too many things as it is and second, I feel like it loses some of its spontaneity if you can see they edited their blog entries. I wrote down some bullet points (and then ignored most of them) trying to stay on topic but knowing I'd digress because that's just who I am. I read somewhere that the ideal time limit is three minutes but in my first couple I tipped the timer at four and five minutes. Looking at the entries, I agree, three minutes is probably the optimum but without a timer ticking down in front of me and even with as fast as I talk, this was just the length of my first couple entries and I decided to be okay with it. I did decide to make actual "episodes" and name them for a focused topic I'd be discussing, edit a piece into the start and end of each episode so that it would look more professional (and also someday I could sell the box set like The Mary Tyler Moore Show or something - yeah, right but stranger things have happened, right?) and I took a deep breath and just dove into the deep end of the pool.

I have a lot more to learn about this medium (like never showing my profile again - EE Gads it's awful) but on the whole I think they look pretty good and what's even more important is that my Mother thinks so - she even went as far as to say I looked handsome but what are Mother's for if not to lie to you?

As I do my weekly video post, I will let you know when I discover more video blogging secrets and also about why I decided to post it on YouTube (to save space on my server and reach more people than those that just visit my site - okay, well I guess I don't have to write about this later now). And what I'm sure will be "only Scott" experiences as I try to maneuver through this new frontier. I hope you'll come along with me on the journey and hope you enjoy the first episode of Forty-Something Gay! How to go from writing your blog to video blogging (without hurting yourself or those around you) - Don't Get Me Started!

 

 

Episode 1 - All About Scott

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