Friday 5th May 2017

As you know, I’ve been watching a lot of vlogs recently.  I quite like them because they’re easy content to have on in the background when you’re working on something else.  I’m also fascinated by the storytelling element of them.  Writing The Climb each day, I’ve been acutely aware that the best ones have a narrative to the day.  Therefore my challenge with each edition is to try and find that narrative.  It’s a challenging but interesting problem and it’s interesting to see these vloggers essentially try and do the same thing (albeit in video form).
The vlog I’m watching at the moment has a lot of old content so as well as watching the new video each day, I’m also watching the historic stuff.  I’m up to the vlogger’s trip to Australia and New Zealand last summer and it was interesting watching the build up with the knowledge that I’ll be travelling out to Canada in little over a week.
After several days of feeling crap due to post-novel comedown, today I felt human again.  I’m starting to get excited about my trip and far from feeling dull (like it did over the last couple of days) it feels like a massive adventure.  I also feel ready to start a new writing project and have started thinking about the short story I want to write.  I hope to start drafting that by the end of the weekend.
Now we’re 2 weeks from the start of our actual chase (and just over a week until I head out to Canada), my focus has very much swapped to what I am calling Chasepalooza  (because everything is better with a name and I don’t want to keep typing Storm Chasing Trip 2017 because it sounds so dull).  I think you’re likely to see that change in focus within The Climb.  The focus will move away from the writing and towards the trip.
Now for those of you who come here for the writing narrative, I urge you to play close attention.  I honestly believe that having these adventures helps me write and one of the things I want to try and do this year on the trip is highlight how that works.  So whilst the majority of the editions are going to be all about storms, tornadoes and road trips, dig behind the words a bit and I think there’s going to be some things of real value.
I bought a few things on Amazon today.  Nothing really exciting, just USB chargers, cables and a case for SD cards.  I’ve set up my old iPhone as a vlogging rig using a stabiliser I got from Kickstarter last year.  Seems perfect for it as well.  Now I have my current iPhone unlocked it’s possible I will be taking both out with me.  Add to that my Go Pro, my DSLR, my vlogging camera and my video camera, I’m going to need to turn up to a location 4 days before the storm starts just to get everything set up in time.
My plan is to focus on video this year, and specifically I want to look at creating vlog type content documenting our chase.  Part of this is because, being our first year without training wheels, I doubt we’re going to get crazy tornado footage like I did last year.  We’re not going to get as close and we’ll probably pick the wrong storms.
That’s fine, because I’m actually more excited about the road trip, about trying to chase on our own, and succeeding and failing with our targets.  That makes it perfect for vlog style videos.
And seeing as I want to do more vlog style content, it’ll be a good experience.  The vlogger who went to Australia managed to upload a vlog every day, which is insane.  So I’m thinking of trying to do that as well (although I’m making no promises)
I was part of a web chat with a major social media agency’s CEO tonight and he gave me some good advice.  Video is where it’s at, and I need to be doing it.  He advised starting with some Instagram Stories and so I’m going to be doing that  going forward giving mini-clips of my day.  Make sure you’re following me to see how well (or badly I do).
I also won a book (I nearly won a hat) so it was time well spent.
I went for a walk this evening because it was a nice day and I needed to do a picture for The Climb.  Yep, I’ve become that person!  To be fair to myself I was thinking a bit about this short story I need to write for this anthology.
I also taught myself how to create a timelapse from a bunch of still images in Adobe Premiere Elements and whilst the result was a bit flickery, I’ve learnt how to (very basically) colour correct.  I’d like to do a couple of test vlogs over the weekend just to get a bit more confident about them.  If my Star Wars day lightsabre fighting video showed me anything, it’s that I can become very shy and quiet when outside my comfort zone.
I need to be loud and entertaining if I’m going to make this vlog work and I think that’ll come from practising speaking a lot to the camera.  I have a few things planned.
I also need to start practising editing.  I’ve got some friends who are going to help me but I need to really set the tone for the vlog.  The idea is that once I’m back from storm chasing / Chasepalooza I can start doing vlogs every week or two which they can edit.
I have items turning up tomorrow, plus I need to go into town and sort out a new hand luggage bag to carry all my camera gear.  It does feel like a load of cost at the moment, but then I need to remind myself I’ve not put it all on my credit card this year and the trip is a lot cheaper.  Although, with the amount of gear I’m buying, it certainly doesn’t feel like it.
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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