Monday 8th May 2017

And like that, I’m suddenly a vlogger!
Whilst I’ve been filming content since Saturday, the first vlog didn’t go live until late last night.  And I woke this morning to find the reception has been very positive.
I’m very much framing this exercise as a precursor to chasing.  I have no idea why I would want to attempt to vlog on the road?  I watched a documentary on Tornado Chasers the other day and they said just filming it was impossibly hard.  I’m doing something similar on the fly.  Why do I always make things impossible for myself?
Yet, with the novel draft out the way, I terribly excited by it, and the positive reaction from people has shocked me a little (in a good way).  I didn’t think my first vlog particularly good:  It was overlong, jumped around too much and lacked a central narrative.
But…  I really enjoyed putting it together.
I was worried about having time to get vlog0002 out but I managed to edit it really fast and get it online before I went out this evening.  In it I did a swordfighting montage.  I’d filmed everything at 50fps which allowed me to slow things down.  Couple that with a modern dance / dubstep soundtrack and I think the output looked really fresh and very different to most HEMA videos.
It’s little things like that which just make you think:  “I’m onto something here”
I literally uploaded the video and went to training and by the time I arrived I already had people giving me compliments.
Of course, today’s vlog isn’t as interesting given the lack of time to actually film much.  I did do a piece to camera on storytelling through daily vlogs which should give today some content.
But it does lead to another problem:  how do the vlogs and The Climb compliment each other?
Obviously, they both cover the same day, and at their center they have the same protagonist: me!  So should the narrative of the day be the same, or should I find different threads to pull on?  My gut says they can complement each other but I’m genuinely not sure how to do this currently.  Where does The Climb end and the vlog start?  How much cross-over do they have?
I do wonder if they are really one and the same but I think there are some things better suited to video and other stuff I can only write about.
I suppose it’s easy at the moment as the focus of the vlog should very much be on storm chasing, but having said that there isn’t a whole lot of writing content for The Climb now the draft is done.
I have a week until I’m in Canada and the challenge for this week will be to create content for the vlog with little time to edit and film.  I talked a little about this tonight, and you’ll be able to catch that in vlog0003.
But that’s my other worry:  that I’ll exclude content from one platform because I’ve done it on the other.  There’s sound reasoning that cross pollination of content is a good marketing strategy… it’s just that my gut says it runs a real risk of diluting everything.  I guess what I need to do is see if over the course of the next couple of weeks whether video drives engagement with the website.
The real thing that’s shocked me has been my reach.  Everyone has been telling me to do Facebook video and currently I’m uploading the vlog to both Youtube and Facebook.  The Facebook video seems to be getting way more attention; way more than my author page’s likes.  In fact, looking at it, it’s getting 10 times what The Climb’s getting.  That’s staggering to me, and yet given the response to the videos, it’s very real.
If I’m smart, I’ll figure this out into some sort of system.  And by that I don’t mean something that can be packaged up and sold in a $50 ebook.  I mean I’ll work out a way to use video to drive people into The Climb and the website.
Of course, the big question looming over all of this is:  what happens after Chasepalooza is over?  Keeping up a daily vlog when I’m going to be knee deep in edits is going to be tough but one of the fallacies of vlogging I’ve learnt is that people think they need to be doing something active and new every day.  I’ve heard experts talk about this and thinking about the vlogs I watch, it’s very true.  Every day they are saying the same stuff or doing the same activity.  And yet, there’s something strangely addictive to that.  Which again, is another reason why I feel like doing video on top of The Climb is a good idea even if I don’t have all the answers yet.
I’m just pleased that I’m willing to try things.  I’d expected more negative voices about my decision to vlog but then swordfighting and chasing tornadoes really lend themselves to good video content.  It’s just writing that doesn’t.
So my plan is to keep trying and experimenting over the next couple of weeks.  If I can continue to improve my video skills as I go on, then by the end of the trip I might be producing something half respectable.
What stopped me doing this sooner was fear of lack of perfection.  I guess the daily vlogging on the road kinda forces me to suck (or at least provides me with legitimate excuses) so perhaps this whole exercise is such that I’m setting up an environment where I can legitimately fail.
But at the moment, given the lovely response from people, I think I’m far better than I give myself credit for.  I just need to get used to people responding to vlog0001 as I edit vlog0002 and film vlog0003.
Anyone see the parallels with publishing?
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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