Pluralsight

Or is it Pluralsite?  They seem to use both.  In any event, I finished an audition for Pluralsight yesterday.  It was a 10 minute demo of slides and code.  It was a really interesting process and makes me appreciate what it takes to do it.  Lesson learned include:

1) Script the slide deck – down to the pauses for breathing.  I first tried to do it without any help – epic failure.  I then tried to do it with bullet points – failure.  After about an hour of takes and re-takes of the first slide, I surrendered and scripted everything.  I then could get through the slide deck in about 5 takes per slide.

2) Everything is editable.  In the beginning, once I screwed up, I would stop and restart.  Then, I realized that I was re-recoding my good content so I started to place a break after my screw up, re-record and then edit out the the screw-up.  I learned that to do this effectively, I need splice points that don’t look like splice points so I can screw up without losing the good stuff.

3) Speaking of which, I spent waaaay too much time in Camtasia, the video editing software.  Just learning how to use that took a better part of my Sunday.  Once I figured it out some, it was great to use.

4) I did the code in about 6 takes – and it shows.  I did not script my code, instead I treated it more like the classes I teach with the occasional flub and mistyping (And I technical error that Rob Seder sent me).  I also typed my code versus drag and dropping code blocks (or using code snippets).  I talked to different people and each have a different option on this – I find presentations more interesting with typing, even if it is not as smooth as a professional typist.  Some people like the typing (you can really hear my mechanical keyboard in the video), others do not.  Derik Whittaker was kind enough to do a full-on, no holds-barred review of what I did suggested in speeding up time for the longer typing moments – which I didn’t even think of.

5) Speaking of Derik, he has done a couple of courses and he showed me how to prepare for a course.  If I get picked up, I will implement much of his methodology.  Basically, you can’t be too organized for teaching a Pluralsight course.  Derik has a 3 monitor setup when recording and he scripts everything in one-note.  He also does much of his effects in editing, so he is not concentrating on that stuff when recording.

6) Speaking of getting picked up, there is a TON of content in the pipeline.  I am pitching .NET best practices and there are several other courses that have some overlap (some already in prod) so I am curious that if the course gets green-lighted, how many people will actually watch it.

In any event, it was an interesting process and since I learned something, it was worth it.  If I get picked up, I will take a hiatus from blogging because my free time will be spent on that.  Seems like a worthwhile adventure, no?

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One Response to Pluralsight

  1. David Green says:

    It’s funny, I just went through the same process myself with similar experiences. Some of my tips/observations/experiences:

    * I didn’t do my audition with a script and I wish I had, would have saved a ton of time…I had this one 11 second clip I must have done a retake on 20 times I kid you not!
    * I get so frustrated with retakes at times I begin to question whether I can actually speak English as a first language 🙂 It’s amazing how often we stumble in communication in our day-day interactions and no one cares.
    * I do lots of short clips…rarely do I have a clip that exceeds more than one minute now.
    * Camatsia needs a Pluralsight course of its own. Enough said.
    * I do the code speed up thing when typing code – typically 250% speed. I saw Julie Lerman do it in her videos although I think she has hers at least 400%.
    * Sometimes I wish I was more creative with slides…I don’t know where all these other authors get these cool pseduo-relevent graphics for their powerpoint. I’m pretty much reduced to the standard bullet list 90% of the time.

    Anyway, I just finished my first module today and I’m working on my second (my course will have 7 modules). The day before I scripted the whole thing and spent about 8 hours to get a 30 minute module…only to discover I used the internal mic the whole time (doh!). You live and learn 🙂

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