As the San Diego Comic Con is fast approaching – the date is July 20th – July 25th 2011 – it seemed like a good time to get this advice blog post up, then turn attention back to Comic Con-related news and happenings. This blog post is targeted for video-bloggers like myself.
But, before we start, what is a video-blogger?
I’m only giving my definition, from the perspective of one who has done this, and gotten better at it, since 2006. A video-blogger, or vlogger, is a person who makes a video that’s the visual equivalent of a text blog post. That is, the video-blog must have you stating an opinion, or observation, or presenting something in an informal way. You’re not a video-expert. But you’re use of the camcorder is fluid: almost an extension of your eye. A good vlog gives a window into the life of the person making it. Here’s one example:
Comic Con 2011 and Vloggers
Comic Con 2011 or 2000-whatever, or 19-whatever, is a target-rich environment for vloggers. Comic Con is not just one of America’s largest conventions, it’s a gathering of a broad cross-section of people who have come together to celebrate the popular arts. Because of this, you’re going to see people who are celebrities, in costume, part of large groups, wild vehicles, outsized ads, you name it, you will more than likely see it. I hope you’re going, because it’s something you’ve got to experience at least once.
Tips For Vloggers At Comic Con
With that, here are my tips.
1) Make sure you bring a camcorder! You can’t be a vlogger without a camcorder. If you’ve left your camcorder at home or in the hotel, you’re plans have been destroyed, and in away far worse than Darth Vader could do. So make sure you’ve packed your camcorder.
2) If you can afford to buy a camcorder, get something that’s easy to use with one hand. A lot of vlogging is talking to the camcorder, thus, in effect, talking to your audience. If you have a huge, bulky Sony Betacam some ex-TV camera person told you to buy because of the “quality,” and said “get a tripod,” you’re sunk. You’re not going to have fun at vlogging, because you can’t vlog with a big camera or camcorder. If you can’t easily hold it and move it with one hand, don’t buy it. That’s one reason why I swear by Flip Video Cameras. Plus, because Cisco made the awful decision not to make more new ones, you can get one on the cheap – do it, because they’re reliable devices.
3) Once you have your camcorder, use the damn thing. Don’t be afraid to turn it on and use it. Start with a practice vlog where you look into the camcorder and tell your viewers what you’re going to do at Comic Con, but keep it under three minutes, tops. Then, keep the video and make another one. Use the first as a basis for the next one. Get used to the idea of being you, not recording videos, then discarding them, then recording new ones because you’re not happy with the first one.
Many people make the mistake of trying to emulate news television video accounts. Don’t do that. The idea of vlogging is to create your own video broadcast, not be the next Anderson Cooper. (Nothing wrong with him.) But you have to develop and embrace a style based on who you are. If you have certain expressions you don’t like that come off in a vlog, learn to like them. If you don’t say words perfectly, just go with it, and move on. You will find that the more you vlog, the easier words will flow.
4) Do not activate your camcorder, point at a subject at Comic Con, run up and start vlogging them. ASK FIRST. I don’t care if people around you are rude. A great vlogger does not fear asking a person if they can vlog them. If the person’s in costume, they will stop and let you vlog and answer most questions you present to them. But, for God’s sakes, don’t run up and just think you have the right to make a video of them just because they’re there. The legal issues aside, it’s not proper form to do that, if the subject is not in the process of committing a crime.
5) If you see a person you think may be a celebrity, ask them who they are, then ask for an interview. That’s the one action many vloggers don’t do, and so many celebrities, who want the publicity in most cases, don’t get it. Help them out. Here’s an example video, where I interview the legendary Jim Kelly at WonderCon San Francisco (hint: I asked first.)
4) Make sure you are able to make twitter tweets to warm up your audience for your vlogs, and tell them what’s happening at Comic Con. And take photos and use Twitpic to give them a visual. Or, do what I do: use Qik.com live stream, which allows for real time, on-the-spot video blogging using your smartphone. No, I’m not saying do it instead of regular vlogging, but as a part of it. See, your job is to give your followers a taste of the total experience of Comic Con, and almost as it happens. You’ll find yourself tuned to the “pulse” of Comic Con with that practice. It’s a kind of drug, frankly.
5) Upload videos every day. No matter how much or how little time you have, feed your followers with content., and post blogs with the videos embed, if you have a blog. If you don’t and use YouTube or Blip.tv or Vimeo, or Dailymotion, or CNN iReport, let Twitter be your distribution system for your videos.
6) Always have a spare camcorder or at least batteries, and think of your smartphone as another vlogging tool. This way you’ll always be ready, in case one device runs low on power unexpectedly, you can switch to the other. Also, bring your laptop computer (if you have one), so, if you have a Flip Camera, you can recharge it on the spot.
Those are the basic tips, and if you follow them, you will not only have a ton of fun at Comic Con, but find you’ve make a chronicle of it all in the process. Your friends and followers will love you even more, and people, and perhaps companies, will want to partner with you in the future.
Stay tuned. See you at Comic Con and follow Zennie62 on Twitter.