I slowly woke up thinking through the episode recording I attempted last night. My mind a sleepy whirlwind of thoughts.
The first two episodes are in the can and posted. I’m already getting a lot of feedback on them both, mainly through the process itself. The first episode was free and easy, got a decent amount of views. After posting the second episode, I decided to fully engage the Vimeo OnDemand setup, meaning no more outright free videos, but I made a Promo Code for a free rental, so folks could still watch it and give me feedback. And … like no one’s viewed it. Like 4 instead of 37. (Until it was 5, and the 5th person actually paid for the rental, so we made our first $3).
But it makes sense, for many folks who watched the week before, it was novel, and it didn’t require a Vimeo account, and there were zero hoops to jump through. Now there are hoops. Aaaand, for anyone interested in picking up where I left off on the first episode, they were denied because I went for a ancillary topic on the second. But, my brain and discussions with my son the editor are already heading into the “what should we think about doing about free-ish content” direction.
I’m wanting to also shoot for a weekly release cycle. That may be too ambitious, but we also can’t tell yet because so much work has been going into one-time meta tasks, like setting up the sites, making a trailer to satisfy the needs of Vimeo OnDemand (not that it was a bad idea - though you may think otherwise once you watch it), setting up Twitter and Facebook accounts (there is one! - http://facebook.com/realcodez - if that’s your preference, though it’s not linked to from anywhere up until now).
Last night I setup and hit record on Gems Missing in Bundler Outdated Part 2. And it’s rough going. And I’m stuck-ish. And it’s long. Already 30 minutes.
Here’s another challenge about this whole project. One of the great, though varying, pieces of feedback
I received from friends was around episode length. As I write about in the welcome post
(which I wish was already setup to be redirected to from
/about but haven’t done that yet), RubyTapas
was one of the many inspirations for this idea, but that content fits ideally into smaller episodes.
PeepCode Play-by-Play episodes were frequently 60-90 minutes (well, the two that readily come to mind, I
don’t have time for a proper sample size). Adam Savage does
one day builds that get edited into varying lengths, but
are frequently 30+ minutes. One RealCodez viewer likes shorter videos, has a shorter attention span for
this sort of material, and multiple folks wished we’d worked in more funny bits.
What’s the proper length for RealCodez?
I’m not sure yet. I am sure that I want to keep the reality factor high. This isn’t about the final product, this is about educating and encouraging all of us that coding is messy, we’re not just cranking out known stuff, we’re discovering unknown stuff and that process is seldom linear.
And yet. I am still making a final product here. And attempting to sell it to help justify the time spent and confirm that there is an audience here.
The final product IS the mess. It still needs some packaging, some sanding down, sprucing up, quality work. And while I’m attempting to expose the innards of the coding process, I’m caught up in a meta process producing the content, and that production pipeline is another layer that I’m mostly hiding from you (but might expose more in posts like this).
Here’s the best part of this post for me. Go back several paragraphs to where I say “Last night I setup and hit record … And it’s rough going. And I’m stuck-ish.”
I’ve already solved this problem in real life.
I got stuck last night re-solving the same code I’ve already written and was merged to master 17 days ago.
When I started with the first episode, I wanted to focus on building out the screencasting pipeline. I needed an audio setup, a screen recording setup, video format to pass back and forth to my editor, etc., so I picked code I’d already written so I could truly focus on the new stuff, feeling confident that I could get some good new content going forward on new coding tasks once a workflow was established. (Trivia: I recorded the raw material for the first episode 3 separate times, as we iterated over different setups).
But last night, recording was hard, because in the back of my head, while I’m trying to legitimately resolve the problem “fresh” in the front of my head, the back is sort of freaking about a few things. “This episode is too long already, this project will never work.” “I’ve already forgotten how I wrote this in the first place.” “I can’t believe I’m thinking of publishing video showing me failing at repeating work I’ve already done before.”
The good news on waking up: I have a wealth of material to share here. It feels like too much. But that’s a better problem to have. Here’s to pressing on.