Client Case Study: Kev Anderson – The Story Edge
It was take twelve. Or was it thirteen? Kev was trying to create the second of ten videos for his first online course.
He framed the video perfectly. His cheery wee face was centre of the frame. The lighting, while not perfect, was OK. He was ready to roll – lights, camera, action.
After forty-five minutes of stop-start recording he decided it made sense to watch it back. He spotted it immediately. He still doesn’t know exactly what happened, but his best guess is that at some point or another he nudged his phone that was doubling as a camera. The framing was no longer perfect. Now, at the bottom of the frame was the bright white of the radiator… and a pair of pants. Football pants, belonging to one of his sons.
Of course, the offending pants could have been edited out, but that was the moment Kev called time-out. That was the moment that he realised that he had neither the time or the patience for creating his own videos. That’s when Kev reached out to me.
Kev is a coach and communications consultant. His first coaching programme was called Writing with Confidence. He loved delivering it, but when one person said ‘I want to do it, but can’t afford it’ he decided to turn his 1-to-1 coaching programme into a low cost online course.
It sounded simple enough; he’d planned to deliver the course with eleven written lessons. He already had the content, and it was the easiest way to get the course live. But, he knew it wasn’t the BEST way. He knew that the best way to deliver this course was to include video lessons.
Having done quite a few Facebook Lives and his own YouTube videos, Kev wasn’t totally new to producing videos, but he didn’t want to compromise on the quality of the videos for his course. He spent quite a bit of time setting up to make his videos the best they could be, describing the setup as ‘something Macgyver would be proud of’ – an iPhone 5S for the camera, a lav (clip-on) mic, a stand he uses for his iPad and a Penguin Pile Up board game to elevate the camera, in lieu of a tripod (did the job, and he assures me it’s really a game).
Technically Kev’s setup would have worked fine, but his real challenge was a lack of editing skills, and a lack of time. He’d underestimated just how long it would take to produce, edit and publish eleven video lessons. The result? Kev had an all too familiar feeling of stress. He was close to abandoning the video project, along with the entire course idea altogether, but it turned out to be an itch that needed scratched. There was this feeling that he had to do it, and that there must be a way. Kev knew I’d helped others with their video issues so he asked if I could help.
Location, Location, Location
After some discussions we asked our friends at The Circle in Dundee – where Kev also has an office space – if we could use one of their rooms. The Circle is a huge building with lots of creative possibilities, and Nicola and Kirsty were happy to give us the freedom to use any of the unoccupied spaces. The first two locations we tried were visually great, but the sound quality wasn’t ideally. In one room the background noise from the road was an issue, while in another, it was the sound of people cleaning dishes in an adjacent kitchen. We found an alternative space which worked better.
That’s when I first noticed it…
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Kev is a natural communicator. He’s funny, he tells great stories and he draws people in. But in the test recordings, Kev was barely recognisable. He was a shadow of the Kev I knew. It was as if the presence of the camera was holding him back.
For some of the lessons, especially the earlier ones, he had a script. The scripts were good, but the delivery wavered from wooden to – by his own admission – a little bit cheesy. That’s when I asked if I could offer some advice. It’s a difficult one offering feedback from others; feedback that isn’t asked for can end up coming out like a veiled insult. But I offered and Kev immediately accepted. We had a talk about it and he asked me to be as direct as needed – to ‘be brutal’.
At that point I’d moved from being Kev’s videographer to being his director and coach. With the green light to offer feedback and direction, the process of recording the lessons became a joint production. I applied everything through a ‘if it was me I’d…’ filter, and we worked together to edit some of the scripts, and adjust the pacing, pitch and delivery of some of Kev’s dialogue. The whole process was a lot of fun. The Kev I knew was back, and the nerves and woodenness was gone. So much so that a few of the takes were ruined by one or both of us bursting into a fit of hysterical laughter. But for me, that’s the way it should be – fun.
First Cut Is The Deepest
After a long, hard and entertaining day, Kev’s job was done, but I still had the small matter of editing the footage.
I worked that evening to create a quick edit of the first lesson to get Kev’s feedback. Being a perfectionist, there were definitely things I would have changed, but I sent over that first video proud of what we’d produced together. It didn’t take long for Kev to get back to me. Thankfully, he was happy.
“I was really nervous before watching the first cut of the first lesson. It was definitely a butterflies in stomach moment. When I hit play, I loved what I saw. I got over that cringeable watching myself back feeling. I put myself in the shoes of a student with a writing problem and realised that yes, this video would help them. That was a special moment for me. My own material that had only ever lived as written text was now a video. And a bloody good one at that.”
Kevin Anderson – The Story Edge
With the thumbs-up from Kev, I was able to get on with the process of editing the rest of the videos, and Kev published his Writing with Confidence course a few weeks later. It’s been joined by two further courses, with more on the horizon. He’s found that the real power of the courses is to help existing coaching clients and workshops attendees to take on what they’ve learned. To date, four of Kev’s largest clients have told him that the coaching and courses combination was a factor in them making the decision to work with him.
Sample of Our Work
Here’s the introduction Kevin and I recorded for his Write with Confidence course.
If you’d like to know more about Kevin and his business, head over to The Story Edge: