6. A word about technology

There are three levels to consider: amateur, mixed level-amateur, or professional. Amateur, of course, is the do-it-yourself level. You can use your smartphone or a simple camera, sound system, and lighting system on a level that you think you can manage. You can learn to do elementary editing of your audio or video. You can simply send live on social media or place films on a site like YouTube or Vimeo. There are many do-it-yourself alternatives. The more you can do on your own, the less expensive the production will be.

But you know there is a but… but it still takes time and effort, and you have to consider your goal group. Will they be satisfied with your simple way of recording and editing? Will they want an opportunity to view your Talkshow at their convenience and not only when you perhaps are sending it live?

You can get attention and spread your ideas on this level, which is acceptable to most people. It is a logical first step, and most everyone understands that it will not be professionally perfect. But you are out there, and that’s a good start.

The professional level means collaborating with or paying for the services of a person or company that produces audio or video files at a high level. Even the placement on a forum where many people may see your film, blog, or podcast may cost a bit. Is it worth it?. Oh, yes, if you have high ambitions for your show. At least it may be worth the cost to produce a high-quality pilot. If nothing else, you will learn how professionals think, create, design, and utilize their technology. A high professional level will cost you, of course, but sometimes it is worth paying for professional help. There are many sites where you can get freelance help relatively inexpensively, like Fiverr or Upwork. 

The mixed-level amateur consults with friends with experience and experts to learn from them or perhaps gets help with the sound, lighting, or editing. It’s, of course, good to get help and have someone do the recording while you focus on the interviews. You should, however, understand that this is an in-between level, and that can be frustrating both for yourself and your viewers. It’s easy to be stuck here, and people perceive what you do to be sort of okay, but not real good. So in many ways sticking to the amateur level is more acceptable. On the other hand, most productions out there are on this mixed amateur level.

Sound is usually the most challenging aspect of making your Talkshow. Lighting, well, sure, but you can get by with simple lighting systems, but it’s a problem if the sound quality is poor. After all, it is called a Talkshow, and if you can’t hear the talk properly, you’re in trouble. There are good wireless systems you can get with a bit of an investment, but most of the time, a system with a cord into your phone or computer produces better quality but lacks a bit of flexibility compared to wireless or USB solutions.

Again, your decision should be based on your level of convenience, quality, and goals. Indeed, we have learned from TikTok and other social media sites that you can get very far on the amateur level.

Get advice. Test. Get feedback. Keep learning. Keep improving. 

When you watch my interviews, you see I am acting on an amateur level. This is on purpose because I want people to think that they too can just get started. I make lots of mistakes, experiment with lighting and sound and there is an uneven quality about the interviews. For me, it is the content that matters. More importantly, this fits my personality. I am not a perfectionist, indeed, I make countless mistakes every day. I am a “just do it” person, fast and wrong, for me, is better than perfect but never. You have to find your way, but if you think I am crazy to launch a course on how to produce a Talkshow and haven’t myself as course leader tried for near perfection, this is my explanation (or alibi). 

Notice the difference in your comfort level between going live and recording to use later. Live can be very exciting and get you to focus and concentrate. Recording gives you more flexibility. You will make mistakes. There will be uhhss and umms and silences and some ehhhhssss. Think of it this way – you are using a language that you don’t fully have a handle on, talking to a native speaker. You are not fluent, but the person you are talking to will be very accepting of your uncertainly, glad that you are trying out that new language. You will not have 100% flow when running your Talkshow either. You will have your share of ehhs and umms, (I certainly do)and that’s okay. Your audience will still listen if you ask good questions and get your guest to explain and clarify. Give yourself a break as you learn and find your flow.

Of course, the complete flow of words and all the other technical matters working perfectly is surely the ideal. I have simply decided that the decent amateur level is still okay, and I’d advise you to think that way so you can get started. Always seek to improve, of course. Adjust your sound, lighting, and eye levels. Help your guest get it right as well. Just don’t let any of these issues stop you from doing your Talkshow, Podcast, or live broadcast. The quality of your conversation is what’s most important, after all.

Make a list of your tech needs and what you have, need to get, and need to learn more about. Then, make a checklist of things to think through or do for each Talkshow.

Watch the interview example with Lara.

Here’s one more full interview. As mentioned, I, purposely (or I am just plain cheap), use the amateur approach. Technology is not unimportant. This time, look less at content and structure and make a list of all the practical and technological factors that could be improved. It will be a long list, I am sure. Then, think and reflect – does it really matter that everything is not perfect? Of course, that depends on your purpose and goal group. Just get a sense of all the details you do need to think about so that, despite an amateur effort, your content is still deemed watchable and valuable. Next time you watch another person’s video, try to figure out their level – amateur, mixed amateur, or professional. What fits you, your budget, your goal group, and your ambitions? As you watch my videos in this course, you will certainly notice that the lighting isn’t perfect, the sound levels of my guests and me don’t always match, and even the camera positions vary. You decide if this is a deal-breaker or not in following a Talkshow, Podcast, or media interview.

This interview with Lara is obviously done with me on my computer and Lara on her cell phone, but it still works content-wise. Look through the interview another time, this time with a focus on the content and my process. 

I call this a learn-interview, something I often do with young people. Even three-year-olds can describe their learning process. Notice that Lara’s attitude and goal setting influences her ability to make time to study. She also has strategies for her learning, which helps a great deal. We can say her learning has a purpose and that certainly helps her motivation and ability to set aside time. See the course Eureka Moments for Teachers at steinberg.teachable.com

I would highly suggest you try out some learning interviews with children or young students. You may be surprised by how much they understand the learning process. There will be several more interviews with students that I use as examples in this course, and I am developing a separate course about how to do learn talks with students.