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Vaudezilla Videocast - Musings - Chicago Burlesque Dancer Red Hot Annie Weinert
She really makes the wieners boil!

Red Hot Annie / Ann Marie Weinert
Date: 2010-12-17 10:31
Subject: Vaudezilla Videocast - Musings
Security: Public
I'm someone who loves to watch vlogs - the good, the bad, the ugly.

So, I was knocked off my socks when a couple weeks ago, one of the ladies in our troupe asked to spearhead a Vaudezilla Videocast. As someone who had a fairly popular podcast back in the day (longtime fans will remember "Ann Marie & Katy") - I definitely have a lot of opinions about what makes something work (online). We ran the show weekly/bi-weekly for about 3 years, until my partner, Katy, went off to cruise the seas with Second City.

We had a team working with us - at first, a producer & guests, and after a while, we even had a writer & sound engineer. Which is just one more piece of evidence in my "working in a team beats DIY" case. Hearing about the videocast, I started putting on my thinking cap - really watching some of my favorite videocasts again, as well as the trainwrecks in an effort to predict any issues we could have.

Most issues with underproduced podcasts/videocasts seems to fall into one of two host-centric problems:

(1) The host is trying to convey their opinions on a very complex question, but when speaking off the cuff, they routinely generalize and trivialize what could be a fascinating and important discussion into something trite & narcissistic. Or they stop short of actually getting to the meat of the topic. For example, let's say the topic of the video cast is "Why strip when performing burlesque?" but the host sidetracks the conversation into meaningless personal anecotes, peppering her thoughts with words like "important, awesome, and cool" - with every intention but no means of establishing convincing thoughts or arguments.

In these cases, they need someone who pushes them further into the topic - I'd guess a co-host. But that also requires committment to a cohost, openness to critique from a cohost, and doing things when said cohost is also available (ie: not asking your son to hold the camera while you cook dinner...because you *just now* realized how critical this topic is.) so it really, really, really can't be DIY.

(2) The host and content is uninteresting. The novelty of well-done editting, graphics, and slick marketing is only going to go so far when the host doesn't really have anything interesting to say. As much as I want to try to be interested in the random happenings of your day, I just don't care. This is the visual equivalent of "I ate cereal for breakfast" tweets. (Again, we find the words "important, awesome, and cool" from people who have presumably graduated college.)

Having a team that can actually identify weakness in the vlog would be invaluable. At some point, every performer's content & audience-reach plateaus...but having someone who can push you towards risks - good ones - is a must for further growth. The host and team has to be prepared for the potential criticism that accompanies risks. Cause, remember - when you do something publically, you are in the position to be criticized publically!

In both cases, there tends to be a lack of support structure and feedback loop, so the performer is - in essence - performing in a bubble. This can work to a limited extent for most women. Any quality of woman can put out any quality of content and "get a response"...however, if it's mindless content, the only "fans" who will weigh in are the kinds of "fans" that only women & shirtless gay guys get: those who like how you look and couldn't care less what you say. If you have something valuable to say, you'll get valuable responses, discourse, and blatant argument!

Anyways, I'm tickled pink to be part of the team for our videocast - unlike a lot of the other projects that I'm a part of, I'm pretty sure I'll stick to the behind the scenes work so I can provide resources when necessary, and only really appearing on the videocast when the topic is something that falls into my niche.


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