Do you love your board game media? I hope so. Even if you don’t ‘love’ them do you like having them around? Then we should start showing some love and respect. This is actually something at applies to all forms of interactive media. Don’t think just because I’m talking about boardgames and you like to watch movie reviews instead that this doesn’t apply to you. If you spend any amount of time on Youtube, blogs, or listen to podcasts there are some things you should keep in mind.
- It’s harder than you think
- It takes longer than you think
- What is free to you comes at a cost to content creators.
The reason I’m writing this is that many content creators have the same struggles. I became painfully aware of this during #boardgamehour 2 weeks ago. Give A Geek a Game wrote a great blog post about it the same day. They issued a challenge to all content creators to post on someone else’s content before posting their own. A sentiment I wholeheartedly support, so please participate.
What if you aren’t a blogger, or a videographer, or a podcaster? Why should you care? If we don’t show our love and support we may lose valuable content. Just like if you don’t watch your favorite show on TV then the network might cut it. This is a little different because interactive media doesn’t have gate keepers controlling what you see. It’s all about the audience’s relationship with the Content creator and how the creator feels about the feedback they receive. If they feel like the audience doesn’t appreciate them or that they are wasting their time to be ignored then they just might quit. No one wants that!
So let’s talk about just how hard Content Creators work for us.
It’s harder than you think
Have you ever edited a video before? Maybe edited a podcast? Written a blog post that wasn’t about your life? It’s pretty hard to do. Any videographer will tell you that editing can easily take as long as shooting a video, if not double or triple the time. Why? Because things don’t always sound or look the way they are supposed to the first time. I imagine podcasts work the same way, I’ve never had to do it personally, but sound engineers tell me it’s hard work. Good blog posts take forethought, multiple edits, and extra time to spruce up with pictures, links and good typography. Nothing worthwhile is ever ‘just thrown together’.
The more time you spend doing these things the easier it gets because you learn new skills. Most good content creators then fill in the time they’re saving to learn new skills to give you even better content. Content creators work hard, because they care about what they give you. They don’t want to just give you their thoughts on a game in an iPhone video. Though that isn’t a bad place to start, most creators want to present their content to you in the best way possible. Reviewers, gameplay videos and podcasts have improved dramatically because of this passion that drives your creators of content.
It takes longer than you think.
Really. It really does. Let’s talk about board game video reviews in terms of time. Let’s say a game takes 30-45 minutes to play. A good reviewer will give it multiple plays, putting their time spent at already 2 hours or so. Don’t say “but they’re playing a game”. This may be true, but if the review was requested then the game would not be at the table otherwise and this counts as research. Let’s go to actual videography part.
- Over an hour of shooting – this is a bare minimum, likely a lot longer. Yes even 5 minute videos take this long. My 5 minute KS video took 4 hours to get perfectly the way I wanted it.
- A couple hours of editing – again a bare minimum, a pro will edit quicker but add in more pizazz. Regardless it’s much more difficult to get things right while editing. There is always a sound you can’t get rid of, or that take that you have to splice for it to be perfect.
- Rastering and uploading – this takes longer than you’d think too. Once all this editing is done you have to make the actual file. The time it will take depends on your computer and your software, but but in general it can be 30mins to an hour easily. Then let’s add another 15 minutes to upload it which depends on your connection speed.
So what’s our total for creating a 5 minute video review of a board game? Bare minimum 6-7 hours. Likely it could be longer for your favorite reviewer.
What about blogs and podcasts? That’s easier right? True, it’s easier than editing video. However they are still more work than you would think. Podcasts often have people in different rooms, on different microphones which must all be spliced together to sound like they are speaking at similar levels. That’s not easy. Blogs are often written, rewritten, proofread, then spruced up with links and images. That’s not a small task either.
What is free to you comes at a cost to content creators.
This should go without saying. We’ve already talked about a cost as far as the time. What about monetary costs? For video this includes cameras, and microphones as well as software. Podcasts usually require some good microphones and editing software. Blogs are the most cost efficient, but they usually have hosting and web design costs associated.
Most content creators start with something really basic, and then slowly upgrade their equipment as they have the funds to do so. Thus their early posts may be of lower quality, but steadily improve at no cost to the consumer.
What’s the big deal?
I know it’s hard work.
The point is that we need to show our support to these content creators, since they give us of their free time, energy and money. We as consumers need to make it worth it to them. Tweet about them, or post their content to Facebook. Subscribe to channels, and RSS feeds. Comment about how much you like a video. If you disagree with an opinion that’s fine too, but be respectful about it. Content creators love engagement, and comments are a welcome validation that someone is reading, listening or watching. Sometimes that’s all we need to continue on. You have a great power and a great responsibility over our work and what it becomes.
More than just emotional support you can also support many Content Creators offset some of their costs financially. Maybe even someday our reviewers will be able to make a dime or two. I support this because I want reviews and walk throughs in our industry to get the same support that movie reviewers and synopsis get. No paper in the country has a Boardgame writer on staff (correct me if I’m wrong), but we can help these people make a career from making stuff we enjoy.
Tom Vassel is now doing reviews full time.
as isCyrus from the Father geek. Tom Vassel has done this through a kickstarter. Father Geek is supporting himself with ads on his site. [I made a mistake noted below by Jeff King, Cyrus still has a day job. Let’s make sure he can support himself via reviews in the near future.] Cardboard Jungle and Drive Thru Reviews have both done successful KS campaigns to upgrade their equipment and go to GenCon.
New avenues are opening to support our content creators. Tiffany Ralph (TheOneTAR) one of my favorite reviewers has a Patreon. I’m a supporter, because at least a dollar per video is a small price to pay for good content. It’s essentially buying a friend a cup of coffee every month. If you’re a designer and need game icons or you just like his blog you can support Daniel Solis’ Patreon too.
There are a myriad of ways to show our love and support for our content creators.
What is it that you do for your favorite content?
To you content creators, what more can people do to show their support?