Film Online Writing

A Month of Multimedia

In order to keep the creative juices flowing during these cold days of January, the start of the month found me coming up with a challenge for myself in the shape of A Month of Multimedia, to be housed over on my new Posterous account.

The idea, inspired by a post on multimedia journalist Adam Westbrook’s excellent blog, was to try to create a new piece of multimedia content every day of the month, experimenting with audio, video, photos and whatever else I could find in my metaphorical online toolbox.

Adam’s advice is to stop thinking about doing things and to just start doing them. As a digital editor I’ve used a number of tools in my work, but usually when asked to do so by a client. This time I decided not to wait for a commission and got going on my own ideas, though real life and paid work got in the way of something new being published every day.

Starting on the first of the month with a short introductory audioboo, I next booted up the Flickr account to create a visual guide to the location of a small plaque dedicated to Sean Connery here in Edinburgh.

After trying out the video tools associated with Posterous, both the upload and email options, my next piece of content was larger, an audio slideshow looking at the success of Edinburgh Zoo’s Penguincam at the end of 2010. I interviewed the Zoo’s Marketing Assistant and taking some photos, I was able to combine the two in a slideshow which I then uploaded to Vimeo:

The day after the video was published I contacted Edinburgh Guardian blog, who had shown an interest in the Penguincam last year, and they invited me to publish it on their site, a move which resulted in a surge of traffic and a huge amount of interest on Twitter.

Scotland’s leading marketing magazine, The Drum, also picked up the video and by the end of the day the story had been shared so often I was trending on Twitter in Edinburgh.

My next piece of content, an audio interview with Paul Wilson from Volunteer Centre Edinburgh on the rise of micro-volunteering which I’d already recorded, was also published on the Guardian site and generated more interest.

The success of the first couple of weeks of the project hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm but it has taken me in a slightly different direction than planned.

Rather than only creating a wealth of content for my own interest I’ve decided to spend more time on fewer projects, including committing to following up the volunteer story for the Guardian over the next few weeks. This should involve video content as well as audio, the former something I’m trying to perfect after early attempts for ReelScotland’s YouTube account.

I’ve also carried out two film-related interviews for ReelScotland, one of which is likely to be another addition to the audioboo account I launched in 2010, and I plan a larger video/audio/photo project for the end of the month, which is shaping up to be quite exciting.

It’s amazing what can happen when you take some initiative and don’t wait for that next email to come through about a new piece of paid work. While I’m still looking to create exciting new content for clients in 2011, I hope to continue my own pet projects in areas I think are worth exploring and with tools which are perhaps not part of my everyday work at present – at least this way I’ll be ready when I do get asked about them.


New talk: the benefits of audioboo

Social Media Academy

I recently mentioned that I’ll be talking about, well, talking online in a few weeks as part of the AmbITion Webinar series, but I should also note that this coming Thursday I’ll be talking about, well, talking again (there’s a theme emerging here) at the JCI Social Media Academy.

JCI Edinburgh is an off-shoot of the Junior Chamber International, all tied in to the Edinburgh Chambers of Commerce, and they hold a number of introductory sessions on various elements of social media.

My talk is part of the Youtube & Podcast – Broadcast Your Business session on Thursday 7 October, and I’ll be discussing the benefits of audioboo to individuals and organisations, while Blether Media’s Chris Connick will focus on YouTube and podcasting.

I’ve used audioboo a fair bit over the last year or so, most recently for my work on Scottish film website, ReelScotland, and you can hear my latest recordings over on the ReelScotland audioboo site.


To Boo or not to Boo

This year, for the second year running, I was lucky enough to be able to cover the Edinburgh International Film Festival as a journalist, partly freelancing for the Edinburgh Evening News and partly for my own blog,

While the paper asked me to write a daily blog, I also decided to toy with the rather nifty AudioBoo iPhone app, which I decided I would use to record reviews straight after screenings before I could get to the nearest wi-fi spot with my laptop.

Anyone who’s ever tried to see a large number of films at a film festival (I managed around 26 over the course of 11 days) will know that great plans can be ruined by a lack of time and tiredness.

My Booing (yes, that sounds ridiculous to me as well) didn’t go quite as planned – in total I recorded four reviews.

Still, undeterred, I’ve recently tried to get back into the swing of audio reviews/features. Recently, after uncovering some strange goings on with the new DVD release of a classic Scottish film That Sinking Feeling, I recorded some Boos – Bill Forsyth blethers and That Syncing Feeling – to show how the soundtracks differed between the Scottish and American versions.

I’ve already had a few comments about these via Twitter and I can see the power they might have compared to a blog post of a few hundred words. Like any audio review, the point can be made quickly and simply in just a few minutes, with reviews of plays and films available almost instantly.

It’s probably too early to say how PR companies feel about audio reviews compared to written ones. I’ve not yet tried to review a film, play or DVD only via AudioBoo but I’m tempted to try it soon.

One of the main problems is where the Boos are located. My Boos are instantly uploaded as a tweet on my Twitter account where my 400+ followers can see it.

I can also embed it to my blog in a post and should be able to see who clicks through to the review on there.

If I choose to I can have the Boo automatically uploaded to Facebook, Posterous, Tumblr and FriendFeed, but I haven’t yet.

One of the most interesting features of AudioBoo is that it automatically creates a feed in iTunes, meaning I’m now effectively recording a podcast. As I’ve never had the time to record anything for iTunes this is a nifty little feature and I’m going to spend time in the next few weeks looking at how I can exploit it further.

The question remains however: would a series of AudioBoos be as well regarded as a 500 word review? Radio has been doing it for years, and my own monthly slot on Leith FM seems to be good enough for PR companies, though that’s a “proper” radio station, not some fly-by-night web application thingy.

Are there any PR folk or writers/reviewers reading this who see audio-only reviews as being just as valid as written ones? Your thoughts are welcome.