Sunday, 20 September 2015

Filming My Craftsy Workshop in Denver


Well, goodness me - what a fun, whirlwind week I had in the US! I got back last Tuesday evening and have been catching my breath (and catching up on emails) ever since.


Where to begin? Well, the 3 days I spent at the studios were so interesting. Craftsy are a lovely company to work with and really looked after me, including a chauffeur to pick me up from the airport, which was an excellent start. 

I arrived on Monday night and I had Tuesday off, to get over the jet-lag and altitude, although actually neither gave me much trouble (I think my excitement over-ruled them), so I enjoyed wandering about, exploring Denver city-centre (above) and I had a lovely visit to the art museum, which was fabulous both inside and out:


They had an exhibition on 'flower painting through the ages' and, when I spotted a bunch of easels and piles of oil-pastels in their activities room, I couldn't resist sitting down for an hour and giving it a go:


On Wednesday morning I was picked up by the lovely (and very pregnant) Danica, my make-up artist, and driven to the Craftsy studio complex, where I had my very own dressing-room:


I took a change of clothes for half-way through each day of filming, so four outfits in all, to create visual variety on screen. We had fun trying to find ways to hide the mike under my cardigans and collars. People who were doing classes about dressmaking took about 10 outfits, so I got off very lightly. 

I liked the personalised star on my dressing-room door (nice touch):


That first day was a rehearsal day. We ran through a couple of lessons, to get me warmed up and used to working with the teleprompter, but it was mostly a technical rehearsal. We spent the day setting up the cameras and the clever, computerised stuff, talking through the best way to achieve things and familiarising me with the process.

We were a team of four and we all got on like a house on fire, right from the beginning. There was Clif my producer, who was as familiar with the material as me and who also acted as director and general 'person-with-an-overview'. This is Clif and pretty much the view I had while we were filming:


Then there was Tim, the man behind the sound recording and the various cameras. There were three rolling all the time I was delivering my lessons. Firstly, there was camera A which was looking straight at me, then camera B which always pointed directly down at the paper in front of me. Lastly, looking over my shoulder, was camera C. Here is Tim getting camera B into position on Wednesday morning:


Finally, there was Nick (who sadly, I forgot to get a photo of). He spent the whole time behind 3 computer screens at the back of the studio. His principle job was to create a rough-cut of the footage as we went along, editing together the output from the three cameras, on-the-hoof. 

On Thursday and Friday, I was picked up at 7.30am (!), made to look gorgeous by Danica, before starting filming at around 9.00. We had such a laugh. All my team were great - they were very easy-going and good fun to banter with, but at the same time clearly knew exactly what they were doing. The attention to detail was very impressive.


We worked until 6.30 most nights, with me sitting at the desk, either explaining various elements of a lesson to camera, or doing my demo drawings of the many different characters I'm teaching people to create. I had practised the material quite a few times, so mostly I didn't need to actually 'read' it off the auto-cue, just use it as a prompt to keep me on track, but we still had to do a fair bit of stopping and starting, where I fluffed words or forgot what was coming next, because I was looking down at the drawing I was doing and so not at the prompt. That's where having 3 camera angles is really useful: you can always find an easy place to cut in again.

There are now about 5 weeks left before the class will be ready. Nick's rough-edit needs to be fine-tuned, plus lots of images from my books need to be spliced in, where I use them to illustrate various teaching points as we go through the lessons. Like with Nana Croc for instance, when I am talking about ways to add humour when you are designing outfits for your animal characters: 


There are all sorts of additional graphics to add too, as well as setting up the interface for the students - one of the great things about Craftsy classes is that you can ask me questions and can show me your work. 

Just before the workshop goes live, I will be running a competition, to give away a free subscription to the class, so watch this space. I will also be giving out special launch-week discounts.

I can't wait to see what the technical guys do between now and then. SO exciting!

9 comments:

CC said...

Sounds like a lot of work but way fun! You look so cute! Love that desk too! And your characters!

holmar said...

Congratulations Lynne! I am excited to see you will be a Craftsy instructor, I will look for your class when it is up on the Craftsy site.

Tracye said...

Looks like fun, can't wait for the class!

eleanorpatrick said...

I'll be doing the class when it goes live - I've done all the children's books ones while gathering skills for my own creations, and really looking forward to yours.

Alison O said...

It looks like you had an amazing time Lynne. I am looking forward to your class

Pilgrim said...

I have enjoyed the Craftsy Sketching classes I've taken. All great way nstructors. Thank you for a window behind the scenes.

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks everyone - glad you enjoyed the post. I'll be popping links on the blog for discounts soon. I am hoping to hear what the the launch date will be any time now. So exciting!

Kathy said...

What a wonderful experience. Thanks for the "behind the scenes" overview. I love your drawings and am delighted Babs told me about this. Congratulations! (Now how can I get a hair and makeup artist to come to my house every day? Would that just be divine?!)

Lynne the Pencil said...

Ha ha ha - thanks Kathy :-D