Organizing Creativity — A few tips to realize creative projects (presentation/video)

“It is a pity you do not understand either ancient or modern Greek, both of which Haidee speaks so fluently; the poor child will be obliged to talk to you in Italian, which will give you but a very false idea of her powers of conversation.”
“The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas

Update: Unfortunately my channel was nuked by YouTube. I am currently reuploading the videos.

I did a presentation titled “Organizing Creativity — A few tips to realize creative projects” at the EMAG in Berlin last weekend. The description of the presentation read:

Creativity and organization might seem like contradictions — a brightly burning flame that gets smothered by stale grey rule-bound conformity. But if you want to do complex creative projects, which consist of more than just one idea, you have to organize your creativity. No matter whether it’s the writing of fiction, non-fiction, or scientific theses or papers, or pretty much every other complex creative project. In this lecture, we take a look at creativity and how to organize it on a personal level, starting with creativity and organization, mastering the topic, generating, capturing and collecting ideas, to realizing and archiving creative projects. If you always wanted to write that book or like some ideas on how to turn ideas into results, this presentation might be for you.

It was fun, despite some technical issues. Given that I was asked for the slides and I did invest some time into the presentation, I decided to put it online (Why use it only once when you can use it twice?).

Unfortunately, I did not record the presentation during the meeting, so I have to try out something new. Do the presentation again, at home, record it, and put it online.

First, the result of the first public trial, then some explanations (note: Circus Ponies Notebook has folded in the meantime, however, when it comes to outlines and having source information available, OmniOutliner works as well):

So, yeah, I know, it’s not perfect, far from it. But let’s look at the issues in in detail.

On the plus side, creating the video was rather easy from a technical point of view. Keynote offers a “Record Slideshow” mode (“Play” > “Record Slideshow”). You see the presenter display and a record button. Simply hit the record button. It allows you to do the presentation, while keynote records both the slides and the audio. Afterwards you can export the slideshow via “File” > “Export to …” > “Quicktime”. Select “Playback: Slideshow Recording” and Keynote will export the presentation you just did as video combined with your recording. Want to start anew, simply select “Play” > “Clear Recording …”.

To record the audio, I didn’t use the internal microphone of my MacBook Pro. Instead, I used an ZOOM H2 next Handy Recorder connected via an usb cable to my computer. On the H2n, you have to select “Menu” > “USB” > “Audio I/F”. I used “44.1kHz” as “sampling frequency”. After selecting “connect” the H2n should work as audio input device (check on the Mac via “System Preferences” > “Sound” > “Input” — you should see and have H2n selected). To have the H2n in the right distance and height, I screwed it onto my tripod. Worked really well (and yeah, there was this itch to start singing ;-)).

Originally, I wanted to record the sound independently from the presentation, then use iMovie to use an exported video of the presentation, add the sound, and simply change the time the slides are shown. Unfortunately, after I did the first recording (1 hour!) and exported the video, I realized that I did not have iMovie. Right, I did reinstall the OS end of last year. And I really did not have the heart to download 2 GB via a crappy Internet connection. So Keynote “Record Slideshow” it was. In retrospect, perhaps not the worst development. After all, editing the video would have sucked. Much easier to go for one trial without stopping and — if necessary — exchange parts later.

On the … well, negative side, there are two main issues.

First, my German accent. Woaw, never noticed that it is this strong. Something to be said for, or rather against, the pretty good sound quality. I really have to work on my elocution. And perhaps drinking that glass of wine beforehand wasn’t the best idea. 😉 But yeah, something to work on.

Second, I find it extremely hard to speak when there’s no audience. During a presentation I’m happy and excited. Never understood stage fright. All that energy just wanting to be channeled into a presentation, or rather, a conversation with the audience. And yeah, it’s fun. I just keep eye contact with the listeners and … well, it’s just like talking to them. Doing a recording at home, looking at the screen and speaking into the microphone … meh. I mean, I did speak English during the EMAG and during the presentation at the EMAG. It’s much, much easier with conversation partners. Never made so many mistakes as I did during that recording. I even took two Teddy bears and put them next to the screen to have at least some kind of audience, but no luck. Also something to work on.

Hmm, although, as for the lack of audience, thinking about it, I think the problems might have been due to the screen in front of me. I think the slides did distract me. During a presentation, I rarely look at the slides. I look at the audience and talk to them. Perhaps a better way to do the presentation is to record it as video, make sure both myself and the screen are on the video recording. Then I could look at the camera and point to areas on the screen. It might work, and it might enliven the presentation a little.

But hey, first attempt, well, the first public one. I hope it stays online for a while, I did use a cut from a series and some images I found online.

In any case, I’d love to hear some comments about it, esp. whether you could understand what I did say and whether you have some other suggestions for improvement. And perhaps most of all, whether there was something useful in the presentation.


P.S.: Today I learned that uploading a video longer than 15 minutes to an unverified YouTube account is not possible, but you only get the info after the upload has finished. *Sigh*. … Aaaand then I learned that I could have simple activated the rejected video on YouTube after verifying the account instead of uploading the video again. Well, it was something new (for me).

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