OK maybe the title is a smidge dramatic - but it's the truth. I sweated over each and ever second of Tekpub's latest production and I really believe that it's the best work we've done to date. It's basically a This Developer's Life, in video.
Every Tekpub production that I create, I try to push myself a bit harder. I've said it before: a 6-month publishing cycle coupled with killing a small forest to push obsolete knowledge is utterly ridiculous.
Yes, I like books in concept too - but using books to learn technical "stuff" is problematic: it just doesn't happen fast enough.
Video production, on the other hand, takes weeks. You can craft a solid, complete, well-rounded and highly-produced bit of video in a relatively short amount of time. And learn more, having a better time while you're at it.
That's my goal with Tekpub, and we've raised the bar with our latest production: The Art of Presentation: Scott Hanselman.
I flew out to Scott's home in Oregon this last November during the Thanksgiving holidays - and I challenged Scott to do a lightning talk on a subject that he was marginally familiar with: CoffeeScript.
My goal was to film a master at work: learning distilling, arranging and then presenting a subject - end to end. You just don't get the chance to work with a master very often. I remember the exact same feeling with Oren when he created an async billing system from memorywithout consulting Google once - watching a true master at work is exhilarating, inspiring, and most of all fun.
When I told Scott (the day prior to our filming) that the subject would be CoffeeScript - he got really excited (as I'd hoped) andI recorded that excitement - the excitement of a master speaker, learner, and educator at work.
Behind the scenes as he prepared and deciphered his subject matter - how he put himself completely in the user's seat, trying to figure out the best examples so that you, the person watching, could feel the excitement that he was feeling. How you could learn something new.
And then something odd happened. As we were filming I found myself losing track of the actual filming process and diving into CoffeeScript with him. I started to follow along with his examples, learning the syntax, understanding CoffeeScript that much more. And it hit me at that point: this screencast is going to be two screencasts in one.
In short: you can watch a master at work and learn some incredibly important skills when it comes to speaking...
and you'll learn CoffeeScript along the way. Brilliant.
A few people have mentioned that it seems rather expensive (this production is $18 USD) and I understand that.
Simply put: "screencasts" to date are typically desktop recordings where the presenter mumbles their way through whatever they're presenting. That's not what this production is.
In every way I tried to live up to Scott's standards when it comes to presentations. Every second of this 80 minute production was analyzed, vetted,leveled, color-profiled and generally caressedin the most professional way I could manage.
I have never sweated over a video like I did this one. I did this because I think presentation skills are incredibly important. Nothing's worse than showing up at a talk and listening to a presenter fumble their way along through a demo - I'd rather be out drinking beer with my friends!
I felt that if I mirrored Scott's meticulous nature with the production itself - then it would drive the point home. And I sincerely think we have done precisely that.
Simply put: if we didn't charge money, this video wouldn't exist. I like to think that this 80 minute video can change your career, something that 3 latte's probably can't. Or maybe a night at the movies with a friend. Or maybe 3 pints... well maybe ... unless they're Belgian...
I like to look at it this way: Scott's taking you in. Showing you how his mind works, then taking you along on the actual creation of a talk - and then giving the talk! Is that worth $18? I think it's worth 100 times that! I think you'll agree - and as always, I do hope you enjoy it!