Itching to try something new in 2020 and work on uncomplicating my video editing, I took inspiration from Red Means Recording and decided to make a semi-informational and semi-humorous channel devoted to making drinks: Barback Runner.
As typical with projects I'm excited about, my mind ran wild with ideas. Halloween special? Heck yeah! I'll wear some costume gloves and decorate the bar with props. Upcoming trip to Hawaii? You better believe I'm going to bring my camera and film a few drinks! Christmas? Well bust out the 'nog and call me Sally!
Oddly this was not a pandemic hobby, or at least it didn't start during lockdown in the USA, but it sure contributed to that quarantine spare tire I put on.
The goal was to keep it simple (stupid) and try a departure from my regular video editing and make videos in a way that didn't have a complicated setup or require days upon days of editing. I guess this would be me trying to stick closer to that 20% of the 80-20 rule (which I can never remember the actual definition of and always think it's the last 20% of a project is the hardest).
This may sound odd, but it isn't super easy for me to do that...
The first thing was to get to work thinking up a name. Pulling out the ol' thesaurus (AKA Google search) I started finding some terminology around bartending and the like. I didn't want to call myself a bartender or come off like some sort of professional. I just wanted to share some fun tips and make some drinks.
Next up, I needed a logo or some way to watermark my videos. In hindsight, I definitely didn't need this. I mean, honestly, who was going to steal my videos? Either way, off I went down the logo making rabbit hole, but still trying to keep that 80-20 rule in mind, I decided to make it simple, easy, and timebox it. So, an hour or so later, this is what I had:
It'll do, and I could always update it later I figured.
Let's start filiming
Rather than overcomplicate things, I opted to just shoot with my GoPro (Session 5 at the time) instead of my DSLR or some other video setup. I found a corner of my kitchen that seemed like it had decent lighting, wasn't distracting with clutter and had a close-by electrical outlet to plug in the camera. Look at me acting like a location scout!
Next up, I jotted down the steps I wanted to follow:
setup for drink
tear down and drink
Then I clamped my camera to the counter, as well as a simple shop light to an overhead cabinet door, scattered all my ingredients and tools just out of frame, and got to filming. I remember it being a little awkward to try and maneuver around the camera while making the drink the first time, but I had my format and was sticking to it.
Filming done, I had a nice drink in me, and went to editing. Again, trying to keep it simple I didn't go scouring for a fancy font or layout or try and edit out any mistakes. Not wanting any background noise (that is, kids screaming riding bicycles in the house), I muted the video and started searching for royalty-free music I could use. This turned out to be one of the more difficult parts of making these things.
There's quite a bit of free music out there, but it was hard to find something that wasn't overly repetitive or too... simple? I'm not sure how to word it, but I was really hoping for some non-lyrical chill music that sounded good, set the mood, but wasn't too distracting. Probably a bit of a miss, but not wanting to get too hung up on it, I found various sites with royalty-free music, grabbed ones I liked, and blended them into the video. At some point, I had the idea to try and partner with up-and-coming artists to plug their music in my videos. Kind of missing the fact that I'd have zero followers to start with, but it was worth a shot.
Once that was done, I posted it on the YouTube and that was the first real push of the flywheel.
It was exciting! I found myself constantly thinking about how to mix it up, what drinks might be good, jokes to throw in, it consumed me.
Hawaiian Vacation Series
We had already planned a family vacation to Hawaii, and it seemed like a great way to mix up the videos from my kitchen counter. The only plans I had in place were that it would be great to film 3 videos while we were there. The rest would have to be figured out on the fly.
The first one was shot on a rock by the pool at the house we were renting. I made sure to cut up a pineapple so I could make it a cup. Fun fact: it was not a great cup.
The second video was filmed at the end of a parking lot in this little shore break by a hotel. I wonder if anyone ever found the random coconut with my recipe written on it. I remember being frustrated with the fog on the lens but decided to keep it simple and just roll with it. Let's not get perfection get in the way of progress?
My high-tech setup:
I was struggling to come up with ideas for the 3rd video and ended up just hopping in the hot tub at the house (which was not hot) and filming on a bodyboard while my family pointed and laughed at me.
Thinking back, my wife puts up with a lot of crap with my ideas. I imagine I was super annoying wanting to detour the family so I could film a stupid drink video on this amazing vacation. Thank you, wife.
At first, I kept up a regular routine and tried to get a video published once a week or two. In hindsight, I think having that early discipline is what helped push me to keep doing videos. Once I turned off the 'must post regluarly' switch in my head, the videos quickly died down. first, it was maybe an additional week or two in between, then a month, and then... nothing.
I'm not sure I subscribe to the 'candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long' idea. I guess I don't really feel like it would have lasted any longer if I hadn't put as much effort as I did. If anything, my focuses and passions started shifting elsewhere. Well... really it was major burnout and anxiety with the state of the world after being cooped up for a few months. If only I knew then what I do now.
Every so often I'll get an urge to finish editing some of the old recordings I never finished or set up a GoPro and film a drink I'm into. Maybe I'll dust off the ol' hard drive and pick it back up someday. Until then, this was a fun project that taught me quite a bit about making drinks.
I even made a little book to help keep track of my recipes (and be able to show something better than an ugly piece of paper in my videos).