On Sunday I made a pot of not-too-spicy chili. I also wrote out a detailed explanation of each child’s schedule and packed the bags for day camp before packing my own bag for a trip to San Francisco Monday morning to teach at CreativeLive.
I first talked to Elizabeth Madariaga, head of the Craft and Maker channel at CreativeLive, early last summer. She’d asked if I would teach a 2-day softie sewing class, but I decided not to do it. I spoke to Elizabeth again in March, this time in person at Craftcation, and she asked if I might teach a 1-day class on email marketing. My kids are older now, the class was shorter, video instruction is only getting stronger as a form of content delivery online – I decided to go for it.
After a four-hour flight delay and six hours in the air, I landed in San Francisco in the late afternoon on Monday. CreativeLive sent a car service to take me from the airport to the studio.
CreativeLive is located in a loft-style building populated with start-ups. The lobby has a grass wall.
I went to the green room and watched Tara Gentile finish up her day-long class (my class is the second in a five-day series on marketing and productivity for craft business owners).
I met Tara briefly, and I also met Kiffanie Stahl from the artist’s J.D. who was in the live studio audience for Tara’s class. Kiffanie is a lawyer and I’ve consulted her for several recent articles I’ve written here having to do with contracts (including this one about Moda). It was great to meet in person.
Next up was a meeting in the studio with the cameramen, producers, and host, to go over details for my class the next day. I created my presentation in Keynote, but we were also going to go online three times to look at actual email newsletters so we coordinated when that would happen. This is Kate. She’s awesome and in charge of getting everything organized.
And this is Kenna, the host, and Justin, the content producer who had met with me over the phone once a week for two months as we planned the content of my class. They’re both smart and supportive and great.
And then they called me an Uber to take me to my hotel. Just on a sidenote, the Uber culture in San Francisco is striking. Everyone has the app on their phone and when you call an Uber it’s there in literally five seconds. I’m not kidding. So five seconds later I was in an Uber on the way to the hotel. (Whether Uber is a good thing is pretty questionable in my mind after listening to this series, Instaserfs, on Benjamin Walker’s Theory of Everything. One Uber driver I talked with told me, “This is a job for kids. The money is the same as you’d get on a paper route.”).
San Francisco is cold in August, at least by Boston standards. I went out for dinner, took a walk around Union Square where there are a lot of homeless people, and got some green tea shaved ice with red bean and mochi.
The next morning an Uber took me back to the studio at 7:25 for hair and makeup. There were 10 students in my live studio audience. They came to the studio at 8:00 and everyone got a catered breakfast (and later lunch) in the CreativeLive cafeteria.
In the green room after hair and makeup. The makeup artist has a popular Instagram account where she reviews products and I was helping her strategize how to start getting paid in money instead of lipstick.
Everyone takes their seats in the studio and we start. “In 5, 4, 3, 2…clapping.” It’s live TV and Kenna, the host, begins. She also manages questions from the chat room throughout the day. There are four segments with a break in between.
Over lunch I reconnected with Ashley Nickels, a quilter I’d met at Craftcation. She’ll be teaching a CreativeLive course on how to teach a craft class (like me she’s a former school teacher) and had come in to film a promo. One of my audience members was Rebecca Saylor, the organizer of Etsy’s San Francisco street team. We planned an upcoming blog post together.
Something I’ve come to realize during this summer of teaching online classes is that these things are team efforts. They’re as much about you the instructor as they are about the camera crew and the editor and producer and set designer. Everyone has a job and every job is equally important. This makes me much less nervous.
Shooting a class live is strikingly different from shooting a highly scripted and edited craft class mostly because there’s only one take. You look imperfect, and natural. The audience asks questions, some of which you don’t know the answer to. You make mistakes and can’t take them back. We all laugh on camera.
Tara Swiger arrived and while she had the meeting to prep for her class the next day I sat in the green room and worked. It was Tuesday and I had to finish my email newsletter for Wednesday morning. It turns out when you teach a class on email marketing a whole lot of people subscribe to your list. I had to deliver something worth getting.
Justin, Kenna, Elizabeth, Tara and I went out for vegan Mexican and then they called me and Tara an Uber to take us back to our hotel. Five seconds later we were in the car and on our way. Tara and I stayed up way too late talking, as we always do when we’re together. In my hotel room I formatted Wednesday’s blog post, responded to emails (including six in a row from one blog reader who is furious with me for not registering my patterns with the US copyright office) and went to bed.
The car service came at 7:15 am to take me to the airport and I was home, in Boston, with my kids at 7:00 pm.
On most days I live the life of a suburban mom. I run a website from a laptop in my kitchen. On this trip I was treated to glimpse of how another part of the internet is made.
In June when we had our first planning meeting for this class Elizabeth asked me what my motivation was for teaching at CreativeLive. Did I want to make money? Grow my following? Add to my resume? My honest answer was curiosity. I love new media and I want to see how it works. It was fascinating and tremendous fun.