In the begining, The Messy Homes Tour was an idea I was just playing with. I wasn’t sure if I’d actually do the event or not. I just explored it little by little over the last few months.
But at some point this little by little added up to a lot and I became committed. From there it took even more time for both me and my co-host Rebecca.
In this post I’m going to reflect on where much of the effort went.
I didn’t do much promotion but even the little I did still took time. Even posting the event on websites that show local events listings took more time than you might think. They required certain images and other information that I had to spend time coming up with, producing, and submitting. I also needed to get some graphics from Mackenzie, the calendar’s designer.
Since the MHT was an experiment, I didn’t mind a small audience and having most of the participants and viewers be my friends. If we want to go to the next level, we should budget and plan a more structured promotional strategy.
Recording and Editing
It took over an hour to do the taping of Brian and Leila’s home, then another 4 hours to edit it down. Editing always takes a lot of time. For Wendy it was more like 2 hours editing, but still. Time-based media requires a lot in the editing process. Yes, we could have done it all live, but it would not have been as zippy and interesting to watch people meander around their homes (not to mention any tech/camera issues we would have).
We wanted to have a unique look and engage the guests in ways that weren’t “just another zoom call show”. We researched and experimented with ways to push the boundaries of special effects. Sometimes our experiments worked and sometimes they didn’t.
I think overall it was a worthwhile attempt because we did get some cool ideas from it. As a result, it gave it a special public-access aesthetic I was wanting. Rebecca worked on some of this on her own and I’m sure it took more than a few hours to work out the details.
I took photos of all the contest areas (stove, junk drawer, etc) and also of all the prizes (couch crackers, dustbunny, etc). Those had to be then put into our online show by Rebecca. These additions gave the show more character and the viewers had more interesting things to look at (other than talking heads). But deciding which photos to take, setting up the shoots, taking the photos, sharing the photos with Rebecca, and working them into the program technically and logistically was something I hadn’t originally thought much about. I think we got high ROI out of this effort, though.
Rebecca and I had to test the show and we tested both with just us and with others. This took considerable time and probably wasn’t super fun for our friends that volunteered in the earlier stages. (Most of those who participated in the testing didn’t even watch the actual show. I guess they had had enough of it?). Testing took at least a few hours.
A quick word about hosting. Originally I wanted Rebecca to be the host and I would do the special effects. But it ended up flipped. I’ll step up and be MC when it’s required but I don’t think I’m terribly good at it and I really don’t desire to do it. I prefer to be behind the scenes. Maybe adding a third person could step in and I can step back and help Rebecca with all the many technical aspects she has to juggle.
I thought more people would want to tune in and win prizes, but after a few shout outs on facebook and mass emails, I had to email individuals and ask to help us by being on the call. If you corner people individually you can usually get them to say yes, but often it’s not because they want to do it. It’s a true favor.
Similar to he problem of getting people on the zoom call, few people wanted to be on the tour. You need the right mix of openness, messiness and personality to make a good home owner on the tour.
If we do the show again (and do it bigger), I think greater promotion will likely solve these participatory challenges. If more people knew about the MHT I think people would come to us wanting to participate.