Thursday, August 8, 2013

Creating A Video for Your Kickstarter Campaign: Editing Your Video


There are very few people who are skilled at every element of the creative process. If you have been gifted with the right brain/left brain skill set, you'll most likely be able to figure out the design, writing, filming, editing, marketing, etc all on your own. Don't be disheartened if you can't do everything. By allowing others to shine, and do what they do best, you'll only look better in the end. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Kickstarter is all about collaboration.

Depending on the camera you used to film with, there will be a number of options available to you for editing. I've used Windows Movie Maker in the past for many quick and easy videos I've put together. I've used iMovie as well with much more success. I've also used Final Cut. Editing takes hours and hours of work, and regardless of the program you use, you'll need to learn how to use the editing program effectively. Spend some time watching tutorials on Youtube because there are many!

Some Notes on the Final Edit

I've seen it all when it comes to Kickstarter videos! You have the non-technologically savvy person who turns on the camera from behind, then walks around in frame to sit down and talk to the camera. I assume this person didn't know how to edit out this material, or maybe they were going for a "behind-the-scenes" appeal? I've seen overly shaky, hand held camera footage that gave me motion sickness. There's no doubt you've seen these less-than-perfect videos as well.

Don't be lazy. If the shot didn't work out, do it again... or be creative in how you make it work. Day number 3 of our video shoot wasn't planned, and we spent the time re-shooting material that wasn't up to parr.

More than anything, be creative and have fun. Don't be afraid to try new techniques, but remember, less is more. We sat with our footage for hours and hours before we decided to try a bleach bypass in final cut. While we lost some of the vibrancy of the illustrations in some shots, what we gained was a vintage feel that worked well with the theme of our book. You'll be surprised what comes about when you take risks.

For more information about our Kickstarter Campaign, The Cultured Chef, check out

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Creating A Video for Your Kickstarter Campaign: The Video Shoot

The Video Shoot

The most important thing about shooting your video is you need to be cool, calm and collected. You don't want to appear stressed out because viewers will pick up on this, but they won't know whether it is due to nervousness or personality. I find it best if you can find someone to help with the actual camera work, that way you can focus on getting your message across. You can still maintain control of the shoot if you like, there is just someone else handling the mechanics of the shoot.

In terms of shooting the video, almost anything these days will do the trick. I've seen successful videos made with iPhones, Flip Video, and iPads. If you have access to higher quality recording devices all the better... most often the quality of your video will be a deciding factor as to whether someone will make a pledge or not.

Be creative in your search to create the best look and feel of your video. Perhaps an up and coming film maker would help you out for a nominal cost. Is there a local university with a video program? Ask around and you might be surprised by what you get. Sometimes letting go and allowing others to do what they do best will be what makes your project outstanding.

I find less is more in terms of scenery. You don't want too much going on in frame because it will detract from what is important. Obviously working shots will include various elements of your trade, but you'll want to try to keep clutter to a minimum.

Don't try to do it all in one day. The shoot for my video project included 3 days of filming, 1 day of recording audio in the studio, and 2 days of editing. If you are filming in multiple locations, you'll want to allow time to coordinate extras, transportation, wardrobe, etc. You'll also want to be relaxed during the process. If that means working for 3 hours one day, and several more hours the next day, all the better.

Look for continuity. I can't tell you how distracting it is sometimes to be watching a video, then all of the sudden the setting changes without explanation. I've seen items on the desk move around from take to take without explanation. You'll also want to pay attention to wardrobe and hairstyle. We had several amazing shots we wanted to use, but we weren't able to because my creative partner let her hair down between takes and the footage was inconsistent. Be very attuned to the smallest details on filming day because you will appreciate the extra care you took when it comes time to do the editing.

Next Step: Editing Your Video

For more information about our Kickstarter Campaign, The Cultured Chef, check out

Monday, August 5, 2013

Creating A Video for Your Kickstarter Campaign: Shooting Location


Viewers are far more likely to respond when they can see you in your natural element. Shots of you working in your studio or office will help develop your story visually. Scenes depicting how your project will impact people prove to be successful as well. If you are an author try shooting some b-roll of you reading your book to an audience. If you are an artist, try getting some footage of you at one of your exhibitions. If you've created a video game, try including scenes of someone actively playing your game.

When it comes to video you'll want to consider two of the most important elements which are audio and lighting. If a video has terrible lighting, as a viewer I will usually tune out because it can be very off-putting. The same goes for audio. You don't want to be in a space with a strong echo, or too much ambient noise (unless it adds to the appeal of your project somehow).

If your studio is not conducive to recording your video, try finding access to a controlled studio where you can recreate the look and feel of your studio. Perhaps a friend or colleague will allow you to use their studio. The most important thing is you want to appear natural and comfortable in your environment.

Next Step: The Day of the Video Shoot

For more information about our Kickstarter Campaign, The Cultured Chef, check out

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Creating A Video for Your Kickstarter Campaign: Research

I watched hours and hours of Kickstarter videos before beginning my project. I was able to determine aspects of each video that I liked and didn't like. I respond well to videos that highlight an individual's personality. I like videos that show positive interaction and a strong rapport between team members. And I am less inclined to watch a video of someone sitting at their desk talking straight to the camera, especially if there wasn't any supportive b-roll and accompanying imagery.

You've all seen the boring videos I'm talking about. Don't let yours be one of them!

Look beyond Kickstarter for video samples as well. Perhaps there are some interesting commercials that have been created in your field. Perhaps there are some videos created by local educational institutions that are interesting and relevant to your project. Check out what advertising agencies are creating. Little by little you'll collect notes that will help you piece together a video that will best represent your project.

Some of my Favorite Kickstarter Videos

Lucy and the Anvil

Mainly Marks: A Letterpress Project


Creating A Script

There are several options for formatting your copy. You can opt for voice-over and that will free you to be more creative with b-roll and imagery, or you can mix interview with accompanying b-roll to tell your story. 

If you opt for voice-over, you will need a polished script. If you opt for interview, you'll need to have well-rehearsed questions and answers prepared ahead of time so when it comes time to do the actual filming you won't sound like a complete idiot.

Next Step: Shooting Location

For more information about our Kickstarter Campaign, The Cultured Chef, check out

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Great Big "Thank You" to our Kickstarter Backers

Giving Thanks Where Thanks Is Due

We've placed a Special Thanks page at the end of our video because we wouldn't have been able to make the video without help from a small army of people. The people who helped us provided everything from kid-wrangling to bringing food to the set. Give thanks where it is due.

So in that case... Thank You:

Russell J. Young Photography
Jonathan Swanson, Composer
Counterpoint Graphic Design
Jim Lattazanio, Precision Images
Mark Middleton
Lois Middleton
Nancy DeLong
Cole Stoddard
Sophie Albright
Erika Albright
Bruin Albright
Todd Werkhoven
Kimberly Field
Rachelle Matheson
Donna Stevens
Pam Atherton
Darlene Beatty

And my creative partner, Coleen McIntyre. We did this together!

For more information about our Kickstarter Campaign, The Cultured Chef, check out

Monday, June 24, 2013

Creating the Video for Our Kickstarter Campaign: The Initial Concept

The folks in charge at claim video is the most important element in creating a successful campaign. Videos are placed at the top of the page, and in most cases are the only item presented on a iPhone display unless you request more info. Video is used to tell your story, with text and supportive imagery used below in your profile.

The task of creating a video seemed very daunting at first based on the many outstanding videos I've seen on Kickstarter in the past. A good video is one that best represents your project and your personality, is of a manageable length and inspires someone to contribute to your campaign. Your message must be clear.

The Initial Concept

Whether you want to "wing it" in front of the camera for a more candid approach, or you want a polished and "put together" feel, you'll need to spend some time developing a storyline. Your story must be compelling. What will engage your viewers?

Do you have a quirky personality? Let your personality shine. 

Will your project impact a lot of people in a profound way? Focus on the human interest element. 

Is your project visually appealing? Find a way to best showcase the art you've created.

Next step: Researching your video content & Writing A Script

For more information about our Kickstarter Campaign, The Cultured Chef, check out

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mexican Bread of the Dead (Pan de Muerte)

Illustration by Coleen McIntyre
Day of the Dead Bread

Every year on the evening of November 1st, cemeteries all over Mexico are filled to the brim with families celebrating their loved ones that have passed away. Complete with music and food, the celebration feels more like a birthday party than a funeral. There is plenty to eat and drink with everyone contributing something that was meaningful to their loved one.

Bread of the Dead and Day of the Dead go hand-in-hand. Bakeries on every street corner sell the sweet, round bread in the days leading up to November 1stAvailable in many different sizes, there are most often small decorations baked into the bread in the shape of tear drops, hearts, flowers and bone shapes. These rolls are placed amongst the flowers and decorations, afterward eaten in the early morning hours as families prepare to go home. 

1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons anise seed
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons white sugar


1.     Heat the milk and the butter together in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add them warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees F

2.     In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture then add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft.

3.     Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

4.     Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.

5.     Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven let cool slightly then brush with glaze.

6.     To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar.

Nicholas Beatty is a children's book writer and publisher. His projects explore multicultural themes allowing children to discover the world through whimsical folktales, recipes and activities. You'll find more recipes and writing about world culture in his children's cookbook, The Cultured Chef.

I Love Dia de Los Muertos!

Day of the Dead
Photo by Nicholas Beatty (Patzcuaro, Mexico)

I am absolutely in love with Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos), the Mexican holiday celebrated to remember the dead. Colorful crepe paper banners called Papel Picado flutter in the wind at schools and art galleries, and sugar skulls and dancing skeletons are spotted everywhere. The playful imagery associated with Day of the Dead has become world famous, inspiring artists such as Frida Kahlo and Tim Burton.

I've traveled to Mexico and Guatemala to experience Day of the Dead firsthand on a number of occasions. From Oaxaca, Patzcuaro, Baja and more, each region of Mexico is known for celebrating in their own unique way. This makes for a unique sampling of local flavors and traditions for those of us who keep coming back for more.

The Catrina

A famous Mexican artist named Jose Guadalupe Posada is known for inventing the character Catrina in the early 1900s. She is an elegant skeleton woman of high society dressed in fancy dresses with big scarves and floppy hats. She was designed to remind the people that everyone faces death the same, whether they are rich or poor. Visitors to Mexico can find hundreds of different versions of the Catrina gracing business lobbies, art galleries, individual homes and hotels. She is loved by the people and has come to be among the favored imagery of Day of the Dead.

Frida Kahlo

A Mexican artist, Kahlo began painting after a near fatal bus accident left her severely injured. With ample time on her hands during recovery, she spent many hours producing self-portraits. Though she struggled with the label her entire life, Kahlo is considered one of the most important surrealist painters to date. She eventually became the first Mexican artist to sell a painting for more than a million dollars.

Frida Kahlo imagery has become integrated with Day of the Dead and Mexican pop art symbology. You'll find Catrina's fashioned after Kahlo, as well as altars dedicated to her throughout the country. 

Kahlo's contribution to Mexican art and culture has been profound, and she is one of the most celebrated artists worldwide. Her bold style and unique approach to life has been documented time and time again in theatre productions and feature films.

You'll find as I continue to write about world culture and traditions, I return to Mexican culture time and time again. The color and vibrancy of their traditions are so incredibly lively, and family takes center stage as communities come together to celebrate. It is through celebrations like Day of the Dead that visitors can gain a real understanding of traditions and culture of the beautiful people of Mexico. 

Nicholas Beatty is a children's book writer and publisher. His projects explore multicultural themes allowing children to discover the world through whimsical folktales, recipes and activities.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mini Libraries Are Taking Over Seattle!

I am absolutely in love with this idea of establishing little libraries all over the city. You can bet your life I'll be establishing one of my own. What a fun contribution to make to the community, especially since many people are dedicating the libraries to loved ones that have passed on.

When It's All Said and Done...

Since January of this year (2013), Coleen McIntyre and I have been working endlessly on our new book The Cultured Chef: An International Cookbook for Kids. It has been a long and winding road getting to the where we are now. Our journey has included Coleen quitting her job of 15 years to concentrate on our work together, and me scaling back on my duties at the publishing company where I've worked for the last 10 years.

Coleen and I have worked together through temper tantrums (mostly by me) and moments of complete frustration. But there is a reason we are continuing on the path we're one. The simple answer is we weren't meant to do anything else. When inspiration and creativity call out your name... sometimes you've just got to just stop, drop and roll with the flow.

The last 6 months have led us to launching our project publicly through The crowdfunding website allows creatives like ourselves to announce their projects and potentially find public backing to make them become a reality. There is nothing more exciting than pressing the "Launch" button on a project you've poured every ounce of your energy into for the last 6 months.

Currently, in our second full day of Kickstarter launch, we've surpassed 35% of our goal. That means with 29 days left of our campaign, there's a high likelihood we're going to see our project fully funded. Whether we make it or not, I can't go on without thanking all of the amazing people who have helped us out throughout the creation and launch of our Kickstarter campaign.

Here are a few people that come to mind:

Russell J. Young
Jonathan Swanson
Nancy DeLong
Pam Atherton
Mark Middleton
Lois Middleton
Todd Werkhoven
Sophie Albright
Erika Albright
Bruin Albright
Cole Stoddard
Kimberly Field
Rachelle Matheson
Counterform Graphic Design
Jim at Precision Images

And many thanks to all of the people who have helped proof our project page, marketing copy, etc.

In the next 29 days, I know whatever will be... will be. Whether our project reaches full funding or not, to be able to witness a community of people coming together to make a creative project a reality is more than enough reward.

Please take a moment to check out our Kickstarter campaign here.

The Cultured Chef has launched on Kickstarter

There is a missing link in the American educational system where kids really aren’t taught much about other cultures until they reach the 3rd or 4th grade. The Cultured Chef: An International Cookbook for Kids was created to help fill in the gap. Designed to promote diversity, the book offers wholesome world recipes and stories about other cultures.

Books that illustrate world culture are essential for a well-balanced child. When kids are raised with exposure to diverse cultures, they later become much more creative in their approach to their own careers, relationships, and the social impact they make on the world.

More than just a cookbook, The Cultured Chef offers ways to stimulate all of a child’s senses through unique recipes, whimsical illustrations, and stories about fascinating people and places around the world.

 “The goal of our cookbook is to create a global community of children concerned about what goes on around them. It not only introduces children to other cultures, but encourages them to use their new cooking skills through direct involvement in their community,” said Nicholas Beatty, author of The Cultured Chef. “Preparing and delivering recipes to local shelters gives children a broader sense of their community, and encourages lifelong philanthropy.”

Each illustrated recipe in the book offers easy step-by-step instructions that allow kids to take the driver’s seat in the kitchen, with a supervising adult as their assistant. Readers can choose from a wide assortment of Breakfast, Lunch, Appetizer, Dinner, and Dessert menus.

Cooking and cultural education make the perfect partnership. Spending time in the kitchen allows many opportunities to learn life skills such as counting, measuring, and following instructions. While cultural exploration offers an opportunity for children to become healthy and active participants in an ever-shrinking global community.

The Cultured Chef: An International Cookbook for Kids is written by Nicholas Beatty, and illustrated by Coleen McIntyre, both of Portland, Oregon. The book is the subject of a national crowd-funding campaign using the platform. More information can be found atby visiting the project page here...

About Nicholas Beatty and Coleen McIntyre: Children’s book writer Nicholas Beatty, and illustrator Coleen McIntyre are a creative partnership working in children's publishing. Their projects explore multicultural themes allowing children to discover the world through whimsical folktales, recipes and activities. Their first collaboration was the children's cookbook Baking with Friends, winner of 5 national publishing awards.