Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Adventures in eHow

Several weeks ago I spent part of one day working with a video guy who produced educational films for Demand Media Studios, which had a deal to post them in eHow. In about five hours we made 17 little films about various gardening topics.

He got paid, but I didn’t, even though I worked hard, too. However, it was a very interesting experience. I had wondered about the whole eHow thing, and now I know a bit more about how it works.

The topics had to be chosen from a list provided by Demand Media Studios, and the wording wasn’t allowed to vary. For example, if the topic had the phrase “blueberry tree” in it, those exact words had to be in the introduction to the video. At first, this seemed a little weird to me, but it turns out to be a way to reach the audience where it is in terms of gardening knowledge, and the audience is full of people who might not yet know that blueberries grow on bushes rather than trees.

The experience also helped me understand why some eHow videos seem incomplete. We were given a pretty tight time limit for each video. There was only enough time for the "bare bones" of each topic, which meant that I had to leave out some potentially useful information. Also, because the filmmaker/videographer needed to have at least 15 little films lined up to make his trip out to my garden at all profitable, and because we had to choose from a somewhat eclectic list of topics, we were not quite “in season” for all the topics being filmed.

The good news is that the list included enough topics for which I had actual, real-life experience that we were able to pull the project together. Here is one example from the set:

When I started this blog, one main motivation was to share information - that might actually be helpful - about growing food in gardens here in the South. The Atlanta area in particular is packed with people who are not originally from here. I’m a perfect example: grew up in Oklahoma, but previously gardened in other states, including the Eastern Shore of Virginia, where growing food was super easy.

It would be pretty safe to bet that I am not the only person who has found gardening here a bit more of a challenge than it was in my previous yard.

I don’t know yet whether making eHow videos is at all helpful to gardeners who are new either to this area or to gardening itself, so I don't know whether I'll be making more of these, but I am happy to have been able to participate in this little project.

(Note: The videos are on an assortment of topics, including raspberries, blueberries, fertilizers, transplanting, plant propagation, and soil preparation; hence, the long list of "Labels" attached to this blog post.)

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