Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Catching Up

My word, how busy my life has become!

Here I am, working on my new book, "Enchantment: The Witch's Art of Manipulation Through Gesture, Gaze and Glamour", and I suddenly realize I haven't posted a blog entryfor a couple of months. Part of that busyness is due to the taking on of students in the new training coven, which I have to say is performing way beyond my expectations.

We ended up taking on a total of nine new local students, and 43 long-distance students. I figured catering to long-distance students was a matter of logistics rather than of one-to-one interaction - for the most part - so we did not balk at the number, but dove in head-first.

We ended up with a packed curriculum for the traditional year and a day, resulting in a weekly class schedule. We teach the class with local students present, and share it via live video streaming to the long-distance students, who interact via chat. So far, this has proven surprisingly effective, even for the sabbat rites. In addition, most weeks I do a "Magister's Question Time" via live video streaming, and both the classes and question times are recorded and made available to students. As a result, I am becoming quite expert at this live video streaming thing.

That in itself has spurred me on to try and use up even more of my time. It occurred to me that if I can do my workshops and lectures online using live streaming, I can reach many more people than the limited few who can come to my in-person classes. So I've decided to work towards two methods of getting my workshops online.

The first is the simplest - to provide live streaming workshops on a pay-per-view basis, where "attendees" pay a small fee and get to see the workshop live on video, and interact via chat. The advantage of this method is that anyone can access the class from their computer or tablet device, from anywhere in the world. The recording of the workshop would then be made available as a streaming or downloadable video for a small fee.

The second is more ambitious. I want to get together with stores around the world to offer "virtual workshops". Using Skype or similar technology, a workshop would be held at a store anywhere in the world. Attendees would go to the store, just like a regular workshop, and I would "beam in" via live video, and appear on a large TV or video projector connected to a laptop or other PC. A webcam would feed the audio and video from the store back to me, so we could all see and hear each other, and interaction would be very similar to an in-person workshop. The advantage here would be that locations that would be too expensive to cater for (due to travel and accommodation costs) could be reached for no more than a regular workshop fee to the attendees, which would be shared between the store and myself in the usual way.

I hope to set up similar schemes for some of my fellow authors too.

To facilitate this, I realized that it would be very useful to be able to use more than one camera - for close-ups of demonstrations, etc. - and so I have started a Kickstarter project to raise the funds to buy a video mixer that will allow me to do just that. So if you have enjoyed my books, DVDs, podcasts and workshops in the past, please consider taking a look at the Kickstarter project, and pledging a small amount towards it (even $1 will help). If you can't pledge but would like to help (or even if you can pledge), please do not hesitate to share the project with others you think may be interested in it.

Help get Peter Paddon's Workshop Online