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120: How to Record or Re-Record a Course

See the show notes for this Episode here.

This transcript has been automatically generated.

Bonnie Christine [00:00:00]:
At the time of this recording, I have just wrapped up rerecording our signature course, Searchie Design Immersion. So while it's still fresh on my heart and my mind, I wanted to come and really break down the entire process for you. So in this episode, we are going to talk about everything that goes into preproduction, the actual production itself, and postproduction of course creation. I'm Bonnie Christine, and this is where all things creativity, design, and marketing unite. I'm a mama living in a tiny town tucked right inside the Smoky Mountains, running a multi seven figure business doing the most creative and impactful work of my life. When I first set out to become an entrepreneur, I was struggling to make ends meet and wrestling with how to accomplish my biggest dream of becoming a fabric designer. Fast forward to today, I'm not only licensing my artwork all over the world, but also teaching others how to design their creative life and experience the same success. I'm here to help you spend your life Doing something that lights you up.

Bonnie Christine [00:01:18]:
I'll help you build a creative business that also creates an impact, changes people's lives, gives you all of the freedom you want, and is wildly profitable. Welcome to the Professional Creative Podcast. Now I specifically want to focus this episode on what's involved when you go to rerecord a course and update it. But even if you think you'll set out to do a course for the 1st time, you are gonna find so much value in this episode. I think it's just somewhat unique to talk about what goes into rerecording something that you've already done in order to get it updated. But my goodness, if you are starting out and going to record a course, let's say in the next year or 2, I think that you'll be able to take so many tricks and tips away from this episode as well. So before I get into the steps of everything that goes in to something like updating a course, I want to kind of just briefly go over the course so you know what kind of size we're talking about. So I began teaching Searchie design immersion in 2018, and I have updated it, completely rerecorded the entire thing every 2 years.

Bonnie Christine [00:02:47]:
Now this is important to me for a couple of different reasons. One is that about half of the course is Adobe Illustrator. And so when you teach a software, software gets updated so frequently that you really almost have to update it every 2 years. And the other reason is that I look different. I sound different. With every year that passes, that happens. And then also, I wanna make sure that we're giving just the most up to date information as possible when it comes to business and licensing and all of those things as well. So the course is 8 weeks long and it is, this year, Stu Christine.

Bonnie Christine [00:03:31]:
So that is dispersed up into 8 different modules. Now our modules are a foundations module. That one has about 15 lessons in it. That includes what we call a beginner's tool kit or head start. So if you're a brand new beginner, You'll learn all of the basics that you'll need in order to get started in the course. The next module is on gathering inspiration, and that one also has about 15 lessons in it. Now module 3 is illustrator essentials. This is where we begin learning the program, and there are 35 lessons in that module.

Bonnie Christine [00:04:09]:
Module 4 is Illustrator advanced, And so this one is even a bit more technical. It has 39 lessons in it. Module 5 is on pattern mastery. So we really begin to master the art of creating repeating patterns. This module has 27 lessons in it. Module 6 is designing in collections. So once you have patterns, how do you formulate collections and all the different types of collections? This module has 27 lessons in it, and then module 7 is when we begin to really talk about the business. So This one is called Income From Your Artwork and it has about 31 lessons in it.

Bonnie Christine [00:04:52]:
This is where we talk about Contracts and Licensing and Pitching Your Work and Freelancing, How Stu Price Your Work. Then the last module is Bonnie 8, and this is Creative Entrepreneurship, the art of business Christine a business that will serve you for a long time, adding multiple streams of revenue and Setting Up Your Business and all of those beginner questions and all of those questions that will help you just set out for success. This module has about 30 lessons in it as well. So these lessons are roughly, I would say on average, 10 minutes long. Some of them are 6 or 7 minutes, while others are 20 or 30 minutes. But on average, they're 10 to 15 minutes long. And the other unique thing is that about half of them are what I call face to camera. So me on camera teaching, And then the other half are screen recordings.

Bonnie Christine [00:05:49]:
So we're using Adobe Illustrator. We're actually watching the screen and learning how all of those Things work together. How to build color. How to build motifs and illustrations and patterns. So the recording of it is tremendous. If you can imagine, it is just a large undertaking and it's one that I'm really intimate with because this was the 4th time that I've done it. But our number one goal is to improve it every time that it gets recorded. So not only update it, but improve it and make it more immersive.

Bonnie Christine [00:06:25]:
So let's talk about preproduction. For me, again, because this is a re recording, there are several things that we do that is based off of the last version. So for instance, I have a support team that comes in to support students. We have about 25 experts that answer illustrator questions and get to know students and give feedback on their work. And part of what they do is they keep a running list for me for every single lesson of all of the most commonly asked questions, Any corrections that need to be made, perhaps I did something that wasn't the most streamlined way, so they keep track of that, and anything that needs to be added. So perhaps the lesson would have been better or more complete or more clear if I had just added this one thing. And so I begin there. I have this from the last 2 years, everything that was compiled from our experts and myself, based on lesson by lesson, what questions could I have addressed directly in the lesson itself, what was coming up right in the community or in the lesson post comments, and then the corrections and and ideas for what to be added.

Bonnie Christine [00:07:43]:
So I'm always using that. Now the next one is something we did this past year that I loved. We always do a survey for students post course because, again, we're looking to improve it year over year And so we wanna get feedback. We wanna hear what people had to say, and we also want their ideas. And so a question that I added to this year's survey was So simple and so wonderful for me. If you could add 1 lesson to the immersion course, what would it be? We got over a 1000 Christine, and this was so amazing for me to sit down with and really look at what students were hoping for or needing or looking for. And based off of that, I made a huge list of improvements to make 2 existing lessons and also new lessons that I wanted to add to the course. So after the survey, what I need to do is review all of Adobe Illustrator's updates.

Bonnie Christine [00:08:46]:
Now this is part fun and part tremendous effort Because as you can imagine, a program gets updated so frequently. And of course, I'm using the program nearly every day for my work as a professional. But there are always little nuances and new tools and new ways to use things. And when you are an educator of a program, it's really your job to know all of those things. So I dive in to Adobe. I go look at all of the updates they so when they release an update, they always outline everything that they've included in it. So it's a lot of really detailed work to review all of the updates that have been made in the last 12, 18 months or so. And just make sure that you are covering those, that you're aware of them, and that if they streamline a process, that you're implementing them as well.

Bonnie Christine [00:09:44]:
So if I wasn't an educator, I may get kind of stuck in the way I've always done things. But it's important that I'm always aware of the new way and the new kind of tools and techniques that are coming out. So, actually, just keeping up to date on the software itself is a tremendous effort. It's very fun, and I'm grateful for it. It's one of those things that because I teach it, it makes me better at my craft anyways, right, because I've got to know the entire program in and out. So no excuses over here. No shortcuts of doing it the old way. I've got to know the new way.

Bonnie Christine [00:10:20]:
So, of course, that takes a lot of time and a lot of note taking as well. So at that point, I have last year's expert feedback. I've got the survey from students and I've reviewed all of the updates inside of Illustrator. Now I get to sit down with the syllabus, so literally just the list of modules and the list of lessons. Of course, I'm very intimately aware of these lessons, but I love to have them in just list format. And then I get to kinda dream a little bit. I step onto the playground, if you will, and I think about what I want to add. If I wanna remove anything, Maybe there's a lesson that we don't really need anymore or it's significantly outdated, or I just need to add something to an existing lesson, or does it deserve an entire lesson on itself? So I rework the modules completely, and this year is pretty different.

Bonnie Christine [00:11:16]:
In past years, we've had 6 modules with a couple of bonuses. This year, we have 8 modules and we still have bonuses, but we have 8. So this is really fun to really just hammer out exactly the flow of the lessons, how you wanna move from 1 to the next, How, based on feedback from last year, how things progress most naturally for Stu, and so I walk away with a refined syllabus. Now comes the part where we begin to actually flesh out everything that's Bonnie go into every lesson. So something that is somewhat unique is that I work off of scripts for this course in particular. And the primary reason for that is that I want to make sure that every moment of the course is needed and applicable. And if I don't have a script, I'll kind of go, you know, I won't be as precise with my training. I'll kind of go on a rabbit trail or forget that's probably the biggest issue is that I'll forget something that I needed to include and so specifically for the face to camera, I work off of a word by word script, but I have to write the script first.

Bonnie Christine [00:12:34]:
And so when you're rerecording, you have last year's or the last the previous version's script to reference, but of course, you're making all of these improvements. So this process took several months. I was really in scripting for a solid two and a half months. And so I'm writing word for word everything that is gonna be said in the face to camera lessons. Those are the the lessons where I'm really teaching. Now the other thing is to outline the screen recordings, so I don't work off of a strict Christine, for the Adobe Illustrator trainings because it's all on screen and very in the moment, but I do work off of a very detailed outline. That way I can be sure that I'm not missing anything, I'm not leaving anything out, and that I'm accurately describing the process for students. And so the way that I did this was in a Google Doc, but I had a Google Doc for every module, so 8 Google Docs.

Bonnie Christine [00:13:35]:
Each of these Google Docs ended up being about 50 or 60 pages long. And so at the end of all of this, we had a scripted course that was over 400 pages long that I was to work off of when I got to recording. So we're not to recording yet. We're still in preproduction. And the other reason that we had to work off a script this year is because, As you might know, we also develop a workbook for students and the workbooks timeline is a bit long. So it takes a fairly long time not only to design the workbook, but to also get it printed back in our hands and all of the Bonnie is ready to ship to students when they begin enrolling in the course. And so this year, the workbook is entirely new. It is 423 pages long, and it's very interactive.

Bonnie Christine [00:14:31]:
It is going to be a game changer for students. It is just one of the most incredible resources that I've ever held in my hands. In fact, I just Stu Searchie today got the final sample, in my hands, and I cried. It was it it's it's phenomenal. It is Stu an Full Improvement Over Anything We've Ever Done, and it is just amazing. So, anyways, we have to work off of scripts to do that because the videos are not all recorded by the time we have to turn in the pages for the workbook. So that is a huge undertaking as well. So there are 2 other things that must be done in this preproduction time, and that is your filming setup and a photo shoot.

Bonnie Christine [00:15:20]:
So I'll talk about the photo shoot first because it's a bit simpler, but we really work to refresh our imagery around the course really every year, but especially when it's rerecorded. And so I really cleared my deck for a couple of days. I collected all of these things and had this huge photoshoot. Just me. It was just Amy, but I really tore my house upside down, created this whole space to make this photo shoot come to life, And we ended up with some amazing imagery that we've been able to just use throughout the entire course, not only the workbook, but also the landing page and the course itself. It it was just an amazing opportunity to get fresh Imagery Inside. And then probably the biggest one is the filming setup. I've got to talk about this for a minute.

Bonnie Christine [00:16:14]:
I think filming is so interesting and I'm always trying to up level the quality. And so the last time I recorded the course, I rented a studio a couple of hours away from my house that specialized in, you know, production and I rented it for a week. So my husband and I, David, we drove and had a hotel and we set up a set inside this filming studio. So we had to take furniture and all this stuff to get it set up, and I was excited. It was a great push to have everything ready. Right? So everything had to be ready for this week, which was, like, for the procrastinators out there, all of us, It's great to have like a deadline. Right? So this was a major deadline. Everything had to be set and ready to go, and it was.

Bonnie Christine [00:17:05]:
But a couple of things happened. Stu of all, I got sick, like so sick. And this was on the 3rd day of recording and I lost my voice completely. Lean. Again, this was a couple of years ago. Lost my voice, had to go home, and the studio was nice enough to really work with us. And so they kind of let us come back in a week or two to to finalize, but it was really like 3 weeks before my voice was back to normal. And so I went back and I still didn't finish.

Bonnie Christine [00:17:34]:
So I was back for about 4 days. And what I underestimated was just not only the Energy Output, but also the Christine output. So this course is actually being creative in the moment as well. I'm creating artwork and teaching you how I do it at same time. The cognitive load of that, and just the the overall output was a lot. And I ended up having to finish recording the screen recordings back in my home studio. And so I thought I'm not gonna do that again. There's too much pressure on that 1 week.

Bonnie Christine [00:18:10]:
I'm away from my family. I'm missing my children. I have to do it. Like I have Stu, I have to Be Creative Now, which is for the creatives, like, that's a little bit hard. And so I thought I'm not gonna do that again. I'm gonna build out my own recording studio. Film. So that's what I did this year.

Bonnie Christine [00:18:28]:
I hired the same Stu. The the guy who runs it, I hired him to consult with me and build out a recording studio right here in my office. And so this has been incredible. Now it was an investment. It was about $18,000 to build out this production set. However, it was Similar to what the, you know, to renting the studio had been a couple of years ago, and so now I have it forever, which is really incredible. Now I don't know how many of you are interested in such a production set as this, but I do have my gear list and I would love to give it to you. So we'll link that on the show notes if you're interested because the studio has ended up being incredible.

Bonnie Christine [00:19:17]:
I can walk in. I can push a couple of buttons and literally be recording within 30 seconds. And so the setup is easy and it's also like television quality. It's incredible. The room is audio proof. The mic system is amazing. It's also all artificial light, so I can record at any time during the day and there will be a consistency to it. So it's been one of my favorite things, but it was, several month process.

Bonnie Christine [00:19:49]:
We started it back in the summer in order for it to be ready by about November of the year. Have you ever wondered how some artists turn their passion into a profitable career? Well, the secret's out. In fact, my incredibly in-depth and entirely free workshop is coming up. It's called The Art of Business, 7 Secrets to Success in surface pattern design, and I would love to have you join us. Here's what you need to know. You can start at any experience level, so beginner, intermediate, or advanced. You can start at any life Stu. If you're a teen, a young professional, a mom, or an empty nester.

Bonnie Christine [00:20:35]:
And you can also start with any goal in mind. So if you want to reconnect with your creativity, Start with a hobby, build out a side hustle, or transition into an entire career, this workshop is for you. You're gonna learn the opportunities available to you in the world of surface design, the first steps you need to take in order to get started, the 5 different types of surface designers so you can choose which one is right for you, how to create a personalized road map to reach all of your goals in surface design, and ways to create multiple streams of revenue and start making income from your artwork. Now throughout the workshop, I'll be sharing my top 7 secrets for you to find success in surface pattern design. This workshop is truly transformational. We hear every year that through the free workshop, people have completely transitioned and transformed their lives. So come join us. All of the sessions are self paced so you can go through it on your own time, but I am also including live q and a sessions with Amy, and I would love to see you there and get to know you.

Bonnie Christine [00:21:46]:
You can head on over to bonnie christine.comforward/workshop to sign up. Again, that's bonnie christine.comforward/workshop, and I'll meet you there. Okay. So that's pre production. There's a lot. Now we're ready for production. Production, once you've done all of that other work, It's not easy, but it is it's just show up and do it kind of work. Right? So for me, I do all the face to camera and then I do all the screen recording and I do those in batches because the energy, the way you show up for those 2 things are very different.

Bonnie Christine [00:22:27]:
So to prepare for the face to camera, I have the set ready, so I make sure that the set is designed. I make sure sure that the desk is exactly how I want it. The framing is great. We've got the audio and the lighting dialed in. And then of course, everything goes to the teleprompter. So again, this is to avoid missing something or wasting anybody's time. So every word is important and has already been thought out for maximum impact. And so everything goes to the teleprompter.

Bonnie Christine [00:23:01]:
And then, of course, it's hair, makeup and outfits. It's just part of it. And honestly, it's it's, You know, that's a big effort. So hair, makeup, I do I do my own and then, of course, outfits. So you don't Bonnie worry you wearing the same thing for the entire course. I change in between, recordings. And then you have to record. So there were about 100 face to camera lessons and I spaced this out across about 6 days.

Bonnie Christine [00:23:34]:
And so it was just a lot of face on camera, you know. And so once that That was done. I was ready to prepare for the screen recordings. Now again, this is for Amy, all Adobe Illustrator tutorials. And so if you can just imagine the cleanup involved, like if you were about to have eyeballs on your computer, How do you feel about that? So I had to clean up my desktop. I had to clean up my finder and my folders, you know, because all of that is seen. And so also wanted to make sure that I even teach how to install illustrator. So I uninstall it and then set it all back up.

Bonnie Christine [00:24:16]:
And then, of course, I begin doing the screen recordings. And so these move a bit slower, but there's no setup time so much. You know, my face is not on camera, so I can throw my hair on top of my head and just get to work. But my system for that is to review all of my notes that are on the detailed outline and then watch the lesson from last time, if unless it's a brand new lesson and then I'll be creating it for the 1st time. But about 70% of them are just updated lessons from the last time that I taught it. And so I watch it and I review it. I make sure that I don't leave anything out. I review the notes and then I record.

Bonnie Christine [00:24:59]:
So you can imagine, like, 1 20 minute lesson will often take about an hour to record in between studying the last version, your notes, and then the new recording. So there are 100 and teen Adobe Illustrator screen recordings. And the most that I can do in a day is about 6 or 7 based on time but also creative and energy output. And so it is something that is difficult but also really rewarding. I mean, it's the greatest work of my life is this course, and so it's an it's an epic honor to be able to do it and it's my absolute privilege to update it every other year. But I am glad that we're talking about just what goes into the rerecording of something of this magnitude. Now we're ready. Everything's recorded.

Bonnie Christine [00:25:58]:
We'll talk about post production. So the most beautiful thing about this process today for me is that this is pretty much where I'm done. Now in years past, I have done all the postproduction as well. So I've edited my own videos. I've uploaded My own videos, I've done all the audio and that's a lot. But this year and then the last time as well, we outsource the editing of the videos. And I'm glad that we do it for a lot of reasons, but mainly because it is Such beautiful and high quality. So as you can imagine, there are a lot of things like keyboard shortcuts and zooming Stu the screen so they can see what I'm clicking on.

Bonnie Christine [00:26:42]:
And all of that editing is done beautifully by the studio that we outsource it to so that every time I use a keyboard shortcut, you see it come up onto the screen for both Mac and PC. So it's really done really, really well. Now we also have a hand in designing the slides that go on the screen when I'm teaching. We also have a hand in the custom animation for the intro and outro of every video. We're doing something brand new this year, which I'm so excited about. And then, of course, we also get those finished videos back and upload them to we use Searchie. So Searchie is an app. I love Searchie.

Bonnie Christine [00:27:27]:
Basically holds all of our videos, and it not only transcribes them but makes our videos searchable by keyword for students. And this is one thing that we couldn't live without or our students at least wouldn't want to because what it allows them to do is search the entire course for any word, and then they get all of the videos where I say that word. So let's say I'm teaching or you're struggling with the rotate tool. You can go search for rotate tool and find every place in every video that I mentioned that and dive right back Stu exactly where I said that. The other cool thing that that makes possible is for something like live q and a's. You can just search your name to see if I answered one of your questions on one of our live f q and a's. But while we're talking about Searchie, let me just tell you this other incredible thing. Searchie, about a year ago, came out with something called Wisdom AI.

Bonnie Christine [00:28:22]:
And what this does, if you've used Chat GPT, Chat GPT is a language model. Right? Well, Wisdom AI is a model that has only been trained by your content. Okay. Do you see where I'm going with this? So it's It's an entire chat GPT like experience. However, the answers are only generated by content that you give it. And so because we host all of my videos and even my podcast, all of our audios Stu Searchie, we can tell it What we can train this AI model on exactly what we want it to learn from. So all of the podcast, All of my membership, all of our q and a's like, all of our q and a's from all of Christine, And then also all of the course lessons train this model. So students can ask we call it the Bonnie bot.

Bonnie Christine [00:29:22]:
Students can ask the Bonnie bot a question at any time and the Wisdom AI Bonnie will pull up my how I would personally answer it. So remember, it's not pulling information from the web. It's only pulling information that I have trained it with via our videos and audio. So it's pretty cool. Students really love it because they can get answers any time of the day from our past content. And the other cool thing about Wisdom AI is that It will link up all of the resources for you where it pulled that information so you can go dive in deeper if you want. So say it pulled information from this podcast, one q and a in one lesson. You'd get the links to all of them and be able to go dive in.

Bonnie Christine [00:30:05]:
So, anyways, we'll link Searchie up too if you'd like to check it out. It's really incredible. So now we are ready to create the Course Hub. So I won't go into great depths And this episode about all of the other things like creating the course landing page, creating the course hub where students log into and creating the lesson posts and the downloads and the transcripts and the community. We also do this incredible student box that gets the workbook, but along with the workbook, Stu also get envelopes to open with every module, a scratch off journey card and some beautiful swag and sketchbooks. So It is a tremendous effort, and I can't even tell you how many hours the team collectively has put Stu this course specifically this year as we have rerecorded. And so I just wanna take a moment to shout out the people who have worked so incredibly diligently on making this come to life. So first and foremost, Rebecca, my lead designer, has poured so much into all of this.

Bonnie Christine [00:31:21]:
She is the one who takes my scripts from Google Doc and translated them into a workbook alongside Nikkita, our program manager. So Nikkita does all of the post creation. So if She has the video. She's working with the editor to make sure that we're tweaking it and and perfecting it and then uploading it into the course hub, and writing out the lesson text beneath it as well. So Nikita and Rebecca have worked beautifully together to create this workbook and the entire Experience. Erin Godby, my Events Director, is who works with our Bonnie producer to create just the most beautiful experience for students to get in the mail, and we could not do that without her. Truly every single person on the team comes together to make this come to life and it is just such a joy to have them alongside us as we are creating this and just filling our our minds and our hearts with what it will make possible for Stu who come and enroll this February, and we couldn't be more excited. It is truly the work that creates the biggest transformations that we see, and it's also what really gives us so much meaning and joy in the work that we do because we get to see Stu' success.

Bonnie Christine [00:32:46]:
So I hope this episode was telling and helpful for you if you are setting out to either record a course for the 1st time or rerecord a course. I think rerecording just deserves a special a special nod because you have done it already and now you are willing to go back and improve it and make it better. And this can sometimes feel, as a good friend of mine, Sarah Watts, says like you're writing the same book over and over again. And so it does take, just a special love for the content and especially a special love for the people who are going to be receiving the content. And so if that's you, if you are setting out to rerecord in the near future, Germ. I see you. And the work is worth it and it's incredibly impactful. And so keep heart.

Bonnie Christine [00:33:41]:
You're doing good work, and we're all in this together. My friends, create the beauty that you want to see come alive in the world, and remember, There's room for you.

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I'm Bonnie Christine.


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