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Dave Langston started posting short selfie YouTube videos when he started working on home improvement projects. The short videos show him talking to his phone while he shares something he has learned and thinks is worth sharing with a wider audience.
Question: What prompted you to start the selfie videos?
Dave: Well you know what they say, the devil makes mischief for idle hands. (Smile) I was spending some long hours alone on my home improvement project and my mind would wander while I worked. I would devise little tricks to get things done, such as using a piece of a mini-blind to help me paint a straight edge and I thought “Maybe other people good use that tip!”
Question: Why did you continue?
Dave: Because people laughed, of course! And some people in our community remember a comedy routine created a few years ago by Scott Schulte called ‘Radio Woodshop’. He was tremendously popular and funny portraying a guy who ran a weekly radio talk show from his woodshop, ostensibly to teach listeners how to build furniture. But instead he always cut his fingers and wandered off topic. I became inspired to explore and expand this type of character in a new setting with selfie YouTube videos. It was fun!
Question: Was it hard to talk to the camera and publicize the videos for you or do you like seeing yourself on camera?
Dave: The technology makes it relatively easy to talk and film yourself, as long as everything you want to do and show can be done with the other hand! Some staging in advance is required so you can pick up your ‘props’ sequentially as you tell your story. And I found that the props were a big hit. People laughed at the image of the tip of a staple gun being pointed close to the camera lens. Who knew?
Question: How do you come up with topics?
Dave: The ‘Coveted Home Owner Merit Badge’ was a brainstorm similar to earning ‘Frequent Windshield Miles’ for people who drive endless hours back and forth to Des Moines, Iowa, from Iowa’s Creative Corridor. It is a mythical reward for a unenviable task that nonetheless must be done. So every episode became another adventure in pursuit of the much-sought-after Home Owner Merit Badge. Oh and I also wanted motivate people to come buy my house!
Question: So the Internet Workshop is for sale?
Dave: It’s increasingly noted that we are seeing a blurring or blending of work life with all other aspects of our lives. The divide is diminished. So why not turn the real project into fun and allow the fun to enhance the awareness of the real?
Question: What has been the feedback from your viewers (if you have any to share)?
Dave: Be careful! (Laughing) It’s funny, part of the intended humor involved bandaging my fingertips as a spoof on the clumsiness of the character (me) so I received several cautionary notes. Also other people enjoyed being ‘guests’ making appearances on the video to tell their stories, just like Trash Lady did on Workshop 12. She’s real by the way.
Question:You mean Authentic?
Dave: Yes, both Real and Authentic!
Question: Any other tips for people who are considering sharing stories in a similar way?
Dave: You are more creative and talented than you think you are (inspirational music rises). Oh and keep it short! People don’t have time for more than a minute or a 90 seconds. Be brief.