Pre-Chalk Talk Instructions (In-Person)

Pre-Chalk Talk Instructions

For In-Person Recording

Producing a Chalk Talk is easy, fast, and fun!

Thanks for sponsoring an episode of EE Journal’s popular Chalk Talk webcast series. This brief is designed to help you prepare for your Chalk Talk recording session and to answer the common questions people have about producing a Chalk Talk on-demand webcast episode.

You need 3 things:
a PowerPoint presentation
a presenter
a couple hours in a quiet place with good Wi-Fi

Chalk Talk has been running for over ten years. We have produced hundreds of episodes with dozens of sponsors and we have a large and loyal audience following. We have fine-tuned the process of recording and producing Chalk Talk based on years of accumulated experience and analysis of results and audience response. Our goal is to produce the most interesting and engaging online presentation possible with an absolute minimal amount of time, effort, and stress on you, your company, and your speaker.

There’s no need for rehearsing or scripting. The final product is better if you don’t.

We actually recommend NOT scripting your presentation. We know you want your final Chalk Talk to sound relaxed and natural, so we put Amelia (our Chalk Talk host) in the role of your target customer. She asks the questions that lead directly into the slides, creating a conversational atmosphere. It’s as if your presenter is having a casual coffee shop conversation with Amelia-as-the-customer (except, of course, they brought PowerPoint slides).

Before we start recording, we’ll work with you to come up with an appropriate set of questions for Amelia to ask as a transition/lead-in into each slide. (We typically do this in the conference room before we start recording.)

For example:

This back-and-forth conversation/interview format is proven to have much higher audience retention than a single-presenter webcast.

Don’t worry about your hair or makeup.

We record only audio for your Chalk Talk. We bring all our own professional audio equipment, and setup/teardown is minimal. We generally do the equipment setup while chatting and getting to know your presenter. All we need is a quiet conference room.

Your presenter will get unlimited “do-overs” during their recording session. Wrong word? Just pause, and go back to the beginning of the sentence, beginning of the slide, Amelia’s last question…whatever! There’s no pressure. Our professional audio editor will take out most of the “uuhhhs”, “ummms”, long pauses, etc. – so the final result ends up sounding perfectly polished.

Before the recording session, you send us an electronic copy of your PowerPoint – which we will synchronize with the final audio after editing. We often add additional animations to the PowerPoint to help illustrate what your speaker is saying, and to make the presentation more dynamic.

Note: This needs to be your FINAL copy of the slides. Changing slides after post-production is in process is an enormous amount of effort.Your slides need to be finalized before we start post-production.

How long should my presentation be?

We have produced Chalk Talks as short as six minutes and as long as an hour. Our recommended target is 15-20 minutes, as that is the peak point for audience retention. We recommend approximately one slide per minute – so between 15 and 20 slides is an average presentation, however we can deal with far more or far fewer. We want to take whatever time is needed to tell your story well, in a concise and compelling format that holds the audience’s attention.

How should I prepare my PowerPoint slides?

The PowerPoint slides can use your company’s normal format/template. We build the “chalkboard” environment, titles, landing page, intro and closing music during post production. Your PowerPoint slides may include rich media such as video clips of demos or Camtasia-style software demo captures, if you think those would enhance the presentation. Be sure to remove any “company confidential” material and markings from slides as they will be going into a public webcast.

As you prepare slides, pay close attention to font size. Bigger is better! A lot of people watch Chalk Talk on smartphones, tablets, and other smaller-screen devices. You don’t want the audience straining to read microscopic fonts on their tiny mobile screen.

Also, we recommend that your PowerPoint slides be in widescreen (16:9 or 16:10) format. Since all of the devices we broadcasting to are widescreen, your presentation will make the best use of the space if it’s widescreen too. Of course we can still handle “retro” 4:3 slides if that’s what you prefer. (There will just be blank space on both sides of your slides.)

A humorous intro gets people’s attention.

We write and add Amelia’s chalkboard introduction during post-production. Our goal is to create a humorous segue into the main point of the presentation before Amelia introduces your speaker. We generally do not need any assistance from you for the intro – unless you have a creative idea, which we can discuss during the recording session.

(Okay, you need four things, actually.)

At some point, we’ll need a headshot of your presenter. This doesn’t have to be a high-quality portrait. We’ll be turning it into a fake, old-school Polaroid and putting it in the webcast player on the chalkboard. No headshot? No problem. We can easily just snap an iPhone portrait of your presenter on the day we record!

How long is post-production?

Post-production usually takes about 4 weeks. During post-production, we edit the audio, add music and intro, synchronize the audio with your slides, and turn the whole thing into a video, which we upload to YouTube as “unlisted.” We then send you a link to that proof copy for review.

How are Chalk Talks promoted?

Once you have approved your Chalk Talk episode, we can go live whenever you’re ready. Your Chalk Talk will be live for at least one year, and includes a tremendous amount of advertising/promotion over the course of that year to drive traffic to your webcast.

We promote your Chalk Talk as a “Featured Chalk Talk” on the EEJournal home page and content pages (articles, news stories, etc.), in the EE Journal daily newsletters, on our YouTube channel, our Facebook page, and our Twitter stream. It will be everywhere.You’ll be famous.We’ll even send you embed code so you can put it on your own site if you want. Just let us know.

(Well, maybe you need FIVE things. But that’s all, we promise!)

We also ask you for a “call-to-action” link for the presentation.Typically, this directs the viewer to a page of your choosing where they can take the next step of engagement – buy a dev kit, download eval software, read a white paper, etc. We embed clickable links into the video and put the call-to-action link in the description below the video player as well.

Most of all – we want your Chalk Talk experience to be easy and fun for you and your presenter. We really enjoy creating Chalk Talks, meeting new people, and learning about new technology. We think that enjoyment and spirit of fun comes through in the final presentation and makes the audience feel that way as well.