Camera Ready, by Author (ebook, 2012)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you
want a hardcopy)
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
This book is very well done. The author provides an intelligent and thorough
presentation of the subject (being ready for the camera). I can't think of
anything she left out, and it doesn't have any fluff put in there just to make
it bigger. Apparently, Joshua Spanier, the Head of Media at Google, shares that
opinion. He wrote the Foreword and his comments were very positive. The book
delivers on the promises he made in his comments.
Let me establish a foundation for my review, so you know where I'm coming
from on the subject of presentation.
Some years ago, I wrote a course on
how to give a winning presentation. It definitely fills a need. Too many
people who give live presentations have this misguided notion that Death by
Powerpoint is somehow beneficial, but it does in fact isolate the speaker
instead of connect the speaker to the audience. Powerpoint is not the
presentation; at best, it's an audio visual aid. And the way it's typically
used makes it worse than no aid at all. Nobody connects with a disembodied
voice in the dark. In fact, this is a standard element in horror movies. And
it's horrible for presentations. What presenters need to do instead is
present themselves their ideas.
The same concept, of presenting yourself and your ideas, carries over
into video. The same rules apply, except with video there are some
additional ones. Just as it's a FAIL to be a talking head numbly reading
PowerPoint slides to a live audience, so it is a FAIL to be a talking head
talking numbly in front of the camera. Ms. Zomorodi explains how to look and
sound good in front of the camera, whether you are recording a video for
later distribution or are responding to a reporter who approached you on the
This book could have been a laundry list of rules, which would violate
its own premise of effective presentation. Instead, Ms. Zomorodi guides the
reader through a structure of progressive chapters. The reader learns the
fundamentals, then builds on those. The result is that, by the end of the
book, you know how to prepare your ideas, your message, and yourself for
It's always been possible to turn audiences off so that they tune you
out. This effect has, due to Death by Powerpoint and other mistakes, long
been a tradition on the rubber chicken circuit. When you make an online
video and turn audiences off, they don't tune you out while you drone on,
they click away. It's as if you never made the video in the first place. But
what happens when you connect with the audience? When your delivery and your
message click with them? They share that video. It could even go viral,
meaning your audience grows exponentially with no additional work from you.
Getting that connection doesn't require you to have some kind of genetic
advantage, superb oratory skills, or other gift. It does require
preparation. In this ebook, Ms. Zomorodi explains how to prepare. Not only
that, she features interviews with experts; you can watch the videos and
hear their wisdom directly from the source.
If you were writing a text for text-only reading, you would avoid long
quotes. The exception there is you might give an expert a whole chapter. But
you don't want to interrupt your flow by taking the reader on a long quote
ride. With the ebook version, you can break this rule using video. The
reader doesn't have to come back, after several pages, to where your
narrative paused. The reader clicked a video link and is still at that point
where you paused. It's easy to pick up again.
The very structure of this ebook is an object lesson in communicating in
multimedia. And each video is also an object lesson in some aspect of video
production. You could ignore the content itself and learn plenty just by
using this book as an example of how to do it right. Of course, you'll learn
the most by following Ms. Zomorodi through this book from start to finish.
This book consists of six chapters, an appendix, an epilogue, a glossary,
acknowledgements, a section about the author, and a section about the
filmmaker. It is a multimedia work that contains videos and hyperlinks.
Notes on review method
This is my first review of an e-book. This particular book was made for the
Kindle ebook reader. I have the jetBook reader from Ectaco, and it converts this
file to text format. So I wasn't able to access the videos or follow the
hyperlinks, but for me that is actually my preferred way to read. After reading the
book, I did go back and skim through it on my PC using the free Kindle emulator
so I could do some video watching and hyperlink following.
Like nearly everyone else, I can read the same amount of information as text
much faster than I can view it in video. But I have an exceptionally strong
preference for text and very little patience for video. When I was in 7th
grade, my reading speed consistently clocked in at 2800 words per minute
with 80% accuracy. I've had plenty of reading practice since then.
did read all of the text, I watched only some of the video content.
My review is based on what I read, not on what I watched. It does seem to
me, though, that the video information generally appears in the text.
book also contains many hyperlinks, and I clicked on only a few of them.
When I read an article online, it's rare for me to click on an outbound
link. It's the specific article I'm reading that interested me in the first
place, and I feel it's up to the author
to cover the subject. However, sometimes those outbound links really do
enhance the article and I'm happy to click through and see what that
external resource provides. I just don't do it unless there's a compelling
The number of us text-based consumers (also called "readers") is shrinking relative to the number of
video-based information consumers. So e-books with video make sense today.
Even more so for a book like this, which is about making videos and
appearing on camera.