What We’re Looking For
We’re looking for great teachers who are both experts in and passionate about timely topics. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an established screencaster or a first-timer. The most important thing is that you care passionately about something that you understand deeply, and you want to share that passion with other people.
Our screencasts are, well, pragmatic, so you’d better be ready to help people understand and adopt your topic. Our style is approachable, hands-on, unpretentious, and direct.
When sending us a screencast proposal, please include the following:
- A summary of the topic you’re interested in screencasting
- A description of the ideal audience for your screencast
- A draft outline of what the viewer will learn
- Some information about yourself and your qualifications on this topic
- A link to a short (2-3 minute) sample screencast that includes audio and video
Most importantly, tell us why you’re excited about your topic!
Send proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What You Get
- A great deal! We currently pay 50% royalties. We take what we receive for a screencast, subtract any direct costs (most screencasts don’t have any), and split it with you. Oh, and we give you a royalty statement each month, and pay royalties quarterly. Your online account will also show near real-time sales data for each of your screencasts.
- Access to the best group of technical readers in the world. Your screencast will be sold right alongside best-selling books and authors. You’ll get all the marketing benefits of a respected brand.
- Hassle-free sales and delivery through our established (and tested) online store. You don’t have to deal with website maintenance, credit card processing, technical support, or other supporting infrastructure. Once we receive a completed screencast from you, and after it’s been post-produced, we begin selling and supporting it on our store.
- We do all the post-production work: video and audio editing, intros and outros, multi-format packaging, and so on. That way you can concentrate on teaching your topic without needing a bunch of fancy (and expensive) tools.
How We Make Screencasts Together
A typical screencast is produced in the following steps:
- You send us a proposal on a topic you’re keen on screencasting.
- We review your proposal and let you know if we think your topic fits with the interests of our readers and viewers, and help you redefine your topic if necessary.
- We send you a short agreement that states what you intend to produce, the royalty information, some legalese to protect both of us, and so on.
- Once you’ve signed the agreement and sent it back to us, you start working on a script for the screencast (or first episode if it’s a series) in your favorite text editor. We usually email back and forth a couple times to refine the script. We’ve found it’s really important to flesh out the script before turning on the recording equipment.
- Before you start recording the script, we’ll have you record a minute or two of audio/video just to make sure everything looks and sounds good. Then you upload it and we’ll help you make any adjustments. Once we have the quality dialed in, you start recording in earnest.
- You record the script, in small increments. By small we mean anywhere from 1-5 minutes. We’ll send you a screencast showing you what works well for us, just to get you started. You’ll end up with several small movie files, but that’s exactly what you want. It gives you more flexibility to redo a segment, if necessary. It also gives you a chance after each segment to catch your breath, clear your head, and think about what you’re going to do next.
- When you get started, we’ll ask you to upload individual segments as you make them. That way we can head off any potential problems before you invest too much time. As you get more comfortable with the process, you may record longer segments.
- In the end, you upload all your movie segments and source code files. We splice them all together, make cuts to tighten things up, add intros and outros, and package the final movie for sale on the store.
- Once your screencast is for sale, folks may start asking questions in the discussion forum for your screencast topic. Helping them out is mutually beneficial. :-)
Software and Equipment
Quality is really important to us. It all starts by capturing the audio and video at a good quality.
To record the audio and video, you’ll need a copy of iShowU Classic (or comparable for Windows). It’s relatively inexpensive ($20 USD) and very easy to use. We’ll send you the settings we use to record screencasts in the proper format.
You’ll also need a good quality microphone. The internal microphone on your computer won’t cut it, and we haven’t had much luck with headset mics. If you don’t already have a good microphone setup, we recommend the following setup:
- Samson CO1U USB Condenser Mic ($79.95)
- Samson SP01 Shockmount ($29.00)
- Pop Filter ($24.95)
- Boom Stand ($24.95)
This Samson microphone is, in our opinion, the best USB microphone for the money. It’s compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X. A number of our screencast creators use this microphone. If you’re new to all this, we’ll help you get set up so you look (and sound!) like a screencasting pro.