Last week I spent a day in San Francisco, recording a summary of REST for a company that’s putting together a series of lectures on work-life balance, digital distraction, and other topics. (I’m not sure what I can say about it publicly, hence my obscurity.)


I spent the morning recording the lectures in a studio that mainly does voice work for video games), then several more hours with a film crew shooting video that’ll go into a set of promotional videos and advertisements for the class.


Some of it involved responding to questions that’ll be used in a series of advertisements. We then decamped from the studio, and went over to the startup, so they could get some footage of me talking to people, looking thoughtful underneath a logo of the company, and so on.


I think one of the photographers also caught me napping at one point. We shall see.

It was an interesting experience. Of course I’ve given lots of talks about rest, but it’s still interesting thinking about how to organize your material for listeners you’ll never interact with, who are looking for things they can put to use in their own lives.


I’ve also done a very little video or TV work, and lots of radio interviews, but this was the first time I’ve done any studio recording, and the first time I’ve worked with a professional camera crew.

For one thing, I was stunned at just how much stuff a professional crew uses. Even in our iPhone-GoPro era, people who do this for a living wrangle a lot of equipment.


So this was no record-over-Skype kind of deal!

The whole interaction was really interesting because on one hand, there are a half dozen technicians— all very skilled people— who have been mobilized on your behalf, and you are literally the center of everyone’s attention; yet at the same time, you’re utterly objectified. You don’t have a name; you’re “the talent.” The cinematographer and photographer want to make you look great, but that means treating you as a bunch of shadows, angles, posture, etc.. (I guess it’s better than being the opposite of talent….)

Not that they always succeeded, of course.


And there’s just an enormous amount of artifice that goes into creating natural-looking scenes: the crew might spend 90 minutes setting up cameras for 3 minutes of me talking, and there was endless adjustment of lights, mics, and so on.


Anyway, it was an illuminating day, and I look forward to the finished product becoming available.