Four Questions For Steve Garfield, Video Blogger

get seen coverSteve Garfield may have been the first video blogger ever; when he put a clip on his blog on January 1, 2004, he was starting something big without even knowing it.

Now the guy’s come out with a book, called Get Seen: Online Video Secrets To Building Your Business. The tech-heavy tome teaches novices everything from selecting a camera to using lighting properly to what keys to press to get a video onto YouTube.

The book’s great for step-by-step fans, we think; it’s filled with pictures, screengrabs, and technical information. Too, the book is heavily footnoted with links to online resources for more information. The higher-level philosophical stuff is more lacking, though there’s a good chapter on how to conduct an interview. Because of that, though, we think this book is useful not just for marketers, but for journalists who maybe already know how to report and interview, but want to dip their toes into video and thus boost their career prospects.

We interviewed Garfield about his book and about online video: you can read that interview after the jump. Check back later today for information on how you can get a copy of Get Seen.


You’ve met Katie Couric, Jimmy Fallon, tons of people. What’s your secret?
The secret is that it’s easy. One thing my mom says is that if you don’t go out nothing happens. I just put myself in the position, and I’m prepared with all the technical skills that I have for the opportunity to do these videos. All you have to do is think about what camera you have, so then when the opportunity arises, you go, “Oh, I can shoot a video. Oh, and I can share it.”

You launched your first video blog in 2004. Tell me about that.
When I figured out how to put video on a blog, that was January 1, 2004. It was just a technical thing. I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll figure it out.’ And then it just evolved. The lesson in that is to follow your passion. I’m so interested in learning the technical knowledge and sharing it.
[In 2004,] you had to go through code. I have a programming background, so it was fairly easy for me to figure these things out but for people who didn’t, it was a big mystery. I visited the Apple web site and they had examples [of how to put video online], and I copied and modified it until i got it to work. As I learned it, I would share it and there was a community that formed around all of us figuring out how to do it. I always jump on the new things. Find out the new things and see if it makes things easier.

Did the static format of the book bother you? Do you worry that links you print in the book will be broken in a year?
It did at first, but I knew that was going to happen. So that’s why I put up the companion site. At stevegarfield.com/getseen, I put any updates and links to videos. People have told me they read the book and watched the videos, and one person in even said, “I love how you taught me how to do a playlist in youtube in the book.” But that wasn’t in the book, it was on the site. They think of the site and the book combined.

What are you working on now?
Well, once you finish writing the book you’re not done. You have to go out and promote it. I’m going out and doing a lot of speaking, Macworld, SXSW, etc. And then I’m doing consulting with companies to talk about — some of the companies are calling it casual video. The less produced video, where they can go and produce the video for themselves. I’ll go through and show them what camera to use, lighting, how to shoot, edit, and where to host it, and teach them to be self-sufficient. They just love it. Before, it was so daunting to think about how much work it would be or how much it would cost but now they can bring it in house. It’s okay that it’s not professionally, super-produced.