Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ScribbleLive lessons in live blogging the Red Carpet

In the past month, I have had a major crash course in: 
  • ScribbleLive for nationally syndicated live blogging
  • Pharell's hat, Madonna's old lady grill and the Mani Cam

I was giddy to host the Red Carpet for Digital First Media's Thunderdome syndication of the Golden Globes and the Grammys

But nervous, too. Hosting a live blog of a fast-paced, national event requires organization, preparation and the ability to think quickly on your toes. I couldn't force the latter, but I could beef up the first two to compensate -- and hopefully allow some brain space for snarky commentary to flow. 

As I'm gearing up for the Oscars in a few weeks, I'm thinking about what worked, what didn't work and other tips to having a seamless and fun live blog. 

Read this before you launch your own ScribbleLive project: 

What worked:
This is a peek at my raw feed.
My running raw feed of the worst-dressed, allowing me
to pull together a quick slide show at the end.

  • STUDY UP: A great way to refresh my knowledge, deepen my skills and clarify questions was to sign up for ScribbleLive's ScribbleU virtual course. Whether you're new to ScribbleLive or experienced, you will get some new ideas and tricks here. Plus, it was a nice confidence-builder.
  • MAKE SLIDESHOWS instead of photos you must scroll through. Before, I didn't realize you could easily create photo slideshows by dragging one photo on top of the other in the Scribble dashboard. Must nicer to view.
  • CREATE A "RAW FEED" FILE BEHIND THE SCENES: This is the prep work -- and what makes you look more on top of things and knowledgeable than is humanly possible. This is simple to do but makes a major difference. Create a story, just don't make it public. Several days before the event you need to cover, pre-write as much as you can; anticipate outcomes you can tweak on the fly; make informative history and background posts; and even write your intros and summaries. While blogging live, you can pull up this raw file (label is thusly so you don't get mixed us) and simply select or edit and paste the pre-written info into your live coverage. I would have bombed without this little trick.
    Things I used this for: a slideshow of the best/worst outfits from Red Carpets past, slideshows of what various stars wore in the past, fashion trends, background on designers, lists of contenders, info on the movies/albums. I also used a running raw feed to collect images to write about later, such as a wrap-up of the best/worstdressed.
  • CREATE A TWITTER GROUP TO FOLLOW: Add official and unofficial Twitterers to this list and keep it running on a separate laptop or iPad next to you while you watch the live coverage. Sort of like a ticker you can keep one eye on. This was especially helpful when covering the Grammy's, whose Red Carpet happened after and during the presentation of many of the awards. I was able to coordinate the news of the award-winners with my Red Carpet coverage, and quickly pop out a pre-made raw file about the winning star, topped with the most recent image I could find on Twitter or Instagram.
    One key for me was finding a trusted critic to follow and work with. My favorite was Colorado-based Snark Attack, who was central to my retweets because she's funny as heck.  
What didn't work:

POLLS AND READER INVOLVEMENT: I tried to make some fun polls but they didn't get as many votes as I wanted. I only made a few for the Grammys. 

Maybe next time. 

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