Making The Braxclan

As some of you might know, I’ve been trying my hand at the YouTubes lately, posting a couple of LOTRO guides and then some full-fledged video play-sessions with my sons, which I’ve un-inventively called “The Braxclan“. I suppose it’s kind of a strange title since I play Carnillian, my trusty RK Elf instead of Braxwolf, but then again I couldn’t have a 90-ish hunter blasting his way through Bree-land again, could I? Plus, Carnilianclan sounds like some kind of snooty, academic Star Trek race. So, I stuck with the persona that most of my LOTRO friends know, Braxwolf, and incorporated ‘clan’ due to involving my family in the project.

First of all, the first two episodes could not have gone better. The process goes like this: I basically get all the technical stuff set up, then I baseline with my son (whichever one I’m playing with at the time) the one or two things we’re going to focus on during the episode. Then, when the recording starts, we just play. I try to think of some interesting questions for them during the dead-time (running between quests, etc.) but I’ve been really impressed by how natural they are. We’ve never let them post anything on the Internet before, so just knowing that they’re going to be on YouTube is kind of a treat. The basic premise of the show is following the two of them around while they play through the content for the first time – discovering things, talking about what they’re seeing, etc, and it’s turning out great. So far, each of them has surprised me during the recording with something I wasn’t expecting. With Brodkil, I was explaining the upcoming Helm’s Deep skill trees, and before I could finish my explanation, he popped up: “oh, you mean like in RIFT?” Yes, this is a gamer’s child. With Locowolf, he actually gave me our show title when he exclaimed of Tom Bombadil “How did he do that?? He’s just some skippity-doo guy!”. He made me laugh out loud with that one.

Something that I had not anticipated was the scheduling difficulties of recording with the boys. We’re a family of six, and between school, sports, activities and homework, weeknights are pretty much out of the question. So that leaves two days a week, but you have to factor in things like chores, holidays and general weekend family stuff (pumpkin patches, trips to Costco) and electronic grounding time – no, the boys aren’t angels. Two days can quickly get whittled down to a few hours or less. Our latest challenge is a cold that’s been running through the household. It luckily hasn’t affected me, but both boys are fighting a congestion/wheezing/coughing bug that alters their voices. It’s not enough to keep them from most activities, but for a vidcast that’s going to be posted on the Internet for who knows how long, a clear voice is actually pretty important. So throw yet one more snag into an already difficult recording schedule.

The nice thing about The Braxclan is that we’re doing it for fun. It’s more for us than for anybody else, really, so there is no pressure to record every week, or even every couple of weeks.

One last thing that kind of cracks me up about YouTube. I’ve never done much with uploading videos, so I was not familiar with the feedback system. Of course, all of the videos have a “thumbs up/down” button attached to them. While I’ve gotten some very nice and supportive feedback from most, it’s inevitable that videos are going to get some “thumbs down”. It makes me chuckle to think of what kind of heartless scrooge is sitting at home “thumbs down-ing” a father/son video game play session. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t hurt my feelings if you don’t like the game, or the way I shot the video, or even my voice or personality, but absent any other feedback all I can picture in my head is some grumpy, gloomy person at home giving the “off with his head” signal to his monitor. Bah! Children! What’s so great about children having fun, anyway??? šŸ™‚

Happy Hunting, all!

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