My Adventure at Lynda.com

Last week I had a chance to visit Lynda.com and work as an author creating a course for Lynda.com. It was a great adventure and I had a lot of fun. So here is the story of my five days at Lynda.com.

Office plate outside of the "green room."

Office plate outside of the “green room.” My home for a week.

Before the Trip
The adventure started even before traveling to Carpinteria, CA for filming. I was at a conference last year and met Aaron Quigley from Lynda.com, he saw my presentation and asked me if I’d be interested in authoring a course. (Lynda calls all the people creating courses authors). So I agreed and we set up a schedule and I have spent a good part of the summer creating scripts for the recording of the course. The scripts are not large (one or two pages) but it is hard to provide critical information in only a few pages so a lot of work condensing material into a few pages. I sent my scripts ahead, they seemed ok and so we scheduled a trip to CA.

Arriving

Carpinteria, CA is a beautiful town along the pacific coast. Driving from LAX airport along 101, the view of the ocean is spectacular.

Coastline, a mere 5 minute walk from my hotel.

Coastline, a mere 5 minute walk from my hotel.

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I settled into my hotel room after checking out the beach and got myself together and ready for the next day. I was a little nervous about the process but excited about the recording and the opportunity to provide information and content to literally thousands of people through the course.

Day One

I arrived a Lynda.com headquarters tucked into a little light industrial park. Very nice buildings and a very “California-vibe.” I met Corey in the lobby, she is a Content Producer for Lynda and was responsible for making sure all my content was the right tone and approach and responsible for helping me through the shoot and making sure that all the various moving pieces come together in the final course (a big job).

In the lobby at Lynda.com

In the lobby at Lynda.com

Corey had me bring me several changes of clothes so we could see which outfit would look best on camera. I changed several times (all different shirts, purple, blue, more blue and black.) We decided that the blue shirt with the gray jacket would be best for the recording session…a combination I would wear most of the week.

Then I met the rest of the crew, Zach who helped with the teleprompter and camera angels and shooting and Ben who made sure I looked good… he decided on set development, oversaw the recording and was responsible for creating the A roll and the B roll to make sure the finished product looks great. (after all the shots, takes and re-takes, all the digital recordings go to editors who put it all together in post production.)

The whole crew Zach, Ben, Karl and Corey. Our album cover shot.

The whole crew Zach, Ben, Karl and Corey. Our album cover shot.

Zach, Corey and Ben hard at work.

Zach, Corey and Ben hard at work.

We spend most of the day doing last minute set up and wardrobe. The set was a bookshelf with some games in the back and some game pieces scattered around. It is amazing when you see a set and how rough it looks when you take in the entire set but when you then see it through the perspective of the camera, it looks wonderful.

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The set.

The set.

Ready to begin recording.

Ready to begin recording.

We then did a little bit of shooting the first day and I fast became friends with the teleprompter.

The teleprompter.

The teleprompter.

We also had to add “anti-shine” make up to my face and head. Corey got stuck with that responsibility. She did a great job but did bop me on the nose a few times.
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Make up time

Make up time

We shot the rest of the day from lunch forward and then called it a wrap for the day.

Day Two

The second day we spent all day recording and my voice started to give out a little bit but the team was ready. They had “Throat Coat” tea and added honey and it worked like a charm from keeping my throat from getting horse. It is much more intense presenting to camera than to a classroom, there are few breaks and you need to keep your energy up to present dynamically, their is no catching your breath while the students work on a project or task. You are performing the entire time.

The team made changes as well, they decided that on the second day of the shoot they wanted to work from a standing desk instead of sitting down so they made a standing desk for the rest of the shoot and added a create picnic table cloth over it.

Zach, Corey and Ben work from a standing desk.

Zach, Corey and Ben work from a standing desk.

We recorded something like 29 scripts by the second day, that’s a lot of takes, recordings and speaking.

Day Three

More recording, at this point wasn’t sure my voice was going to make it but I knew all I had to do was a few more recordings and I’d be good until Friday. On Friday we were going to do a classroom scene, filmed before a live class. Also, on day three I caught up with my friend Koreen Pagano. It was great catch up with Koreen and I went out to dinner with her and her husband at a lovely restaurant the following evening. We posed for a few pictures in the Pixel Cafe. It was the cafeteria. The wall had a giant pixelated logo for Lynda.com, it was very cool.

Koreen and Karl in the Pixel Cafe.

Koreen and Karl in the Pixel Cafe.

Day Four

One this day, we did not shoot any of me speaking, my voice got a rest. Instead we filmed a lot of B roll for the course. The B roll mostly consisted of filming board games. Never have a I seen people make a board game look so epic as Ben, Zach and Corey. Awesome stuff with great camera riggings to pan the games.

Settlers of Catan, ready for its close up?

Settlers of Catan, ready for its close up?

Getting ready for the sweeping view of Stratego.

Getting ready for the sweeping view of Stratego.

Corey and Ben set up Monopoly.

Corey and Ben set up Monopoly.

Cory and Zach film Settlers of Catan.

Cory and Zach film Settlers of Catan.

At Lynda, I met all kinds of wonderful people and animals. I met some one from Clarks Summit, PA–Andrew. Andrew kept telling me to dress like I was in California and stop dressing like someone from the East Coast. So on this day, since we were shooting games and rehearsing the classroom scene, I decided to wear shorts.

Karl and Andrew hanging out California-style.

Karl and Andrew hanging out California-style.

Also, Lucy, the set dog, came to visit for a little while, she brought a smile to the already cheery set.

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Corey and Ben

Corey and Ben

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In the classroom we got help from Kristina of the IT department to make sure my computer would work and it worked wonderfully, until….

Kristina and Corey taking notes in the "mock" classroom during rehearsal.

Kristina and Corey taking notes in the “mock” classroom during rehearsal.

On this day, we also did some recording of screen captures and some software in the recording booths at Lynda.com. We had booth five. You get your own sound proof booth and a place to put all your stuff with the same number.

Sound booth number five.

Sound booth number five.

Our area to go with the sound booth.

Our area to go with the sound booth.

Day Five

The final day, we shot in the classroom.

Corey giving some thought to how to set up "students."

Corey giving some thought to how to set up “students.”

We wrapped in the middle of the afternoon and I took time to go around town and stop at a local brewery where the train came by every so often. It shook the entire building but was great. I then walked to the beach and reflected on a wonderful week.

Island Brewing company tucked down a side street, very convenient by bike.

Island Brewing company tucked down a side street, very convenient by bike.

Island IPA.

Island IPA.

Training driving by the Island Brewery.

Training driving by the Island Brewery.

Off into the sunset.

Off into the sunset.

Thanks to the entire Lynda.com crew and every one I met. Wonderful people and a wonderful experience. Can’t wait for the course to be made available, it will be EPIC.

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Posted in: Out and About

Leave a Comment (14) ↓

14 Comments

  1. Pamela Cole August 27, 2014

    I’m a great fan of lynda.com. As a premium subscriber, I’m delighted by how they are expanding the subject matter of their courses. In the past, I thought of Lynda.com as a software training company exclusively but now they are becoming a complete ‘go to’ professional resource.

    I look forward to watching your course. Thanks for the comprehensive, behind the scenes look. I’ve always wondered…..

    • Karl Kapp August 28, 2014

      Pamela,

      Thanks for the comment. Our students use Lynda.com for everything in our program from eLearning software to presentation skills, it is such a great resource to supplement my class, it gives me more time to have conversations with my students, (Flipping).

      Glad you enjoyed the behind the scenes look, it was fun to document my experience. I’ll keep you and everyone posted on the release date!

      Karl

  2. Alex Burford August 27, 2014

    Thanks so much for this Karl – really interesting. I work as an elearning ID and I LOVE the work that Lynda.com produce. A colleague has recently moved to work in their London office and I’m super envious. Great company, super content. I can’t wait to see the finished course.

    Alex

    • Karl Kapp August 28, 2014

      Alex,

      I’ll keep you posted, the course will be available in the not-too-distant future. And it really did seem like a fun but focused place to work. They are relaxed but passionate about what they do and the difference they are making. Great to be a part of helping others.

      Karl

      • Alex Burford September 12, 2014

        Thanks for getting back to me Karl. I’ll look forward to seeing the course when it goes live.

        Alex

  3. Nick Ballinger August 26, 2014

    As a Lynda.com subsciber, can’t wait to catch you on there!

    • Karl Kapp August 28, 2014

      Nick,

      I’ll keep you posted, so excited to have the course available, I can’t wait. On pins and needles waiting for post-production. They do some awesome work in post-production adding all the different pieces together. Even I don’t know what it’s going to look like until it’s all done.

      Karl

  4. Tracey Stokely August 26, 2014

    Great story Karl. I’ve been learning from Lynda since she had her “Hands On Training” books before their videos. Now I LOVE her videos and keep buying several months at a time for my perpetual learning! Best money spent!

    • Karl Kapp August 28, 2014

      Tracey,

      That’s awesome! The library Lynda.com has built and continues to build is so impressive. I could spend all day just learning from such wonderful authors and my students use it all the time. It is a great resource and is money well spent and, interestingly, when I talked to the people at Lynda.com about the job and position of Lynda.com in the marketplace, they all talk about a story of one person or another who had lost a job or was unemployed or couldn’t find work but then that person built skills using Lynda.com and was able to get a job. They are really passionate about helping people. It was a great vibe at Lynda.com.

      Karl

  5. Joe Ganci August 25, 2014

    Nice rekapp, Karl! I enjoyed reading all about it!

    • Karl Kapp August 26, 2014

      Joe,
      Thanks, it was a lot of fun.

      Karl

  6. Karl Kapp August 25, 2014

    Stan and Dennis,

    Thanks, it was an educational experience, no doubt and Lynda.com is a great way to provide distance learning to people through the videos. I’ll let you know (and everyone else) as soon as it’s released. Very excited about it.

    Karl

  7. Dennis August 25, 2014

    Thanks for sharing this.

    I watch a ton of Lynda videos and I work in multi-media production myself so this was very cool to see.

    Can’t wait to watch your video too!

  8. Stan Skrabut August 22, 2014

    I enjoyed reading about your adventure, I look forward to seeing your course on Lynda.com. Keep up the great work.