It's Simple

I can’t count the times I’ve been lured into deep water by those two words. It has happened again. A few months back, I was preparing seminar outlines, arranging airfares and travel plans as I got ready to fly to the USA to present seminars at the Port Townsend Wooden boat Festival and Annapolis Sail Boatshow (good excuses for catching up with lots of special friends and family along the way.)  I was zooming a friend, Tory Salvia who runs Sailflix and the about meeting up while I was there.

Tory is always trying to get me to be more of an online person. I am always trying to avoid more reasons to be using computers and phones. But this particular day, I mentioned a note I had received from a Facebook friend. “Can’t get to your writing seminar – how about recording it,” she had asked. This was not an isolated request so I asked Tory how to set up my video camera and record the whole session. His answer, “Really hard to do unless you have two camera operators, good mikes, and ….”  I shut him down. But then he said, “why not just record your program in your office. You have the outline all done. Then I can help by adding the video’s your YouTube friends made, and you can do a few zoom interviews to get more info for people and we have a really useful online seminar for your friends. It’s simple.”

Yes, I fell for it. And at first it seemed simple.

I just set up my telephone on a mini tripod, sat back in my favorite office chair and turned on the record video function.  Then the sun came glaring out and blazed off the glass of the painting behind me.

Start over again after finding sheets to cover the windows. 

Review the video and realize the cabinet behind me looked an absolute mess. Start over again.

Wekas (flightless NZ birds which live under my office floor) start screaming at each other, a noise that can carry for up to half a mile and definitely drowned me out. Start over again.

Then I begin to speak to the camera and my notes fall off the stand I placed in front of me. Start over again.

Recording, and re-recording when I realized I had left something out, slurred something else or otherwise messed up, filled far too many hours when I could have been out sailing or finishing the woodwork in Sahula’s main salon, or…

My sailing storytelling friends didn’t help keep things simple. Any of the 12 could have said no when I contacted them and asked if they would be willing to submit to a zoom interview. But every single one said yes. Then each one added important information beyond the original list of questions I sent them.

No, Tory, this project wasn’t easy. But I am really pleased with the end results. The digital version of Storytelling for Sailors is a vastly expanded version of my all-day writing seminar. It is now available for those who couldn’t attend in person. And, I have gained some new skills and learned some important lessons.


  1.  I can now, somewhat comfortably, use zoom for recording interviews.
  2.  I can set up a room and background ready for recording, before I start recording
  3.  I can upload and download big files confidentally
  4.  I am comfortable with editing the final cuts Tory sent me.


  1.    Say no when someone starts a conversation by saying, “it’s simple.”
  2.    Keep all your notes and outlines and number them.
  3.    Be sure to label each take so the video editor can figure out what you were up to.
  4.   Don’t try to record videos without a “do not disturb” sign highly visible
  5.    Do test runs and watch them carefully each time you use a different recording method or  devise, each time you begin another day of recording.
  6.     People who do this full time for a living – such as YouTubers are far more patient than I am
  7.    I plan to cancel my zoom account immediately

 Will I try doing another digital seminar on another subject?  That depends on the response from those of you who decide to sign up for this one. I look forward to hearing your reactions.


  • The video seminar will be available in December. 
  • Choose on-demand streaming video or a USB drive that will include the complete video
  • Pre-Order the Video Seminar here.