Writing scripts for 'Sketchnote: the Video'

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It was my great privilege this summer to work on the scripts for the video edition of Mike Rohde’s Sketchnote Handbook.

Mike and I had worked together a little during my Web414 days, and I knew him from BarCamp and other Milwaukee projects. He’s a great guy. When he and I connected in the spring of 2012 he mentioned he wanted some help getting the scripts together for his upcoming book and video package; I knew I wanted to get involved.

And then, actually, less than 2 minutes after meeting with Mike and the video’s director and cinematographer Brian Artka, I was in a pretty wicked car crash. I was able to walk away, but was dazed and not right for months. I’m still not right. I still freak out every time someone comes up too close behind me. Seriously: Don’t text and drive you guys. Not cool.

But, the point is, eventually, through my concussion and all that, we did manage to put together a bunch of great scripts for Mike and Brian to work from.

I used the fantastic Scrivener for drafting these pieces because, Scrivener forces me to think in terms of the larger product and keep the deliverable in mind. When you’re plumbing a source as vast and ripe as Mike’s first drafts, you need to actively keep the end in mind. Trust me.
After I’d made outlines and drafts in Scrivener, I shipped drafts and outlines over to Mike and Brian in RTF format. Eventually, Mike got himself a copy of Scrivener and we started sharing that over the project’s BaseCamp account. Even accounting for Scrivener’s strange package formats and cross platform idiosyncrasies, I’ll admit it was not a pretty workflow. But the outline and note-card view of the final scripts is pretty cool.

Screen Shot 2012-12-02 at 8.56.12 PM

Mike would send me early and red-line drafts of The Sketchnote Handbook, and I would cram them into the outline we’d developed for the video series. One of my goals was to break the video material up in a way that added value to the book. I really wanted these two editions to be complimentary, not derivative of each other.

Having seen the two editions at about 98% complete, I can tell you that the two products are very different. They are each a different perspective on Sketchnoting. They both have that friendly vibe that comes from working with Mike. They’re two totally different things, and that’s good. Get both. Trust me.

Because of the way we developed the each edition, they drove each other throughout the development process. Sometimes the video was in command, other times the book was front and center. Sometimes we just kind of wiggled and waggled until all the pieces fell into a super cool package of awesome.

Dare I say I think Mike and Brian got it right though. The whole thing is a great package.

Here’s a shot from Mike’s [flickr] set that highlights my cameo appearance in the video series.

Mike B-Roll

Mike worked really, really hard on this project, and it shows. It’s a gorgeous book and a compelling video series. I got to help him along the way. And it’s a super huge privilege that I enjoyed.

I am so grateful to get to work with Mike and Brian. – Even in the small way that I did.


Thanks Gabe!

Gabe, I can't express enough how integral you were to making the video edition a success.

Having you writing scripts from my raw manuscript was such a burden lifted from my shoulders, and a great approach. The video really does have a complimentary style that makes the video edition of the book a great value.

Thanks so much for making your mark on the project. I deeply appreciate you man.