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How I created a video-course “Hands-on RxJS” and stayed sane.

oleksandr profile image Oleksandr Updated on ・8 min read

Or pitfalls list for those who want to create some video-course:-)


Photo by Jon Tyson

0. Why I wanted to create a course

Well, I’d say — glory, money, future financial possibilities assessment and to increase my competitiveness in an IT market.

Also, I know the golden rule: ‘Want to learn something deeper— go and teach it’. In my case, I had a strong knowledge of RxJS but as usual, you use only part of possibilities in daily working tasks. So learning it deeply was my motivation point as well since I am a big RxJS fan.

Also, I have a dream to participate as a speaker in some Angular (ng-conf, angular-connect, etc) or JS (ReactiveConf, etc) international event. And video recording is a good practice especially if English is not your native language. For now, I have only national JavaScript fwdays’18 participation as a speaker.

1. How I was hired.

In my free time, I am engaged as а JS/Angular mentor on codepen.io.

And I was contacted by head-hunter from packtpub.com on this site (through a mentoring request for everyone interested) and proposed to create a course outline. After I had done the outline It took about 1,5 months to reconcile agenda with editors board expectations. I signed the contract (remotely, digitally) and started to compose and record videos.

A personal editor was assigned to me to help with the course creation. I really appreciate her help, since I had many questions and even fears — but she allayed my concerns in a very professional and patient manner.

Well, I can tell you that I went out of time limits, that had been specified in the contract. But I was told to concentrate on quality and do not worry about the time. I am very grateful for the editor’s support.

2. Creating a course is another full-time job.

If you have a full-time job already — congratulations — you’ve just got another one))

The biggest process in a course creation was made when I was sick and stayed home. I could allocate more time for lessons composing and upload 1 video once a day or once a few days. A day I mean — 24 hours since you cannot be concentrated 8 hours as during the usual working time. Time to time (it can be 8am or 11pm) you get some bright ideas and continue to create slides to represent the main topic.

Some videos took up to 2 weeks to be composed. Actually, generating the main lesson idea was the hardest task. Once it is done — all other information can be a string to this basic guideline.

You prepared slides, code examples and wrote presentation script (what you are going to talk actually) — now recording time comes.

First video recording (just recording activities) took 7 hours...for one video. Well, not too motivating) The main approach that helped me not be overwhelmed by the amount of future work to be done is to forget about other videos. Each video is a product, you concentrate only on how to do your best in composing and recording it, period. Once it is recorded — hooray! Mark it with a red cross as done and start another one) Every video ending becomes a small feast.

Exhausted is a very lightweight meaning to reflect my state sometimes when the topic is not very familiar for you and you have to process a ton of articles, debug examples and library source code to find a good way of topic explanation.


Created by Designer from CC0

When I was totally powerless — my rule of thumb was ‘move with small steps’. It means — to create one slide at a time, to write a script for one slide at a time, to create empty codepen.io playground for the next video, to create empty slides file, etc. Step by step process is going further and it motivates a lot. If you cannot walk — you should crawl.

3. Family time

For more than 5 months I’d been working every Saturday. It means that these days my wife and two sons grew whiteout me, had a walk without me, had fun without me as well. If you have small children and a full-time job and no financial difficulties — think twice…no…thrice.

I worked every free minute I had — during working time (If I had some free time), morning hours before my children woke up, and after working hours as well.

My advice — if you have small children — better help your wife, video-course can be recorded some other time. If I only knew that when I was signing the contract:-) I want to say ‘thank you’ to my wife, she had a lot of patience to me until this course was done. Love you, honey :-). I want to devote this course to my wife and children: without you, I would definitely have done it much faster(:-D), but It wouldn’t make much since then.


Photo by Cristi Tohatan

4. Vainglory.

Well, definitely it was not the last motivation point for me as well as a possibility to assess if course creation worth investing time and efforts in it or not. When you have enough articles about some library — you just have to get them together and create a course. In my case it was vise-verse. I created a course and it provided me with a good idea for articles. But I spend days and sometimes even weeks of my personal time trying to get deeper in the area’s I didn’t previously use or used them rarely (of cause with familiar topics it was faster).

Was it worth it? Maybe, but I think creating a course would be much easier if it is just a prolongation of your media (articles, speeches, video tutorials) activities and big working experience. I tried to speed up the ordinary process — it was driving fun, but very exhausting. And lack of family-time was the price.

5. What about PacktPub course-creating support?

During my activities, I always felt the professionalism of the people who worked with me. I was provided with OS and display settings to be configured for video recording, with special software for screen and mic recording. Also, all the editing process was handled by PacktPub as well as publishing and marketing, quality assessment. After every video recording, some tips were provided to me to improve lesson quality. It was a really valuable experience for me since I’d never been creating any video tutorials earlier.

6. What was making me crazy about creating the course?

In the beginning, you could configure your environment wrong (mostly — put the wrong resolution in display settings) and you had to re-record the whole lesson. Phew!

Sometimes your editor was busy and started to review your new videos in a few days. It means that in case of troubles — you have to re-record a few videos, not only the last one — bonus game!:-D

Another issue — with the microphone. Especially for this course, I was recommended to buy “Blue Snowball” mic. And sometimes I forgot to select the correct one in recording settings. Just imagine: you’d recorded a video (concentrated) and then found out that you used laptop built-in mic for it. AHHH!!! So, another try is coming)

After you created a video, an editor makes the first review and asks you to re-record some snippets (echo-ing, unclear pronounced words, etc). So be ready. But this is not all. A quality team can ask you to do some enhancements to the lesson as well — split lesson by two or add more animation to better explain the topic. And usually, it happens a bit later, when you’ve switched to another section already.

One more interesting point — recording environment: it should be a small room (winner: wardrobe), with carpet on the floor (and on the walls if possible) with closed curtains. One time I forgot to close curtains — and echo-ing appeared in video recordings. But re-recording is my hobby, so I didn’t even get upset)))


You can buy some carpet here:) (Photo by Max Brown)

7. Was it worth it?

Pluses:

  1. I learned RxJS 6 much deeper then I knew it previously. I reviewed a lot of issues in GitHub repo and even debugged its source code to understand how it works. No need to praise — just call me ‘master’ :-D. Joking!
  2. Preparing 20 minutes speech with slides? Easy! (After creating 36 of them))
  3. A few interesting articles appeared as a byproduct of course creation.
  4. In some time I will be able to estimate if it is profitable.
  5. Interesting experience in a new field for me — it was quite exciting. Earlier I’d been learning a lot from lynda.com, Udemy, and pluralsight.com and I appreciate the guys (like Troy Hunt, Scott Driscoll, Mosh Hamedani, etc) who create such courses that make hard things sounds in clear and easy-to-understand way. So the possibility to become one of the course-creators was very attractive to me! I tried to focus on the approaches that I liked most in the courses I previously watched as a student: don’t waste your students time, speak in concise and clear manner so everyone can get it, use many code examples, solve some real-life tasks, explain the basics and then provide a few typical edge-cases with solutions.

Minuses:

  1. Family time decreases dramatically (of course, if courses creation is not your job )
  2. Some stress when the main idea of a lesson is not yet revealed (multiply by the number of lessons)
  3. Since I have two small children and a full-time job — course creation brought noticeable exhaustion to me.

Would I recommend it to you? If you have time and want to become a better professional or just need video tutorials experience — definitely YES, but… if you have a job and children — only if it is critical for you to get video-course creation experience. For me money was quite week motivation here: advanced royalties from publisher and sale’s percent are quite modest for beginner authors.

8. What about money? How much did you get?)

Well, when I am finishing this article — the course is just published a few weeks ago. I’ve got some money from PackPub as advance royalties (I cannot tell you how much — I am not allowed I guess). Maybe in a year, I will be able to provide you with actual information about possible income from the course.

To wrap up:

  • I appreciate PacktPub for such a great opportunity to try myself in course creation. If you are interested in that experience too — feel free to contact packtpub representative Zoheb (Skype: live:packt.zohebs).
  • I want to thank my personal editor Sonali for her professionalism and patience.
  • I want to thank my wife and my children for being patient all this time while I was creating a course.
  • It was a great experience for me: as for JS professional, a speaker, and scriptwriter.
  • It was a great adventure, but I like it is already over ;-)

So here it is “Hands-on RxJS for Web Development”.

Hope you it will help you to become familiar with such a remarkable lib as RxJS.

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*The article was originally posted on medium.com.



Photo by rawpixel

PS. Still can’t believe It is over — phew!!! Feels like demobilized from the army.

Now fiesta time!!

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oleksandr profile

Oleksandr

@oleksandr

Senior Front-End dev in itecgurus.com, 'Hands-on RxJS' video-course author — https://bit.ly/2AzDgQC, codementor.io JS, Angular and RxJS mentor. Angular-in-Depth blog writer .

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