Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Video Free Skaro: the final episode and a post mortem


Here’s the final episode of Video Free Skaro for your enjoyment. It’s much longer than the usual episodes and it’s chock-a-block full of interviews, action figure shenanigans and other goodness!

And if you’d like a breakdown of how and why we made it and why we’re finishing up with it, read on.

We started Video Free Skaro because we figured with a built-in audience listening to Radio Free Skaro week after week we would have an advantage over someone starting from scratch with a Youtube show. That didn’t turn out to be the case, which I’ll get into later.

We also didn’t want to (and couldn’t) duplicate the audio podcast, because there’s no point in watching three people talking into webcams when you can just listen to them. Instead, we (by which I mean myself and @freyburg_media, not Steven and Chris) created a sort of magazine format targeted to those interested in the subjects covered by RFS.

We realized from the get-go that we couldn’t exclusively rely on Doctor Who for content, as it airs 13 episodes (at best) in a given year and also raised questions about copyright infringement. We were also more-or-less stuck in Vancouver, so we had to work with what we had available. I tried to diversify as much as I could within the range of “will this appeal to Doctor Who fans and nerds generally,” and for the most part I think I succeeded. We covered fantasy web series, cosplayers, lo-fi sci-fi movies, live Dungeons and Dragons, and Vancouver’s 2012 Fan Expo, where we interviewed Spider Robinson and Jeremy Bulloch (both lovely fellows.)

Making the show wasn’t without some pain….it was one hell of a lot of work to put together a show a week, and gradually as time wore on that goal slipped further and further. The other source of grief was the need for an on-air host. I have some on-air experience from The Lab with Leo Laporte, so I put myself in front of the camera, but I hated every second of it. I’m far more comfortable behind the scenes than yakking at a lens, and I eventually replaced myself with a Tom Baker action figure.

As a side note the Tom Baker figure stuff was a lot of fun, and I plan to do a little more with him and his little plastic buddies in the future.

At any rate, we cranked out more than a dozen episodes of Video Free Skaro, crossing our fingers that Youtube would be a new, enthused audience for our semi-slick, niche-focused production.

It wasn’t.

We occasionally broke 1,000 viewers but generally our views hovered in the low hundreds and even lower. Whatever people want to see on Youtube, our brand of whimsy wasn’t it. So we decided about a month ago to wind down production of the show and concentrate on what we’ve always wanted to do, narrative shorts. Development will take some time so you won’t see a lot coming out of us for the next little while, but hopefully we’ll have a few things to show for our efforts in the near future.

Warren Frey is a journalist, freelance writer, podcaster, video producer, and all-around media consultant currently based in Vancouver, Canada. His written work has appeared in such publications as Metro Vancouver, the Westender, Mac | Life and the Japan Times.

One Response to “ Video Free Skaro: the final episode and a post mortem ”

Shelley Lee says:

As one of the loyal viewers, I’m sad to see it go. I appreciate the hard work and seeing my lovely hometown on screen. I look forward to the new projects you are planning. Thanks!

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