This summer I landed an epic gig as social media correspondent for Team ViaSat Racing to cover their attempt to win the 3000-mile Race Across America. This unique and educational experience exponentially enhanced my social media and video skills. Here’s a list of my top 5 takeaways:
1. Be FlexibleIn the weeks prior to the event I helped devise the most detailed social media strategy only to toss it out the window the minute the race started in Oceanside. Reality quickly set in and we had to adjust our tactics on-the-fly throughout the cross-country competition.
The famous Bruce Lee quote “Be like water.” (click here for full quote) summarizes the attitude it took to be successful during this expedition. With temps that never fell below 90, editing video in the back of a van on little sleep and limited internet access, embracing this liquid state was the only way to accomplish our goals.
2. Be ResourcefulPhotos, video, interviews, editing, uploading, publishing, media outreach, file management, charging batteries, mounting GoPros.. too much for 1 person.
We had a guy in our van who was originally there to help with some of the driving and he brought his own DSLR camera. Dave ended up being a total rockstar: he shot ALL our video and edited 1 of the best videos we shared.
3. Be PreparedWe had a satellite dish mounted on the roof of our media van that was promised to provide constant wi-fi for our entire trip across the country. It never worked. The other satellite dish took 30 minutes to set up and 45 minutes to upload a 3-minute video to the web. This meant that we had to first capture the footage and then edit it while driving ahead of the race to setup for uploading as the race would catch up and overtake us.
While everyone else hoped for the best, I showed up prepared for the worst. I brought along my own Verizon Mi-Fi portable hotspot with 50G's of prepaid data transfer. It saved the day over and over again.
4. Get OrganizedFile management was crucial when taking 20-30G's of photos and video per day for a week straight on the road. Pre-making folders, labeling files, backing up data and backing up the backup was optimal for performance.
This helped streamline workflow to get more done faster. Dave and I both had Macbook Air devices editing video with iMovie and we were so in-sync we would swap computers mid-edit to work on each others projects then swap back to keep working.
5. Create VideoMy wife’s background is in video production and she took me to school on the basics of video editing and digital storytelling. She also helped me prepare images, templates, and intro/outro sequences in the weeks before the event. She taught me as much as she could in between her full-time job, moving into a new house and planning our wedding. I could not have delivered the work that I did without her guidance. Once on the road and in the zone the rest came naturally.
Team ViaSat Racing won the Race Across America in the fastest recorded time ever -- 5 Days, 5 Hours, 5 Minutes.
I’m super proud of the results and excited to add this accomplishment to my resume.
Here are links to all the videos: