Geek Talk: How I Make Failed Presentations

So I’ve finally put together a presentation describing how I make my presentations. It’s a pretty geeky little video that focuses on the tools that I use. I’ve honestly stumbled my way into this video-making process, so it is definitely flawed…

I know this is not the complete story, so please post a comment with any further questions or criticisms you have about all of this… I’d also love to hear any advice or suggestions.

Here are some links to the tools I discuss in the video:

Screencasting / Video Editing

  • ScreenFlow ($99) — buy this program! It kicks ass.


  • Blue Yeti Microphone ($100) — really great USB microphone; I’d also suggest a pop filter though I don’t have a great recommendation in this realm
  • WireTap Studio ($69) — nice audio recording and editing app
  • Levelator (donate) — tool that performs some magic to your audio so that it is leveled out


  • Bamboo Tablet ($50-$200) — I picked up a Bamboo tablet that they no longer make… but it is most similar to their cheapest one available today (Bamboo Connect)
  • Sketchbook Pro ($60) — very nicely done drawing app that works well with a tablet
  • Sketchbook Express (free) — free version of Sketchbook Pro; most features still available; great way to see if you like using this app


  • Toon Boom Studio ($250) — really powerful 2D animation tool
  • Pencil (donate) — this is a tool I used before picking up Toon Boom Studio
  • Stykz (donate) — this is another tool I used before picking up Toon Boom Studio

Other Useful Tools

  • iMovie (free) — great app from Apple for making movies without too much complicatednosity…
  • Keynote ($20) — great app from Apple for creating presentations…
  • OmniDazzle (free) — free app from the great Omni Group that lets you draw on the screen, among other things

Good luck!

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  1. MSchechter says

    There will be no quitting… don’t make me fly cross country and whine about this…

    Thanks for the walkthrough! I’m sure I’ll be bugging you with a million more questions as I let this all soak in, but here is the first of what I’m sure will be many. I’m using screenflow as well. I tend to create the video and then do the audio (just works better when there are no drawings :) ). The one pain in the ass is that I’m tying to do as much of it in Screenflow as possible, but it seems to hate the idea of voice overs. I’ve figured out how to cheat it (record an audio track only and hit play on the video the second it starts said recording), but was wondering if you knew a better way to handle voice overs from within Screenflow. I know I could just email the company but figured it’d be more fun to annoy your first.

    • says

      @MSchechter It makes sense that for true screencasts, it could be easier to start with the video rather than how I start with the audio. For that situation, I’ve done it about the same way as you… I don’t tend to worry about starting it at the exact moment, however, I just worry afterwards about aligning audio & video properly — because I often end up editing the video afterwards anyhow (deleting or speeding up spots) to keep the video and audio paced nicely. (Does that make sense?) One odd idea is that you could inject a moment of audio (like a POP sound) just the before the start of the video and so then when you record the voice over while playing your voiceless video, you can simply align the POPs, and then delete them both… (Or is that waaaayyy too complicated???) In any case, that is definitely an area that I think is worth talking to them about because it is a bit awkward today.

  2. says

    You cannot quit the presentation gig! Oops, I guess I’m repeating Michael.

    Your videos are much more complicated than mine. I’ll stick with iMovie, thank you very much. I don’t usually have a script. I just obsess about what I’m going to say for a couple hours then take the video. I usually only take one shot, too. The videos get progressively worse as I try to make them better.

    I cannot believe all the apologies you were able to include in a single post. I think that takes care of December’s and part of January’s quota. You also beat me to publishing an apologetic post. Yes, I’m being competitive.

    • says

      @Erin F. Yeah, iMovie is the way to go if you’re not messing with multiple audio/video tracks, or if you don’t need to record the screen for any reason.

      As for having a script. Yeah, I just am too bad about stage fright (even when pre-recording in my attic!) if I don’t have a script. I don’t follow the script too closely at times, but I just like to know it’s there in case I freeze up :) I think you’re more comfortable in front of the camera/mic… Hmm… I wonder — when my book comes out — if I can pre-record every public event…

      As for the apologies. My *entire* writing life is perhaps one enormous apology…

      • MSchechter says

        @yuvizalkow@Erin F. I look forward to Yuvi’s future book, I’m Sorry: An in depth look at why I feel terrible about everything…

      • says

        @yuvizalkow I must be a good actor. I’m not comfortable at all. I always have to take a huge breath and start talking until I have nothing else to say. I suppose it’s a version of freewriting. I then have to delete the huge breath from every movie, which is why I give myself a few extra seconds to start the thing. I also give myself a few seconds at the end of them so that I’m not hitting the “end” button at the conclusion of every video. In person is a completely different story. My voice shakes although not nearly as badly as it did in high school or college. I then feel self-conscious about the warbling voice and start to blush…Oh, yes, I’m very comfortable with speaking.

        I don’t know what my writing life is. An apology? A fight? Several of my poems are violent, but it’s sometimes due to my strange obsession with silence.

      • MSchechter says

        @Erin F.@yuvizalkow It’s moments like this that I’m thrilled by my lack of self-consciousness in this one area (rest assured, I’m highly self-conscious everywhere else). Speaking has never been a fear for me. I was always the one who avoided all the work on group projects, but would present the findings.

    • tlalinne says

      @yuvizalkow Yes, but it’s a labour of love and it shows. Your videos always resonate with my surrealistic Belgian roots :)

  3. says

    Really love this, @YuviZalkow, nice job! One min of video = 5 hours of work?! Oh boy.

    The Wacom/bamboo tablet fascinates me – can you see what you are writing on or it is a piece of coloured plastic and you’re writing blind? I ask because… my scientist scribble is barely much better than unreadable tiny chicken scratch at the best of times on paper :(

    • says

      @MaverickNY Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, it’s pretty time consuming. Though it gets more efficient each round I do it…

      So with the tablet I use, you can’t see what you’re drawing on the tablet itself — you have to look up at the monitor. But I was surprised at how easily I got the hang of it. Wacom and other companies sell devices that show exactly what you are drawing on them — but then you’re talking a lot more $$$… Who knows, maybe your “tiny chicken scratch” will come out of even better with a tablet… :) Good luck.

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