What I Learned From The Kingdom Hearts Primer

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The Kingdom Hearts Primer was teased on September 27th, 2016 and ended on March 2nd, 2018. That’s 522 days to make this series happen, not counting the original botched recording that started exactly a year before the teaser went up. My co-host Brandon Carey and I totaled 103 episodes, averaging about half an hour a piece, or simply a clean 100 if we don’t count the custom-made trailers.
While I didn’t work every single one of those days, the primer was still something that hung around me that entire time, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from it. Here’s a few of those things.

Pre-Production (Planning):

  • One of the most important things when doing long form work (and make no mistake, doing LPs takes work) is planning. Whether you’re working alone or with other people, setting up a schedule that can be as consistent as possible helps a lot. While you may sometimes not be the happiest with the time that particular week, it’s leagues better than the alternative of “I’ll do it when I’m interested,” because then you may never be “interested” enough again. I know from personal experience.
  • Decide early on how you want to approach your LP. Whether you want to record yourself playing it, use “game movies” like Brandon and I did, stream it, or make a pseudo-podcast out of it, try to anticipate what will work best in the long run. That’s usually not easy to gauge so far into the future, but it’s worth a little planning session and pro/con list to figure out as best you can.

Production (Recording):

  • Check your microphones before every recording session. This was the biggest problem I consistently had in the primer, and literally every LP I’ve work on, so it’s worth noting. Whatever you record with, check to make sure you have enough headroom for shouting or other loud noises before starting. It’s easy to fix before recording and a nightmare to correct in editing. If you’re working with other people, have them check as well.

Post-Production (Editing & Uploading):

  • Just like with recording, pace your editing schedule out like work. Depending on what you want to do, it can take anywhere from 1.5x to 2x as long as the length of your footage to edit it. However, if you know you’re doing some super minimal work on it, but still want to run through the audio just in case, you can speed up your footage and watch your audio track for big spikes.
  • Don’t get too overzealous in post about making the project “perfect”. Again, take this from personal experience; making your work perfect will not only cause you to take forever… but it’s also simply not possible. Don’t be like me and stress over tiny things like little coughs and sniffles. Just try to cut out huge coughing fits, people walking into the room, or other massively noticeable things. 90% of people casually watching your work won’t’ notice or care about the little things.
  • Have a little fun where you can in the edit and upload. The Recoded: Decoded episode was the most fun to work on after recording because I was given so much free rein in the edit, and any time I got to put in little audio/visual gags or make a funny thumbnail in the other episodes, it made the process at least a little more fun.
  • Make sure you get permission where possible and credit everything you can properly. I was lucky enough to get written permission from all the game movie uploaders for their cuts of the KH games, though I never got the chance to ask most of the artists for use of their work on the thumbnails. Even so, I made sure to credit as much of the art as I could trace.

As a general note during all this, keep care to not become your work, or turn your LP partner into a coworker. What I mean is, sometimes it may seem like all you do is record and edit, so it’s extremely important to take time out to do what you like. If you’re working with someone else, try and talk to them about things other than the project while it’s going on, or else you’ll come to loathe any incoming message from them (which isn’t fair to either of you).
My final piece of advice is this: don’t get so hung up on one project that you sacrifice other things you may want to work on. Now, this doesn’t mean you should start more projects than you can handle, but if you want to do another LP at the same time, stream a game, or whatever else, plan your time such than you can do both. In essence, do what you need to to keep your spirits up for the long haul. You’ll sometimes need it.
If you’d like to talk to me about any part of these processes, related to the primer specifically or not, you can @ me or DM me on Twitter and we’ll talk shop. My #content partner Brandon Carey also loves to answer questions should you be interested in talking to him as well. If anything, send him a thank you for his work if you enjoyed the Kingdom Hearts Primer. He had to work hard keeping up with my insane questions.

Published by

Sam Callahan

Filmmaker by day, writer by night.

One thought on “What I Learned From The Kingdom Hearts Primer”

  1. I’m glad you credit me in the post, but don’t forget to take your credit as well.

    You guys in the audience have no idea how many man-hours Sam put in to edit this series. By far, he’s the unsung hero of the KH Primer (and Interactive Friction as a whole).


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