There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method.
Here’s a peek at how the bi-weekly UGC compilation videos come together:
We get hundreds of submissions uploaded to the Domino portal each week, and we track all of them. The spreadsheet is huge.
On the Monday before the episode will be posted, I go through the submissions from the previous two weeks. I watch every video and look for connections between them, lines or moments where multiple people are discussing similar topics, or where there is some connection between the video and the main story line.
This is where it gets a bit tricky. During our first shoot day a few months ago we filmed Alison’s intros for these videos, guessing where we thought the conversation might be at that point. In many cases, our guesses didn’t pan out. So we’ve had to shuffle the intros around a bit - you may notice that the previous episode’s Next Video clip doesn’t always match up with the intro we end up using.
The challenge is to find connections in the Domino videos that relate to 1) each other 2) the current state of the main story line and 3) one of the Gigi intros that we have in the can.
These connections can sometime be oblique. For example, the opening of Ep 12: Domino Feels features a sequence of people talking about their artistic pursuits. Sometimes they can be more direct: the end of that episode has a line from Sanditon Paranormal about the spirits being upset, which is a good match for the video submitted by the Friendly Ghost of Sanditon. It entirely depends on the video submission we’ve received over the previous two weeks.
The other major factor is the quality of the recording. There are sometimes great pieces of content submitted that we can’t use becuase the lighting is too low, or the sound quality is to quiet or too noisy. We try really hard to not be too stringent with this quality line, since we don’t want the availability of expensive gear to be a determining factor in who gets to participate or who doesn’t. One more tip - if you use music in your video that you didn’t create yourself, we can’t use it since we don’t have a license for it.
If many different people are talking about the same topic, that will ususally increase the likelihood of that topic making it into the compilation video. For instance, there was the creation of “L’il Jawsica,” whose story was weighed in on by so many different people and went in so many different directions - an investigation, school closures, the naming of the local hockey team (I still want a Sanditon Shark Attack t-shirt) - that it gave us a wealth of material to work from. You guys are creating some awesome stuff, and we’re always thrilled to see how creatively you’re expanding the town.
Last week, we added another element by using the Theatrics "Call To Action" function - you’ll notice there’s now a tab on the front page that will take you to the latest Message from the Domino Development Team. The Call To Action is a suggestion for a potential topic of conversation. These are also tricky to craft, as they need to be rooted in the most recent episode and also encourage responses that will be used two weeks in the future.
Our current plan is to add new Calls To Action (or CTAs, as they’re known in the biz) on the Monday or Tuesday after a compliation episode. These should be considered general conversation starters, jumping off points for your descriptions of what your life in Sanditon is like.
So, we take all of these factors into account when choosing clips that make it into the compilation videos. By the end of Monday, I’ll have a list to send to our editors, who assemble a first cut and add the intro and title cards. We look at that cut and make adjustments where needed, usually for time - we try to keep these videos under five minutes, including the intro.
The last part is choosing an episode title, which always comes from something a person in the video says. Then we upload the video to YouTube and add descriptions; if you click More Info, we include the names of everybody who is in the epsiode. At first we included their twitter handles, but not everybody had one so instead we changed to including links to the full video from where we got the clip.
I know there is a segment of the audience that doesn’t like these videos, and that’s their prerogative It’s not my place to tell them they’re right or wrong. I would however like to clarify one misapprehension: we are not producing these videos instead of other videos with our main actors. If we didn’t make these compilations, there would be no video every other Thursday. There were many factors that went into this plan, but now is not the right time to go into them - perhaps after the series is over.
These videos are a lot of fun to put together. I’m constantly amazed at the creativity that gets put into the stories being creating in our shared little town.
EDIT: I forgot to mention - wherever possible we try to include a clip from Sarah Richard-Preston, as a part of the Kickstarter perk that she purchased.