Roll the Tape

That bit of anachronism was prompted by the recent upload of my interview with Diaspora Kids Lit to my YouTube channel,

and my decision to use that as an opportunity to promo the channel in case you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet. As I shared recently on social media, roughly half of the content on my YouTube channel was posted in the past year – which suggests that the channel’s been fairly inactive in previous years (or that I’ve become a much more productive content creator in our year of lockdown), however you choose to look at it. I don’t feel more productive – it’s been a weird emotionally and physically draining year, and I feel lost more than anything to be honest, but the numbers don’t lie. I guess. I don’t check my stats obsessively, just enough to see what’s hitting and what isn’t and hopefully adjust accordingly. I don’t do it often enough though and still mostly post (as I do here on the blog and on social media) what I want when I feel like. While deciding what to pull to promo the site (highlight reel style), having decided to share the most popular posts and boost some of the least popular (7/3 split for a mixed top 10 of reasons to check out AntiguanWriter on YouTube).

Most viewed 1-7

ABS TV interview on Musical Youth – “One of my favourite bits of it is the camaraderie between the kids” – and the second Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project

My participation in 2020 in the Voice of the People (radio programme in Antigua and Barbuda) Summer Reading Project on To Shoot Hard Labour (RIP Sir Keithlyn Smith)

A reading I did at Breadloaf in Vermont which I attended as an international fellow (just the audio) –

Interestingly, two of the three videos linked above are before this past year, and they have the most views, in descending order, on the channel. But I think the video below, which has nearly the same number of views of all of the above in a fraction of the time (just a few months), may be outperforming them all. It is my first YouTube live conversation, held for the 2021 World Book and Copyright Day with Trinbagonian poet and artist Danielle Boodoo Fortune – illustrator of two of my books, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and The Jungle Outside. I felt a real sense of accomplishment teaching myself how to do the live (don’t laugh) and powering through the real time technical hiccups, and had fun chatting about how we made it with Danielle.

In 2020, I won a grant (A Catapult Creative Arts online grant) which required me to create a video about some aspect of my work and I did an #AskMeAnything, questions sourced from social media, and shared some new writing from my short story collection in progress. I was dealing with a huge (understatement) family emergency and very little sleep during the chaotic time that I shot and edited this, not to mention that I had to edit and compile the video twice (the first time, after many hours of work, it didn’t take – I don’t know why – and I had to build and render it again) under the pressure of an upload deadline as required by the grant. I say that because I am both amazed that this was done at all considering everything that was going on and feel pretty good about how it turned out considering that all I wanted to do in this time was…sleep.

I don’t believe I made this next one – I believe that was Wadadli Pen team member Floree Williams Whyte – it was a promo ad for the 10th year of the Challenge, which is a part of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, a project I started in 2004 to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.

This next watch is like a silent film – it didn’t start out that way but copyright issues hit me (this was early YouTube for me and I was still figuring out the rules) – it’s basically a diary of my first writing camp, the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project back in 2013.

So it’s interesting to me that though I am producing more content, for viewers of my channel, it’s about an even split between older and newer.

Now because I believe in showing the bottom rung some love, and maybe using the most popular to boost the least popular…

Least viewed 1-3

A short clip of a reading from a school visit in February 2020, i.e. pre-lockdown, to my secondary school alma mater – reading to and dancing along with Musical Youth

Our first Wadadli Pen awards announcement in lockdown. 2020. I did it as a facebook live and it wasn’t great (understatement). The actual live had much much more people/views though, so its ranking here is a bit deceptive.

In 2020, I found myself doing something that wouldn’t have happened but for lockdown, insta (as in instant/impromptu and made specifically for instagram upload) readings from my bedroom. I come from a media background and going on camera means nicing up yourself a bit and planning what you’re going to say; so just jumping on video as natural as ever and just reading was out of my comfort zone but fun.

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