Saturday, January 23, 2016

Wrestling Webcast Doings, Topics, Planning!

As some readers may already know, we've been having a lot of fun exploring possibilities with our new Wrestling Webcast, hosted by VeVe Lane and Hanz Vanderkill!

The webcast is a live broadcast from our studio, streamed via our interview collection youtube channel called DoomMenagerie (  Though the interview channel has been around since this past summer (Ashley Wildcat and Tae were are first official interviewees, in July 2015), the live streaming broadcasts only started in December 2015.  We've had 4 official broadcasts, and we've had tele-commuting guests including Miss Scorpion, Keri Spectrum, Minxy Li, Anastaxia, Amethyst Hammerfist, Ashley Wildcat, and Sarah Brooke.  Wow!

But what's a tele-commuting guest?

Thanks to certain accessible technology, we are able to have guests join our webcast via their own web cams.  We can have multiple people join in on the same broadcast (I think to a max of 10 separate guest feeds), and their individual live video feeds all show up in small boxes at the bottom of the live show.  So it's like a picture-in-picture, and you can actually see everyone reacting at the same time.  And here's my favorite part of this: During the discussion, whenever someone speaks or makes a definitive movement, the program will automatically auto-toggle to show that person's image on the big screen.  It's like having someone in the control room who is making the choice to cut between cameras on a live show.  I think that creates a really cool effect.

But, in addition to this "auto-toggle," we can also control which guest's feed goes onto the big screen; this way if someone is presenting something, they don't have to risk the camera cutting away if one of the silent guests makes a little sound or movement.  And also, another thing that I really like: any of the guests or the host can choose to share their screen, meaning they can broadcast any windows they have open on their computer.  Handy for sharing pictures in a presentation.

We've also had some interesting developments with our tele-guests, including the fun antics of "virtual arm wrestling" and "virtual head scissors" contests.  To fully understand what that entails, I recommend checking out the little excerpt we have up from the US vs UK show.

Topics, Plans, and Format

My original plan was that there would be a certain "hot button" topic to discuss with each episode.  Original topics that VeVe and I had discussed including were things like differences in mixed vs F/F matches, "dangerous" moves and holds, the definition of "competitive," differences/similarities in various wrestling communities around the world, preferences between fantasy and competitive, and such!  Then, once guests were assembled, we would chat about a selected topic in a "panel discussion" style.  However, we're not quite at the stage where we are following a formal panel style!

In fact, things have been rather informal for the first few episodes, even with our large number of guests (shows #2 and #4 each had 4 tele-guests).  So, I am working now to bring in more formal format, to steer the show more toward specific topic discussion.  I have several ideas and techniques in mind for that, the most prominent of them being taking on a "discussion moderator" role myself, and thereby freeing up VeVe and Hanz to be more like guests themselves.  As it has been, VeVe and Hanz (VeVe in particular) have been trying to act as both moderators and contributors simultaneously, which has hindered their abilities to fully fulfill  both of those roles.  It's hard for them to keep order if they are also trying to play the game as well.  So, I think this is where I can step in, freeing them to concentrate primarily on answering questions, engaging in peer-to-peer interactions, and sharing their thoughts.

Audience Interaction

Our youtube live stream also allows for a "chat" option, wherein real-time viewers can type questions/comments/whatever into a chat room column that runs along the side of the broadcast screen on the youtube site.  This is really neat, but it does have some limitations:

1. There is a 10-15 second delay between the broadcast and the streaming display on youtube.  So, if guests mention a certain something in their talking, that won't be seen/heard by the live viewers until 10-15 seconds after the fact.  Then, by the time viewers choose to respond or comment in the chat area, the discussion topic may have shifted such that the viewer's comments cannot easily be addressed any more without a jarring shift in the discussion.

2. In order for guests or hosts to even see the viewers' chat comments, the guests and hosts need to open an additional window to view the youtube site's stream.

So, the guests and hosts would have their Hang Out window open, where they are actually seeing each other and broadcasting in real time, but then they would ALSO have to open another window/tab for the youtube stream display, where they would then see themselves being broadcast with a 10-15 second delay.

This can result in a lot of juggling.

So, between the delay and the need for multiple windows/tabs, it is difficult to interact effectively with viewers during the main body of the broadcast, unless a lot of attention is devoted to doing so.  Not much of a problem if it is a one-person broadcast, but once you bring in tele-guests, it becomes a tricky feat.  Not impossible, but indeed tricky.

I hope that made sense.

However, we do love interacting with the viewers, and we do enjoy input from the audience.  So, we are going to be making a special "Audience Q&A" segment for the last 10 minutes (or so) of each broadcast in order to focus on the youtube display's chat area.

Upcoming and Next Broadcast

One fan last time had asked if we could publish a schedule of upcoming topics and dates for the shows.  Frankly, I think that would be a wonderful thing to do.  However, I don't know that it is very possible at this time.

As it is right now, the broadcasts tend to be rather spur-of-the-moment, despite being somewhat regular in their bi-weekly re-occurrances.  Though I myself usually have time to think on and brainstorm about the topics, VeVe and Hanz unfortunately don't have much time to pre-plan beforehand.  I usually end up pitching a number of topics leading up to the webcast day, and as time ticks down, VeVe will grab on to a topic that strikes her a few days beforehand.  Guests are often assembled as soon as possible after that, and off we go!

Kind of seat-of-the-pants, but the spontaneity of it has been interesting.  And speaking of selecting topics, we've locked in on our topic for tomorrow's broadcast (Sunday, January 24):

Wrestling Parties and Live Events

The topic of wrestling parties has been swirling around recently on places I frequent on the web.  I've been trying to get this topic into the rotation from the start, and we've finally settled on giving it a go.  In addition to commenters VeVe and Hanz, we will also be joined by tele-guest Minxy Li, who will contribute her insight and perspective from the London wrestling scene.

VeVe, Hanz, and I have a fair amount of experience with wrestling parties.  In particular, VeVe and I ran a successful party in NYC for several years, and we've attended and hosted parties in other areas, such as Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, Ohio, and Toronto.  In fact, we both first met Hanz at a live event we had here in NYC about a decade ago.

But anyway, that's on the agenda for tomorrow!  Info on that broadcast:

Sunday, January 24.
@ 12 noon Eastern (5 pm GMT)

If you have any questions, suggestions, etc for this particular broadcast and topic, drop me an e-mail here:

.........or Tweet to us on Twitter:

And with that, I'll send this post up and off.  We're having a huge snow day here in New York City today, and there studio is begging for a good round of cleaning.  And so, away we go!