How to start your own chat show with no experience – a step by step guide

I started a chat show in the middle of the Covid19 pandemic with no experience and only basic equipment and it saved my sanity. It gave me something to focus on while the madness of lockdowns etc. swirled all around and also helped me reach a new audience for my children’s books.

But what made me realise that, as a children’s author, I could have my own chat show? It was as simple as realising I could record my Zoom conversations. That was it.

I’d heard people say that to even start a Podcast you needed lots of special equipment, outsource the editing to the Philippines and then have different platforms to make it with.

Stuff that. I wasn’t making a Podcast anyway, I was making a chat show!

I did my first interview and shared it on Facebook. The next day I sat on the front verandah with my husband and a glass of wine and we set about coming up with a name for the show. He suggested ‘Josh Langley Gets to Know’ as he knows I’m a curious person and likes to interrogate people and that was it!

I’m now up to my 20th show and I have a stream of people contacting me wanting to be on.

Start small and grow from there

I have a philosophy. Don’t let the size of something or not knowing how to do something stop you from starting. You learn as you go and your skills sets develop with each interview you do. But you have to start somewhere. I had a laptop, Zoom, a microphone (my husbands), Windows 10 video editor and a list of people I wanted to get to know. That was it.

Here’s a 3 minute montage showing the evolution of the show, the number of guests and some outtakes.

What you’ll need:

  • Laptop with camera
  • Microphone. I have a M Audio USB mic that cost around $100. You could use the mic on the laptop but it can sound a little tinny and could make your viewers ears start to bleed.
  • Basic editing program. I started out using the free video edit software that comes with Windows 10. Mac users, you’ve already got iMovie so rejoice in that. I ended up buying Movavi Video Editor Plus for around $65 AUD. (It says free on the website but it’s the trial version). You can see I switched to Movavi by around Episode 12 with Heidi Anderson and I’ve since added music to the intro by Episode 17.
  • Background. Think about what people are going to see behind you when you’re on camera. Please make sure it’s clean and tidy. No-one wants to see your dirty nickers hanging over the end of the bed, the cat squatting in the litter tray or a poster of a scantily clad lady on the wall.
  • Zoom. I used the free version.

Let’s get started

  • Write down a list of who you’d like to interview. Start with people you may know or you have a slight connection with as it’ll be easier to get these people onboard straight away. Don’t aim for Oprah first off, she might be busy.
  • Reach out to them and explain what you’re doing and why you’d like to interview them. Also detail that it’ll be prerecorded over Zoom and how long it’ll take. Mine usually go for 30 minutes as people have short attention spans.
  • Get them to send you a bio about themselves and do a bit of your own research as well. Write a list of 5 questions and send them the questions so they won’t be surprised by what you ask.
  • I used the free version of Zoom. As long as it’s just you and them, you can talk for as long as you like.
  • 10 minutes before the scheduled interview time, I email my guest the Zoom link and wait for them to come on.
  • I don’t do any introductions or biography of the person while they’re on screen, I record that at the end after they have left the chat. I find it boring to have them sit there looking uncomfortable while I ramble off a list of their achievements.
  • Let them know you’re about to start recording (really important) and hit record (even more important).
  • Now say to them. “Just give one second.” Take a pause and then start the interview. It gives you a nice clean edit point.
  • It’s Ok to refer to your notes or to lose your spot or have a blank moment. Avoid thinking that you need to edit it out, just keep going and act natural.
  • Now you want to do the interview in one take as it’s much easier to edit. But if you do stuff up. Pause and count to 3 and start again. Don’t stop the recording.
  • When you finish the interview, say thank you and goodbye and wait for their reply. THEN PAUSE. Don’t say a thing for 3 seconds. Now you can stop recording. This will give nice end edit point. When you exit Zoom, it’ll automatically convert into a media file.
  • Before you get up and walk off to pour yourself a stiff drink, record your intro. I use the laptop’s camera and make sure I’m in the same position (and same clothes) as the interview. I keep the intro very short! Try and talk about how much the interview meant to you or what what you got out of it or something else that makes it personal.

Editing

  • Edit using your chosen program. The more you do the easier it gets and obviously the better the program the fancier it’ll look. Watch one of my earlier ones to see how simple it can be using the Windows 10 Video editor. Also here’s a tutorial on how to use it.
  • Don’t forget to add titles and name of guest.
This is a screenshot of my latest interview using Movavi. Windows 10 video editor doesn’t let you save the session so I can’t show you the what that looks like. Don’t be freaked out the image above, I had to work up to this level of editing program!

Sharing the Interviews

  • You can upload direct to facebook.
  • Or you can set up a YouTube account and upload to there.
  • Write your show notes and key points of the interview in the description.
  • Then add the tags for YouTube. It can be a bit of a crazy science to work out what tags to use, but I found a good rule is to think about what people would type into the YouTube Search bar and how it relates back to you, your guest and the topic you’re talking about. ie “How write a book in 2 hours”, or “Best was ways to use snails in cooking”.
  • Personally I upload the video to Youtube, write show notes and add tags. Then I share the video on my weekly newsletter, Facebook Author Page, Linked In, Twitter and on my own website. For Instagram I use a screenshot from the interview and then link back to the Josh Langley Gets To Know page on my website in the bio on Instagram.

Expectations

When you post your first interview to social media don’t expect thousands of likes and your video to go viral. People instinctively watch it first before clicking like and may not return to the page to click like anyway. Judge engagement by the number of views on YouTube. Even then it’s still not completely accurate. Keep in mind, you’re really doing this for your own interest and to develop your skills, both as an interviewer, video editor and marketing person.

If you do want to make a Podcast from your interviews, you’re in luck as Zoom records the audio track separately. Then all you do is research how to create a podcast and go from there.

Spend a while watching some of my interviews here and take away what you need to to.

Good luck on your new venture and I hope you enjoy learning new skills and being the star of your own chat show.

NEW! EP20 ADAM WALLACE – HOW TO MAKE A LIVING FROM WRITING KID’S BOOKS.

Can you make a full time living from writing kid’s books? I get to know New York Times bestselling kid’s author, Adam Wallace to find out how he swapped an engineering career to be a full time kid’s author.

He’s just created an online course package that gives all his secrets, tips and advice on how you can possibly turn your side hustle writing kids books into a full time gig including how to create awesome school presentations.

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