It is an online and interactive FUNdraiser devised to support the Follow Your Star Foundation from financial collapse during the economic crisis caused by COVID 19. It's 8 hours of insights and answers by entertainment professionals who made famous movies from Star Wars and Dark Crystal to Face-Off, Marvel and The Mandalorian, There are also top industry experts on prop collecting, prop restoration and autograph specialists.
What is FYSF?
The Follow Your Star Foundation is a non-profit founded by author, motivational speaker and Creature FX Designer, Nick Maley. It is registered in the Caribbean Island of St Maarten but is active internationally. It aims to inspire young and old to follow their dreams, live extraordinary lives and not become victims of negativity. It is normally self funded through it's movie museum The Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit but with no tourists probably until 2021 the museum now just generates BIG bills.
What if I told you that Yoda lives on the Caribbean Island of St Maarten? And on that Island is an mecca that StarWars fans would dies to see. Where Yoda is in residence at Planet Paradise and it's run to fund the Follow Your Star Foundation?
In the 7th week of lockdown (the week of March 15th being the end of normal in the calendar of PCM) I answered a posted submitted to the Crowdcast community Facebook Group.
Any Star Wars fans here? I have a BIG charity event coming up May 3rd with 20 movie personalities from the Empire Strikes Back to The Mandalorian, and from Muppets to Marvel and I need a tech sidekick. While you think it over, put my name in Google. We are trying to save my foundation from going under in this economic crisis. No choice but to jump in the deep end with my first event. I need a Crowdcast lifeguard. - Nick Maley
This is how it came about that I became show-caller and virtual floor manager at StarNET1.0 on an 8hr, non-stop digital Sci-Fi convention with 'that Yoda guy'.
Tech - Platforms
Audience Location: Crowdcast Virtual Stage: Crowdcast (browser built in studio) Guests: Called on stage from the Crowdcast audience. Curtesy Calls: Private Facebook Group thread. Host Comms Channel: 1-2-1 Facebook Messaging
Tech SetUp - iMac and an MacBookPro. - Apple in-ear headphones with mic (on MacBookPro) - Headphones, Blue Snowball mic with Logitech C922 webcam (on iMac)
Logistics The iMac was my present in the event. It was used to make curtesy calls to the facebook group, communicate with the host via FB message and my primary audio as an audience member to dialogue as myself in to the audience to answer appropriate continuity issues.
My MacBookPro served as the secondary host machine at my location. From that machine I pulled guests from the audience. It was requested that Guests append their names with the title "Guest" for easy of location when searching the Crowdcast 'People' list. Guest called to the Green Room before the event went live did list in the 'Appeared on Screen' people list which is also helpful. With so many guests across 8 hrs not all of them were present at the start of the event. The Guest title was most useful.
The green room is more like the wings at the side of the stage rather than a green room. Using the Facebook Group as a Green Room also meant calls using members of the group posted notifications that they had been mentioned. Main curtesy calls were given 15 mins before the session in progress ended. 5 mins before I checked they were in the Crowdcast audience and was able to update the host that everyone was present or who was absent.
Challenges / Learning Curve - Screen Sharing Crowdcast enables dual hosting. THREE people can be logged in using the same credentials. However only the primary host can use the screen sharing function. On occasions where I wanted to take over AV I had to pull myself from the audience and share my screen. As there is a limit to 4 visual channels it was extremely limiting for panel discussions where 3 guest, a host and slides had been planned.
Questions (I will update this when I have a definitive answer) The primary host is the person who triggers the GO LIVE action, I think! It could also be the person who logs in and enters the event session 'green room'. I did find that with Nick as host the host machine my side the screen share button was 'greyed out' / no functional. Can the dual hosts operate the screen share function? If they can why could I not?
Challenges / Learning Curve - On Screen Capacity The FOUR on screen limit was not an unknown limitation. I took it to mean four anything; cameras, screen shares or people. However it is very limiting for a traditional convention panel where 4 - 5 guest experts discuss the topic with an audience Q&A chaired by a host.
Learning Curve / Solutions - On Screen Capacity I have been using a virtual studio to stream into Facebook, Periscope and YouTube called StreamYard. After seeing it used in Michael Stelzner's Social Media Examiner weekly show on Crowdcast my interest was peeked as to how. After several enquires with steely silence I received a response again via a Facebook Group. This time the one for the StreamYard community. I now need to up-skill to embrace RTMP. It in itself presents a new set of issues relating to audience propinquity but it does mean I can get 6 feeds on screen with 10 people in the Green Room.
Conclusion I have aspects to investigate regarding the impact this has show logistics before my next event. I am aware of a significant delay on the stream using RTMP (up-to 10 second I'm told) this has implication for live engagement regarding monitoring the feed received by the audience. Its only when a guest mic is open and the delayed stream is fed back through the virtual studio it becomes problematic for the production. The Audience and Stage relationship is important psychologically to my media so I will need to consolidate this learning into my practice.