15 Minutes. Go.

15 minutes. That’s how long this new show needed to be. 15 minutes is the new hour-long format. Get in, get out. Boom. The bird looked startled. But we both knew I was right.

It needed to be strike a different note than the norm. It had to respect people’s time and intelligence. Offer something of value. Be fun, entertaining – and also have some meat. Folks should walk away satisfied, energized, start their week off right.  It had to have a point – but be flexible enough for variables. Each episode unique. And in the overall: start simple and allow room for growth. It needed a name, a tagline and an attitude. And did I mention… keep it simple?

In 15 minutes. Go.
How hard could it be?

If you’re used to doing hour or longer shows, short format is a different animal.  I tallied up the elements: Intro (1-2 minutes), main chat (10-12 minutes), final questions and wrap up (3-4 minutes), plus extra for whatever I figured I was forgetting. Yeahhhhh, I’d better think this one through carefully!

1. The name. It had be clear, simple, repeatable, un-stupid, clever even, contain a couple layers of meaning. Strong enough to guide the vision over time and remain consistent. Encompass photographers – but not  be limited to photographers. That nixed words like lens, pixel, shutter, picture, image, frame(d), fast forward, capture – and any of their relatives. More generic. The name had to state what the show’s about – and also contain a vibe, an attitude – so that someone who had never heard of it before would recognize it.

2. The show. Relaxed, real, conversational, but move along. Talk about insights, processes, funny stuff that happened along the way – just like I would with a friend over coffee. You know those chats – you meet at a coffee shop for a quick visit,  you’re both busy so you’ve only got 15 minutes but it’s worth it ’cause this friend is awesome, you dive in, cover the juicy bits, then head off to your day.  Voila! There is was:  “The Chat with Karen Hutton.” Crazy simple. But it worked. Of course, I say “voila”, like it was really that easy. But it took several weeks of nonstop thinking, agonizing, trying to be way more clever. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Sillymanilly)

3. The guests. Interesting, creative people who are successful in their businesses, careers, art, their LIVES – in different and unique ways. Success. How cool is THAT? Some folks would be well known, some not at all. But each is engaged in a life worth living and willing to share insights into how they do it. I never get tired of hearing how people do that.

4. The approach. Oh lord, please keep that simple too!! (I know me, so I knew where this could go.) My initial thought: Google+ hangout, edit the beginning and ending on YouTube, done. Pre-recorded episodes. Super cool and busy people can’t be forced to commit to a prescribed weekly show time.  Heck, even I couldn’t’ commit to that!  The Chat would have to fit OUR lives, not the other way around.  I needed to be free! To roam, to wander and discover! Yep, Chat on the fly.  Pre-recorded. Done.

That figured out, I  get busy. Er, busier.

One of my trusted advisors said “What’s your bumper look like?”. Bumper? What? Crap. Didn’t think about that. How do you get a bumper done? I asked around. TOTALLY lucked out to find an awesome fella named Colin Cooper that my husband Joe works with. Woot! He  immediately came up with this super cool idea to make a bumper inspired by Marvel Comics’, but done as a flip book of my photos – landing on my tagline: “Life is Light.” LOVED the idea!! Done.

Next, from the same trusted advisor, I hear: “Hey, what about your title frame?” Title frame? TITLE FRAME?? WTF? Ditto the process on title frame. Ask around, get a quote, rinse, repeat. Time was ticking. I wasn’t good at explaining what I wanted. At all. Frustrating. Till suddenly one day, I switched my thinking from “Help! I don’t know what to do!” to “Frickit, I can do this!”. Looked around at some websites whose designs I love, landed upon an idea and created it in an afternoon. Done.

I swore I wouldn’t edit the videos – but that didn’t last long. As The Chat began to take shape – my vision of how it should be structured got more complicated  expanded. Editing became necessary. And fun. Who knew??

Ideas started to flow. I could do on-location Chats! Roaming Chats! Multiple location Chats! I started to feel less nervous and more inspired by this whole Chat idea. And besides, it was only 15 minutes… it’s not like a feature film or anything. LET’S EDIT!

Sigh. Welcome to my way busier than I dreamed I’d make myself with this whole thing rapidly expanding life of The Chat!