Workbench Tutorial Style

Joe Clay | May 28, 2017

Every once in a while, I get a suggestion from a viewer about how I should show more of the basic build of my tutorials so that beginners can follow along. I've noted my reasoning in a few places—though certainly not frequently enough—and I've made a few individual responses to this suggestion, but I think it makes more sense to make a post about it that I can point people to so I don't have to explain it each time.

First of all, if you are having a hard time with something I'm showing, ask me, and I'll do my best to explain it. Hit me up @workbench_tv or leave a comment on youtube or our site for that specific tutorial. If you're trying to understand, I'm not going to shut you down!

Second, I actually originally intended to make more beginner-focused tutorials because that wasn't available to me when I got started. Video Copilot wasn't even around then. But by the time I got around to starting Workbench, a ton of excellent resources like Greyscale Gorilla, Lester Banks, Motionworks, School of Motion, Evan Abrams, Mikey, Mt. Mograph, CGI tuts, etc, popped up to cover that user segment. In fact, almost every tutorial I've ever seen teaches with beginners in mind. But there's nothing I've found for advanced users. So I decided to make the tutorials I'd want to see.

Streaming on Failbench is about the easiest way I can show the setup of projects. And I've only been able to do a few streams so far. So building the full setup into a regular tutorial is almost impossible for me—it's hard enough with my pre-baked style on some of the more complicated tutorials. Plus I almost always figure out my tutorials by exploring and building a project, so showing the setup would also require me to go back and rebuild, film, and edit more than I already do, and I just can't fit that in. So I focus on the part that interests me the most.

I know my tutorials are advanced and that they skip a lot of steps. But they are geared toward advanced users who know, or can figure out those steps. And those viewers have given me a lot of excellent feedback. A lot of them note that the reason they love my tutorials is because I skip right to the point and don't try to teach them what they already know—which is exactly my goal. I don't want to be the guy making 30 minute tutorials with 5 minutes of new content for advanced users.

To be quite honest, I still watch tutorials. I look for a little nugget—often not even related to the tutorial—that I can take and build upon in other ways. Sometimes my mind even wanders while watching someone else work, and I think of something completely different. And that nugget is what I'm hoping to show advanced users. My tutorials are less, "we're going to make this example" and more, "hey, let's check this technique out and hopefully you can find something cool to do with it." I'm not about making robots who can copy my tutorials. I want you to watch, learn, and exploit what I've shown you in other ways.

I know that I can grow an audience by catering my tutorials to beginners. But by doing so, I'd be destroying exactly what the advanced users love about my tutorials—I show them something useful as quickly as I can, and save their time because I assume a level of familiarity with the programs we're using.

Updated December 21, 2018

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