Meet Jarrett Krosoczka
- A New York Times bestselling author and illustrator.
- Has published over 40 books for children and young adults.
Authors and illustrators like Jarrett promote their work through speaking at conferences, book festivals, and schools.
“I think one of the greatest misconceptions people have is that, if you write and illustrate books, you must just sit in your home and daydream,” Jarrett says, “but I spend 50% to 65% of my time on the road promoting my books.”
With a spouse and two children, it isn’t feasible for Jarrett to be at every in-person event even though they’re integral to his livelihood. He wanted a way to replicate an in-person experience virtually. Since Jarrett both speaks and draws at his in-person events, it was especially difficult to reproduce both aspects of in-person events with a one-camera livestream setup.
Jarrett has been using Switcher Studio for years to produce livestreams and videos, including his popular live YouTube series, Draw Every Day with JJK. To create videos that feel as exciting as in-person events, he uses Switcher features like:
Jarrett’s studio in his small basement. His backdrop is uncomplicated: a few books, awards, and knick-knacks. For gear, Jarrett uses an iPhone for his main camera. His overhead shot is another iOS device mounted on a scissor stand, and he uses his iPad as his main Switcher to edit in real time.
He started with a single ring light and over time has added two more lights for a three-point lighting system, as well as an external microphone. With this setup, Jarrett also records interviews with other authors and illustrators using Switcher’s Remote Guests feature.
Jarrett switches between cameras to bring his audience to his drawing, and also uses Multiview templates to create a picture-in-picture effect. With this setup, his livestreams can be “more personal than the in-person visits,” Jarrett says. “When I'm speaking (in-person), I might have a crowd of 500 or 1,000 students in a space. That pad of paper on the stage is really small for the kids in the back row. But when I have my overhead shot … their noses are at the tip of my pencil in a way that wouldn't be possible in real life.”
In 2020, Jarrett started streaming “Draw Every Day with JJK” to YouTube each afternoon. For many families, it was a welcome constant during an otherwise unpredictable time.
Making regular content for kids means keeping things fast-paced and engaging for every stream. For “Draw Every Day,” Jarrett keeps content captivating by taking comments and questions live, incorporating music, creating special segments, and more. Using prerecorded animations, he was even able to magically have conversations with his coffee cup!
For “Draw Every Day,” Jarrett encourages creativity by featuring artwork submitted by young artists at the end of every stream.
The Northampton book and music festival Meltdown was co-founded by Jarrett and his wife, Gina, in 2008.
Meltdown couldn’t be held in person in 2021, so Jarrett wanted to make an exceptional virtual event “to give back to the community and keep a sense of normalcy.” He produced the entire event remotely using Switcher Studio. Ten remote artists made appearances, with both prerecorded and live performances. Jarrett also used Switcher to virtually bring young artists “on-stage” to draw alongside guest illustrators. It was a memorable event that helped fill the void after a long winter and an even longer year.
With “Draw Every Day,” Jarrett connected not just with students who were learning remotely, but also with kids who live remotely. Jarrett received messages from families who explained that — because they lived so far away from any major bookstores or libraries — these livestreams were providing a great opportunity to connect with authors like never before.
As in-person events return, Jarrett plans to continue producing plenty of livestreams, to connect with these readers and others who need the accessibility of online experiences. He even hopes to incorporate streaming into his future in-person events. “What a great way for young readers to feel they're a part of these kinds of events when they aren’t physically able to be there.”
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