Making Tutorials – It Really Is An Art Form
2-19-11: Initial release.
Finally, this is the time I get to write an article about life and not something tangible like a game or a movie.
So ever since I started the blog back in September 2006, and many years later when I started my Youtube adventure in 2008, I realized that a lot of what I do is about helping people and more specifically, creating content related about tutorials.
As I reflect on what I have done so far, why do I do what I do? Why do I continue to spend time on working on tutorials to share on the Internet, an activity that can easily take more time than focusing on friends, family, work, or myself? Why spend the time to do it with possibly very little return on “investment”? Well, the answer may surprise you.
As far back as I can remember, I was always brought up with a good heart Is it because of the values my parents thought me, or maybe it is because of my religious background. Nonetheless, I am the type of person that likes to avoid arguments and confrontations, because in these situations, it is truly when you see the ugliness of human hatred.
Do you remember when you were last in an argument? How did you feel? Angry? Upset? Face flushed red with your heart pounding so hard you wanted to punch a hole in the wall? We have all been there, but we know that good results do not occur on the behalf of hatred.
Therefore, I always try to do things with a calm and peaceful state of mind. All throughout school, I was a tutor and I found myself teaching subjects that I hardly knew myself such as math, spanish, science and more. As I got into college, I was teaching my fellow colleagues in engineering subjects as we tried to do the homework and study for tests.
Then it just dawned upon me one day that I had a knack for teaching, but I didn’t really want to have a career in it. The pay is not that considerably good, depending on where you go. However, I knew I loved technology, and over the years I learned a lot of neat tricks that my friends didn’t know otherwise.
Therefore, I created the blog, and got enough momentum going on it that few years later I decided to simultaneously expand my reach to Youtube and captivate an audience there. In the last 4-5 years, I have brought a lot more good to the technological community than harm. I have seen people learn how to do things that they thought was impossible (modding consoles, jailbreaking gadgets, playing LAN games online, etc.) and more.
But anyone can write or record a tutorial and put it online. I have watched and read a lot of tutorials, and I have to say that there are certain pet peeves that I had developed. Did you ever read a tutorial and asked yourself, “WTF? I still don’t understand?”
I have been there. I have watched a lot of “bad” tutorials where I the user am forced to read a notepad, or the notepad text keeps on changing as the creator deletes the line and adds more text, videos that have so poor resolution that even Superman with his keen eyes can’t even watch the video, background music so horrible that I wish I was deaf, or even worse…the announcer cannot speak English or the video is in a foreign language that it makes it impossible to understand what is going on.
Even if a user has a microphone, this does not equal success. If the user talks in a monotone voice, the video is very boring. If the user cannot speak English that well, or it is hard to hear the announcer, then the tutorial in my eyes is a fail.
Henceforth, that is why I consider making tutorials an art form. For me personally, I take what I hate about bad tutorials, and I try to spin upon them.
If anybody is a viewer of GameDexterity, you know that in my tutorials I try to make tutorials concise and to the point if I can. The Playstation 2 modding videos are a good example, as I have totally revamped them over the years to take what many consider as a daunting and complicated subject so easy that your Mom could do it.
Moreover, every single tutorial that I do, I personally do it myself before I write or record it up because I want to know what type of troubleshooting steps I may have to go through so I can help out my fellow man/woman.
Am I sadistic if I go around watching tutorials and try to stump the creator even though I know the answer? Many times I have read comments where a user thanks me because he spent almost the whole day watching bad tutorials and could not get anything done, and then he watches my tutorial and is up and running in 15 minutes or less. An example of this is the DD-WRT wireless bridge tutorial, or how to FTP emulators onto the original Xbox.
It is in times like these that I feel that I am making a difference, and I strongly believe that everyone wants to learn new knowledge. After all, it is what keeps us going and from becoming obsolete or outdated. *gasp*
There are still things in life that I do not know, and that is the hardest part of learning. How to ask questions about things that you do not even know exist. Sometimes you come across something by accident, or someone says something and then that provokes more questions.
By using WordPress.com and Youtube.com, I am hoping that the material I present opens your eyes and allows you to start an intellectual journey that you thought could never happen.
Life is interesting, and it will get better. It is just a matter of how you want to use it and abuse it. :p
How about you? Had bad experiences with poor tutorial? Let’s hear it!