Last week, we sort of looked at how to use the Recording Phase to aid in developing a storyworld. This week, we’ll take a (hopefully) better look at using the Recording Phase to learn or develop a new skill. While I’ve only ever used the PLE process to develop one storyworld, I’ve developed several skills through this method of study. For this particular walkthrough, we’ll look at the skill I’m currently learning: voiceover.
Like before, it starts with the groundwork you laid down in the Discovery Phase – a collection of blogs and social media accounts you’ve started following. If you’re learning a new skill, then in your Discovery Phase you needed to make sure there are veterans, tutorial writers/teachers/coaches, and fellow newbies in your mix. I had an established set of information streams when I started narrating, so I’ve added on to what I already have…mostly. I still don’t follow any voiceover blogs, but I do subscribe to voiceover-related email newsletters (which is a viable resource, but I rarely use them). In my social media streams, I’ve added voice actors, coaches, and directors. I’ve also added (private. Sorry about that. They’re works in progress.) lists and circles to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ so I can just listen. (Depending on your craft, you may also want to find people or boards to follow on Pinterest.) It’s proven very interesting at times, and I’ve learned a lot.
Once you have some relevant sources added to your information streams, then you just read like you normally would, except you cull out any article, video, podcast, etc., that looks like it could help you build your skill. Depending on how new you are to the skill or its related craft, you are going to cull out different things. Don’t save everything. Only save out those pieces of information you either don’t already know or struggle with. Saving information you already know just creates clutter in your PLE and can potentially distract you from your studies. I keep a folder in Instapaper and a private playlist in YouTube for saving things I want to look at more closely or repeatedly. (Depending on your skill/craft, you can also make use of Pinterest’s boards, public or private.)
Utilizing the PLE while learning a new skill actually has multiple benefits. You start learning names related to your skill and craft (making new friends if you’re a braver soul than I). You start learning how to recognize what’s important to the skill and the craft. More importantly, as you continue your studies, you can see how you’re doing by what you’re saving and what you’re passing on because you already know it, which can help build your confidence as you start seeing how far you’ve come.