"To truly know something, you have to teach it"

We are always looking for new talent, in any section of the site: 2D, 3D, Code, wherever. We want artists that can make students believe they can draw as good as their teacher, or programmers that can make complex code seem magically understandable. We want great content to sell. Or we won't sell it. This isn't an upload-it-yourself site. We baby the products we sell. We spend time making them their best and presenting them so.

With that said, our instructors aren't necessarily professional teachers. Most of them just know their stuff well, and turned on a microphone one day to share what they can do with others. Does that sound like you? If so, read on...

We're fine with you owning your tutorial. That gives you the flexibility to ALSO sell it on your own site. We don't care because your traffic and our traffic might not ever collide. We don't need an exclusive deal to sell your stuff. We just want the right to sell it here at CartoonSmart. Here's what we ask though...

Keep your branding to the beginning. A quick animated logo or still image in the beginning of the video is plenty. A watermark throughout the video can look trashy anyway, especially if it covers up an important part of the user interface of the software you are teaching. Plus since we're going to help market your video, that will usually mean getting a free preview of it in front of a wide audience. Remember, we are marketing the video so we can sell it at CartoonSmart, not get traffic over to your site to buy it. If you've already made the world's greatest tutorial, and heavily branded it, that might not be a deal breaker. Get in touch with us anyway.

Profit share makes everyone happy! It really does. You'll like earning some extra money every month, long after the work has already been done. And even products that don't sell fantastically well, still sell some. Digital goods have a long shelf life. CartoonSmart has a huge newsletter list of loyal customers. So you can expect a hot-topic lesson to sell really well at first (which will make the initial work well worth doing), then taper off to what will hopefully be some steady sales for a few years. And remember, we don't want you to make just one lesson, we would rather you make 10 lessons (or even more). You'll want to do that if the money is there.
Get a good mic - This is probably your only big investment in what could make you thousands of dollars and be a start-up company for yourself. Amazon sells a great mic for around $60-$75 right here. The Blue Snowball Microphone. This mic will pick up your voice as it actually sounds. It will have some real bass to it, and it won't sound like a treble-filled mic that your kids use to play video games with.

Check your audio levels - There is no way to salvage a recording session when the mic picks up too much sound. When you speak loudly, or at times even a deep breath out can cause loud pops in the audio track. Not acceptable. Again, that mic from Amazon is great at reducing audio spikes. We won't promote any tutorials where this occurs frequently.

Move your phone far away from the mic - Many phones will send out data bursts that make a click-click-click sound during the video. You might have noticed this happening on live broadcasts of the news. So just put your phone in the other room.

Pets - You might have tuned out those clanking dog and cat collars, but we haven't. Put Tigey outside, and if your dog is barking in the backyard, stop recording and bring him in.
What to record with - On the Mac I would recommend Snapz (its only $60 or so). "Out of the box" the Snapz video settings are great. On the PC, most of our instructors use Camtasia. But there's probably plenty of other (cheaper) options as well.

Record at 1280 by 720, 15fps - That's a good HD size and framerate. We might end up lowering the framerate if the tutorial doesn't require that many frames by second, but it's best to record at those settings, and we can change it later.

Compression - Usually our movies are compressed using H.264, but if you want to compress for Animation (which is usually a setting) that's fine. We can always convert to H.264 from a better compression setting.

Video Format - You can give us mp4 or mov files. We'll probably end up using mov for the final zip. We don't want Flash video.

Record at Actual Size (1 to 1) - So don't shrink a larger portion of your screen into a 1280 by 720 size video.

Time Length - Most of our videos are many hours long. When recording a lesson if you've gone over 60-90 minutes, start to wrap it up and call that "Part 1". Then move onto "Part 2" as a new video file. When delivering these parts to the customer, they will be in separate zip files. Keep reading below because this is important for source files too...
We want those files - So don't start deleting your project files after the video is over.

Please no spaces in filenames - They will most likely be replaced by underscores. Some unzip programs actually have trouble with spaces in filenames. Yes, thats crazy, but true.

Back save if possible - For example, if you're using Flash CS6, but you can save the files back a few versions, please do so.
Get excited - You don't need to borrow your nephew's ADD medicine, but stay PUMPED throughout the lesson. If it takes a 5-Hour Energy or XL coffee from Dunkin Donuts to do that, go for it. America runs on Dunkin. Good teachers have the energy to teach!

Do over's - If you don't like what you recorded, just start back a few minutes. If you found yourself rambling on about the correct pronounciation of a technical term, just stop recording and edit that out.

Take a break - No one will know if you pause the screencapture software and pee. Or if you sleep for 8 hours and start back again where you left off. Just listen to what you previously recorded so your train-of-thought is consistent, then continue recording.

Combine lots of videos - Your tutorial might end up being 10-20 short videos that need combining together. Unless you are the greatest, most flawless instructor ever, it is doubtful you'll have made a decent tutorial on one take. If you're on the Mac, in Application > Utilities you can find the original (better) version of Quicktime Player 7. You should be able to combine videos by simply selecting all, copying, then pasting. Then you can save the video as a self contained file of everything.

Use notes, not scripts - Reading off a script like a robot is not the CartoonSmart way. Pretend you are teaching a friend. Notes on the otherhand are a great idea. For example, if you have two monitors and you're teaching a programming tutorial, put the code you are going to teach on the second monitor. It's like a cheat sheet!

Type code. Don't paste it - Unless it's code you've already taught and explained, just type it out. Typing code gives you time to explain, and often times will make you explain things better than if you just pasted in an entire line of code.

Test often - Testing a programming tutorial is key. It gives the student a moment to breath and correct errors. Plus you'll catch any mistakes or typos you made (see below for more on that)

Oops, you made a mistake - Mistakes will happen in a tutorial. Some mistakes are funny if they don't take more than a few seconds to correct and can be used to demonstrate a common error that the student will also run into. Bad mistakes, meaning ones you need to edit out and go back and record again, are ones that involve a lot of backtracking on your part. Because if you have to go back a minute or so in a tutorial, that probably means the student will have lost double or triple that amount of time because they work far slower than you teach.

For you creative types - Like you artists (or arteests). For the less-talented, watching truly talented people draw is like listening to a musician play their instrument. So don't assume you have nothing to teach. Make a masterpiece and talk your way through it. I've seen way too many YouTube videos of talented artists time-lapse an hour or more of work into a 3 minute video that goes by way too fast to understand what they are doing. Those videos suck. Be brave, show your art, have fun, and don't be shy.
Don't record your personal files or info - Be aware of what you are showing customers! Web-related tutorials often involve a web browser. There is a lot of embarrassing info that can show up in Bookmarks and History. Clear out that stuff, or even better screencapture an alternate browser you rarely use. If you show your hard drive's contents be careful whats in there too. Your plans for world domination aren't what I'm most worried about.

Don't show or record copywritten material - For example, suppose you taught an awesome Photoshop lesson on how to draw R2D2. We can't sell that. If you have a question about usage, ask us.

You can plug your stuff. But don't go crazy - If you're a freelancer this is a great opportunity to find new clients. Or if you sell apps, you can get some buyers from your lesson. It's totally fine to mention who you are, your company, and your website/apps (if your content isn't crude). Who you are and what you do can also prove you are WORTHY of teaching someone else. So a super quick mention in the beginning, and a little longer mention at the end is fine. Here's an example "My name is Jeremy, I've made a few apps for sale in the App Store (show them your apps), and I'm going to teach you how to make one similar to this app".

Don't Swear. Keep it school-library friendly - Duh, right. But we've had to edit some instructors before.

Don't smoke - Smoking sure looks cool, but it doesn't sound cool. Long term smoking takes its toll on the voice (i.e. throat clearing, coughing, even wheezing) It'll drive customers crazy to hear constant vocal ticks and we can't sell that.

Don't have a messy computer - Sweep all those non-tutorial related Desktop files off to the side. Plain-ify your Desktop background.

Pitch us anytime.

If you've already got a video uploaded to YouTub or Vimeo, send us a link. If you want to record something from scratch, it won't hurt to have a look at the tips above first.

Feel free to shoot over a 5, 10, 15, 60 minute video, and have us take a look. Thanks.

Kit Creators and Royalty-Free Artists

Show us what you have. We're always looking to add great content to our Art and Kit sections of the site.