For a while, I had played with the idea of sharing my cooking on Twitch but in March it became a reality.
Over the course of the months, I had acquired enough equipment to began streaming.
Fortunately for me, I had acquired most of the equipment before the rest of the country decided to move in the same direction.
At face value, streaming seemed easy enough.
I create template, a couple of different angles, a microphone, and call it a day.
As a matter of fact, what I had in place was just that!
I had transformed a small apartment kitchen into a studio that could run a live stream!
It was far from aesthetically pleasing but it got the job done.
My barebones understanding of how OBS worked led to a number of technical difficulties.
I didn't understand how to alter webcams, I didn't understand what auto white balance was, I didn't understand the nobs on the back of the Blue Yeti microphone, I didn't think about things such as set design, I had no idea or eye for what made a good set up. At the time I didn't care. due to how popular and engaging the streams were.
My friends began cooking at home more than usual, asking me questions about cooking, buying equipment..
Everyone was motivated to cook! It made me want to continue the streams, but I wanted to step it up.
So I called Vy Nguyen.
Vy Nguyen and Leon Brunson on set for their second video shoot.
Vy and I had went to high school together and he found his passion in film early.
He tends to over deliver in his products, and always have an established sense of organization.
He reached out to me in 2018 about putting a video together.
Both of us were early in our career so we needed as many outlets as we could get to propel our career into the eyes of other.
We created this video as our first video together and it was a huge success.
I cannot tell you the amount of clients I get due to Vy Nguyen.
I could get into our history together in Tallahassee but I will save that for another post!
Things were moving fast.
Vy came over and immediately recognized problems from my first stream set up including the door being open, the background not providing any dimension, the lack of lighting, distracting doors, poor camera positioning, and overall layout problems.
He had notes on every single one of those issues once he walked into the door.
He was like a tactician.
He immediately went to work on everything we needed; moved the camera angle to provide a bit more dimension, added china balls with Wiz lights to have a soft key light for the kitchen, recommended dressing up the background with pictures of food, books, fairy lights, adjusted Streamlabs OBS settings to account for white balance, focus, and shadows.
We even began to work on an overlay for the stream.
All in 5 hours. In 5 hours, I realized there was a method to the madness.
The shoots that we did together started to make a bit more sense.
Vy had a sense of pride behind his product that I hadn't yet developed, especially in my cooking.
After that, things quickly started moving.
Tallahassee started contacting me regarding news segments, newspaper, and even websites to contribute content.
That's what started my success as an independent chef.
I was no longer just a cook in Tallahassee, people knew my name.
However, I was making videos, cooking food, working, all while trying to further my brand and myself. I had no time for anything.
I couldn't research new recipes, I couldn't read about how to improve my livestreams, I couldn't live stream anymore due to the increasing amount of work that I had.
Something had to change.
I felt trapped. I couldn't progress as a chef if I was so busy and unorganized.
I stopped live streaming to slow my life down and evaluate what needed to change.
The format for a successful chef was there, but the surrounding factors were not.
I stepped back from everything and realized that the success I was seeing was a direct result of the improvement of production values.
No one was calling my phone when I was streaming from webcams, or had an unprofessional layout.
It wasn't until I provided something that was worth turning heads that people began to turn their heads.
So I thought to myself, what if I improved from this point?
Here's a look at my first stream!
The problems with this set up:
1. Labor intensive to bring whole desktop set up out.
2. Quality of the webcams didn't properly represent the quality of food.
3. Set design was non existent.
4. No use of diffused lighting or hair lights (I didn't know what these were!!)