Taking a YouTube Show into the Real World

This post is about 2 months late, but the launch of Season 2 of Hilah Cooking has completely overwhelmed my world. Things are going really well with the show and as we approach our one-year anniversary we have managed to hit all the milestones I put into the original crazy “business plan.” From the very beginning, I wanted to do some kind of “live” event.


There were a few reasons for this:

  • We wanted to thank our viewers. We have a seriously awesome audience and we thought a cool party with free food and drink would be a great way to say thanks for supporting what we’re doing. But even more than that, we wanted to meet some of the people we’ve been corresponding with via email and blog comments.
  • Real world event = added legitimacy. When everything is on a computer screen, it’s easy to forget that a web project is something real. We saw the event as a way of publicly telling everybody that we are serious about what we do and we’re only getting started.
  • An opportunity to give back to the community. This was a not-for-profit event designed to raise money for the Sustainable Food Center. The SFC is a great organization with a mission to strengthen the local food system and provide access to nutritious affordable food.

We spent most of our summer break working on the event which we decided to call MOUTH PARTY! It turns out that putting together a live event is a lot more difficult than producing a web series – especially when you’ve never done it before. We found a great location (United States Art Authority) and started hitting up restaurants and other food companies to come on as sponsors.

Luckily, Jessie Tilton came on board to help us plan the event and really knocked it out of the park. We seriously couldn’t have done it without her. She signed up some amazing food and drink sponsors – and the drinks flowed all night. (The next day Craig said we should have called it LIVER PARTY instead of MOUTH PARTY.)

As is usually the case with my projects, I had some pretty grandiose ambitions for the event – and some of the things just didn’t come together. The big disappointment was that we had planned on shooting an episode of Hilah Cooking during the event. I thought an episode in front of a live audience would be killer, but due to logistics we couldn’t pull it off. We were able to livestream a few hours of the show using my iPhone and the justin.tv app, but it wasn’t quite the same. Next time, I am determined to shoot a live episode no matter what.

However, there was still plenty of great entertainment including a great set by The Lost Soul Revue and three cake walks that got progressively more entertaining as the cake-walkers got progressively more intoxicated. Also, most importantly, we got to meet and hang out with a bunch of regular viewers. This alone made the whole event totally worth the time and energy we had put into planning it.

It was an awesome night and I’m really happy with it considering it was our first ever “live” event. I’m also happy to announce that we raised $1,100 for Sustainable Food Center.

If you’re producing a web series (or even a regular blog), I would really recommend that you explore the idea of a real world event. Even something as simple as a more casual meet-up is a great way to connect with your audience and get some amazing feedback. Plus, it’s just FUN. If you’re a web creator, you already spend way too much time sitting in front of a computer and communicating via various electronic means. All of this is great, but it simply can’t compare with talking in person to someone who follows your work.

Photos by Mimibug Photography. For more photos, check out the Hilah Cooking Facebook Page.

I want to once again thank our awesome sponsors who made this event possible

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