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Why having a “Pre-Stream Checklist” will Improve your Content

Hello there, and welcome to Streamer’s Haven, your hub for information about live streaming and content creation. Before I begin in earnest, I’d like to tell you a little story, if you don’t mind. This story will explain the origin of this article, noting a particular practice of pilots in the aviation world, and how that practice can be applied to improve your content.

The other day, I was hanging out with one of my best friends in discord, and she was playing the new Microsoft Flight Simulator that just recently came out. I’ll say this now, this friend has her private pilot’s license, and she is in love with the skies. In fact, she’s like a child when it comes to her passion for flying. Anyways, for privacy reasons, I’m going to call her Jess. The other day, Jess was sharing her screen, showing the level of detail within the cockpit of a Boeing 747-400, and was giddy at how all of the gadgets, buttons, and switches were intractable.

She was practically living her dream; Since middle school, she had wanted to become a commercially licensed pilot flying Boeing 747’s, her favorite plane. If you aren’t familiar with that particular plane, Think of Air Force 1. That is the model of the plane that she has been wanting to fly her entire life.

Sadly, the airlines retired the plane from service before she could finish her training, and Jess was heartbroken at the news. Now, at least, this new simulation disguised as a video game allowed her to achieve this dream at a level that no other simulation before it could hope to do.

The Pre-Flight Checklist inspired a way to improve your content

The context of this story is important, particularly that bit where she is a certified private pilot. Anyways, she explained to me how her flight instructor gave her a list of things to check before you even request to taxi out to the runway and take off. This list is quite simply a list of important systems to check over and ensure everything is in good working order.

After all, you don’t want a plane falling out of the sky because you didn’t check if the fuel tank was low, or your plane having a flat tire when coming in to land, right?

This list is known as the Pre-flight checklist. When she told me about this list, I had a bit of an epiphany.

I thought, “What if I apply this concept to content creation and live streaming?” The idea was a sort of Pre-stream checklist if you will, designed to help you ensure that every piece of equipment for your stream is in good working order, like that of the pre-flight checklist.

I thought, “What if I apply this concept to content creation and live streaming?”

I ran with the idea and began working on a proof-of-concept…

What the Pre-Stream Checklist should have

Now, I’m aware that every single content creator will have a different process for their own working environment. Nobody’s setup is the exact same as another, after all. However, there are several basic concepts that most content creators share. That is the target with this list.

  • You will typically have lights
  • A camera or webcam is likely
  • A microphone is more or less essential
  • Recording / Broadcasting software is necessary
  • You will appear in public

While this list may appear to be short at first glance, it can be easy to forget something in it. This is particularly true if you do the same task every single day because the days blur together from the sheer monotony of doing it over and over. You’ll likely end up misremembering that you muted your microphone at some point, and end up streaming for 3 hours with what is essentially a silent film as your content. That is embarrassing and will hurt your image of professionalism if that is the vibe you are aiming for.

Worse yet, it’s not even your fault that you forget to do it beforehand; Un-muting your mic isn’t something people really think about intuitively unless they make it a habit. I have even heard stories where people thought they were live, but weren’t because they forgot to actually click “Start Stream”, and acted as though they were live for several hours.

I have even heard stories where people thought they were live, but weren’t because they forgot to actually click “Start Stream”, and acted as though they were live for several hours.

Oops.

What I’m proposing you do is to utilize a list to make a set of tasks to check off before you go live. By having this checklist, you can avoid these little mistakes, thus improving your content that is presented to your audience.

A basic & functional checklist made in Google Sheets

The pre-stream-checklist will improve your content by ensuring everything is in order before you go live

The final result of my proof of concept is this: A google sheet with just about everything you’d need in a pre-stream checklist. In its current state, it does exactly what you might expect from such a list, just with some pre-defined concepts tailored to content creation.

You are free to use this list as you see fit, but to do so, you must make your own copy. Here’s how you do that:

  • Click “File”
  • And Select “Make a copy”

This will create a copy for your own personal use on your own google account. Please do not request edit access, as you do not need that to use this sheet. If you do end up requesting access rather than creating your own copy, it will be ignored. Someone with edit permissions can effectively delete this sheet from existence if they were so inclined to do so.


Features of this checklist

You’ll note that this list has a completed counter. This will count the number of populated fields in the “tasks” row, and the number of “TRUE” statements. It came with the template that this list was based on. I claim no credit for this one.

Additionally, there are simple features, such as sorting the rows automatically and filtering results. Honestly, you’ll likely never need the filtering or sorting feature. It came included, and it was more work to remove it than to simply ignore it.

You can sort by Category and task

Sort the pre-stream checklist.

The button at the end of the Checkmark, categories, and tasks that look sort of like an inverted pyramid. You can sort your list quickly and easily, provided you don’t merge any of the affected rows. This will, of course, set the order of each task regardless of the order in which they should be done. Like, going live before you turn your lights on? That’s not ideal and makes the whole list moot.

In this case, you can change the order manually.

Manually reordering the list

reordering the pre-stream checklist

Reordering a list is quite easy actually. On the left side of the sheets, there are rows of numbers. By left-clicking once to select the row, then clicking again and holding, these numbers can be reordered. You’ll see a grabby-looking hand when you do it right. Simply drag at this point and you’ll be able to drag the rows, provided you haven’t merged any cells within the rows you want to move. If you make a mistake, ctrl-Z is your friend.

This also applies to columns, though Column B and C have a merged cell. You would have to first un-merge the cells in order to move them around.


Other handy tools I have made for streamers

A checklist is merely the beginning. How about a stream team collaboration planner? I strongly suggest you look into this one, as planning a day where your team can get together tends to be…messy.

More Content Creation Tools

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