When CreativeLive launched in 2010, it blew up. It was the biggest, hottest thing out there and everyone was watching it. Fast forward five years, and though they still garner massive audiences, arguably the pip and pizazz isn’t what it once was. It happens. There are a finite number of instructors and possible teaching items, and at a certain point they’ve all been covered. All that said, this past weekend CreativeLive tested something totally brand new, and it’s exactly what the company needed: I love CreativeLive again.
To kick off their Photo Week 2015, CreativeLive put Sue Bryce, Jasmine Star, Victor Ha and Matt Kloskowski on a tour bus Friday morning and drove them from San Francisco to Seattle, making stops in Sacramento, Eugene, Portland and Olympia before rolling into Seattle late on Saturday night. I went with them to see how it all unfolded, and during those stops hundreds of people came out to meet them and learn from them in person.
The way the tour worked was in the selected stopping points, the CreativeLive team would broadcast live demonstrations and educational classes for free, and anyone who came out in person got an extra special experience being able to learn directly from the instructors, face to face.
Those direct, interpersonal relationships that are formed on these stops is the core of what made the bus tour exciting, different and quite frankly desperately needed right now.
Over 20,000 people tuned in to to the two day bus tour, and hundreds of people turned out in person. The way the tour unfolded, the way the instructors interacted with their environments and the way they were able to directly speak to their fans made for an amazing experience. The thing was… the bus tour was real. It was genuine. And I think that resonated with people.
It had a profound impact on the educators as well. At each stop, every educator was surrounded by people who had a true interest in learning, getting better and listening to instruction. That came back to the instructors, who had an absolute blast meeting and being with these people. Having real conversations, unedited and totally open is a rare find these days, especially with people so used to spending their time talking to a camera for an audience they never see, and rarely hear from.
The only other time anyone has this kind of contact with instructors is at personal workshops and maybe conventions and trade shows. Those kinds of trips are wildly expensive for many, many people. The cost of good education is very high, and though many people can afford, many more cannot. This bus tour allowed the unattainable chance for people without the means to travel to the Bahamas, Fiji or even Las Vegas to hang out and learn from their favorite instructors. That’s an experience that has no price tag, and for these folks it was completely free.
CreativeLive has struck an amazing chord here, and found a way to make the “Live” part of their name mean even more than it ever has. The power and beauty of education is amplified when both the teacher and the students get to see each other, gauge reactions and share experiences. I think the Bus Tour inadvertently did this, and now CreativeLive has the obligation to keep this going. Don’t let the awesome die CreativeLive, because you are once again doing something worth getting very excited about.