When COVID-19 put an end to Hawaii Writers Guild’s program of public authors readings, two of its board members turned to technology for a solution.
The result is Inside the Writers Studio, a new online program hosted by the guild’s North Kohala director, Eila Algood.
Algood previously hosted a series of well-attended authors readings at the North Kohala Public Library. She was in the process of organizing a reading in March when the governor’s shelter in place rules shut down public events.
Algood teamed up with guild president Diann Wilson, also from North Kohala, and the two women explored options.
After some research, Wilson discovered Google for Nonprofits, a program for federally tax-exempt organizations. Hawaii Writers Guild received its certification from the IRS as a nonprofit charity in February.
Wilson explored the benefits of the Google program and discovered it gave nonprofit organizations access to their own YouTube channel, which made it easy to post videos widely available to the public.
Algood, who has two YouTube channels of her own, acquired video editing skills by attending training provided by Na Leo TV some years ago.
Although the two women originally envisioned a digital replacement for the canceled authors readings, they eventually settled on a format involving one reader introduced and interviewed by a moderator. To test the feasibility of the concept, Algood volunteered to be the moderator and Wilson agreed to be the author reading her work.
Remembering the program “Inside the Actors Studio,” they chose the title Inside the Writers Studio.
The two women recorded the pilot program three times on Zoom before they were satisfied with the results. Episode One is now posted on Hawaii Writer Guild’s new YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/D1oNEIHGdF8.
“This technology can lift people up and provide an equal playing field for people from many diverse backgrounds,” Algood said.
Wilson noted members of the public can sign up for notifications when future programs become available. While watching the pilot, just click on the red box below the video on the right that says “Subscribe.”