Explain One Play Mailbag 2: Longer Videos? More Text?
Answering some reader questions!
A list of all Explain One Play articles and videos is at The new Explain One Play index.
(From LGW Reddit AMA) trysmo324 asks: Have you ever considered doing (or already done if I'm not aware) longer videos in the Explain 1 Play format? I get that it's less bang for your buck in terms of views/effort, but quality content like that is hard to find and I'm always looking for more.
Views per effort? Views per effort?? I’m not with Vox any more! Muhahahaha. I’ve always much preferred reaching 1,000 viewers who learned a ton and loved the crap out of a video rather than 500,000 viewers who watched a bit browsing randomly on YouTube. (And I say that having had both.) But Vox DEFINITELY would rather the 500K. (Of course, the best is 500K who love the crap out of it, but anyway.)
So since LetsGoWarriors.com, I’ve done more in-depth videos so far, with my E1P on D’Angelo which surveyed all his Nets scoring plays. This effort was immediately punished by Bob Myers trading D’Angelo. Hmm.
And as a labor of love, I am making longer pieces like the one on Klay’s 37. I knew the Klay 37 wouldn’t get many views, but I wanted to make the definitive retrospective on that so that a thousand viewers would love the crap out of it.
I also have one planned for the Bang Bang game, and I hope I can finish it. There is so much in that game, I’m not sure how to keep that to a digestible amount or just let it fly at whatever length it finds...
Alex says: Explain One Play is really special. I'm someone that likes to know how things work. EOP has almost been a textbook. It might be easier to digest as text with clips interspersed between video clips. However you choose to do it, education on the basic and advanced concepts particularly in defense are very interesting.
DraymondWantsItMore says: My request isn’t for a specific topic but for you to do a couple "old school" text heavy E1Ps with little clips. I love your writing and those old ones really helped me understand basketball in a whole different way. The vids are still great don't get me wrong, but I feel like I learned more with the old style.
For non-old-timers, in the three seasons 14-15, 15-16 and 16-17, the Explain One Play format was a text article with video clips throughout. You can see any of these by checking this incredible (if I may so so myself) index of all E1Ps, from the E1P 1.0 era, with text and clips.
Explain One Play Mega-Index. All E1Ps from 2014-2017. Sortable by player, play type, opponents, date, etc.
The text/clip format was always painful for me, as I wanted to often just point to the video but instead just had to hope people would notice what I was talking about. I also sometimes had to go back to re-read an old E1P and even myself the author found it rough going to read these long tomes.
In summer 2017, I started experimenting with video and found I really liked it. Coincidentally, soon after, Vox Media wanted to pivot to video (because of Facebook’s well-documented scam) so they actually started compensating me specifically for making E1P videos.
There is no question I cover less stuff, so I agree with people here. But I find them clearer. My first attempts at E1P were way too text heavy. It was interesting trying to figure out how to make the right density for video, the best compromise pace (about 3-4 sec per still… a bit fast since it’s easy to pause and hard to fast forward). I have been experimenting with adding more detail and analysis too (see the D-Lo video above).
I won’t rule out occasionally going back to a text/clip format, but I feel like there is a reasonable amount of that kind of content out there. Joe Viray (@JoeViray90) did great Golden Breakdowns for GSOM in the E1P 1.0 style, as do others like Zach Lowe and Mike Prada, and I know several other SBNation NBA writers reached out to me to get my blessing/advice for their own versions of E1P 1.0.
In the video world, I enjoy analysis from BBallBreakdown, Athletic Alchemy, Chris Oliver, and ScoutWithBryan, but I don’t know of anyone else in my ecological niche of video analysis, clear on-screen text and diagrams, and my eccentric sense of humor. So it’s been fun exploring this nook of the content-sphere.
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Thank for all of the EOP posts, back there, and now over here. I've appreciated them and learned from them.
What viewing tool do you use while putting these videos together? Or even a step back. How do you watch the games? Here, even though we have great fiber internet connectivity with Sonic, I keep a Comcast account and a TiVo equipped with a cable card. I haven't seen anything other solution that comes close to duplicating TiVo's smooth, instant, controlled access to forward, back, slow motion, etc.. It would be sad if I had to switch to watching the games via streaming.
Yeah, I really love the extra analysis you put in text next to the video whenever there's a new-style E1P video nowadays, so I would be cool with that, or more of that. And you generally have pretty insightful commentary along the way during games. I try to catch those things too but my eye for basketball plays is still much less practiced than yours.