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5 amazing remote shows and podcasts that you can easily copy

By Eric Halsey

Creating a show while self isolated presents a whole new set of challenges and questions for any creator:

  • Should you try to hide that you’re creating at home?
  • Should you try adapting fundamental elements of your show?
  • Is a special series warranted?
  • Should you try and find some way to use your show to help those in need?

Fortunately, plenty of big name and high-budget shows are leading the way and showing how it’s done. Below, we break down what each is doing and what you can take away from it.

Jimmy Fallon’s remote video show: Jimmy Fallon at Home

Fallon’s Approach

Jimmy Fallon’s show is known for being lighthearted and downright silly. When modifying his show so it can be done at home, Fallon embraces the strangeness, absurdity, and even the seriousness of the moment. While other shows like Late Night with Seth Myers attempt to recreate the desk-sitting and reading from cue cards, Fallon shamelessly (in a good way) just reads from a sheet of paper. He even imitates the laughter of the audience from time to time.

An interesting choice is that Fallon’s home recordings are not done with a fancy camera. In fact, the image quality looks like something anyone could do at home. I suspect this is in part to match his guests who are recording with home laptops. He even manages to include a musical segment with the Roots. The show also focuses on raising money for charities, which is a great adaptation to the moment.

What you can copy

Presenting a show without your typical audience, crew, guests, etc. is a bit weird and awkward. Fallon’s approach is to embrace that. Instead of apologizing for the changes or trying to hide the adaptations he’s had to make, Fallon is practically showing them off. His choice to forego the typical intro animation in favor of a hand-drawn piece of paper really reinforces this and you can have fun creating home-spun versions of effects you would normally employ. You can even do segments that would normally involve your whole team just like Fallon did with The Roots. Overall, this approach creates a “we’re all in this together” feeling.

One other quick note, Fallon and his guests are probably using webcams for their interviews but they prop them up to eye level to create a better look.

Trevor Noah’s remote video show: The Daily Social Distancing Show

Noah’s approach

Noah went so far as to rename the Daily Show “The Daily Social Distancing Show.” However, unlike Fallon, his show is still utilizing graphics, transitions, and other fancier editing from the regular version of his show alongside Noah’s reporting from home. The result is a show that’s closer to the Daily Show we all know with some custom elements. The show is also helping to raise money for relevant charities on occasion as well.

What you can copy

Even if all you have to record is your phone (as I suspect Noah does), post-production elements like graphic overlays and switching to images can still give the show a professional look (it’s also something we can help you with). Other interviews done by the Daily Show in recent days uses a split screen where the correspondent’s side looks polished next to the streaming video from their guests.

James Corden’s remote video show: HomeFest

Corden’s approach

James Corden decided that this was a moment that called for a special event. So, he organized a kind of at home music (plus some magic and comedy) festival called HomeFest. Doing this avoids some of the weirdness of doing a regular show at home and turns it into a special occasion of sorts. The big picture here is that Corden is taking these unique circumstances and trying to do something different with them.

In addition, Corden has fun recreating his desk and set as best he can in his garage. In doing this, he’s almost parodying himself in a fun way.

What you can copy

For your show, consider who your audience is and what unique challenges they might be facing at this moment. Consider whether you can launch a special series or segment designed to help serve your audience in these unique times. Going above and beyond like this can help you build audience loyalty. Recreating your regular set at home is also a great place to poke fun at yourself and insert some little jokes that regular viewers will appreciate.

Mike Tyson’s remote video show: Safe Distance

Tyson’s approach

As with many of the shows mentioned here, Tyson employs a cheeky show renaming to “Safe Distance with Mike Tyson.” But overall, Tyson’s approach is unabashedly bare bones. You can even see crew members (at least one assumes they’re crew members) poking in the background as he gets set up. Considering the stature of Tyson and his guests, it’s refreshing and interesting to see them in such a normal environment.

What you can copy

This shows how you can create something compelling without any bells and whistles. Done right, an amateurish approach can even be funny, endearing, and add to what makes the show interesting. Overall, Tyson shows what anyone with a laptop and a good idea can do with a remote show.

Bon Appéti’s remote video show: Test Kitchen Talks

Bon Appétit’s approach

The Youtube channel for the magazine Bon Appétit has exploded in recent years with a series of shows built around strong personalities in their test kitchen. Without the ability to film in their regular locations, all of the main “characters” are now filming from home. The channel has taken this as an opportunity to focus on what its chefs cook at home, from dishes specially designed for self-isolation to how they each brew their coffee.

What you can copy

Because Bon Appétit’s content is so firmly built around the personalities of its stars, this period became a chance to show compelling “behind the scenes” style content. Your show can try something similar, pivoting to focus on how you’re working differently and interesting or relevant aspects of your home that affect that work.

Feeling inspired?

If you need help taking your show remote, we can help. Feel free to book some time with us so we can share our years of experience helping businesses like yours start and adapt shows for success.

Tags: building influence, video content, video series, podcast topics