Catch Kelsey Bentz on the #PirateBroadcast™
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Audio digitally transcribed by Otter.ai
Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast™, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.
Russ Johns 0:19
So I woke up this morning, I filled up my water bottle, and I dropped it all over the floor. That's how my day started. And I just had to laugh about it. Kelsey, thank you so much for being here. We're gonna have a fun time. You are a pirate now. And I've actually been on your show, woohoo And we're gonna be talking a little bit about live streaming, having fun living in New York and also just life in general. So thank you so much for Kelsey for being here. I really appreciate you being here.
Kelsey Bentz 0:53
Thanks for having me, Russ. It's such an honor to to become a pirate this morning. And no, no better way to start off the day then to do a little live streaming with a great, a great fellow streamer.
Russ Johns 1:05
Yeah, yeah. So you know, you are a customer success specialist at stream yard, which is really one of these things that has evolved over the last couple of years. So walk us through your backstory and how you imagine this position and what got you involved in live streaming?
Kelsey Bentz 1:28
Yeah, it was kind of a twist of fate, if you will, I mean, the pandemic really changed things for a lot of us, you know, and me included, I, I have a performing background, I'm an actor and a singer. And I recently graduated from NYU with a degree in acting. So that was my full time, like, vision plan, you know, all of it. And of course, I graduated in May, right into the middle of this pandemic, where there's, there's not everything's shut down, all of my theaters are shut down, like everything's sort of in this holding phase, and where everyone was trying to figure out, okay, like, how do we, how do we move forward? And specifically, being an artist, it was sort of like, alright, how do I both make a living so I can support myself, but also, like, how do I stay connected with my artistic industry in some way. So, so live streaming really became that thing for me where it was, like, the way to stay connected with people and the way to create art in this time, since we have to be distanced is through live streaming. And so the job at stream yard was really, sort of a dream come true that I never knew I had, you know, like, I never thought that I would be doing anything really online. I never considered myself a technical person. And now I'm working in tech support, you know, so things things have really gone in a different direction than I was expecting. But I think it's, it's so beautiful. And it's been so amazing to to be on the stream yard team because we've been growing so fast. And I was I was a part of the original I think 10 so that it was just it's it's so magical to be a part of such a fast moving startup that's giving so many people a solution to stay connected during this time.
Russ Johns 3:35
Yeah, I have to agree with you because you know, I started radio television broadcast background years ago and you know, have seen it go from having to have a truck and an engineer and a satellite dish and electrical, you know, internet, you know, phone connections and ISDN lines and all this technology to pulling up my phone in live streaming to YouTube and being the the media you know, it's I taught these classes years ago, it's called You are the media, you know, you have a gift, you have a message, you have a brand and and the it's developed over time and part of the #PirateBroadcast™ was as a result of that, because in the FCC world, licensing a radio station if you broadcast without a license, you are considered a #PirateBroadcast™. And so you know, the the pirate motif and everything kind of goes along with the same struggle is like, Hey, we're out here doing our thing. Figuring out what we're gonna do, you know, acting is not really happening right now, the way it usually would in the theaters. And so let's figure something out. And live streaming has been such a gift to so many people. It's amazing how much it's grown. So stream yard has grown. Oh, I can't even I don't even know how long how much it's grown.
Kelsey Bentz 5:05
I mean, I don't even have the numbers. But like, it's a lot, you know, like we we started with just just thinking about my job. So I started in early April. And so that was sort of like the beginning of everyone was sort of like scrambling for solutions. And the chat, because I was working the tech support chat, it was like, pretty slow. You know, we didn't have that many emails, we was sort of like, you know, chill, and then all of a sudden, you know, you get to July, August, and I'm doing the chat, and I'm talking to my supervisor, I'm like, we need more people. Like, I can't do all of this, you know. And so just in terms of, in terms of that, like, seeing how many people were joining the stream yard community, and, and loving, it was just so great. And it just blew up.
Russ Johns 6:03
So I loved and engage on their other town halls on Sunday. And it's, it's really about consistency, because they really, you know, put it out there, they got over 100 episodes out now. And, and consistency is really important. And you have a show as well, you have a couple of shows, don't you?
Kelsey Bentz 6:20
I do. Yeah. So every Thursday, every Thursday, I go live with Dana, for stream yard spotlight, and which is where I met you, Russ. Yeah. And we we feature a stream yard user who, who we think is using stream yard in a unique way. And we sort of just talked to them about, you know, how stream yard has changed their live streaming game, I guess, and how they use stream yard to sort of reach a broader audience and connect with their audience. Because live streaming, at least what I like to focus on in terms of live streaming is how are we staying connected, because that's the point, you know, especially during this time when we're all mostly in our houses. So we have that show Thursday nights, which is really fun. Tonight, there's an episode at 8pm Eastern and then I have my personal show called Avenue A, where I interview guests from the artistic world, mostly actors and directors and producers and people from from my background. And I interviewed them about acting networking in the arts industry as a whole. And I created that live stream back in May, right after graduating because I was freaking out about, you know, leaving my, my institution, my school, and we were doing, you know, virtual online classes for the last few months of it. And I graduated, like in my living room, and it was all very unsettling and not how I expected it to go. But I said, okay, you know, like, you just have to roll with the punches. And like, what can you do to stay connected with your people. And at this point, I was actually in Portland still to with my mom, I that's where I quarantined for the majority of the pandemic. So I felt even more, you know, far away from everyone in the city. So I created this platform to to, you know, just have guests on and like, pick their brains and learn from them. And I also wanted to create a an accessible resource for other young artists who maybe, you know, didn't get to go to acting school or don't have a lot of training, you know, I wanted to create a free accessible resource for them. So that you know, because we're all trying to just do our best you know, and and make it into make it right into this. This industry, this arts industry. So it's been it's been a really an amazing journey. And I think I think I have like, almost 30 episodes so far. We've gone live almost every Friday, since May.
Russ Johns 6:56
Kelsey Bentz 7:51
Big project. Yeah. But it's been really fulfilling. I've had some amazing, like, really gracious guests on so.
Russ Johns 9:05
So you're originally from Portland?
Kelsey Bentz 9:07
I am. Yeah, I grew up in Portland, on a on a 10 acre farm, which is so crazy, because now I live in New York City. So it's a total shift.
Russ Johns 9:19
It's funny because I had a 10 acre farm in Portland as well.
Kelsey Bentz 9:22
Russ Johns 9:23
Yeah, you know where Cornelius Pass is?
Kelsey Bentz 9:26
Russ Johns 9:28
I had 10 acres right out there. I moved there in '86 to '95 I lived there.
Kelsey Bentz 9:38
That's exactly...Cornelius Pass is...like we're on, maybe I shouldn't say it online, but we'll talk about this because I think we might have been neighbors, Russ. That's crazy.
Russ Johns 9:48
Yeah, Rock Creek Road.
Kelsey Bentz 9:51
Oh my gosh,
Russ Johns 9:53
Kelsey Bentz 9:53
Russ Johns 9:54
Small world folks. This is the power of live streaming and the ability and the opportunity to make connections.
Kelsey Bentz 10:00
Russ Johns 10:00
And also, I used to work in New York as well.
Kelsey Bentz 10:04
When did you live in New York?
Russ Johns 10:06
I never actually moved to New York. I had, I used to travel there on a regular basis when I was in advertising back in the 90s.
Kelsey Bentz 10:15
Russ Johns 10:16
We had an office in Manhattan, I'd go there support it. But first time I paid, I think $12 for a six ounce coke or something like that...
Kelsey Bentz 10:26
That sounds about right. That sounds about right.
Russ Johns 10:29
I was shocked.
Kelsey Bentz 10:32
I'm still shocked. I'm still like, I've lived here for five years, I will still go and buy something and just be flabbergasted at the price.
Russ Johns 10:41
Yeah. Well, that's so funny. Because you know, what art does is it brings people together in a unique way. Because we can be so many have so much of a diversity in our background, and so many different directions. And we still can come together on a topic. And I always believe, Kelsey, on the onset, if you have a conversation long enough with anyone, you'll discover these little threads, and connections, and it's always there. And it's just a matter of having the conversation long enough, because we're all connected. That's what I believe.
Kelsey Bentz 11:19
I think that's such a nice outlook, Russ like that. And I saw that when you came on streamyard spotlight, just the way you were talking about, you know, what you do your live stream, you know, how you develop it, how you stay connected with your audience, I was just blown away at your, like, very, you're so kind and your perspective is so inclusive. And that struck me because I think that's what we need right now. You know, like, I just can't stress enough like how important the connection is because it is so scarce and like I take that so seriously, it's been so hard for me like to adjust even now after 10 months or whatever of adjusting to this new sort of lifestyle. I it's still hard to like get up and just be with myself literally all day. I'm used to being surrounded by actors and artists and that energy, you know, yeah. And and I definitely took it for granted. So it's so lovely to connect with people like you who have that objective, you know, to just be inclusive and connect with people and find, find that thread of connection with with every person.
Russ Johns 12:33
Yeah. Well, thank you for saying that. Russ. is also in the house. Good morning. Best way to start the day with the broadcast.
Kelsey Bentz 12:42
Thanks for tuning in.
Russ Johns 12:43
Yeah. Mike Baker's here from Florida. Good morning pirates. Thank you so much for being here. Russ is actually in Oregon. He's down by Salem as well. So interesting, way to take control of life and doing awesome things through live streaming. That's fantastic. So it's really important. Yes, a lot of innovation in the internet online community. Then, Darleen silverfox talks, morning pirate community. She's in from Florida. So she says she's gonna say made the best of it. Great attitude while dealing with harsh reality, Kelsey. So absolutely beautifully captured in real time. That's fantastic. And the producer of the show, here's the show because you know, I have my own producer, here is Tracie. So awesome. Good morning, Russ and Kelsey, I've been using stream yard for over a year. Love it. Fantastic. Yes.
Kelsey Bentz 13:43
Russ Johns 13:44
Liz lawless. Another pirate. Always great conversation. Yes, connection in less than six degrees. More like one or two.
Kelsey Bentz 13:53
That's so true.
Russ Johns 13:55
And Sarathy says hi, Russ and Kelsey, good evening. Morning. He's on the other side of the world.
Kelsey Bentz 14:00
Russ Johns 14:01
Adjustable and adaptable. And Kelsey, you know, one of the things that I think is really special about stream yard is the simplicity. You know, I started out in OBS, and you know, in using some other larger broadcasting tools that, you know, we could nerd out about however, the reality is that the simplicity, allows the creativity to take place in a lot of respects because, you know, how you use something with its limitations or its parameters gives us a lot of opportunity to you know, investigate what we can do with that, you know, it's like playing an instrument or, you know, I was a musician growing up, so it's like, okay, you're a singer. Yeah, I'm a musician. There's a certain capacity we have to master where we are with our skills. And so it's important to understand what those things are and push the boundaries, but live in where we are, and make the most of it. And stream yard is just a wonderful tool for doing that. So if you're not connected to Kelsey, go connect with her. Tell her you're a pirate and you want to connect.
Kelsey Bentz 15:19
Yeah, please. Yeah. I think you're so spot on. I just yeah, like, for me. Like I mentioned before, I'm not a tech person per se, like, I've never considered myself to be ultra techie, or really interested in figuring out, you know, more advanced programs or anything, really. And, and that's why I'm so drawn to stream yard because it's so easy to use. And, you know, it takes a little bit to figure everything out. But once you do, you can really focus in on what you're trying to create. And that's the point, you know, like, I think it's, it's so scary for a lot of people to even broach the the idea of moving their creativity online, because it's like, oh, I'm gonna have to figure out these software's, right, like, that's why I never, I never did any YouTube. Like, I literally didn't do anything before diving into stream yard, and now I'm all about it. But it's so it's so like, non overwhelming that, you know, I think it's it's such a great solution for so many artists.
Russ Johns 16:24
Well, and, you know, now I actually am kind of part of the team, I'm a remote broadcasts are from me, our team. So I found the website, you know, as a resource, I got my, I got my banner on my LinkedIn profile, and...
Kelsey Bentz 16:39
That website is so good, too.
Russ Johns 16:41
Oh, it's, it's really, it's really phenomenal what we can do and how we can help and who we can help. I had a conversation yesterday with somebody who's been in radio background a long time, and there were people don't realize how expansive, we have an opportunity to grow right now. And I'm thinking that, you know, if you're, if your skill set is interviewing people, there's a place for that. We could put together a show on stream yard, grab a few people that are interested in sharing their message and their voice and have a moderator as a narrator or a host and interview people and bring that to light. And, you know, just like you're doing with Avenue a, you know, you're bringing creatives together, and you're talking about the situation and what it is and where we can go with it. And I think that dialogue is so critical right now, and how we can pursue the next conversation.
So what do you see in the future in the next six months for stream yard? We didn't really mention the acquisition yet, but that's...
Kelsey Bentz 17:51
Right. So yeah, we recently got acquired by a super awesome virtual events platform called hopin, yeah, and we are in the midst of sort of, you know, transferring everything and doing the merge, which has been really exciting. And I, I'm, I have nothing but good things to say about it. I think it's, it'll be super awesome for the future of stream yard. Because the partnership just feels just like like that, like a partnership, you know, like we we really at stream yard are so insistent that we keep it consistent, right? Like, that's what we're all about is stability at the platform. So for the time being, it just seems like I think partnering with hopin is going to bring just a lot of great things for our, for our community. And, yeah, so that's, that's really awesome. In terms of the future of live streaming the next six months, you know, it's, I've actually been been pondering this recently. Because, you know, we're at this point in the pandemic, where it's been, okay, like, we thought maybe we would be back to normal by last summer or normal, right? Who knows what that is anymore? But we thought maybe, okay, you know, march through June, maybe we'll be back or we'll be back by the fall or whatever. And here we are, like, January, mid January, and we're not we're not sure you know, when, when there's no timeline for that. So, it's definitely hard for me to even like, make guesses or make plans or any of that, and it's sort of a strange place to be in. But I do think that I mean, I know I'm really excited about the virtual space like a lot of us have figured out how to connect virtually almost everyone dare I say knows how, at least, you know, get on a zoom call at the very at the very minimum, and a lot of people are doing a lot a lot more. So I I think I see hybrid events being the thing, you know, I'm obviously I'm really eager to get back into in person spaces just in terms of theater. But the beautiful thing that that live streaming, and just the virtual space can bring is more accessibility. Right? Like, that's been a huge topic in the theater community is just the lack of accessibility. Specifically with Broadway, right? Like, it's, it's very exclusive in the sense of, I mean, you can only watch the shows if you're: A, physically in New York, B, can afford a ticket that's sometimes upwards of like, $700-$800. Right? And, and that just narrows your audience, you know, it's not accessible for most people. So I think part of the beauty of Broadway was in the past was just how, maybe the acts that exclusivity was part of the draw for people, right? Like, it's like, oh, you know, it's so special to be able to go to a Broadway show, which I think is true, but I just don't, I don't really see the point of theater, if you can't reach the people who would be impacted by it, you know, think that live streaming could be a solution for that, you know, if you do if you do come back to normal, and then you can, you can incorporate this live streaming element that can reach people all over the world. I I'm really excited about that. And I think I hope that that's the way the way forward, I don't I don't see, you know, the the virtual space disappearing completely, because I think we have found something really exciting. And there's a lot of developments to come, I think I don't know what they are, but I'm, I'm pretty sure that you know, things are gonna, we've already come this far, you know, in terms of technology and all that.
Russ Johns 22:03
Well think of think of this Kelsey and from an artist's eye. If you have right now they're, they're moving from green screen background to micro LEDs that are creating this incredible VISTA and background where the lights and the shadows aren't being tinted by the green, or the blue backgrounds. And then you can have a stage set with multiple camera setups, where you're actually acting on a virtual stage. And then having have an audience that is taking out from the scenes from what sports is doing now, my nephew is doing, like 360 video camera work for the Tennessee Titans. And I mean, it's it's, you think about the acquisition of the stage, virtual backgrounds, actors, then, you know, 3d multiple 360 cameras or something along those lines, where you can see different angles and different people at different cuts at this at a certain time in the, in the acting playground. And and how that could morph into or be available for people in different time zones, cities, etc. And then how we could put that together with AI? In a full production.
Kelsey Bentz 23:33
Russ Johns 23:34
So the opportunities are endless. From my perspective, it's just a matter of how creative and how aggressive do you want to get with the technology versus the real person on the stage acting.
Kelsey Bentz 23:49
Right, right. Yeah, and I think the the one thing that's just so hard to duplicate or recreate, I guess, is my favorite part of being in the theater, unfortunately. But it's that connection that you feel, from having hundreds of people all in the same space all experiencing the same thing at the same time. And, yeah, that's the mystery to me. Like, how, because there is so many solutions to innovations that I think that are going to happen that are really amazing. But at the same time, you know, I'm just like, how do we recreate that level of connection? Because I mean, that visceral feeling of being on both sides, right, like in the audience and experiencing this piece of art with hundreds of other people who are experiencing the same thing in the same moment, right? Yeah. Yeah. And then on the flip side, being on the stage and both experiencing your scene partner or the show you're doing but also the reaction of the audience like that is so invigorating to me. And there's nothing like it. There's nothing like it.
Russ Johns 25:10
Yeah. Same with a musician, you know, performing music in front of 3000 people in a small venue that, you know, brings a lot of energy. Yeah. You know whether, yes, it can be 50 people, it doesn't matter how many what the number is, it's still that that energy that you cannot replace by being interacting, live, and having the audience or being in the audience and having that feeling like this is a shared experience for us. And that's, you know, going to the movie is, is somewhat similar. However, it's never the same when you're just watching it on a live streaming on YouTube or something like that. It's not the same experience. So and you're spot on, you know, I don't know that we, I don't know that we'll ever get to the point where immersion in the audience will be duplicated on the screen.
Kelsey Bentz 26:11
Yeah, I'm not sure. But, you know, if we can, if we can get to a point where we can do hybrid events, you know, there is some hope for some, at least sometimes being able to be in person, which, you know, that's enough for me. Just the possibility. Right now, I'm like, that sounds amazing.
Russ Johns 26:32
Well, I think it's so important that we live in the now we live right now and do what we can. Tracie says, I just want to bring this up. Tracie says it was a breeze after using OBS and Hangouts for a couple of years. It's so much more user friendly. StreamYard, talking about stream yard.
Kelsey Bentz 26:49
Thank you for saying that, Tracie. I totally I concur.
Russ Johns 26:52
Yeah. Mike Baker says #inspiration and imagination. Absolutely. Thank you for thank you for bringing up accessibility, too. It's really important. And yes, engagement with the audience. It's, it's just really, you know, being an actor, and a musician or any kind of creative, it's really, you just can't replace that feeling. No, you just can't replace that feeling. However, we can create new feelings with different platforms like stream yard, and I really encourage everyone that's out there. Think about how you have been sharing your message, think about how you can create content that is meaningful, because we're, we're developing legacy right now. It's, it's a digital legacy of what we're doing what we're creating, and what we're, what we imagine and what we're living through right now. today. Yeah. And so it's so important, Kelsey, to, to articulate this, and I think continued to pursue Avenue A and other adventures like that, and highlight, you know, streamers on Thursdays and, and anything we can do to support the pirate community. And, you know, in virtual events, you know, I'm working with some virtual events, and some camera setups and some amazing, amazing things. And it's really, you know, we're living in a very unique time in history, where technology and availability and the internet is creating a lot of new dimensions for us.
Kelsey Bentz 28:32
Yeah, yeah, dimensions is a good word. Totally. I think a lot of people are pushing the limits of their own understanding of technology just out of sheer necessity. Which is really cool.
Russ Johns 28:47
Yeah, very cool. I want to make sure that people understand what's a good way to actually make a connection with Kelsey and you on your shows and what's what's taking place is there, there's a place that you like to hang out and connect, or is it Facebook, YouTube?
Kelsey Bentz 29:09
Yeah. YouTube is great because that's where I stream all my Avenue A shows and I also post you know, personal artistic content on there some songs and you know, whenever I'm feeling inspired, I'll throw a throw a video on there. So my YouTube is just my my first and last name, Kelsey fence. And then on Facebook, I'm also Kelsey Bentz, and then Instagram is where I spend most of my most of my energy and I have my personal Instagram, which is @Kelsbentz. And then if you want to follow Avenue A it's Avenue a live so I would love to I would love to connect with with you all.
Russ Johns 29:48
I love it. That's what it's all about is connection. And right now it's no, it's more important than everything else. So any last minute legacy tips that you can leave with us Kelsey from the inside of stream yard. Little nuggets of knowledge that you've learned in last year that you can actually articulate to keep people motivated this, this fine day.
Kelsey Bentz 30:10
I think what I've learned, my my motto that I developed for 2020, which is now in the past, obviously, but I think that it still stands true is that, you know, we've been thrown a lot of stuff in the last year. And here, we're still here, right? And so the motto I developed was, anything goes in 2020. You know, like, whenever an idea would come up, or I'm think of something or an opportunity would present itself, that in the past, I would have been like, Oh, you know, I'm not interested for this reason, or, you know, I can't fit it in my schedule for this reason, or, you know, I was just hesitant to it. Last year, I was just like, you know, what, like, everything's changed and anything goes. And so I just, I ran with some ideas and some, you know, content that I probably never would have pursued in the past. Simply because it just felt like in this time of shift, it comes with a lot of pain, right, and a lot of discomfort, but also sort of ride that wave in a in a way that can benefit you and your community. I think. So I'm trying to I'm trying to continue with that mindset and bring that into 2021 as well. Because I mean, it's not Yes, it's a new year, but we're in the same moment, you know, yeah. And especially with some current events that have been happening, it's, it's like, yeah, we're still we're still in this moment. So, yeah, I think like, just keeping your mind open to the possibility of ideas that you might not have considered before. And just trying to pursue them. You know, like, I think with Avenue A, it scared the shit out of me. When I first started it, and I had some people in my life who, who were like, you just have to, you just have to start like, you just have to start start. I'm one of those people who wants to, like, make everything perfect. And if I hadn't had those, those people who are like, just get it out there, I probably would have taken a lot longer to debut the first episode. And once I once I got it rolling, you know, everything fell into place, and I felt so much more comfortable. So that's, that's what to leave.
Russ Johns 32:31
Mike Baker says, yes, do it before talking yourself out of it.
Kelsey Bentz 32:34
Yes, that's the thing.
Russ Johns 32:36
That's the thing, to overcome desperation through #inspiration. So, yeah, Kelsey, it's always a pleasure to hang out with you and talk about things that are going on around us. And, you know, just kind of observe what we can do and how we can feel and what where we go with it. Because it's really important that we, that we share these experiences and learn from each other. Reach out, engage, make sure that you're connected with Kelsey in the pirate community. start a conversation. It's very simple. And as always, you know, #kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree. Thank you so much for being here, Kelsey, we'll be in touch in future episodes when we can have new things to talk about.
Kelsey Bentz 33:23
Yay. Thank you so much, Russ. It was seriously an honor and a pleasure. And I look forward to connecting with you further and and connecting with the Pirate community. Thank you for all those comments. Everyone. The so lovely, and it's great to know that y'all are out there hanging out with us. Yeah. So yeah, thank you.
Russ Johns 33:42
Well, and you can check out Kelsey later on today. For is at 4pm. Eastern Standard Time?
Kelsey Bentz 33:49
It's at 8pm. Eastern, and just it's on YouTube, just search stream yard in the show will pop right up.
Russ Johns 33:57
Yeah, I think I have an episode over there too.
Kelsey Bentz 34:00
Yes. rewatch this episode, because that was a good episode.
Russ Johns 34:06
All right, everyone. As always, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. So you go and #enjoyyourday. Thanks, everyone.
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