Yes! I’ve been meaning to touch on this subject for some time. Now that I have gotten my first experience, I hope to help anyone understand the life of a “YouTuber” and if they really want to be a part of it.
As you guys have read before, I was miserable at my last job. I am a free spirit, so sitting down behind a computer crunching numbers and flipping papers made me want to scrape away at the flesh of my eyeballs.
I started blogging in July 2016, I had no clue what I was doing. All I had was a domain and ideas. I had never taken pictures with a real camera before and I sure as heck have never let anyone read any of my writing except for my professors. Putting myself out there was humbling. I was completely vulnerable. My first few post were a HUGE SUCCESS. Way more than I expected. I was expecting to be clowned for my grammatical errors and “fugly” pictures. After a few weeks that fear was gone.
Now the pressure was “how can I keep my audience engaged?” I want to be as relate-able as possible, however, there were topics and ideas that were so big, if it was not delivered the right way, it could be misconstrued. I also learned that PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE TO READ. If you do not grab your reader within the first two seconds, ‘Congratulations, you just played yourself.”
This is when I decided to create a new method of delivering my message. I chose a whole new medium, YOUTUBE. At this point, I was cocky. I said to myself, this is easy! All I have to do is sit down in front of a camera and just talk. Boy did I eat my words! There was so much to do and so much to learn and I knew nothing! I knew nothing about lighting, cameras, scripting, everything! So let’s talk.
#LESSON NUMBER ONE: JUMP IN
“Get started and your niche will come later.” I thought that was a bunch of poppycock until I started. I never thought in a million years I would do goofy makeup challenges on my channel. I let the lack of resources be a reason why I couldn’t start my channel. My first video had to be perfect! I needed a huge production. I needed all the glitz because my video was going to be better than any YouTuber out there. I originally asked a friend to film my first ten and once I felt comfortable and got all of my equipment then I would be set. Of course there was a charge but I was willing to invest. Due to time conflicts, we never got started.
After enough attempts, I decided to just…try. It was the scariest thing I had ever done. I started a project that I had no knowledge on, no experience and no instruction. I didn’t have the right computer, or camera, or background, or lights, or a tripod. So how? I filmed numerous videos but they weren’t good enough! Then I decided since tutorials are trending, why not just do a tutorial. But I needed help.
#LESSON NUMBER TWO: ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES
I recruited resources because I was not confident in my ability. So I called up my girls and they were helpful. We literally took 6 hours to film a 7 minute video. When I got there, the camera that I chose to shoot with filmed with an orange tint. After getting my makeup done for an hour, now my entire face was orange. We couldn’t figure it out, so we just used my phone. Lucky, we had a ring light that gave better lighting! Unlucky for me, ALL OF THE FOOTAGE WAS FILMED VERTICALLY! Which of course lessened the quality of the video. If I could do it over again, I would have focused more on angles and checked the quality of my footage. ALWAYS SHOOT HORIZONTALLY! This caused issues for editing.
#LESSON NUMBER THREE: DO YOUR RESEARCH
Now that I have gotten all of my footage together at 3 in the morning, it was time to edit! I promised myself whenever I shoot a new video, I must learn something new. From my first video I learned to hold the camera the right way. I imported all of my footage and realized that there were black vertical bars on the side of my video! I ignored it and figured that I could fix that later. I used windows video maker (WVM) which was not the best, but it was all I had. I tried to make a fancy intro and find the right music.
Only one problem, everything looked foreign. I had to look at a million different tutorials to figure out problems that I encountered. These videos were hella boring and when I read the comments, basically people frowned upon this software. At this point, I was 75% discouraged but I had already put myself out there and let my audience know to expect something. I always put my foot in my mouth.
I needed to do voice overs but I had no microphone. I used the Android headphones which impressed me with the quality. I googled so much you would think I was writing a thesis paper. Then to add subtitles. The hardest parts were creatively cutting four hour footage down to 6 minutes and finding music. This literally took me 8 days to complete.
#LESSON NUMBER FOUR LACK OF RESOURCES= CREATIVITY
Now that I had finished my video, I still had the issue of the black bars. Here I am looking the best I had ever looked in my life on camera and there are these ugly black bars on the side of my video. I did not have the right editing software to remove them and I was completely distraught. The advice I got from everyone was to shoot it over. In my mind, I refused to do so. I wasted my time and my friends time. There was DAMN WELL GOING TO BE A VIDEO!!!
Just when I felt like giving up, my friend, sent me a message that brought back my positive spirit. He loved what I was doing with the blog and to keep it up. Then I realized, holy crap, his whole life is editing. I express my problem and the brainstorming took me to a new level. I came up with the idea to make an overlay with a cellphone to make it look as though the audience was viewing my video on a cellphone. This will cover the bars and fill out the screen. It was distracting but it worked for me. I was proud of myself. I wasn’t able to do it myself but he got it done for me. I was proud of my raggedy video.
# LESSON NUMBER FIVE: INVEST IN YOURSELF & SUPPORT OTHERS
Invest doesn’t always mean money. Invest my time, invest my faith, promote myself. I cannot rely on others to do this for me especially if I am not taking myself seriously. Dedicate myself to post often. Create unique content that I truly care about. Maybe the people I am closest too would not appreciate it, but strangers with my similar interests will. I learned from other people’s mistakes as well as my own.
I support others and built a community around my brand. I can promote your brand, but I do not beg or make my friends feel guilty for not being interested. That is like me having and interest in snail spit, and wanting all of my friends to support my snail spit business. Sorry to use snail spit as example, but I think about all the people that I love that tag me in craziness that isn’t relevant to me.
I do not expect someone else to invest in MY work, that I will profit from if there is no benefit for them. I have come to realize that this whole process is a BITCH and it won’t take one day. I kept that promise to myself to always learn one thing from each video. As I re-watch my videos, I see where I began and how I grew. I built lasting friendships with those I never thought I would meet or see again. That is where I will get my support from, strangers with like interests and that is okay. I will get subscribers eventually. Which brings me to my last point.
LESSON NUMBER SIX: FOCUS ON YOUR AUDIENCE, NOT YOUR SUBSCRIBERS
Hold on. This will make sense in a little bit. I have 9,000 friends on Facebook, and only 100 subscribers on YouTube. The average person would describe that as fake love, but that is totally wrong. First off, I needed to ask myself why am I doing this. The love of the craft? I love learning about filmography. I love learning about editing. I love creating content. I have found my niche and it took me about 9 months to do it. My subscriber count crawled up slowly. When I first started, my views on channel was PAH-PIN but no subscribers. HELL MY MOMMA STILL AIN’T SUBSCRIBED lol. It’s okay though. She still watches every single video and blog, and shares with her co-workers. As time goes by, the interest starts to fade. It isn’t because it is fake love, but the people who were supporting me was just supporting because they felt it was their duty to show that support. Not because they were genuinely interested.
The people who are genuinely interested will stick around. Those are the people you need to focus on. They are the one that will talk about you to their friends and get them to subscribe. if you spend most of your time chasing others who aren’t interested, then you are turning away both audiences. I have built relationships with the ones who are dedicated to my channel and the rest will follow. (I feel as though I should apply this to everything.) OF COURSE I STILL PROMOTE MY CHANNEL OFTEN. Let people know that I exist, but my loyalty lies within my actual followers and viewers.
I now cringe looking back at the mistakes I have made. Below that I have also created a list of the bare essentials you would need to start your own YouTube channel.
- Camera/ Smartphone
- Good Lighting: Day Light or Artificial light
- Clean Background
- YouTube Channel: You can always change the name later
- Editing Software: I use Filmora for now but WVM is just as good.
- Microphone: Any kind would do. I used regular headphones with a mic and those work the best for me
All in all life as a YouTube is hard! You have to invest or your channel won’t grow and you will not reach ultimate success. If you in it for the money, you better look elsewhere. This is not the job for you. You will realize you are doing more work than you actually get paid. please be mindful at any moment, you may have a pop of success and lose it all. Do it for the love of YouTube or you will never be happy.
So for those of you who have read this and realized that this is for you by all means, take that step and jump right in! Link your YouTube channel in the comments, I would subscribe! Here are a few YouTubers from the Caribbean that I support!
- Dabartist: https://www.youtube.com/user/DaBartist
- KweenzWorld: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTTjHa1-ajCKnHgbUmqBPlg
- Fyne Chynna: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyXX3MewKnN3R_vBse0Brnw
- EazzyBrissy: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKtCb2nnnZa2X-BblmO8f7w
- VIOutlaw26: https://www.youtube.com/user/VIOUTLAW26
- Drastic TV: https://www.youtube.com/user/DrazzyTv
Don’t forget to subscribe to me as well! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2KAxc3pFNict8jC7pkUeXQ