Have you ever wanted to create a YouTube channel but don’t know where to start. Here is my guide to getting it all together and some reflections on what has been a rewarding and enjoyable challenge.
Embrace Your Weirdness
The road to authenticity is not always easy, but with a little effort, living a mindful intentional life, honouring your emotions, and embracing your own essential weirdness, it is achievable. A day in the life of an entrepreneur dad in 2 minutes.
Content, Messages, Meanings
While I was conveying the information that I’m a work at home, entrepreneurial dad, I wanted to present this persona in a way which connected with the YouTube aesthetic, and the social nature of the platform. I wanted to show a contrast between the part of my self which tries too hard to become YouTube famous and the relaxed authentic self. The notion of the performed-self contends we wear different masks depending on the situation but the bigger picture my brand explores is the quest to find an authentic purpose, beyond this external business. My message is it is better to live authentically in touch and sensitive to one’s individual and unique emotions, serendipity, life purpose, and embrace your own weirdness in presenting your YouTube persona and I try to lead by example.
I made a point of explicitly addressing the idea of authenticity as this is an idea I have been exploring a is some depth in my Vanlife Culture Series. My main goal was to achieve emotional and intellectual resonance with my audience by using some established YouTube conventions that have been shown to work.
Initially, I made a script about what I wanted to say about authenticity and chose the attractive, natural beach setting to deliver my ideas including some self-reflexive moments.
To begin with, I planned and scripted my monologue, storyboarded my scenes, and scouted backgrounds and lighting which would deliver my message, in an aesthetically pleasing way, but quickly realised I needed to rescript after viewing the first rushes and making it sound more natural. I also gave myself some room to get creative and follow my intuition and allow for right brain interventions into the process.
I used the rule of thirds where appropriate and experimented with different angles and lighting which would work with my message.
Equipment wise I have a camcorder with only a built-in mic so it was important to get in close with an open lens. I shot my beach scenes in the morning when I would have less wind and side lighting.
I do use some special chroma key effects which I learned for this project and I love how almost anyone has access to this technology. I was also mindful of the backgrounds and what they show. The beach represents my desire to seek natural, authentic lifestyle uncluttered by business. The other background of the child’s toys shows my playful, creative side.
The key to the engagement strategy was to socially connect by using some of the aesthetic conventions of YouTube. The first half of the video is full of my bloopers which are presented as the result of trying too hard. This was contrasted with the second half where I really open-up and honestly, look into the lens and “authentically” connect.
What I really learned is the importance of both preplanning and staying open to your intuitive creative self and the serendipitous opportunities that can present during filming. When I first started creating the rushes of the to-camera monologues talking about authenticity I realised they were not as engaging as I had liked. I created two different versions of the project and presented these to a trial audience in split testing. The video with the bloopers that had emerged during filming was the more engaging and its visual, lively aesthetic resonated better than the original crafted script. A process of creating and reflecting seems imperative.
Stepping out of my comfort zone was rewarding, and I now have a clear direction to take with my YouTube channel. Coming across as authentic is something I have really struggled with on YouTube previously, but now it has become a key topic of mine. Is this serendipity?
See more from my Vanlife Youtubers Podcast
For the science behind digital participation, mindfulness and authenticity check out Rheingold, H. 2012, Net smart: how to thrive online. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.