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What It's Like To Be A Small YouTuber

The uphill climb

Where do I even start about YouTube? Well, as this is my first post, I suppose I should start with myself, first. My name is Sophie Alice, I'm a 20-year-old living in England, studying two college courses, those being a Diploma in Counselling Skills Level 3, and a Diploma in Assisted Teaching in Schools Level 2. I was studying Functional Skills Maths Level 2, but then I learnt my name wasn't on the exam register and that course kinda crashed and burned.

There are a few things in this world that bring me passion. I love writing, reading, all things dark and Gothic as well as, of course, YouTube. I started YouTube two years ago. It was my anniversary not so long ago :) . I've gained 500 subscribers in that time, and believe me when I say, it has been the opposite of easy.

If any YouTuber tells you that they don't know how they got X amount of subscribers, they're lying, because they know. It takes sweat, blood and tears to earn every single subscriber. I've clawed my way up. No fancy collabs, no shout outs, no help by some big YouTuber, just little old me. I created my channel at 0 subscribers and I worked every day to get it to 500.

How? Hours upon hours of hard work! Let me talk you through the process; I make two videos a week, one released on Monday, the other on Thursday, both at 2:30pm (London time) this means that two videos per week need to be filmed, edited, and uploaded.

Doesn't sound too hard, does it? It is when you are at college five days a week, one of those days being Saturday. I have Sunday and Monday to work with. Making two videos within two days is far from easy, not that I'm complaining. I'm just being honest. That's what all this post is about. Let me talk you through a standard 'filming' day.

I sleep late on my two days off, who doesn't? I'm usually out of bed around 10-12. After breakfast and my normal morning wash-up, I dress and begin the process of turning my bedroom into a studio. I made an entire video of it that you can watch. However, the short of it is that I do everything myself. I set up the light, the camera, the 'sound cushion' and blanket to reduce echo. I focus the camera and film alone. It can be a bit tricky to focus the camera right where I have to focus it facing an empty bed where I sit to film, as I can't be the focusing model and the camera-girl at the same time! ^_^

As I said, you can watch the video below for details on how I do everything :)

The set-up takes about ten minutes, the actual filming of the video usually takes about half an hour, sometimes longer. I'm a comedian, and I make my videos totally unscripted. I simply pick a topic, such as "why I hate to travel", press record on my camera and start filming. It all comes from the top of my head, what comes out my mouth, goes on YouTube. No pre-planning. I almost never film the video just one time, I usually film it again and again until I think its perfect. After the first time, I usually say roughly the same things I said in the first filming, but other then that, it's all improv :) 

What really takes up all the time though is what comes after the actual filming. 'Post-production' as its called. I plug my camera's memory card into a special port device and then that into my laptop. I do the main editing in the free and easy to use Windows Live Movie Maker (#NotSponsored). That can take anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour. Then I move the edited video into my fancy-pants paid-for editing software, CyberLink PowerDirector 13, where I enhance the quality, add music, and create the end screen. This can take a couple of hours or a couple of minutes. Then, I find some royalty free music and make it (hopefully) the perfect blend with my YouTube video audio. I don't always get it right, but I'm getting better - I hope :D

Then I click 'render' and the wait begins. While I'm waiting, I take my thumbnail selfie. I roll out my green screen, which is actually just a torn and grubby long piece of green cloth and hang it off the back of my bedroom door. I pose in front of it and take a selfie with my iPhone. Then I post the picture to Facebook, and go back to my laptop, where my video is still rendering and will be for some time.

I save the photo from Facebook onto my laptop, then load it up into GIMP, a free version of Photoshop. I edit out the green screen and make the background around me PNG. Sounds simple, but this can take up to twenty minutes all by itself. The rending is still not finished.

The rending slows down my laptop. I open up PicMonkey (a photo editing site) and try to make my thumbnail, but it runs so slow I usually just forget about. I watch YouTube on my phone, leaving my laptop to it.

Rending can take up to three hours, depending on how long the video is and how many extra bits (such as pictures, clips or effects) I've added. Usually it gets done in about just under two hours. If it's a really short video, usually an hour. It's pretty unpredictable. 

Then it finishes, and it's off to YouTube! I take the finished video from my files and begin uploading it to YouTube. While it uploads, I'm on PicMonkey in another tab, uploading my pre-made thumbnail background and adding the photo of me to it. Then it's time for text and maybe a bright little picture. Gotta make it clickable! 

I've probably been at my laptop a good two and half hours at the least by this point. The whole process has taken about four hours, and its not over yet!

Thumbnail done, looking beautiful (at least I think so :D) I add it to the upload. Then it's title, description and tags time. Then, when it's finally finished uploading, which is usually quite quick, the longest I've waited is about twenty minutes. It's usually 10-17 minutes.

Then it's adding those little "info" cards that link to other videos, and adding clickable links on my end screen.

Then I schedule my video for Monday or Thursday, depending on what day I'm filming. I film Monday's video on Sunday and Thursday's video on Monday. Which I kinda find ironic.

It's done! :D It's locked and loaded. Total time: Usually about 4 and half to five hours.

Phew, I think we've earned a stiff cup of tea! ^_^


Then a new battle begins.

Monday or Thursday rolls around. Time to promote.

I create a little teasing description for my video, along with it's link, such as "the hysterically honest comedy look at why driving annoys me! Laugh your pants off [enter link here]" and then post that sucker in Facebook groups, Twitter re-tweet groups and on Instagram until my fingers feel like bleeding.

Result: 10-20 views. 1-2 comments. 1-5 likes.

No time to stop, I have college work to keep up on! YouTube isn't going to be paying my future bills any time soon! :D Okay. Two essay's to write. Somebody pour me another cup of tea!Tea is like my heroin man, it just distresses me :D I start every video with "care for a drop of tea?" to play on my British-ness as well as my genuine obsession with the drink.

I take it three sugars, plenty of milk if you're planning on making me one :D 

Overall, YouTube, especially for we teeny-tiny YouTubers who nobody notices, is HARD damn work. I know I spend almost every waking moment asking myself, "how can I be a better YouTuber? How can I grow my channel? How can I make more people happy?"

At the end of the day, that's what I want to do :) Becoming a YouTube megastar, to have YouTube pay all my bills, to have millions of subscribers - that'd be nice and all, but all I truly want?

Is to make someone who's sad happy today :) Perfect strangers and best friends alike have told me that my videos, my energy, my comedy really makes them smile, and that it makes their days.

If that's true? Then I'm already the richest YouTube on this planet :) I really mean that.

How I make YouTube videos

I hope you enjoyed reading all about my little YouTube channel. You are welcome to check it out and give me honest feedback. I welcome constructive criticism, it helps me grow and become a better creator :)

And until next time,

Let your creativity, and your uniqueness, flow, flow floooow! :D

(That's my YouTube sign-off ^_^)

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