Holy Earth, Wind and Fire… it’s already September? I can’t believe I haven’t posted since July. How’s everything with you?
On August 17, YouTube Red launched FIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: EXPERIMENT 88, an original series I served on as Supervising Producer earlier in the year.
Just last week, I started work on a new show for reality powerhouse ITV / Leftfield that I’ll discuss just as soon as it gels into a thing and they announce it.
Beyond that, I’ve also been making strides on biographical feature film you’ll hear more about as it moves forward. I absolutely love the subject of the film, and she’s been incredibly cooperative in helping me to tell the most realistic version of her story possible.
Finally, thanks to the folks at MWP and the University Film and Video Association for such a great time last month in Las Vegas. I’m grateful that so many educators are getting behind the book and that the new material in the second edition has proven helpful.
New posts in the works. See you again soon!
2 thoughts on “September? Already?”
You asked: How’s everything with you?
First, I haven’t been checking your blog lately as I’ve been very busy. Sorry. This reply is more than a month since you posted the above. As for what I’ve been busy with…
I finally launched my YouTube channel. Or rather “a” YouTube channel. Over the last few years (as you know, Troy), I had been working on trying to launch a YouTube game show BUT it was just too complex and expensive to launch by myself. Then at the beginning of summer, an investor came along and offered to fund it modestly BUT for him to do that, I had to launch another YouTube channel first. Something simple and quick to launch. I could drop it once we started up the game show. Basically, he wanted me to cut my teeth on another show before the game show. Understandable and I agreed to those terms.
I then narrowed down my quick-and-cheap show ideas to either a gaming show where I played online Texas Hold’em poker tournaments OR a political vlog. For better or worse, I picked something meaningful over fluff and thus choose the political vlog. It is a libertarian react-to-news political vlog.
Then over the summer, I started working on it. As I’m a member of a closed Facebook group of screenwriters, producers, camera operators, directors, etc., I turned to them for help. They gave it in abundance. I started filming videos, posting them to the group, getting feedback, changing how I did the videos, and I then simply lather, rinse, repeat. I did this until I felt I found pretty much the style I wanted to do. That style is walking-and-talking on nature trails using a selfie stick and a camera with digital image stabilization. Episodes filmed in tight clips with me walking as fast as I can without sounding winded and talking as intense as I can. A different camera angle for each clip. I stringed together 63 clips for one video alone.
On September 19, I launched with eight videos (all the ones I worked on over the summer as I just didn’t see any point of just throwing them away) and have been putting out at least one video a day since. For the last three days, two videos and, today, even three.
And as I’m sure will be no surprise to you, the show has continued evolved since that launch.
Post production was taking WAY too long. Why? Well, to further image stabilize the videos, I used the YouTube Editor and even had it also do color and light correction. I also used it to add an end capper since my editing software couldn’t add it due to it being in a different format. I had paid a graphic artist to create a logo break for the end capper but didn’t ask for it in the same format that my video editor used. Thus I had to use the YouTube editor to add it. Well, each of those YouTube Editor tasks took at least an HOUR to do. Oh, and trimming and compiling all of the little video clips into one video took at least another hour. Traveling to a good location for nature trails added still another hour. Filming the numerous clips took at least another hour. Uploading took at least an hour as well. All these hours for a mere five to six minute video. UGH!
That’s when I started to streamline the process. First, I increased my upload Internet speed ten fold. Now the videos take as long to upload to YouTube as they play for viewers. An 18-minute video takes only 18-minutes to upload and not 3 hours.
Second thing to go was the end capper. Looking at my analytics, I was losing viewers as soon as the logo break appeared. Understandable. It indicated that the video was over. Now I simply say it at the end of each video … or in another clip shot right then if I forget to do it in the main clip.
Third to go was using YouTube editor for additional image stabilization and color/light correction. When I did a video without doing these polishes, all my friends said that it was just fine and some couldn’t even tell the difference from the other videos did use them.
Fourth to go was doing it in numerous clips. Now I just do it in pretty much one take. I only break when walkers (but not bikers) pass me by. Gone also is the goal of perfection. I flub a line, I flub a line. I misspeak a word, it stays in. To my surprise, friends liked this more than the numerous cuts. I think they liked it partly because I slowed down, relaxed, and just talked like I normally do to them. I try to be loud enough to be heard but not as intense. My walking also slowed so I don’t ever sound like I’m out of breath. More conversational.
Fifth to go was driving all the way across town to film in the Mines of Spain State Park. Instead, I simply drive to the bottom of the valley ridge where I live and film on a bike trail that runs along it. I simply walk down that trail a good distance to get away from traffic noise and start filming.
The results of all of the above is the saving of HOURS each day. Now my entire process takes about an hour instead of four to six or more. It twice took longer than NINE hours! I am even starting to film two episodes at a time since I film one walking down the path until it is at least ten minutes long (the path bends about then so that’s how I know) and have decided that I might as well film another video coming back. I’m walking back anyway. Might as well film as I walk back.
I am also making longer videos. The reason is quite simple: money. If your video is at least ten minutes long, YouTube will let you add more ads. You can insert them into the video and put another one on the end of the video. Presently, I am only putting one on the end of the video. Not sure I will ever insert one into a video. Maybe. But I doubt it … at least for now.
As for the success of the channel, well, it is about what you’d expect for a new channel. Currently I have 24 subscribers. About half of those are family and friends and the other half are those I’ve picked up while releasing episodes. As my videos are react-to-news ones, I’m getting the new subscribers from them searching for the news item in the YouTube search engine. I also have reached out to other libertarian YouTube channels for shout-outs and collaborations … but no takers yet. Pretty much silence from them except for one YouTuber who was nice enough to comment on one of my videos … but I don’t think he even subscribed then. However, I’m new and thus an unknown. Once I’ve been around for maybe three months or more, they might be more receptive to helping me out. That and hopefully I will have more subscribers by then.
And then when the YouTube demonetization scandal hit, it hit me really hard emotionally. Before I even launched and merely had videos parked on my channel unlisted, some were already demonetized. Since launch, other videos have also been demonetized. About 20% of my videos have been demonetized at times. Some demonetized then remonetized. One was even demonetized then remonetized then demonetized and then remonetized! What sucks even more is that the ones demonetized have been some of my most popular videos. What also sucks is all are black dollar sign demonetization, which means they’re not appealable.
Another blow to my stomach was YouTube rolling out “YouTube Snitches” … sorry, I mean … “YouTube Heroes” who are basically unpaid moderators who enforce YouTube’s super-vague “advertiser-friendly” guidelines and if you violate them, they demonetize your videos. See paragraph above.
As for the investor, well, the offer to fund the game show was been withdrawn. His finances took a turn for the worse so he just isn’t in a good position to do so right now. And, to be honest, I would really rather do this political show than a game show. I like to feel I am making something that means something and not mere fluff. But, needless to say, the retraction of the funding offer hit me a “little” hard.
Fortunately, I have a lady friend who is my cheerleader. She gets me out of my dark corner when I’m depressed and back into the light. She keeps me pumping out videos. I am very lucky to have her.
Now if you would like to check out my channel (and HOPEFULLY subscribe!), its URL is https://www.youtube.com/c/JackDecker63 OR you can find it by using the YouTube search engine and putting in “Jack Decker libertarian”. I am the top result.
So that’s how everything is going with me, Troy. 🙂
Holy cow. You HAVE been busy. Fascinated by the workings (for better or worse) of YouTube.