Monday, November 14, 2016

How Youtube Will Help Me Become a Better Filmmaker.

I certainly don't have all the answers, hell, like many, I stumble through most projects with a "learn as I go attitude". Its been about 6 months that I've been toying around on youtube. Ive made vlogs, fake commercials, some odd horror quick shorts plus plenty of comedy. If anything, I've become more focused on sound design, using music properly, learning the basics of editing and becoming smarter when writing.

Every advancement I've made was because I did not want to wait around for someone else. I have never been someone who "needs" someone, or like to feel like I do. Your at their mercy, if you do. Often they are less motivated and/or busy. I've had great collaborations and not so great. You have to look at the learning experience. "No one will care about your project more than you", I was taught this years ago and its the truth. This isn't a slight on anyone, just hoping that someone reads this who is waiting for someone else, and decides, enough is enough and I'm gonna learn on my own.

It's been a long few years for me and this "filmmaking" adventure. I've had some success and some failures. It's a tough pill to swallow when you're convinced you are doing something great and it gets 0 response. I don't have an ego about filmmaking, but when you create an idea, it can bruise your "creative ego" when its never blossoms and dies a tragic death.

Let's look at Youtube. Now my growth has been slow and steady, since I have started. The best part about Youtube is I can always be creative. I have started the Acting with Andy web series, plus I did a ton of Dimension Chat's and most recently I started the Count Clowny series. The last two weeks have shed a serious light on my aspirations. I've learned more about myself and what I want from this process. Let's take a quick look at what I have learned about "the audience" and how this can help:

I've learned this one very important fact - Creating content for youtube or online is very different than creating a film. Why? The audience is not vested and will turn off instantly as soon as they are bored. When you purchase a film, the tendency to give the movie time to develop and breath is much longer than in a "click through" environment like Youtube.

The benefit of studying the "numbers" like audience retention, demographics and instant/honest feedback will tell how well you're doing. I can see what platforms people are watching on (tablet, gaming console, desktop and phone), where they are located, male or females and when they click off the content. In "Youtube Land" you're doing a great job if you're holding 50% audience retention. To me, THIS the the most important factor when I look at the past week's video performance.

What does this mean when making something other than typical youtube fodder? People want you to get to the point quickly and keep that point. It's harder to slowly tell a story unless the viewers are really fans of your content, even then, sometimes you can lose some. Luckily, I have a solid group that believe and love what I'm doing. I'm so thankful for those who tune in weekly.

I believe, Youtube has helped me and continues to help me develop my skills. I've learned more about cinematography because I need to make do with very little. I've learned lighting and camera tricks. I've learned how to write stronger (at least I think) and I've learned to be a better editor. Granted, I'm still very early in this and learning all the time. I watch tons of tutorials and I'm never afraid to research or ask others.

Count Clowny has taken a more prominent role for me. The second episode will begun to roll out a stronger tone in there direction that the story is heading. Each episode has a budget, usually less than $300, although some will soon become higher. Kim and I are funding this because its a story we want to tell. I'm hoping that with each episode, my abilities will continue to grow and you are along for the ride.

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