By Michele Brittany, a West Coast Bleeding Cool Correspondent
If you are a creator of any kind of content, whether it be comics, film, television, instructional or otherwise, you just cannot ignore or shy away from utilizing the internet to spread the word about your project. It can be intimidating and it can be daunting navigating all of the available social media outlets available on that global highway. However, there were a number of panels at Comikaze held last weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center to help people get started and learn some tips for success.
As one of the biggest video-sharing websites, YouTube is one way in which to share video content by establishing a web channel presence. AJ Pinkerton, writer/director of Random Encounters, moderated the Friday afternoon panel YouTubing Like a Boss! that included The Completionist host Jirard Khalil, Black Nerd Comedy creator and host Andre Meadows, and Random Encounters co-founder Peter Srinivasan.
Pinkerton started the hour off asking each panelist how they found their niche market with YouTube. Khalil produced a few shows but they were not successful at capturing an audience. One of his friends mentioned how popular gaming was and Khalil gave that topic a shot, which led to The Completionist. Meadows auditioned for Beauty and the Geek and he had to have a video. He didn’t get the part, but he put the video up on YouTube, following it up with a skit on the Wii. His skit format evolved into rants that became popular. Srinivasan and Pinkerton were working on Sega videos and decided to a musical video. It was a hit and they found their niche.
“What was the first mistake or lesson learned,” Pinkerton asked. Khalil said it was thinking that his follow up video would be big, which in his case, was not: he got only about 1,000 hits. Srinivasin added along with the first hit can come the “thinking your big” attitude after going viral. Meadows said he learned about “internet” time when he waited too long between videos. Khalil concurred. Viewers expect content to be consistent, so Khalil advised that when starting a channel, plan to do a video a week, scheduling its release for the same day/time. He cautioned to “be realistic” though.
What tips could the panelists pass along to wannabe YouTubers? Srinivasan to be flexible especially when first starting up. He suggested changing one variable each week in order to determine what’s working and what needs to be changed. Meadows said to find your “voice” and be consistent and true to it. And Khalil said it is important to understand that YouTube is a search engine, so he encouraged optimizing has tags.
All the panelists agreed that in their experience, YouTube advertisement will not make you rich. Even 10,000 hits, depending on the advertisers, will garner a very small return. According to Srinivasan, money is made from sponsorships. In addition, Meadows stated that having a library of videos builds consistency of content for a viewer to keep returning. And Khalil said how important it is to understand contracts – you have to read the fine print! – because you are building a business. Get a lawyer and if you cannot afford, Srinivasan advised at least read the contract and not just sign on the dotted line.
In the remaining minutes of the panel, there was time for Q&A, which led the panelists to provide more tips and advice. Srinivasan said to grasp the concept of logarithms as they relate to YouTube statistics, and of course, “know your technology.” All the panelists agreed on the importance of investing a little bit of money into a HD camera and a microphone (in the $100 – $200 range) to start. Meadows said to develop a thick skin because of the section found under videos: the comments section. He said that there will be people who will make comments in order to get some attention. He said “the bigger you get, the worse it gets.”
All panel photographs courtesy of Michele Brittany.
Michele Brittany is an independent popular culture scholar and semi-professional photographer and editor of James Bond and Popular Culture: Essays on the Influence of the Fictional Superspy (McFarland & Company). She regularly posts reviews and analysis on the spy/espionage genre on her blog, Spyfi & Superspies and can be followed at Twitter @mcbrittany2014.