Life, Miscellaneous, Outreach

Editorial Response: Broke on YouTube

15 Dec , 2015   Matt  

This began as a simple Facebook comment, until it became as long as it did. Thank the seven hour rendering job I’m waiting on. You’ll need to read this article on Fusion.net to know what I’m talking about.

I’m of two minds about the contents of that article. First and foremost, it reminded me of the fairly common freelance pitfall of expecting professional work for free. In this case, “We have no budget but you’ll get exposure,” becomes, “We expect you to entertain us without subjecting us to ads.”

Maybe there is a misconception among the viewing public that, since videos are free to watch on YouTube, they are also free to make. I have been far too indoctrinated in multimedia production practices to think that way, so I can’t say for sure. I can surmise, based on my own life experiences, that we are culturally trained to simultaneously consume product marketing and decry it as ‘greedy’.

There is a point where I fell out of step with the author, though. The caveat for my divergence is twofold. First, I have no better understanding of the lives of the celebrities discussed than the curated snippets presented by the author. Second, I have an immense respect for anyone who is genuinely gifted at customer service, food preparation, or any other sort of public facing career of that nature. My own service industry career was hardly illustrious.

All that said, the author does not discuss any effort by any of the celebrities to find work outside of entry-level food service. That makes very little sense to me, since we can identify a quantifiable set of skills common to any long-lasting YouTube celebrity:

  • Consistent, diligent personal scheduling
  • Multimedia production
  • Public speaking
  • Social media viewer retention

We can add ‘writing’ in the case of the author and any other celebrities who maintain a companion blog.

Say what you will about “low production value.” I have been investing time and funds into increasing my own channel’s production value, and I don’t have a crew to pay. Of course, I also haven’t launched a video in *mumble*, but seven hour render times? Probably don’t expect any more videos with Noise Reduction and Unsharp Mask.

My point is, these individuals have self-evident job skills they don’t seem to be pursuing outside of their own self-invented celebrity. It’s not that I don’t sympathize with producing content on your own terms, but how much leverage would a revenue-generating YouTube personality have when applying to a marketing firm, or television studio, or [INSERT RELEVANT JOB FIELD]?

Yes, such fields are orders of magnitude more intense than at-home YouTube production, but they also have entry level positions. I would love to have that kind of subscriber base when I apply for production work. *cough*

It is not my intention to “call out” the author for “not trying hard enough,” although I will readily admit to being a 30 year old crotchety old man. As I said, I am not privy to the private lives of the individuals referenced, and they very well could be jockeying for work they have proven aptitude so for.

The article presented an interesting juxtaposition between being a celebrity on a freemium platform and catering to a demographic who resents being confronted by the realities of diligent production. Unfortunately it supported its argument by presenting only a limited cross-section of individuals effected by that juxtaposition. More charitably, it presented them in a very limited way, and I felt a need t o comment.

Take this opinion piece for the biased rant that it is. I doubt the author would disagree with me on one point, though: your options for tonight’s entertainment are ‘good’, ‘fast’, and ‘cheap’. Pick any two.


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