Justin Bieber earns $60-$80 million a year and his net worth is currently $200 million. This probably wouldn’t have been possible if his mother didn’t think to upload his videos onto YouTube 8 years back! Since then, he is one of the many stars who found fame online from all these video-sharing platforms like YouTube, Vine, Musical.ly and more.
Before the era of smart phones and even the Internet, aspiring actors struggled to get castings, aspiring singers struggled to get their sounds heard by producers and even makeup artists had to hustle for business via word of mouth. In this digital age, people are flocking to these online-sharing platforms to share their creative videos and talents in hopes of getting discovered and many have grown so big that they’ve spun a business out of it e.g. Makeup gurus Michelle Phan and Pony Makeup.
Inescapably, when the YouTube sensation came to our red dot, our locals got onboard and people like Janice of Tree Potatoes, Sylvia of Night Owl Cinematics and Sandra Riley Tang of The Sam Willows, became household names in Singapore. In the last year, the comedic duo from Youtiao666 have started growing really big with their satirical content and music covers.
With many locals finding success in the digital space, many more are feeling inspired to come online to create entertaining content, or to simple share their lives and interests with an audience. However, as the digital space becomes saturated, it has become increasingly difficult to cut through the ‘noise’ and have a piece of the pie. Together with YouTube veteran Janice Chiang, we rounded up some tips on how you could possibly be a successful content creator in this time and age!
You can gain ideas from your followers, surroundings and daily experiences
When we asked Janice on how they come up with ideas, her answer was simple enough – they gain it from their everyday environment – “We observe and we translate what we see and learn into our videos. We also get inspired by watching other works, which do not necessarily have to be YouTube videos – it can be absolutely anything”.
As a content creator, you’ll be sourcing for fresh ideas 24/7 so keep your eyes and creative senses peeled. The easiest would be to get your subscribers to contribute suggested topics and take your pick from there! If not, some great ideas might sprout from something you experienced in the day (e.g. a friend spilt coffee on her new dress but had a genius hack to remove it) or even from what is getting shared on your Facebook feed daily! If nothing comes to you, there’s always Google. The beauty of our digital world now is that we’re able to head online and get inspiration from a bank of international works online. To stay on top of what’s trending, you can check out Google Trends!
Your concept and script can make or break the video
The pre-production phase in video creation is one of the most important parts to producing a successful video. It includes conceptualizing an angle out of an idea, scripting, storyboarding and planning for the production (e.g. sourcing for talents, products, shooting locations etc.). According to Janice, conceptualizing and scripting are the toughest steps so it’ll be great to get a team effort on this. ‘Once the brainstorm session is done, someone gets assigned to be the head writer and once the script is finalized, they will begin planning the production. Depending on the complexity of a video, this whole process can take anywhere from two weeks to several months to complete!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with scripts and storyboarding, there are loads of mock scripts and storyboards available online. Storyboards are important so you know what exactly what to shoot and clearly shows how the story will pan out!
Your smart phone can get you far – if you know how to use it well
For those of you who may not have the funds to invest in high-quality DSLR cameras, just use your smart phone! You can pretty much do everything you need with it – shoot, stitch footage, add special effects, adjust colors, record audio, adjust your audio, upload your videos, track the views in real time, reply comments and more!
Smart phone cameras work best in bright lighting so try to get your footage in daylight or in well-lit areas. Play up the different angles to give your videos more substance and familiarize yourself with different editing apps to spice up your video! Some apps you can look for are FiLMic for shooting, iMovie for stitching your footage together, Efexio for special effects and Movie Looks for adjusting the coloring. There are also lots of cool, affordable gear you could get to help you make filming better as you go along. – There is no excuse not to start right away!
Use data to your benefit
Reading into data can be hella boring but it can help you in planning the release of your content and even help you in improving on your future works. I mean, there is no point in you creating something good if it’s not going to get seen, right? So before creating something, ask yourself – Which of your works gets the most shares? What is everyone talking about now? Will people be online if I upload it at this time?
To get on top of this, you can go delve into your YouTube analytics (if you upload videos there), Google Analytics (if you have a website). Trust me when I say, it gets easier once you play around with it for a bit! And the best thing about all this – it’s free!
More content creators = more collaborations = a better industry!
Yes, there are certainly more content creators coming onboard the digital space right now but don’t be disheartened about this. As Janice mentioned, ‘this is a good thing for the industry as it opens up the space and introduces new styles which in turn can bring in more viewers’.
Treepotatoes’ Webseries: Can You Not?! – a collaboration between YouTubers, actors and popular singers
With more people hopping on to YouTube, it also increases the pool for creativity so why not use this as a way to collaborate with the community of different skills and talents, learn from each other and improve the industry as a whole! It also acts as healthy competition to constantly push you to challenge yourself to be more creative and try new things.
Only those who are truly passionate and can adapt will survive
When we asked Janice what one should get mentally prepared for when going into content creation full time, she said, “If you are looking to go into YouTube full time, there are certain things you need to be prepared for. First of all, as with any business, you will need to have the capital to start. Depending on the type of video you intend to shoot, you will need to invest in certain equipment. Secondly, do not go into YouTube thinking to make money instantly or be famous. It takes time to build a following large enough that corporate clients will notice you. In order to build up a following, you will need to be able to generate good content – this is the most important – and also know how to market your content.”
Being a content creator can actually become your full-time career in Singapore
Years back, no one would have imagined being able to create content they love can become their full-time job. It’s great to see how technology and media has helped many people harness and share their artistic capabilities online. Even government bodies like IMDA are coming onboard to invest resources to support this growth, allowing more content creators to make this a promising and exciting career path in time to come. When we asked Janice how she felt about this, she said “being a content creator is now seen as a legit career option and with the government’s support, it will help a lot in pushing the boundaries of the Singapore’s art scene. There are so many creative geniuses in Singapore and they deserved to be given the opportunity to showcase their work. I can already see the Singapore music scene growing rapidly these 2 years, hopefully with this recognition, the video content scene can grow as rapidly in the coming years.”.
The digital era we live in now is an exciting one. Anything we put online can have the possibility of reaching people across the globe and these days, we have all the tools we need – literally at our fingertips – to create the content we want, wherever we want, whenever we want. We hope these insights and tips help you in pursuing your dream to be a content creator!