so I get all questions from you guys on how to become a video essayist and it’s great to see that tons of people want to join this community which I absolutely adore however a lot of you are having some serious trouble with this and the fact that there are almost zero videos on this topic well that doesn’t exactly help so today I want to make this old-fashioned commentary to talk about what it takes to be a video essayist and this video I hope will be invaluable to anyone looking to enter this space and equally as interesting to anyone who simply wants to know my controversial thoughts on the video essay community this is an experiment so if this video gets lots of views and lots of likes I will seriously consider making a sequel to this video or even making this advice on being an essayist a short three-part series but anyway cutting to it I want to start with the most important thing when it comes to being an essayist because I have a major gripe with a lot of people in the video essay community that’s right cool up killer keemstar get your pitchforks motion sharp because we about to star some drummer up in here okay I’m not actually some drama but I do have a pretty major gripe with the video essay community but why should I say it when Patrick H Williams has already said that for me and over the course of the year I made more and more of these and as I looked around YouTube I realized how boring I find most video essays including my own YouTube is saturated with them now and it seems like every twenty-something dude with a blu-ray copy of The Dark Knight wants to get in on the fun and there are plenty of people doing great work but since so many of us are using the same format it’s easy for them all to blur together this is the number one problem si is face and it is a critical point of the most pivotal importance that if you do not address it you will blur into the murky background with so many other SES out there and you will never be anyone’s favorite creator now at this point I’m sure a lot of you think that what I’m gonna say is the most important thing to being an essayist is that you need to stand out but I’m not gonna say that because I’ve seen hundreds of youtubers give out that advice it’s a cliche and frankly it triggers me every time I hear it because it isn’t even a correct cliche saying you should stand out is like someone giving me the manuscript for their novel me reading it and then me giving the feedback hmm all right basically write what you need to do is you need to make your novel stand out more yeah can you elaborate on that right right well basically you’ve got to make it so your novel is different from others on the market which will make it better because it’s different that is shit advice I know one note Henry is a very naughty boy he’s just said a swear but it genuinely is piss-poor advice because while it is mostly correct and I’m not saying Patrick was wrong in that clip in fact I’m actually totally agreeing with him in there but while it is hinting at what the creator should be doing saying you should stand out is so vague so unnecessarily painfully vague that it could do more harm than good as it might convince the creator that he has to reinvent the wheel in order to stand out which of course he shouldn’t because here is the real number one tip I can give you when it comes to not just being an essayist but being a creator in general find a way of creating videos that only you can pull off or in layman’s terms find your voice now what makes for a voice how do I go about finding one are there specific things I can do to find it all of those are good questions to ask and all of which we’ll get to later but before I talk about creative voice I want to tell you a story one from my youtube career which has really been a mystery for a lot of you until this point because I’ve never really talked about it and I feel it perfectly summarizes an incredibly important thing you need to know as an essayist and well what is it I have a second channel it’s called russki and it’s essentially the closed look but for video games where I look at the craft of game making and with this channel I had an absolutely insane success I launched this channel with two videos the first why fallout 4 failed is currently sitting at 1 million views and the second of the day dayz died is currently at 1.3 million views bear in mind that when I started this channel the closer look was at around maybe 90,000 subscribers and of those 90,000 I think about 1000 actually and subscribe to this channel so these videos the Mads success if you discount those thousand or so people who subbed at the beginning this success was almost completely independent of the closer look which I’m very chuffed with but for pretty much most people out there who dream about being a youtuber this is the good life this is the goal they strive so hard to achieve but as you can see I haven’t uploaded on to this channel in over 10 months I have effectively abandoned it and this is something I get a lot of questions about as to why why I basically threw away this insane success because for many people this is like getting a winning lottery ticket then throwing it into a fire and never cashing it in to be honest there are a lot of reasons as to why I mean I’m working on my novels and this channel and running another YouTube channel as well that’s a lot of work for just one guy but honestly the big one the heaviest straw on the camel’s back I have no idea how video games work I made my video the day Daisy died and it was a runaway success at the time pretty much if you were a person who watched gaming content on YouTube this video was probably in your suggested section and it got a really good amount of positive feedback but then I saw how sovietwomble that’s right that guy who makes all those funny moments videos on like armor and all that sovietwomble had me making a very secret series of video essays on why the same game dayz standalone really failed in one ball series which is private so I won’t share a link or show any footage because he doesn’t want the general public to see it but in the videos he goes in depth he talks about development cycles work tickets and so many elements of game design that I had never even heard of before sovietwomble knows an insane amount about game design because I think he’s studied it in college and me watching his series it felt like I’d stumbled into Narnia I was discovering a thousand new things for the first time about game design and I felt profoundly embarrassed I felt the most intense impostor syndrome that I had ever felt in my life and the real kicker it was warranted that is the reason I abandoned my gaming si channel because when I saw these videos I knew for a fact I had to change the focus of my youtube career because I knew I was a hack and all the views all the ad revenue and clouts none of that was worth a fucking thing when I knew for a fact that I wasn’t providing insight I wasn’t adding anything that the conversation I was just a member of the echo chamber that contributed towards the blurry mass that Patric H Williams just talked about but what’s the point I’m trying to make here ok so let’s say you want to make a video on Star Wars the last Jedi you want to point out why the film failed so what are you gonna do say that Rey’s character is a Mary Sue say how Admiral Hall no ramming that ship was bad because it broke the established canon of things do you want to bring up how they mistreated Luke’s character by making him a shadow of a former self and turning him from an optimist into a pessimist if that’s what you’re going to say in your video then in the words of wil Turner the reason why that’s not good enough is because everyone has already pointed out these things this is why a whole lot of essays out there feel so say me and boring because it’s an echo chamber of the same arguments the same points made over and over again if you want to make the kinds of essays people adore the claim that people find genuinely fascinating you need to make fresh points and insightful arguments and that is way easier said than done but it’s also 100 percent true I mean if you want an example of that take care I cover the last Jedi when I was watching the film in the cinema I noticed an exhausting amount of the device bathos and for me that ruined the movie I looked around and noticed how nobody had even said the word bathos in any essays or reviews on the film and I knew I had a winning ticket because I had a mainstream popular film and a fresh angle to take on it that nobody had even spoken on before and when I look back now and see how that video got 1.2 million views I’m not surprised in fact if that video got any less than about 900,000 views that was what would have surprised me because I knew that I had a fresh angle on a popular topic which meant that the video would have a really high watch time and click rate and all I had to do then was giving a badass thumbnail in a title and I did and the video exploded and I know this sounds egotistical but I was not surprised in the least when it did because I knew that I was providing a fresh insight into a very hot topic that many people were interested in but here’s the big question to ask about all of that how did I notice the fact that this film had over used the device bathos while seemingly nobody else did truthfully because I had done an exhaustive amount of research into creative writing and what makes for good storytelling before I even saw the movie and this is leading us to the core of it the most harsh the most so crushing and frankly the most important truth to essay making the entire purpose of video essays is to provide insightful analysis of a piece of media how can you provide insightful analysis when you have no insight those were the very thoughts that made me quit my second channel and frankly as far as I’m concerned if you know nothing more about a topic than the average Joe you should not be making video essays on that topic that is the core of it that is the reason why most essays feel so samey and boring because a lot of essayists they don’t do the legwork they don’t study the material their entire research cycle is to watch other essayist absorb their points and then just use them in their own videos and before you know it everyone’s copying ideas off of each other and before you know it almost every last video is the same however that doesn’t mean you should give up that doesn’t mean you should resign to making Minecraft Let’s Plays and comedy vlogs because if you yourself want to make film essays your first step is to realize the area that you are the most knowledgeable in or at least have the greatest interest in and then make that area the focus of your channel for an example let’s say that you want to analyze the craft of cinematography but you have no background in cinematography and you don’t understand how it works well here’s what you do you take an educational course in filmmaking you read books on the topic you make it your mission to become a total and complete expert in the field of cinematography until you know a whole wealth of knowledge that even people in the know do not know and then you carry on learning and then you bring that knowledge front and center and use it in your videos this is a quest that you will never complete because it is impossible to become a total expert in anything but just because something is impossible that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying to obtain I made the active choice to narrow my sights I chose not to focus on the field of game design because I already had a ton of MyPlate and frankly that topic didn’t interest me all that much so I picked the focus of being a writer which was very good for me because I was trying to be a writer and by the way my debut novel is coming out at some point next year so keep your eyes peeled for them but my site hustle of trying to write novels and my main hustle of doing the closer look and studying writing both of those complemented each other as when I work to my novel I learned things used it in the close look and when I worked in the closer look I gained new insights and use that to work on my novel and it was this kind of synergy and it was great because I narrowed my sights and I’ve been getting better ever since creative writing I am trying very hard to make that my speciality and so you’ll notice that in most of my videos they’re written from a writer’s perspective because that’s the area I have a ton of experience in I like to think that in each of my video essays I bring to light a little bit of knowledge or insight that my viewers didn’t know before so they can then learn from it and if you don’t do that as an essayist if you don’t help people understand a topic in a way they never knew before you are not a good essayist that is unfortunately the plain and simple truth and when it comes to writing essays there aren’t that many essayists in the community that take the focus of creative writing on movies so I think that does work for my benefit and for my general appeal and this goes for you not just the general viewer you if you are currently an essayist or you one day plan to be you need to be always learning this is not advice this is not a guideline this is a prerequisite always be listening to podcasts always be reading books and watching lectures and broadening your knowledge around your specific niche because I guarantee you a huge chunk of that knowledge that you soak up will work its way into your videos and your essays will be all the more insightful interesting and educational for it but I promised at the start this video that I was gonna talk about finding your voice as an essayist and I don’t like to break my promises so the truth is each and every good essayist has their own voice this may sound odd but it’s completely true different essays have different perspectives they use to attack a subject give ten different essayist the exact same topic the same base idea for a video and all ten of them if they have a strong unique voice would tackle it in an entirely different way nerd writer for example has a way of delivering ask where he will pause and say things slowly to add emphasis on a word or set of words he is an example but you can’t just mine the source material for parts adaptations and remakes don’t require strict adherence or obedience or even necessarily respect just an understanding of what made the original so powerful in the first place and do you want to know what happens when you copy the voice of another creator well it looks like this if I had to pin down the singular reason why the film Logan surprised me so much it would have to be it’s impressively small-scale yeah I’m pretty embarrassed when I look back am i e all the stuff but when I was starting out I saw the way nerd writer delivered his voice over and I consciously decided to imitate it when making my video Logan the death of a genre and I look back on it with shame and my advice to you for the love of God don’t do this do not steal the voices of creators wholesale although it is fine to just copy little bits here and there and see if they work out well for you I mean how else you gonna improve your craft if you never experiment but right now for me I think I spent like seven years on youtuber I think maybe like two two and a half of those years being a video essayist and in that time I like to think that I’ve nailed down exactly what my voice is I mean you look at my recent video essays and you see that I’ll pronounce everything in my way and there aren’t really any other essayist that cover topics in the same way I do and that’s basically that is your end goal you want to be making essays in a way that only you can make if you’re making essays and you copy my style or anyone else’s style I won’t hold it against you and neither will any of the other SES because we’re all very supportive in this community I mean after all you can’t trademark a style but if you want to become your own standout creator you don’t just want to blend into the background with a dozen others you want to be unique and easily identifiable and the kind of and that I personally would drop everything when I see that you’ve uploaded so because I want to watch your video if you want to achieve that you need to discover your voice do you want to deliver your line slowly in a low and calming voice something like how stories like Oh does it do you want to have your essay is filled with snarky wit where you combine interesting analysis with humor like Lindsey Ellis does do you want to tackle it all from the perspective of a writer when you don’t put that much effort into motion graphics because when it comes to editing you’re extremely lazy like me for example um do you want to be the kind of essayist who makes exclusively insert X film here is way worse than you remember and here’s why and you do nothing but winch and complain about how anyone who likes a thing is actually wrong in their opinion and they need to change it I mean I think there’s already more than enough creators out there who take their angle on things I’d probably argue that one is probably more than enough but if that’s truly is your voice if being that cynical whinger is genuinely true to who you are deep inside then screw all the positive analytical nerdwriter lessons from the screenplay now you see it crap you make those kinds of videos because that is the voice that fits you the best if there is something the average viewer is a master er it’s noticing when someone is using a voice that doesn’t fit them as a person but the average viewer will pretty much never consciously realize hey I still now you see its style it’s pretty much never that simple but what the viewers will realize subconsciously is that your voice lacks synergy a lot of newer creators make the mistake of thinking that finding your voice is like browsing the shelves of a supermarket they’ll say oh I like this one or like that one and they will copy elements wholesale those creators are wrong finding a voice is more like browsing the ones at Ollivanders you try and you fail you try you fail you try again you have a little success but you still fail you keep trying again and again and after years of experimenting you finally reel is the exact kind of music you won the thumbnail style how you enunciate your sentences and do your research and what angle do you take on attacking a topic and your personal content strategies for how you plan to go in the algorithm assemble the toolkit that is the style that fits you the best and the only true way to discover what you want to be in your toolkit is to just create and the more you create the more you experiment the clearer of an idea you’ll have as to exactly the kind of person you are the voice that fits you and the brand and style you want to have in your videos anyway I’ve rambled on for long enough but if you found this video useful and you want me to make a few more just like this where I might look at a different angle of creating video essays like editing or research or any of that stuff please do leave a like and tell me in the comments that you want exactly that and for those of you who aren’t already in the club please consider supporting me on patreon I only charge every time I upload so pretty much you’ll only get charged what’s every 500 years but honestly if you could you’d be directly supporting me so I can create more videos and even if you can only spare the loose change of $1.00 that’s $1 more in my income at the end of the month and when people do that in a group that number adds up to something considerable I am currently recording this in my bedroom at my mum’s house so I kind of need the funds to move out so please help me but basically I really want to move out so like my mum stops reminding me ohh oh Henry this isn’t a hotel you know she’ll remind me isn’t Hotel despite the fact that you know I I’m actually paying rent and I’m doing all of the chores around the house that she asks me to do anyway getting off a track if you donate you’ll find a bunch of cool rewards there you’ll get access to my patron exclusive discord server which I’m always active on and we can discuss games and movies and all the stuff you want to do you can also get your name in the description and at the higher tier I have a quick consultation session where you can send me your work whether it be a novel or a screenplay or your YouTube channel and I’ll give it a quick once-over identify what you’re doing right what you’re doing wrong and help you grow and improve you’ll craft so if any of that sounds good to you please click my patreon link in the description and just send the loose change of a couple dollars my way and trust me it really means the world to me when you do that cliche is a salad anyway thanks for watching I hope you enjoyed the video and I’ll see you guys next time on a closer look

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