YouTube Creators On The Recipe For Success
Talia Fogelman talks to YouTubers about how to get ahead on the platform
Like any young person in 2019, I love YouTube. I spend far too many hours of my life pouring over my laptop to learn about anything and everything. So when the opportunity to go to a YouTube event at Sussex arose, I grabbed it with both thumbs (it was an e-ticket). The event began with a brief talk about bigger YouTube projects, such as original content they are producing with big budgets, big names and big concepts. We were then introduced to one of the owners of Sundog Pictures, a production company based in the U.K. who focus on creating content that means something, and have produced projects with names like Stacey Dooley and Brian Cox. After a run-down of this new and exciting project the introduced the YouTube Creators; enter Jessica Kellgren-Fozard, Doug Armstrong, Heather Moorhouse and Matt Jackson.
Doug Armstrong is a YouTube Creator from Brighton. He was interested in video for as long as he could remember and at a young age, he borrowed a family camcorder to make videos; the love affair continued from then. His channel was founded in 2007 but he did not post properly until 5 years ago. He went to university and did Computer Science hoping to get a sensible 9-5 job before he realised that offices and talking to clients were his worst nightmares. He began working more on his videos and eventually turned it from a hobby to a job. Heather also followed a similar path.
Doug Armstrong-Photograph by David McHugh
Heather Moorhouse’s love affair with makeup started at university. When she went to parties she would dress up and try different styles and even become different celebrities. In order to document these looks she started a blog and then made her first video in 2014. She found the cheapest camera she could and shot her first video in 320p, and then posted this video online to no followers. Over the years she created more and more beauty looks and has become so successful this has now become a full-time gig. She says, “it’s nice to focus my entire attention onto makeup” and it’s vindicating for someone who does not consider herself to reflect the mainstream beauty standard with her buzzed hair and tattoos. For this YouTube Creator, to achieve success in the beauty industry has been encouraging and she is definitely looking forward to the future.
Jessica Kellgren-Fozard has a whole host of health issues and when she was younger; she became paralysed and couldn’t sit up without her brain dehydrating and bits dying. This made for a horrible two years but Kellgren-Fozard kept herself going by being chirpy and optimistic. She is very upfront in telling her viewers and how disability affects everything in her life apart from her bubbly personality. She told us at the Creators event how she has always wanted to go into film and television, which is pretty tricky for someone who lies down 98% of the time. When she saw a BBC ad for disabled models and got the job, she thought the job would be mostly a bunch of girls crying and bonding and wearing cute dresses.
However, she describes it more as 3 weeks locked in disabled Big Brother- and occasionally she would wear pretty dresses. After university, she got a job at the local tv station which was very regimented; not great when your body does not work so well. She left the station and set up her channel. YouTube works for her in a way that nothing else could. When she wakes up in the morning, she checks in with her body- she plans around her body on her time and praises YouTube for being such an amazing platform for creators with amazing opportunities for minorities. Kellgren-Fozard’s channel is all about her passions. She talks heavily about being Queer, Disabled and her wife. She focuses heavily on educating people and is absolutely delightful to watch with her endearing peppiness.
Matt Jackson runs a football YouTube and is not a full time YouTube Creator. He’s actually full-time nurse. Jackson is a big Brighton fan and finds being a nurse is full on, so he finds YouTube to be a refreshing change of pace. His channel started when he made a video about a different topic relating to the Brighton and Hove of Albion football team each week. From that he got a job with Brighton football team but definitely missed his own channel. He came back to his own YouTube and started making football challenges. He didn’t want to make it too serious just found it nice to do something different. Because of YouTube he has been able to work with players he admires and brands he loves. He has found more confidence in front of the camera, with time and has begun trying to make live content even though he finds it terrifying. When talking about the motivation for his channel, Jackson told the audience that wanted to make something real and finding the balance has been great for him.
Audience member asking a question- Photograph by David McHugh
All the creators were very warm in their engagement with the audience fielding questions on “How to become more confident in speaking to a camera?” (Practice) and “What editing software they use” (FinalCutPro is meant to be pretty good). They also advised people to create, with Heather noting that while “there’s a very clear style that many adopt, and you can choose to be a part of that, or you can choose to do your own thing.” All of them advised to find your unique place in YouTube and work with it because variety is a good thing.
Kellgren-Frozard also reminded the audience that you do not have to share everything on YouTube claiming, “They don’t know what they haven’t seen.” Doug advised “Make sure to engage with a brand for the right reason. Won’t work our well if you’re doing things for the wrong reasons.” All the YouTube Creators noted horror moments when they had been taken advantage of and Matt Jackson reminded us all to “make content you enjoy and film with people you enjoy filming with not just for views- film with people who get the most out of you.” In a society that values numbers often over quality that was an affirming reminder to us all.
(From left to right) Matt Jackson, Jessica Kellgren-Fozard, Youtube’s Luke Hyams, head of originals for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Doug Armstrong, Heather Moorhouse -Photograph by David McHugh.
The event was a really fascinating opportunity to not only see celebrities in the flesh, engaging with tricky topics and the changing face of the media world, but also to learn more about a multi-million-dollar industry. I am so grateful to all those who worked so hard to make this event happen and really hope for another one to come to Sussex. A very worthwhile event.
Written by Talia Fogelman