In our first episode of YouTube Masters, an educational series of outstanding creators for creators, Yes Theory shares eight tips on how to start a YouTube channel from scratch. With over 5 million subscribers, it’s safe to say they know what they’re talking about. So start your channel with the help of the best. Watch below to hear Thomas Brag, Matt Dajer and Ammar Kandil from Yes Theory.
Tip no. 1: At first, it will be scary.
Thomas Brag: This is an exciting opportunity to reflect on what has brought us to where we are today and what we have learned along the way. The reality is that it is an endless search. Trying out any kind of career in creativity means you will be constantly in a state of learning. This may seem daunting to some, but it is also, in the end, a very exciting quest.
Which brings me to my first point: when you start, what you do will probably be very scary. Imagine going to class for the first time. Or go to a new job. You’ll probably be pretty nervous, and the reason you’re nervous is that it’s the first time you’ve done it. Which is exactly what happens the first time you create. The first time you open editing software it will probably scare you. The first time you lose your photo with the camera or don’t make your accommodation as comfortable as you expected, it’s just a reflection of your lack of experience.
So the best thing to do to get started is to just do a lot of things. You need to create a large volume of work. It is very normal to feel intimidated at first – She was terrified. I started by asking a friend who knew how to edit to just teach me how the basics of software work. So I started making comedy drawings and had no idea if that was what I wanted to do, but I just started. I was willing to be uncomfortable and embarrassed myself in front of the camera to at least roll the wheels.
The problem you will encounter is that there will be a gap between who you are to want do and what you are in reality manufacturing. You can tell that the quality of your videos, perhaps the quality of your camera, doesn’t exactly match what you wanted it to be. This could discourage some people. A lot of people give up right now. But, my advice to everyone you are looking at is to just stick with that. You just have to keep making videos and practicing, and finally feel more and more comfortable with the tangible filmmaking skills to make those less intimidating over time, so you can then take advantage of your true self. inspiration later.
Tip no. 2: Don’t give up.
As I mentioned, I started making comedy drawings and eventually pivoted on making script snippets with my friends and eventually ended up meeting Matt and Ammar, where we decided to pursue them. Project 30 – that he was doing 30 things we had never done in 30 days and he was making a video of it. There was no plan beyond that. We hadn’t completely designed the Yes Theory architecture yet, we didn’t even get to the phrase “Look for discomfort,” but it all comes down to one piece at a time.
The most important thing to remember is just keep moving. Keep iterating, without fear of getting caught up in the details, insecurity or lack of experience or knowledge. Over time, these things will improve and you will feel more comfortable creating, making videos, editing, choosing music; all these things will become more and more natural to you. Even if they don’t feel like they will do it right now.
Tip 3: Pay attention to what you see.
My best advice for you – create everything you can, try a lot of different styles, don’t limit yourself, and also start focusing on the type of content and videos you’re consuming. Because these things will have a big impact on what you end up doing. I’ll pass it on to Matt, who will tell you which artists we ended up stealing to inspire us.
Tip # 4: When you make art, the key is to steal.
Matt Dajer: I want to talk to you about the theft. Now, theft and robbery have negative connotations, but in art I see it very differently. There is a book that is called Steal like an artist by a man named Austin Kleon. In the book, Kleon explains how when art is made, especially in the beginning, the key is to steal. Now, when it comes to stealing, stealing is not necessarily plagiarism: stealing is actually only inspired by as many sources as possible. So for us, these sources of inspiration were three different groups and people.
The first was Buried life – A group of four Canadian friends who removed items from their deposit list and helped strangers remove them. They actually were the inspiration for Project 30.
The second was Casey Neistat. Maybe many of you know Casey, and when we started 2015, Casey’s vlogs exploded and we watched them every day. Casey had such a structured and so exciting way of telling stories, and it inspired us so much to use some of the tools she had.
And finally, the last person is the late Anthony Bourdain. For years, Anthony Bourdain traveled the world experiencing new cultures, people, and food, and watching his show thrilled us to do the same once we had enough money to travel. In 2016 we had the opportunity to travel and took it immediately. And we used a lot of the tricks Anthony would use in his videos when he met people or when he tried new experiences.
Tip # 5: Take your inspirations and make them your own.
So what we realized through all of this (and what Austin Kleon talks about in his book) is the fact that everything around us and about us is stolen. The clothes you wear, the way you talk, all come from these sources that surround you. What ends up happening is that you take those inspirations, but then you make them your own. This is what ended up happening to us, and this is what ends up happening to as many artists: you start with as many inspirations as you can and you recreate what these people have done to the best of your ability. You do it enough times that you get to a point where you’ve created your own style.
For us, that was the goal from the beginning. When we started, we made videos that looked a lot like The Buried Life and looked a lot like Casey. Finally, constantly using the tools they made and constantly copying the style they had, we finally developed our own.
Tip no. 6: When you first start, you can steal anything you want.
Which brings me to another point: if you start creatively now and you don’t have an audience, you’re really at your best. Because you can steal and copy anything you want. And again, I don’t mean plagiarism, I just want to gain inspiration and try it.
So get out there, find the inspirations around you, and make as much art as possible. And in the process of finding your own voice, you will also find a community that resonates with that voice. And this is where Ammar comes in. Where he will explain how to build community, not just an audience.
Tip no. 7: Keep in mind the relationship you are creating with those who watch.
Ammar Kandil: My first piece of advice for anyone starting out right now is to be very mindful of the relationship they are creating with the people watching them. Whether it’s a transactional relationship (they just come to take something out of your videos and forget about you) or if it’s something that makes them really think about you after you finish seeing what you want to post.
For us, when we started Project 30 in 2015, we wanted to know what would happen when we left after the thirty days we had done thirty things we had never done. It was a genuine experiment for us and the result of that was the release of genuine videos that made people identify with the spirit and energy with which we wanted to do Project 30. We were young, we were looking for new things that could excite us for life and in the process we were able to find these things and share them with the people we were watching. So the relationship became much deeper because people began to identify with the energy with which they saw us looking for discomfort. People wanted to be a part of it.
Tip no. 8: Identify the why.
This brings me to my point today: that it is to be able to build a community, not just an audience. And the first thing Yes Theory discovered at the beginning that allowed us to build such a strong community around the world is the fact that we were able to identify what our “why” is. What should I do to you (if you don’t know who I am) watch this video right now, feel connected to me, and potentially decide to watch more than I want to post again?
For us, we knew very early on that people were seeing the theory of yes because they were interested in the idea of obviously saying yes and looking for discomfort. This made it much easier for people to connect with something that is bigger than us. Because in the end, the people you like or the type of videos you post at a given time can be very fleeting and fragile. But getting people to connect with you because they believe in the same thing as you, that’s the real power, and that’s the real influence. And for anyone who has a genuine message that wants to convey it, this is how community is created and this is how something that can possibly survive is built.