Anthony Liechti cracks out a Mountain Dew and sits down in front of his MacBook ready to spend the next two hours editing the latest episode of a Sims play. Behind him, his best friend and partner, Ivan Lovera, sets up the camera for another episode of “Ivan Reacts,” a new addition to their weekly scheduled content.
For Liechti, the next two hours are going to be hard, tedious work in Adobe Premiere. But he says it’s worth it.
“It’s definitely hard work, but it’s really fun,” Liechti said. “It’s a break from my other work, and it’s a fun way to get experience working with different techniques.”
YouTube — bought by Google 10 years ago for $1.65 billion — is becoming an increasingly more popular site, not only for funny cat videos, but also, surprisingly, for those looking for non-traditional careers.
“There are only two kinds of businesses in this country: there are those who make their own web videos, and those who need someone else to make their web videos.” said Frank Chindamo, an adjunct professor at Dodge, who teaches a class on the art and business of web video.
It’s a simple formula for profit, if your work is highly popular: The more views you get, the more YouTube shares its advertising dollars tied to your work.
Chindamo has been in the business of making short films since before web video became a medium in 2000. He has been creating successful short web series and teaching others how to capitalize on the sight. His class, “Art and Business of Web Video,” at Chapman teaches students not only how to create consistent content, but also how to use different networking strategies to best distribute that content.
Ross Brown, a fellow professor at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, teaches a two-part class, “Byte-Sized Television” that helps students to create a pilot for a self-made short web series. After more than 30 years in the film and television industry, writing and producing, Brown knows that web-based content is becoming increasingly popular and common.
“[YouTube] opens up the world to the niche audience
– you can find whatever you’re looking for,” Brown said. “There’s a huge demand for digital storytelling, and YouTube allows people to create a lower budget project with a higher production level.”
Brown points out that the web doesn’t have gatekeepers and that people worldwide can upload anything they want at any time to the site, Brown said that those two things are reason enough for YouTube to be a great venue for those interested in movie making if no one else is interested.
“So much money can be made at this, and the barrier of entry to this is zero,” Chindamo said. “Unless your upload fails, there’s nothing working against you.”
Take Liechti and Lovera for example. Anthony Liechti is a freshman film production major at Chapman, and his best friend Ivan Lovera, a freshman business major at Cypress College. The two have just recently started their gaming channel, releasing five videos every week, and have already started to gain a profit.
With the job market becoming more and more competitive, people are doing everything they can to gain more experience and boost their portfolios, and YouTube is proving to be an extremely viable way for people to do that. Whether that means someone has an interest in acting, editing, or any other aspect of film, YouTube is providing an easy way for people to get started.
But you don’t have to be a film major to enjoy the benefits of YouTube.
“There’s almost no field where I would say there’s no possibility of using YouTube or video,” Chindamo said.
Pointing out that all different professions use tutorial videos from doctors to athletes that want to check their form, video making can be applied to most anything these days.
Orly Shapiro, a sophomore communications major at Chapman, has a growing YouTube channel. She started out making videos simply because she wanted to meet like-minded people. Shapiro makes lifestyle and advice videos, sprinkled with covers of songs she likes to sing. Something that started as a hobby has grown to be a full-blown job, and Shapiro says that YouTube has given her an idea of how she wants her job post-college to be – something with a lot of human interaction and outreach.
Lindsey Rempalski, a Chapman freshman digital arts major, has a channel that she’s been running for the past three years. Rempalski uploads weekly videos on fashion, beauty, advice and more has amassed more than 200,000 subscribers so far. “YouTube is currently my job and I absolutely love it.”
Rempalski went on to talk about how though her post-college plans aren’t nailed down yet, her YouTube channel is here to stay.
But like any job, running a successful YouTube channel requires some serious commitment. The difference between this and a traditional job is how much creative control the person uploading has.
“I like making videos when I feel inspired to, not because I feel obligated to,” Shapiro said. Shapiro doesn’t want it to ever negatively interfere with her life.
“I love YouTube, but my school work and social life come first,” she said.
Liechti and Lovera shared similar sentiments, saying that while balancing schoolwork and their YouTube channels is hard, when it comes down to it school has to come first.
“It’d be great if this turned into a job [after college], but for right now we have to make school our priority,” Lovera said.
Brown says a common misconception people have about YouTube is how easily you can become successful and start profiting off of it.
“The mistake people make about YouTube is they think you can throw anything up there and that millions of people will see it and you’ll immediately become successful.”
Chindamo agreed: “You can’t do it once and hope for the best,” saying that many people expect to be able to sporadically post videos and still be overnight successes. “Content these days has to be repeated, you have to keep generating content in order to make a splash.”
Rempalski admitted that it can be difficult keeping up with the consistent schedule required of a successful channel, but once you find that balance, it’s worth it.
“I love what I do for so many reasons, but the tweets, comments, and handwritten letters I’ve received from viewers remind me why I do and love what I do,” Rempalski said.
“You’re improving your craft, you’re given a chance to work on skills at your own pace,” Brown said, talking about one of the numerous benefits YouTube has to offer. Filmmakers have the opportunity to create low budget projects with a higher production level that shows off their skills while giving them real world experience.
Chindamo urges students to try their hand at YouTube: “If you create a feature film and try and successfully distribute it to a big production company, the odds of that happening are 10,000 to 1, with YouTube the odds are 1 to 1.”
YouTube and other social media are becoming more viable ways for people to make money and form their own careers and brand, building their online identity in the process. Brown reiterated that there is a huge demand for digital storytelling these days, saying that YouTube was available for anyone willing to use it. “Now they have that venue.
it’s called YouTube.”