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I'm considering starting a Lego YouTube channel
I am currently a student at University, and have been collecting lego for as long as i can remember.
I am looking at starting a youtube channel for, primarily, Lego Star Wars. I understand it is a hard 'market' to crack with several, large and respected channels already in this field.
I am looking for any advice on what sort of things might make my channel unique and stand out. I would also love to hear some pointers from those of you who already operate channels, particularly with regards to what equipment to have starting out, and any do's and don'ts.
Below is a plan of what i would aim to do:
I would do set reviews, as and when they come out and when i can afford them.
I would do a weekly/ fortnightly mini moc series
And a longer, larger episode moc series.
I look forward to your feedback,
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Recent discussions •
A Lego Youtube channel eh? As you say, it's a crowded market, but (and everyone's going to have their own opinion, so don't take this as anything more than one person's thoughts - I don't claim to speak for the masses), while it might be crowded, there aren't many decent ones out there.
Even some of the better known ones are (imho) pretty awful, so come up with something halfway decent and you're in with a chance.
1. Don't be an annoying American. Many of the channels I have seen are rendered unwatchable by virtue of their hosts voice / mannerisms / sense of humour. As you're in Southampton I'm going take a wild guess and say you've probably got this covered. In my defence, I love the USA, and most of the Americans I've ever met.
But 'The Brick Show' is atrocious.
2. Keep the bloody camera still! The selfie generation has a lot to answer for, one of the main ones being a desire to film themselves while flailing the camera around because they're trying to show the viewer something. Spend 20 mins watching broadcast tv and note how slow pans / turns and zooms are. If your idea of making tv exciting is to swing the camera around like you're directing The Bourne Supremacy then please do us all a favour and give up now.
3. Speak slowly. No. Slower than that. If you're shooting a video about something you enjoy you're probably going to get excited. And when people get excited they start speaking faster. And probably wave their arms around too. It's exhausting to watch and difficult to follow. While jabbering away like a demented loon might be mistaken for enthusiasm by a bunch of 12 year olds with ADHD, a calm, measured tone will appeal to a wider audience.
4. And on the topic of speaking, consider Writing a script. Few things annoy me more than watching someone Umm and Errr their way through a piece to camera, and keep jumping around as they remember something they meant to tell you five minutes ago. Spend a bit of time thinking about what you want to convey in each section, write some cue cards to put up off screen and it'll flow, and come across as a more polished performance.
5. If you've got the time, Do some editing. Imagine a typical video. The presenter is reviewing a set and wants to show you something - a minifig say. What do they do? They either pick the minifig up and shove it in front of the camera and then take it away again before the autofocus has had a chance to do its thing, or they grab the camera (see point 2, above) and poke it at the fig. Shoot the minifig later and edit the shot in. It'll look more professional and while making a whole show as just a 'talking head' piece might be easier, the audience will appreciate a different viewpoint (without swinging the camera about!), and it'll let you show some detail.
6. Don't keep banging on about Likes! I'd like (no pun intended) to think that when someone makes a Youtube video, they're doing it for the love of the subject matter, not some grubby attempt to garner attention from as many people as possible. If you must ask your viewers to 'click the like button', just do it once, or put it in the description. After the third or fourth time of asking, people just come across as a bit desperate.
7. Under no circumstances describe yourself as 'a bit crazy!' In my experience, anyone who has to tell people that 'they're a bit wacky / crazy / zany' is anything but.
8. Go easy on the humour unless it comes naturally. Some people are gifted with a natural charm and an easy sense of humour. If you are one of these people, then make use of it. Most of us aren't. It's annoying to watch someone keep laughing at their own poor attempts at humour (it's often down to nerves) when they're trying to tell you something that's (hopefully) of interest, so keep the jokes to a minimum.
9. Get feedback and listen to it. Your Mum will think that whatever you've produced is the best thing ever. Your friends will want to be supportive, and will pick out any and all good elements and focus on that. Lego fans will already be predisposed to enjoying your material. Find people who wouldn't choose to watch a Lego Youtube video and see what they think. If you can make something that a non-AFOL can sit through, then your target audience will be far more likely to enjoy it.
10. Make use of available resources. You say you're at University. I don't know what you're studying, but if it isn't film making, then unless you're at a Medical college or some other specialist facility there's almost certainly a film / media department of some sort. And that will mean tutors and students with film skills. And the students will probably leap at the chance to a) bang on to someone about making films to anyone who will listen, and b) use you as a guinea pig for their film making. Use their skills to develop your own.
11. Have fun! That's probably the most important bit.
Good luck, and come back and show us what you can do!
Cool that you're starting a YouTube channel! The market is indeed crowded, but I think that when you start a channel only about Star Wars LEGO, you might have a chance. I mean: maybe when people go looking for Star Wars LEGO online, they'll eventually think of you.
I started my very own channel in august this year (Pondswald) and I have some tips for you.
1. Be patient. Seriously. Success isn't going to happen overnight. I've been doing it for a few months and I'm still nowhere near where I want to be viewer wise. On the other hand: I'm doing this because I think it's fun and I want to share my stuff with the world. Not because of the views (it's just fun to know that you're not doing this for basically no one). So be patient, do what you like and share what you like, and eventually people will hopefully come and check it out. But don't be disappointed when your first 20 (or 100) video's don't get like 10.000 views immediately. Probably not going to happen.
2. That being said....promote! Of course no one is ever going to come see your channel if you don't promote it. If you already have a relatively successful Instagram account for instance, tell your followers you started a channel and that they can check out your video's. And keep reminding them (although maybe not every day). That way, they'll know you're out there.
3. Avoid shaky cam syndrome. Like @BooTheMightyHamster already said: avoid a shaky cam. Seriously. I invested in a simple tripod for my phone (my phone has a good camera) and that really helped. The camera is now sturdy and I can make some awesome pan shots and stuff. Also, like Boo said: try to zoom in on some stuff when you talk about it. I usually do that afterwards (it was hell with Joker Manor, trust me. Too much stuff!) and edit it in after I'm done.
4. Make yourself recognizable. So get a clear picture, some banner art and a good name. Also: make sure your channel isn't a mess. People don't like chaotic stuff, so they will leave if it all looks bad. Just take some time to really set up your channel and make it look nice.
5. Check out other channels. Not to copy them of course, but to get a general idea of what you like and how to handle this. If you like a channel, search for the things that make it great. Will that work for you? Try and see!
6. Scripting is everything. It really, really is. I started out without scripts and all I did was rambling and saying "uhm" a lot. These days I write scrips for every video. It takes me some time, but the rambling has stopped and I - in my opinion - actually say something useful. Also, the "uhm"'s are disappearing!
7. Pick a regular day to upload. People love structure and reliability. So pick a day (or multiple days) to upload. Upload at least once a week, because the YouTube algorithm loves that. But people love it when they know that there's going to be something new on Monday for instance. It gives them a reason to subscribe. So make a schedule and keep to it!
8. Google the hell out of this. Seriously. There are already so many people who researched what makes a great YouTube channel and they have so many tips. Just go Google some stuff and I'm sure you'll find loads and loads of great tips. It can really help.
But above all: just have fun with it!
Still, I had a few more thoughts on the way into work this morning.
12. Quality rather than quantity. I'd rather see a decent video once a month than a poor one every two weeks. Having said that, LegoPondswald almost certainly has a point about viewers liking predictabilty (point 7, above), so maybe concentrate on shorter videos to begin with. Go for an awesome 15 minute video rather than a sketchy 30 minute one. You can always build up.
13. What's your USP? Why should someone watch your videos over someone else's? It's not enough to open a set, or show off a finished model and say 'I really like this.' Why do you like it? What's so great about it compared to another set? Does it offer value for money? Rare parts? Interesting build techniques? Find an angle that no-one else has got.
14. Check out the competition. Two producers of great content are Bricknerd and Jangbricks. Both take different approaches, but have built a great following.
15. Consider collaborating. Two people means half the work. Maybe you can find someone who's great at scripting / camera work / presenting / editing. Being in charge of everything means you're always going to have the final say on everything, but working with someone else means you get to bounce ideas and share the workload. One caveat though. Having two people on screen, having a non-scripted conversation is a real skill. Most people can't do it, and end up talking over each other, so think carefully before going for a double header.
And indeed, go check out the competition. I mentioned this in point 5, but it's really helpful! And Jangbricks is just great, so is Just2Good.
On point 15: I do this with my boyfriend. Even though I film, write, present and edit everything, he gives me a lot of feedback. So if you can't find anyone, maybe ask your partner/friend/someone who can be really honest to you!
Sorry, sorry, sorry! My apologies! :o)
The profile pic should have been a giveaway!
I totally agree. If I want to know what you bought, I'll check the reviews you do about them. But they do get a lot of viewers, so apparently not everyone agrees.
I think Jang is for an older audience so decide who is your target audience. I don't enjoy Just2good for example, he does a lot of Lego hauls, best minifigure videos, top sets he likes etc etc, which i think kids enjoy more. Furthermore, the worst part of that channel and others is SOUND QUALITY! Jang has the best sound quality of all the Lego youtube channels! It makes such a difference to me.
So on that note, decide if you're going to speak! Some people have great voices (Jang), and others are grating or annoying (another criticism of Just2good) - this is along the lines of above mentioned about being 'too' American!
I like to see in set reviews comparisons to previous versions as well as interesting comments about pieces/techniques etc etc.
Dont know how many times brick vault and just2good have said something, and it's not true. I understand if you're reviewing a set and the movie hasn't come out. I hate to pick on just2good, but he had the last too examples. On one of his last Ninjago reviews with a vintage motorcycle assembly he said this is only the second time we are getting the frame in black. 90% of all the vintage motorcycles have a black frame. I think he ment the actual body, and in that case he'd be right. Second on his Batman series two review he wasn't happy with the Batman logo on the beach figures as they wouldn't be useful for other things. That may be true, but the review should be on the set. What can and can't be done with the parts after should have no effect on the review.
6) Resellers: Providing a public service or scalping all the good sets before the rest of us can get them?
7) Live coverage of the next FairyBricks Raffle (if there is ever another one)
That would get really expensive, especially for a student, and that is why no Youtuber does it. I can't really tell if you are joking or not.
If you want to get into an established market and expect to get any traction, you need to have a decent marketing budget AND expect to LOSE MONEY for quite a while, in the process of attracting customers to your product.
At $15/day, that's only $5500/year. That's a pittance in terms of marketing.
If you wanted to juice it up, you could start with best comment of the week - and offer a set worth at least $50 MSRP. That would only run $2600/year, and may even be more attractive. You'd need to have a good, published criteria for determining what the best comment of the week is though - otherwise you risk people complaining that it is a scam of some kind.
Thanks so much for your help so far!
With regards to giveaways, it was something i was considering, but as a less regular occurrence, say once a quarter, with more of a competition involved. Whilst i like the idea of doing the best comment, as you pointed out it would cost $5500 a year, which is a lot as my annual uni maintenance loan is only £5750!
One thing i particularly would like advice on, is what equipment i should get, at entry level, assuming i don't already have anything? I was thinking camera, tripod, white camera booth, and lights? Is there any thing i missed?
I'm not saying I'm against giveaways, but I think there are other ways to award viewers, perhaps by creating a MOC contest with a huge prize. As for marketing, you could always comment on other channels and ask for feedback. There is nothing 'wrong' with that if you aren't begging people to subscribe.
Also, I'm not quite sure if OP wants to earn money from his channel or if it is just for fun...
As for equipment....the equipment doesn't really matter. Content is king. If you have good content, you could use an original iPhone to record it and no one will care - provided you're not waiving it all over the place and people can clearly hear what you are saying.
The free stuff provides a reason for people to go to the site vs the one they already go to for this kind of information. Breaking habits is HARD - but free stuff usually does the trick.
Now you're turning it into a contest - where the viewer has to DO SOMETHING of significance. That's work. People don't want to work. Don't expect to invite strangers over to your house expecting dinner and then inform them that they need to harvest the potatoes.
A tripod is a good accessory to buy. You can get those for smartphones too. And that way you'll be able to create footage that isn't shaky (and everyone hates shaky images). But you don't need an expensive model for that. Cheaper ones will do the trick as well.
Also: check out the microphone on your smartphone if you're going to use that. For instance: the microphone on my phone isn't all that great, so I'm looking in to buying a separate one to improve the audio quality. Still looking for one though, so I don't really have tips on which one you should get I'm afraid. I do hear Rode is a good brand (and doesn't have to be too expensive).
For the rest of it: maybe check out the video Beyond the Brick just released with a studio tour of Just2Good. Maybe not everyone likes him, but he is established and in this video you can see you don't need to spend loads of money for equipment to be successful.