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  • Writer's pictureSarah Tyler

Research Paper: Rendering to Make Ends Meet - A Critical Profile of Video Editors and YouTubers

Updated: Jun 4, 2020

CS415C for Dr. Greig De Peuter at Wilfrid Laurier University


This research paper explores the film industry through digital video editors, and more specifically YouTubers. It evaluates and analyses perspectives of video editors and online video creators through a day in the life reflections and industry panel interviews to build an understanding of the culture of the field. The articles, books and videos referenced within this paper have been used to identify hardships in pursing passionate work and living up to the societal standards and demands on video editors. This paper examines Kyncl and Peyvan, Newman, Hudson and Chau to clarify the connections between barriers to entry, project-based work, entrepreneurialism and precarity within video creation. Furthermore, case studies looking into the careers of Michelle Phan and The Try Guys will reflect the experience of successful video creators on YouTube.

Keywords: precarity, video editors, privilege, monetization, digital media, entrepreneurial


Video editing is a job field that requires an undeniably high level of work ethic, enthusiasm for the craft and patience with both people and technology. In 2018, this is at an increased height of importance because of the dominance of video in our daily media consumption. Videos fill social media feeds on a constant basis with everything from travel recaps to product reviews and from humour to serious life concerns. They are a normalized part of daily life and yet there are often individuals and teams who create this content with a struggle to cover their living expenses and enjoy their life outside of work. There is a high demand in our current culture to be constantly entertained with people losing interest in many posts after only 30 seconds. The vast majority of the population seems to absorb media like goldfish and then want more, more and even more. Video editors, vloggers and YouTube creators often start off their video making journey with a passion; however, they must “try to balance their passion and talent with earning enough to make a living under their own terms” (Tyler, 2018). There is no way to casually make videos and still see the success of great subscriber counts, mass appreciation and actual income that outweighs the cost of production. The mass audience of YouTube gets to enjoy the hard work of dedicated video editors every as they deal with tight deadlines and long hours in dark rooms to produce the videos for each project. I intend to investigate how video creators face precarity within the video industry due to challenges involving individualism within the role, class barriers and a culture of project-based work within the video field, which drives creators resulting in a push towards an entrepreneurial mindset.

The introduction of YouTube meant the transition of video into a medium for the people with “democratization and participation” (Newman, 2014, p. 81). Anyone with a camera can be a vlogger, but it is with the proper technology that one will build the foundation for a YouTube brand for millions to enjoy. A vlogger can be defined as someone who records and posts videos that cover their daily life, activities and thoughts. The videos they post are essentially the equivalent to a recorded blog post. This is a sub-category of YouTubers, which are video content creators and anyone who has a channel on YouTube. There are thousands of different styles of videos posted covering a multitude of topics, each one posted due to a video creator’s passion for the topic and the desire to film and edit the video for all to enjoy.

What It Means to Be a YouTuber

Robert Kyncl, the Chief Business Officer at YouTube, and Maany Peyvan, a Lead Writer at Google, wrote a book titled Streampunks where they dive into the world of YouTube and the excitement, challenges, community, authenticity, creativity, marketing and everything else that comes with the international website. Kyncl claims: My job is to help bring information and entertainment to over a billion people around the world...and rather than offer a glimpse of the world, YouTube holds up a mirror to the entire human experience, reflecting all of our joys, all of our struggles, all of our news, and all of our history. (2017, p. xi)

The video editors enable YouTube to hold this mirror by posting their own content that is relevant to them and ideally their peers. It is the decision of the creators to identify what and who is important and what deserves to be seen by the rest of the world. YouTube has also “redefined what it means to be a celebrity and who can become one” (Kyncl & Peyvan, 2017, p. x). A key trait in the most successful video creators is their genuine portrayal of authenticity. Whether they stick to a convincing character that emphasizes their talent or personality or display a humble and “true” self, this is what audiences want. In a medium filled with fake news and other manipulated content, viewers want real people giving them their full selves on camera. Kyncl and Peyvan analyse YouTube star Tyler Oakley as a celebrity who is truly accessible and open with his fans. He is also a part of the LGBTQ+ community and being comfortable in sharing that component of himself is meaningful for viewers (Kyncl & Peyvan, 2017, p. 48). Oakley started his channel in university and after settling on unsatisfying jobs post-graduation he decided to make his channel his priority (p. 48-49). He commented that not only is it collaborating with the other creators and editing footage, “but it’s also fostering the creative, because it’s not just uploading the video and throwing it against the wall and hoping it sticks” (p. 49). Oakley expresses the cruciality of replying to fans and critics across all platforms and promoting content (p. 49). The process for Oakley has been slow and steady, which has given fans time to fall for him as a YouTube personality. It is the work of developing a channel and establishing who you are through your videos that is time consuming, but often worth it in the end. Oakley clearly indicates to Kyncl and Peyvan the dedication needed for the craft of video editing to be successful and not just a one-hit-wonder (p. 53). Kyncl and Peyvan, however, are lacking in their research on why some genuine people make it in the YouTube scene and others do not, due to privileges awarded by the platform and the social context it exists within. They give the impression of finding it difficult to critique the system they work for.

A Day in the Life of a Professional Video Editor

On April 15, 2018, BVC Co. published a vlog post on YouTube that describes a “day in the life” as a creator in the video industry. The voice over host holds a 9am-5pm work day with an hour of commute time and also indicates that he uses a shared workspace at a start-up company (BVC. Co., 2018). He immediately sits down at his desk and starts describing the capabilities of his processor and other technical equipment and software, which demonstrates the importance of these tools for his role. To see an approximation of what some typical expenses might be for technology, see Figure A1. Depending on if a video editor is working for a company or in an entrepreneurial or freelance setting will determine how much the creator will have to provide. The video host suggests there is a lot of scheduling and the importance of keeping organized and labeling to ensure projects are completed on time (BVC Co., 2018). The independence he has is overwhelming and he emphasizes the pressure of tight deadlines and how tedious and repetitive his work structure is during his 8-hour day (BVC Co., 2018). He also claims that it is a challenge to be creative and think of new ideas. Something notable is the initiative one must take to step away from the computer and give yourself a break and stretch (BVC Co., 2018). He is in a position with steady work hours and a steady income, but “it is challenging to cater to only one person/client’s needs” (BVC Co., 2018).

Phil Ebiner gives his own perspective of a day in the life of a video editor. Again similar to the worker of BVC Co., he shows a need for coffee and also the extensive journey to get what and where he needs to just start his editing process. As a video editor myself, I have the experience of not being able to send high-quality footage across the internet but have had to use external hard drives and physically drive or walk to get footage from co-workers, which can be frustrating and take a lot of time to organize and transfer or simply wait for a schedule opening. He is editing a video for an online master class series in a collaboration with Mike and Lauren, other YouTubers, demonstrating the community feel of YouTube. Ebiner shows on the screen that there are over 100 videos in the series and says that he tries to take it easy on Fridays, however prefaces that the job still needs to be done whether he wants to relax or not. He appears to work at home with a multiple monitor set-up in a small living room area. During a lunch break he has Mexican cuisine and includes a clip of him saying to “not waste any of that guac”, potentially hinting at a tighter financial situation (Phil Ebiner of Video School Online, 2016). These are two editors that works in different settings doing similar tasks and essentially serve other people in their art of video creation. Phil Ebiner shows the entrepreneurial side of video editing and the consistent need for clients and their approval of his work while running his own business. His goal seems to be to help other people in their personal business pursuits through his video creating.

Nicolas Mizeracki, YouTube user pacnick11, interviewed Don Demartini, a video editor for WTTW television station in Chicago, about his experience in the field on May 26, 2016. He had worked on documentaries, news videos, commercials and other promotional videos (pacnick11, 2016). When asked about how he started the career he had a familiar answer; he started by being a production assistant at a local company and did the grunt work like getting coffee for clients, but then had the success of moving up the ladder in the field. Demartini’s work follows a project-based pattern which results in some irregular hours despite having a steady job. Demartini shares his insight on the stress of deadlines in the workplace: “You might not make it home for dinner. You might be here till the next morning, so it does cut personal life” (quoted in video by pacnick11, 2016). He dwells on the necessity to be calm when dealing with other creative people with various personality types under pressure.

What It Takes to Start a YouTube Channel: Barriers of Initial Success

In order to actually start a YouTube channel you need to create an account. YouTube started in 2004 and by 2006 was purchased by Google, so a Gmail account will easily connect. Users can not only share their own videos, but also subscribe to and watch other users’ videos for free (Chau, 2010, p. 66).

According to research performed by ComScore in 2009, 17 percent of teens who had registered for a YouTube account did so to broadcast their original content (Chau, 2010, p. 66). Other uses would be to comment, keep track of what videos they had seen, like or dislike other videos and create playlists. Youth are an incredibly important part of the YouTube population and YouTube supports the creative development of teens through a participatory culture. Youth are able to learn and grow, but the internet routinely is not a safe place free from nasty comments, predators and illusions. It is crucial to consider that youth often have school during the day and the content they post would primarily come from outside school hours in the evenings, therefore competing for time with homework, sports, clubs, sleep, part-time jobs, dinner and other activities. Honor Stevenson, an advice vlogger, admits to the hardships of pleasing others and the pressure of putting yourself out on the internet. “I know from experience that if you’re not confident in yourself, the hate that you can get will take a toll on your self- esteem...Accept yourself for who you are before asking others to accept you” (quoted by Hudson, 2015). During the teenage years, everyone is trying to figure out who they are, what they value and what they want to work towards. This is a judgement filled time and when a teen is not sure of his or herself every little comment can feel like a bulldozer trying to knock you down.

Once you have the account and ideally have the confidence to upload video you feel great about at the time, you are free to film, edit then share the file to YouTube. While anyone can upload a video, it is the expertise in the development and marketing of the video that will catch the attention of viewers. This is one barrier to entry for the video field. One can build up their skills as they go, but the content and topic are required to be stellar in order for any of those primary videos to take off with any sort of popularity. An important factor is that without good technology, you are limited in your capabilities of producing a high-quality video. This means one must have the funds in order to invest in the channel. This is a risk that not all individuals depending on their class have the ability to take. After calculating the cost to invest in decent technology, a newcomer would be looking at approximately $2000 (see Figure A1). This would only include a camera, microphone, tripod, a proper light, editing software and hardware. “Unlike most jobs, working on YouTube is something you have to pay to do for a long time before anybody will pay you back” (Lennard, 2015). I know that most students would not be able to afford this even after gifts from birthdays, big holidays such as Christmas and working while trying to pay student fees and living expenses. Having the privilege of a family who can support you in following a video editing passion while maintaining the required dues elsewhere would set you apart in the field instantly. Once you have this set up and can produce a well-lit, good resolution and cleanly edited mini production there also needs to be someone on the other side who will watch your videos, listen to what you have to say and like your content too.

Being an expert is what will make people take the time to pay attention. Karen Patel wrote about expertise alongside Daniel Ashton, but she also gave a presentation at ECREA on the experiences of female artists specifically. She identified and quoted Code (1991) in saying, “a woman, by contrast, is disempowered in the face of authority and expertise because she is female” (quoted by Patel, 2016). The expertise she speaks of is “specialist knowledge and skill” but a key factor here is that it needs to be “recognized as legitimate” (Patel, 2016). By discrediting a woman on the basis of her gender, knowledgeable individuals with valuable opinions and perspectives are being pushed aside. Class, gender, sexual identity and other personal identifiers can all create barriers. These can hinder the popularity and subsequently the potential income from monetization due to lack of views.

Video is a medium of promise and also of corruption, of democratization but also of threats to society, of mass audience reception but also of masculine tech-fetish connoisseurship, of authentic representation but also of inauthentic facsimiles of real representations. (Newman, 2014, p. 101) Video appears to be a double-edged sword and seems to cut deeper into those of lesser socio-economic status than those who are white, male and privileged. Olly Lennard wrote an article called “How to really be a YouTube star: Be white and wealthy”. In this work, he argues that this barrier is not necessarily caused because of discrimination but perhaps signifies social inequality (Lennard, 2015). There are many white families in comparison to those of other races that already have the disposable income required to buy the supplies to get a channel started in addition to spare time that is not spent on working multiple jobs due to the family money that is already saved (Lennard, 2015). After all, people tend to watch and connect with other people who look like themselves and so therefore this creates a cyclical pattern of white-dominated media. He specifies that the real money is in the advertising, but in order to make any real money you need to build up your channel first, which might include travelling and producing dozens of videos to create a loyal fanbase (Lennard, 2015).

YouTube as a company itself will also help certain individuals rise above the others with the YouTube Partnership Program, barring you deny their terms and conditions. The perks include monetization, which can encourage users to dedicate more time, money and energy to developing high-quality content, and, as of 2011, allowed users to upload longer videos (Chau, 2010, p. 68). Users may now apply to the program through their Creator Studio. Nicole Bogart of Global News clarifies in her online article on YouTube studios, “every monetized YouTube channel has a CPM, which stands for “cost per thousand” – a dollar figure that fluctuates depending on what type of ads play on your videos. For example, if you had a $2 CPM, you would make $2 for every 1,000 video views” (2016). She goes on to ensure people recognize that YouTube is making a profit too off the same ads being played before or during the creator’s video as ad revenue (Bogart, 2016).

In recent years, YouTube has begun to demonetize videos for a variety of reasons; two of these reasons are for gore and inappropriateness (Cartlidge, 2017). Rebekah Cartlidge, Features Reporter, claims that this can deter creators from posting on YouTube (2017). Why would someone edit a video that may not contribute to their income? This would take precious time out of their week and not result in any profit. There also seems to be preference within the system to allow bigger celebrities such as Jimmy Kimmel to slip through and profit off of ads during a segment on the Las Vegas Shooting when other creators explicitly intend to donate any revenue in support of the same topic (Cartlidge, 2017).

An Effort to Make a Living or Live the Dream?

YouTubers don’t often start a channel to make a living but to work on something their passionate about and enjoy doing, especially if they are still in their teens. Skye Hudson spoke with 10 different YouTubers about their drive to create videos and what it is like in the industry. She clarifies that not one person she spoke to in regard to their YouTube channel said that they did it for money (Hudson, 2015). John Berchtold, a YouTuber who mainly published skits up until 2017 told Hudson:

I never make YouTube videos for the fame or the money. I ... don’t have millions of subscribers, and to me, that’s okay. I do it because I’ve always loved to entertain. I moved out to LA recently to pursue the film industry and making YouTube videos has always been an extension of my love for it. If I can make one person happy, I’ve done my job. (quoted by Hudson, 2015)

Berchtold is an example of someone interested in the film industry overall but has since left YouTube to pursue acting full-time. It is a common pattern to see YouTubers start a channel, run it for a few years and then move on to different things generally where they make more money. However, this is not the goal and creators often have trouble accepting that they need to divert their time towards something that will help them thrive financially if their channel does not take off and have a profit.

YouTubers and vloggers do this creative work for the pure love of filming and editing, but for other personal reasons too. Alayna (also known as MissFenderr) said, “I love being able to look back and remember different parts of my life. I love communicating with my viewers. I vlog because I love it” (quoted in Hudson, 2015). There is also the element of creative freedom, which lets individuals post the content they wish without having to go through television producers or other regulatory bodies to have their work shown to the world. YouTubers Dan and Jo said, “On YouTube, you have control of your content, what you’re producing, how you’re represented, and the business opportunities that come with it. It’s our generation’s definition of the self-made man” (quoted in Hudson, 2015).

YouTubers love what they do, and there is not anyone telling them they have to make these videos, so the drive must come from within. The question is how much effort actually goes into the development of a typical 5-10-minute video. Out of the vloggers that Skye Hudson interviewed, the answers averaged at 2-3 hours for a simple video or up to 10 hours for a more complex video with a higher amount of editing and filming time required.

In order to keep up with posting frequent high-quality videos, other areas in a vlogger’s life end up suffering. MissFenderr, mentioned previously, is a student, volunteers, works as a teaching assistant and as a marker in addition to putting out videos usually once per week (Hudson, 2015). These people need to make money somehow and must complete at least a basic level of required education in order to get a job that will sustain them.

To make money, fans are important and in fact crucial. No company will sponsor a YouTuber without a fanbase to whom they can market their products. “Unlike many mainstream celebrities, who shy away from the public and keep their fans at arm’s length, YouTube creators tend to work the crowd (Kyncl & Peyvan, 2017, p. 2). Without the support of the fans, it may be difficult to keep up momentum in creating videos. As indicated by Kyncl and Peyvan, the success of the YouTubers is due to their accessibility and the connections they develop with their fans both online and in the physical world (2017, p. 2). Matthew Humphries wrote in an article for PC Mag three more ways that YouTube creators can make money in 2018; however, these are currently for the benefit of primarily those living in the United States. Special channel subscriptions were introduced for creators with a minimum of 100000 subscribers. These subscriptions enable “creators to offer" unique badges, new emoji, members-only posts in the community tab, and access to unique custom perks offered by creators, such as exclusive livestreams, extra videos, or shout-outs" in return for $4.99 per month from a subscriber” (Humphries, 2018). A partnership with Teespring allowing for US creators with over 10000 subscribers to get merchandise made allows for more revenue and finally the ability to engage with fans with pre-recorded hyped up “live” videos that have premiere release dates have begun too (Humphries, 2018).

The need and desire to earn more money than the video advertisement revenue can offer is common. Bigger stars can get funding from marketing products and sharing reviews, but the even smaller “micro-celebrities” need a strong brand to accentuate the videos. Merchandising has been a popular route since before YouTube’s partnership this year. “The creator of animated character Lucas the Spider recently made more than a million dollars in 18 days selling adorable stuffed versions of the arachnid” (Kelly, 2018). Brent River, a humorous YouTuber, has promoted Pop Tarts, sells merchandise and has been cast in a Hulu show after building his 4.2 million following on YouTube (Kelly, 2018). YouTube offers a main platform, but overall branding across various forms of social media, meet and greets at conferences like VidCon and selling yourself anyway you can to keep pursuing your passion for video creation is necessary and exhausting. Amy Shira Teitel, an educational host on the video platform says, "I've never wanted to do YouTube full time...What I do for a living did not exist five years ago and might not exist in five years. The idea of solely relying on the whims of people on the internet. I can't deal with that inconsistency” (Kelly, 2018).

Precarious Work

Precarity within the video industry is all too prominent. In 2015, over 43 per cent of the creative industries workforce was self-employed and this was only expected to rise (Tambling, 2015). The entrepreneurial pathway allows for flexibility, a seemly positive trait, yet this often means that the business owner is the one who is required to be flexible enough to go above and beyond a typical work day in order to attract and keep clients, subscribers and collaborators. Starting a business requires copious amounts of rigorous work. Pauline Tambling (CBE) spoke at an AQA Creative Education Conference in 2015 and was faced with many questions regarding the future of the creative industries. She indicates that those entering the creative industries need to “make a job” rather than apply for one, meaning starting their own company or being a well- rounded “enterprising young freelancer” (Tambling, 2015). While freelancing, there is not only a lack of secure and consistent pay but also a lack of benefits. You are hired and assigned to a project that may take anywhere from one week to a few years, but you are not given holiday or sick pay, overtime pay, pensions or insurance; never mind an actual readily available place to do your work and company internet or other tools required to complete the task (Tambling, 2015). The biggest issue is that when a creative worker is doing freelancing and they get sick, they might not have any income at all from any of their likely few jobs, which can be the difference between being able to afford medical treatment or developing a more serious issue. Aidan White, an International Media Consultant wrote a working paper titled “The digital labour challenge: Work in the age of new media” for the International Labour Office in Geneva. He identifies a media industry trend towards freelance work becoming more prominent due to technology itself. “Technology makes it easier for media companies to manage their employees on a variable (freelance) rather than fixed (fully employed) basis and, particularly in countries where labour costs are high, they increasingly choose to employ workers only when they are needed” (White, 2012). Although this form of work is not new, in the transition from print to digital it is accelerating in popularity (White, 2012). In Germany, workers might be hired by the same company doing similar work multiple times with short intermissions between contracts keeping them in a state of “permanent freelance” or “feste frei” (White, 2012). Workers are stuck into choosing the option of either following this pattern or having no job at all.

LumaForge, a YouTube channel, interviewed video editors Sven Pape, Alexa Hann, Tony Gallardo and Adam Bedford to discuss their career in the industry in a panel setting (2018). The idea of project work is brought up again here and Pape argues that only choosing projects you’re passionate about is important (quoted in LumaForge, 2018). The love of their work is evident, but you can see that they have to do strict budgeting of their time in order to do the storytelling they adore through editing. Some of that time revolves around networking in order to meet people who might be able to hire you for your talent in video editing. Bedford says that “everyone you meet is a job interview” and Hann continues this in saying that “creating your own opportunities” is crucial (quoted in LumaForge, 2018). Overall there was an emphasis on the fact that there is no room for laziness and that you need to “overdeliver” to get that next contract (LumaForge, 2018).

Connecting for video editors and YouTubers specifically in Toronto, Ontario has been made easier by YouTube with their studios at George Brown College. New as of 2016, this space is intended to host YouTube personalities and those just beginning their journey on the site. There are two filming studio spaces including equipment inside, except only those with over 10000 subscribers will be permitted to use them (Bogart, 2016). In the common spaces though, newcomers can mingle with other creators and get advice from those who are more established (Bogart, 2016). Without a space to meet, it can be challenging to find other people who work in the field and spend their time making videos due to the fact that it is such an individualistic activity. “While you may be reaching millions, [making videos] is really a personal thing – it’s just you and a camera,” said Becky Wright of The Sorry Girls, a popular Canadian channel (quoted in Bogart, 2016). This is a great way to find people to collaborate with for videos, learn about different techniques and engage with creators who have felt the same tensions to make money or at least produce content that make other people entertained.

Being a worker in the video editing industry is also reliant on having other people like your work. You are in the business of pleasing people. This can be challenging when trying to stick to your craft, who you are as a creator and the passion you have for video editing. The individual creators themselves have the authority to control what is published and when, especially as a start-up channel on YouTube. However, without another job to pay for things such as rent and other living expenses, it can be challenging meeting the financial demands of developing aesthetic content. As YouTube stars become more popular, they can experience the abundance of pressure resulting in anxiety and conforming to societal standards to earn praise and money.

Case Study: Michelle Phan

Michelle Phan was a beauty influencer and tutorial host. The information obtained for this person case study derives from watching her channel and videos, in particular Michelle Phan’s Why I Left video from 2017. She started her account in 2006 and posted her first video on May 20, 2007. The bulk of her videos are makeup tutorials and that’s where she got her start, but her more recent videos included career advice, trend reports and even a travel diary. When just starting her channel she began with the common issue of using a camera with poor resolution and poor audio with no external support aside from close family or friends. She did her own editing work and decided what the video should focus on and include. The video success was reliant on the content itself as well as outside personal branding and connections she had to establish an original viewer base. Michelle Phan left YouTube in 2016 and posted one last video in 2017 to explain why she left. At the beginning of her YouTube journey she focused on basic looks that were personal to her everyday routine. It was authentic content. These videos revealed Phan’s personality and had topics she shared to help others (Phan, 2017). She applied for art school where she got her own laptop and started making her videos. She didn’t originally try making videos for money. YouTube wasn’t about making money at the beginning, but once monetization took-off she left her part time job to focus on her channel. Providing for her family was of importance and combining that with her love of art to make money was a dream (Phan, 2017).

A crucial factor in this transition was that she needed to move to where this passion could be supported by a larger team than just herself and her family. In California, Phan’s own personal touch was interfered by busy executives and producers; she was signing contracts to pay for her family, but Phan was “turned into a product to sell on YouTube” (Phan, 2017). She had an extremely curated public image and although the great lighting, fancy titles and fine editing added great production value, this was another expectation and involved fans and critics putting pressure on her.

She worked hard to earn money but lost the connection between her YouTube personality and herself. Michelle Phan followed her inner passion, however she ended up not being pleased with the creative work she was doing. Her video channel was being created for viewers and their retention dictated how much she earned. She decided to pursue other business routes selling beauty products and a comic book.

Case Study: The Try Guys

The Try Guys formulated in 2014 when Zach Kornfeld, Keith Habersberger, Eugene Lee Yang and Ned Fulmer were interns for Buzzfeed and produced videos directly from the brainstorming phase, to directing, to shooting and then editing. They try out different experiences, such as wearing high heels for a night, eating various ethnic cuisines and testing the legal alcohol limit. The information in this analysis derives from watching their Buzzfeed videos and new 2nd Try LLC channel with additional focus on the video Why We Started Our Own Company, which was posted to The Try Guys channel on July 18, 2018. They left Buzzfeed in early 2018 for multiple reasons but mainly to pursue their own production company together. Immediately they figured out how much of a difference there was in terms of both technical and moral support. The more support a channel has, the more opinions and regulations present during production, but without the support the financial burden can be incredibly heavy. From lighting to cameras to backdrops and sound technology – it all needed to be purchased and brought together. They turned Ned’s old house into their office and studio space and invested in their business together putting in 25% each (The Try Guys, 2018). There was no longer a huge crew and company to rely on but still a few personal staff members to pay. They took a couple of months to create multiple new high-quality videos in their new space and get the ball rolling. Ned and his wife had a baby and Eugene filmed for a feature-length film at this time while Zach and Keith tried to pick up the slack and keep their dreams afloat at the house. While still preparing, there were many long days and nights of work.

Due to their popularity from their previous roles at Buzzfeed, the new independent channel took off instantly. They have their own website with a Try Guys merchandise section, have news and quick content posted on Instagram and most importantly publish videos on YouTube and Facebook. Buzzfeed worked as a catalyst for The Try Guy’s inevitable creative production. As videos are an extremely popular form of consumable creativity, these makers’ creative products are in high demand. They are technically still connected to Buzzfeed though as a branded content and advertising sales representatives (The Try Guys, 2018). The Try Guys took a huge risk in developing their own production company, 2nd Try LLC. The pursuit of passion in video editing and vlogging is made difficult with its precarious nature and the uncertainty of reception. Thankfully for their sake, it was worth it for The Try Guys.

Conclusions and Future Research

As demonstrated in my research, I have analyzed the experiences and hardships of those in the video editing and YouTube sectors of the creative industries. To become a video creator, one must be willing to give up a lot of time and money as they work hard in hopes of making it in the field. The uncertainty of reception from the digital audience is enough to make a creator think twice about an investment. With the challenge of thinking up new ideas for various clients or the staggering demand of fresh content posted weekly on YouTube, it takes an overly creative mind to keep up with the requests of viewers. The tedious repetitive motions and strain from the digital screens in darker rooms can take a physical toll on a creator’s body, this is one area in which there is more to research. The health of any worker is imperative to the success of their work, and in this case their video craft. Mental health concerns for those under the societal pressures to produce consistently fabulous content with incoming troll messages beating them down is immense. The overall pressure to live up to fan’s expectations can be overwhelming and stressful. With such tense creative work, one might question how long this type of position can be held by someone in the limelight. There are clearly risks involved within this precarious industry and that includes losing oneself to please other people, like Michelle Phan did in her YouTube journey. There is the frustration of dealing with others who have a different creative vision than yourself but are funding a project or paying your salary. There is plenty of burden put on those who wish to take on their passion of filmmaking full time, but there is also the excitement for those who perform well and are able to make money and feel the love from their fans whether just a viewer or a full subscriber. The hard work of a creator with their own branded channel or business does not stop once an editor has been successful; they must continually put out top-notch projects, episodes, documentaries and/or vlogs to keep the money coming. It is questionable if it is a possibility for someone to fully commit to their vision of their work when money is involved as it tends to drive decision. Where do people draw the line in terms of sticking up for their dreams and their original passion? In Kyncl and Peyvan’s book, Streampunks, they open with a hopeful dedication: “to the kid out there filming a video on a smartphone who will one day become the biggest entertainer in the world” (2017, p. v). In the pursuit of expression of creativity in a laborious field, I wish this kid a journey of connections, support, playfulness, initiative and, quite frankly, a whole lot of luck.


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