VidCon 2017 Notes


I’m a little behind on my VidCon recaps (it’s almost been a month already!), but I wanted to bring you something a little different on the blog today: my VidCon notes!

I have a little notebook that I bring with me every year and fill up with notes while attending panels, but one of the worst things I tend to do is that when I get back home from VidCon, I never look at that notebook again until the next VidCon!  In order to help me process what I learned a little better this year, I thought I’d share with you the notes I took this year. Be warned, some of them don’t make much sense to me now (What did I mean by just “backlays?” We may never know.) But hopefully you can decipher some of my gibberish to gather some information if you attended different panels or weren’t at VidCon.



Moderator: Blake de Pastino (Editor in Chief – SciShow/Crash Course)
Panelists: Dianna Cowern (Physics Girl), Michael Stevens (Vsauce), Sally Le Page, Henry Reich (MinutePhysics & MinuteEarth), Brady Haran, Kim Diaz (Creative Producer – Sesame Studios)
  • What comes first? Fun or able to understand content?
    • Learning is fun by default but you can mess it up
    • Start from excitement
    • Learning yourself and sharing your experience
  • How much do you think about your audience?
    • Who you make for and who watches your content can be different
    • Science edu with 80-90% male
    • Girls under 13 excited about science but it drops off as they get older → Why? How to change this?
    • Makes for his wife (who will never watch) → Brady Haran
    • Be a good interviewer and ask the right questions
  • How do you reach people who aren’t seeking to be educated?
    • Title/thumbnail (clickbait-ish?) → Vsauce suggestion
    • We learn things all the time
    • Hard to break into the media bubble
    • People who don’t think of themselves as lifelong learners are more apprehensive
    • Teaching humanities = teaching critical thinking
  • Three Blue One Brown → a good example
  • Mental Health Content = public service + don’t be ashamed to tell people when they’re wrong


Transitioning Your Channel into a Full-Fledged Business

Moderator: Phil Ranta (COO – Studio 71)
Panelists: Thomas Ridgewell, Mindy McKnight, Megan Batoon, Joe Penna, Benji Travis
  • Megan Batoon (amalgam of talents, but what’s her business?)
  • Thomas Ridgewell (office + 2 employees)
  • Other Sources of Revenue
    • Patreon
    • Affiliates (recommending products/services; see Video Influencers)
    • T-shirts
    • Sponsorships
    • Speaker fees (issue-based YouTubers)
    • Selling your own brand/business
  • “Amateur needs inspiration, a professional needs discipline”
  • Common mistake for new YouTubers: getting stuck and thinking it doesn’t change; “adapt or die”
  • Clear voice and idea of who you are
  • Business vs Personal income → create a business bank account
  • Get attorney sooner rather than later
  • Find friends to help you out
  • “Am I doing what I love to do?”
  • A team sooner rather than later
  • 50/50 rule in job → pays bills/what you’re passionate about


Workshop: Video Production Shortcuts: How to Make Better Videos in Less Time

Presenter: Thomas Frank
  • Channel to teach college students how to learn better and get better grades
  • Thomas Frank → collegeinfogeek.com/VidCon
  • Softboxes light to wall; small LED light for face
  • Gorillapod → tripod head for all different tripods/places (makes it easier to switch out cameras/tripods/setups)
  • Remote + power strip (for quick on/off)
  • Need a “pre-flight checklist” before you shoot
  • Overhead set-up → I NEED THIS!
  • Make a b-roll list before shooting
  • Create animation templates in AE
  • “Preset Properties” → use for description
  • Ripple edit → cuts out bad and moves forward
  • Compression & EQ on audio
  • Presets in AE → select animation keyframes > animation > save as preset
  • Tools:
    • Universe – Red Giant
    • Animation Creator – Video Hive
    • FX Console – Video Copilot
    • Flow – AE Script
  • Alias → set to shorthand
  • Charisma on Command
    • What is your art? And what is your ego?
  • Frame IO → upload rough cut → make comments at time stamps
  • Build standard operating procedures list
  • Google: “Sources for Creative Commons”
  • ICG slack channel → what do you offer? Advertise and collaborate
  • MMO mouse
  • Read through Premiere shortcut keys → so many options that aren’t even assigned yet!
  • Backlays


Workshop: Branding Your Brand’s Brand

Presenter: Charli Marie
  • Not just how it looks but how it feels
  • Overall impression when on channel
  • What’s unique about you?
  • Who are you?
    • What is your channel mission?
    • Who is your audience?
    • What impression do you want to give through your brand?
    • What impression are people getting now from your brand?
  • ME:
    • Inspire young women to believe in themselves & follow their passion
    • 16-24 young women/students/like being creative
    • Creative/fun/inquisitive
  • Visual Identity
    • Canva/Gimp → online photo editing
    • Keep it cohesive
    • Keep it simple
    • Keep it you
    • Dribbble.com → designers
    • Write on effect in AE


How to Engage With Community

Moderator: Heather Wilder (Head of Creator Care – Patreon)
Panelists: Olga Kay, Trevor Moran, Ash Hardell, SuperSamStuff, Julia Nunes
  • Olga Kay → older sister/mom
  • Videos for Self / | \ Videos for subscribers (try to stay in middle ground; not too far on either side)
  • Self-moderating community
  • +1 system
  • Choose moderators from most engaged fans
  • Look up Sam (on panel) → what does he create? Smaller channel.
  • Build a family type of community
  • Consistent
  • Protect against burnout; stop just short of burning out for some?
  • Julia Nunes recommends Tessa for vlogs → “she’s the friend of vlogs”
  • What one word would describe your community?


YouTube in the Classroom

Moderator: Angela Lin (Head of Family & Learning Partnerships – YouTube)
Panelists: Caitlin Hofmeister (Senior Producer/Host – SciShow), Henry Reich (MinutePhysics & MinuteEarth), Destin Sandlin (Smarter Every Day), Viviane Lalande (Scilabus), Teresa Mobley


  • “Wow factor” to make them care
  • Teresa Mobley → teaching teachers how to use YT in the classroom
  • Google Classroom (?)
  • Harder to work into curriculum → balancing lifelong learner and the classroom learner
  • Show process of discovery and trick them into learning
  • “Nerd is the new awesome”
  • YouTube kids app → finding edu content on their own
  • Can’t make changes to video without re-uploading → this is a problem! Why hasn’t YT fixed this yet?
  • Watch – Know – Learn → teacher approved content (website to connect YT creators + teachers)
  • Ed Puzzle → add questions with video
  • One video = one objective
  • WeCreateEdu.com
  • Keywords that link to standards


Art & Online Video

Moderator: Sarah Urist Green (The Art Assignment)
Panelists: Didda, Beth Radloff (SNARLED), John Le, Jamie Wells (Visual Jamie)
  • Didda → imagination
  • INFJ → “counselor” → inspire & motivate people; “older sister”
  • Visual Jamie (Twitch)
  • Beth Radloff (Snarled)
  • Hate comments hurt most when it’s actually about your work.
  • Joshua Tree → camping
  • When work takes creativity, you will burnout/run out of creative flow


Hank Green & Phil DeFranco Fireside Chat

  • Not hitting the levers (for money) that they could → out of fear
  • It’s hard to launch a business, easier to launch from something
  • What’s a step between having audience and monetizing → need your own thing to make money
  • Never be beholden to one website (aka revenue source)
  • Can be fruitful to blaze your own path (when other platforms are supersaturated)
  • Patreon = safe base (because you can’t base a business on virality)
  • Still trying to innovate after all this time and to influence/motivate people
  • Less about motivation and more about discipline (Long Term Success)
  • It’s a marathon not a sprint
  • Snacked (?) → video responses


Search & Discovery on YouTube: Tips for Success

***Article in creator academy with this information****

**** bit.ly/YTdiscover ****

  • Audience not algorithm
  • Long term engagement and satisfaction
  • Deliver on promise of your title + thumbnail
  • Avoid over sensational/outrageous catches
  • Over 200 million videos on the home feed every day.
  1. Search → title, description, what’s in the video itself? (tags apparently aren’t super important anymore)
    1. Show best video for that query (is it relevant to keyword)
    2. Write robust descriptions
    3. Use trends in the keywords
    4. Develop a search based show (e.g. Scishow)
    5. Put misspellings in tags
  2. Suggested Videos
    1. Stronger call to action
    2. Consider sitewide popular formats
  3. Home
    1. Spend time as a viewer
    2. Put yourself in the shoes of the viewer
    3. Look at Home + Subscriptions feeds
  4. Subscribers (all areas)
    1. Ask for subs @ the emotional climax
    2. Upload when you think they’re awake (at school? work?)
    3. Educate viewers on how they’ll get videos once subbed
  5. Trending
    1. Broad mass appeal content
    2. Getting views outside of this list
    3. Try to show videos in “Trending” section before they’re trending
    4. Viral video strategy
    5. Has video in the past trended?
  6. Notifications
    1. Mobile push + email notifications (highlights)
    2. Over sending notifications can make them unsubscribe
    3. Educate subscribers
    4. Treat them as superfans (bell ringers)


How to Get the Most Out of Snapchat

Presenter: Shaun McBride (Shonduras)
  • Creating stories with payoffs rather than updates about your day
  • People loves series
  • Getting people involved → building something with “family”
  • Don’t overuse “shout outs” because it’s a detriment to your voice
  • Can’t go viral → you must have a plan to reach a larger audience
  • How to stand out?
    • You don’t get views from sending out your snapcode on other social media accounts
    • Get featured on internet as “person to follow on snapchat”
    • “Emails from mom” (insert silly face)
    • Snapchat wars
  • About perception rather than # of subscribers
  • Work smarter not harder
  • Create a unique strategy
  • Move to next platform (consider it like the next level)

Why You Should Be Your Own Valentine

Valentine-1Welcome to February—the Season of Love! Or as I like to call it, “The Make Sure You’ve Validated Your Worth Through a Relationship” time of year. But seriously though, everyone makes February about either couples’ romance or “Singles’ Awareness.” All the dating websites and apps promotions are in full swing, and every ad I see is for “getting the best gift for your honey,” and they all make me want to gag. Last year, I wrote about why we hate Valentine’s Day even though it’s supposed to be a day of happy, mushy, gushy feelings. This year, I’m not feeling quite as cynical, but I do have a Valentine’s Challenge for you: use Valentine’s Day to be YOUR OWN Valentine.

What does this mean, you might ask? Do you need to send candy and flowers to yourself on the 14th? No, it’s not so literal as that (although, I suppose you could if you really wanted to). Being your own Valentine is about loving yourself this Valentine’s day. We can get so caught up in having a “fairytale” romance because we think it will make us happy, when really, what we need more than anything is a little self-love. My YouTube videos are geared towards teen girls (though I know all demographics enjoy them), and I give them this challenge for Valentine’s Day too because I remember from my time as a teen how ALL IMPORTANT Valentine’s Day and having a boyfriend was to me. Looking back at age 24 though, I see how much time and energy I wasted worrying myself sick about boys and relationships. Not that me telling teen girls to stop worrying is actually going to have any effect on stopping their obsession with boys, but I at least want to give them an alternative. Like being your own Valentine.

So why should you be your own Valentine this year?

1.) Skip the stupid Valentine’s Day heartache!

When you’re single on Valentine’s Day, it sucks. You’re constantly reminded of your singleness by every commercial, restaurant special, and friend who “can’t hangout because they have plans.” If you’re a teen and hoping for a secret admirer to show up with a flowers or a card in your locker, you’re setting yourself up for heartache. This isn’t the movies! Those kinds of things don’t really happen! So you’re better off taking the time to love yourself a little extra on Valentine’s Day rather than wasting it wondering if the cute barista at your frequented coffee shop will give you a foam heart design on your order.


2.) It builds self-confidence and self-worth!

When I talk about “being your own Valentine,” I mean using Valentine’s Day to look at yourself and take stock. What are you being too hard on yourself about? Where do you need some extra encouragement? What do you feel inadequate in? Take those faults you find, and bolster them up with love. Remind yourself that you are not your pants size. Remember that you’re so much more than the job you currently have or how expensive your clothes are. Heck, find a cheesy valentine card (they’re rampant on the Internet) and send one to yourself. Just remind yourself of how awesome you are even when you don’t feel so great.




3.) Why should you rely on someone else for your happiness?

But really, why does a guy buying you flowers or jewelry mean that you have any more worth than you did before you had a guy doing that? You can be happy with or without a guy fawning over you.

4.) Boys are stupid anyway.

No one can argue that point, I bet! We love them, but they also do some stupid things and can be stupidly oblivious to wonderfully devoted women right in front of them. So just be your own Valentine and skip the drama and friend-zoning.

5.) It applies to you if you’re single or taken.

Sometimes we forget once we have a significant other that we should still love ourselves. We start to gather all of our self-worth from the relationship rather than cultivating it personally and sharing it with our partner. We get consumed by trying to make a relationship work that we forget to take care of ourselves. So this Valentine’s Day, remember to love yourself more than anyone else. You can celebrate with your significant other or by yourself or not at all but don’t forget that the most important person to make happy is you.



Five Reasons To Be Who You Are  


Sometimes I want to be anyone but who I am. No, make that sometimes I always want to be anyone but who I am. Why is that you ask? Is it because I’m fat or ugly or stupid or unsuccessful? Is it because I’m depressed or lonely or confused or lost in life? It’s all and none. It’s true and false. It’s that I hate who I am. It’s that I love who I am. It’s that I just don’t always know.

I think a lot about what it would be like to be other people. Or to be myself but if I was living a different life. It’s a nice fantasy to drift into when I’m feeling down about myself. But then there are times when I’m hit with irreplaceable joy at being alive. I’m so happy to be living and so floored by the idea that I am living as ME that I can’t imagine existing any other way. And it’s in those moments that I have to revel in the beauty of life. They don’t come all that often, but when they do, it’s the most glorious feeling. And it’s that feeling—that pure JOY of being who you are—that I want to share with you today in hopes that you might find it and enjoy it in the moment as well.


1.) You are the only you.

Doppelgängers aside, the you that is inside, the one that has completely unique characteristics, DNA, and history, that “you” can never be replicated by another person. In nature or by man’s intervention, it’s impossible to recreate all those tiny and seemingly insignificant factors that went into making you who you are. You are, in truth, “special” because there is no one else like you nor can there ever be anyone else like you. Rejoice! You are the singular stakeholder in the stock that is “you,” and you get to keep it for all of your life.

2.) You, being you, brings others joy.

But then you might say, “what does it matter if I’m the only me? I don’t like who I am, special or not.” Ah, but you see, you bring joy to someone. You may not know who. It may only be your mother or the man who runs the fish market down the street, but don’t they matter? Isn’t their joy important? Doesn’t it make you feel just a little bit amazing to know that your mere existence—your non-effort at being yourself—makes someone else happy? I might just have a people-pleasing problem, but I find it reassuring to know that there are people out there who want me and need me to be me because it makes being themselves easier.

3.) If you aren’t you, then who will be?

Imagining ourselves as other people is a standard past time. It’s portrayed in movies and books and short stories, but is it realistic? Of course not. You can’t just decide that you’re going to be someone else, walk out of your skin, and step into someone else’s shoes. (What a terror that would be! People just get tired of their lives at any point and becoming someone rich and famous. But what would happen to their original selves? Who would fill their shoes? It’s not so simple as deciding you don’t want to be yourself anymore. It would leaves ripples in the universe that would disrupt the balance of things. You being you—or at least the fact that you EXIST—is essential to the way the world works. If you just disappeared, we’d be left with a hole that you might think is insignificant but truly does matter in the grand scheme of things. No one is going to come take your place, and that’s why it’s so important for you to be you.

4.) You can’t be truly happy without being you.

This is the number one reason that I advocate for being yourself. People like to believe that they can just pretend to be something they’re not—something or someone they think would make their life better if they were—only to spend their lives feeling empty, worthless, and pointless. Feeling these negative emotions is completely understandable, but I think they only truly occur when we aren’t honest with ourselves about who we are. When we try to scrunch and squeeze into a mold that isn’t our own, we diminish ourselves and our potential for happiness. Our real happiness can only come from embracing all of our idiosyncrasies and quirks—all those things we try to hide and we think makes us undesirable or weird or unworthy. But, in truth, it’s those little things that make us unique and when we accept them and feel others accept them too, we find happiness.

5.) “You” isn’t static.

While point four is my number one reason for being yourself, point five is the most important. I think most of us believe that we are who we are and that’s it. If we feel like that person isn’t desirable to the rest of the world then we lose all hope for a bright future and happiness. But what you have to understand is that we have the greatest capability for change, and we change naturally. There is deciding that you don’t like who you are and that you need to be someone who you think is more awesome, and then there is naturally and gradually growing and developing into the best version of you. There is a huge difference between these two approaches to life. I think we are always ourselves, but I think we also always have potential for growth. We must continually strive towards the better and fuller version of ourselves. I think that’s where we find our peace.   Where we find our happiness.   Where we find truth.

You aren’t static.  You are a dynamic, ever-growing human who has potential and a future.  And if you didn’t exist, especially if you didn’t exist as the person you are now, the world would never and could never be the same.  So be who you are because you are important piece of the grand puzzle of the universe.