Dissecting a 24 year old YouTuber’s creative process

Dissecting a 24 year old YouTuber’s creative process

I love having mentors who are half my age, especially those who inspire me to be creative and embody the unbundling of the career.  Marques Brownlee (aka MKBHD) reviews tech on YouTube, a la Walt Mossberg (for my fellow Gen X’ers). He started making videos in high school and now at 24 years old is being courted by the Apples and Samsungs of the world to cover their highest profile product launches.

I wanted to get inside his head to understand has creative process and was able to on Peter Kafka’s Recode Media podcast.

Advice for aspiring YouTubers

The barrier to entry to doing what I do now is huge compared to when I started 10 years ago. There’s a massive [amount of it and the production level of a basic YouTube video created by a teenager] is amazing compared to what I made when I started. The camera in your phone is incredible and with just a little bit of knowledge about iMovie and lighting you can make something great.

Don’t focus on tools

This reminded me about our obsession with fancy tools. Not only does this cost a ton of money, but it acts as an avoidance technique to putting ourselves out there creatively. And that’s how you can create your own luck.

The barrier to entry is mainly in your own head. I get asked, what camera should I buy, because what they see is the production. My answer to that is: Take what you have and just start now. Because if you don’t enjoy making videos with what you have, you’re not going to enjoy the process of building something up for 5-6 years.

But… no one’s watching

Then there’s the relentless search for the audience. The growth hacking and optimization. I struggle with this because if I’ve already written something, I want to get the most “social media bang for my buck.” But lost in this search for validation, is that without a deep Well of ideas, there’s nothing to share. Often times the best investment of time is looking for these great ideas.

Just get into it, get your feet wet, get your hands dirty. If you make what you’re passionate about and hope that someone watches. But that’s not guaranteed to happen and you just gotta keep going. You can learn marketing, SEO, title optimization and thumbnails. There’s little things you can do to get people to try to get people to watch more, but nothing will make as drastic of a difference as the video itself. That’s what makes people watch it.

Just start

The creative process is about just starting after all. It’s out there, unpolished, and “emergent.” But you have to just start. Adds Kafka:

This is the exact same advice you’d give to someone who wants to get into writing or acting. Which is do it.

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Khe Hy
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Khe Hy is the creator of RadReads.