Making changes to your content can be daunting, so we quizzed Charlie McDonnell for his essential tips…
Running a successful YouTube channel takes plenty of research, keeping up with the latest trends, and a great deal of planning – but what happens when you want to branch out and try something new?
We’ve teamed up with Charlie McDonnell, who recently made a transition from vlogging in his bedroom to directing his own short films. Since launching his channel charlieissocoollike in 2007, Charlie has become one of the most influential and well-respected YouTubers in the community. While changing up the offering of your channel can be fairly risky with a big audience, Charlie has pulled it off and is continuously expanding his horizons.
So, whether you’re a vlogger looking to try filmmaking, a beauty guru who wants to produce music, or a comedian with an interest in animation – follow these tips to help get you started.
1. Practice, practice, practice.
“I practiced for a long time with my video blogs before starting to make short films,” Charlie explains. The transitions in Cooking With Charlie provided an opportunity to practice his editing skills and focus on visual storytelling.
“Scripting, adding in narratives, experimenting with different shots, moving the camera around the house and that sort of thing. Working out how to do simple graphics. So I had a good idea of how it all worked before I started making films for real.”
2. Evolve at a natural pace.
If you’re an established creator, your audience might have become used to expecting a certain style from your videos. “Playing and practicing doesn’t just help you learn and get you used to the idea of something different, but also helps an audience get used to the idea of things changing,” says Charlie.
In One Million Subscribers, Charlie combined his normal vlogging format with elements of story and visual effects. This is a great example of trying new things while keeping your audience happy.
3. Realise that you won’t please everyone.
While some audiences might not initially agree with your changing style, branching out over a period of time will ease the transition, and viewers will slowly grow accustomed to your new ideas. Charlie is committed to evolving his content and becoming a filmmaker, but he acknowledges there will always be parts of his audience that prefer his old content.
4. Learn from the best.
The best way to learn is from other people who like doing the things you don’t like doing so much. Charlie explains: “If you want to – for example – do bigger scale productions, there will always be amazing editors, producers and writers who can help.”
In Making The Tea Chronicles, Charlie talks about the importance of collaborating with co-writer Khyan Mansley, director of photography Ciaran O’Brien, and music composer Todd Bryanton to produce his first short film.
This applies to any creator that’s looking to upscale from being a one-person production crew to something more ambitious. Whether you’re getting tips from staff at the Creator Space or working with other talented creators, two heads are better than one.
5. Engage with your audience.
“It can be hard to talk to your audience about what you’re doing away from video blogging just from a logistics point of view. But they do like knowing what I am up to, especially when I’m really busy and can’t upload all the time.”
Although you might be keen to separate your old and new styles, Charlie found that communicating with his audience was something that kept them happy, and got them excited about his new projects too.
Uploading Thank You :) gave Charlie the chance to be open and honest with his long-time viewers. Laying your cards on the table allows viewers to create an emotional connection and appreciate your decisions.
6. Keep on learning.
Even when you think you’ve perfected a new style, technological advancements and cultural changes will enable you to develop new ideas. Use what you’ve learned so far and continue to hone your skills.
“I really wanted to use everything I’d learned so far in making video blogs and transfer into narrative filmmaking. It’s my own film school,” admits Charlie. “I’m still learning a lot as I go along!”
Last week we gathered six essential reasons you should start making YouTube videos right now and spoke to some YouTubers about why they enjoy creating content. Got an idea for a Creator Hub article? Tweet it to @TenEightyUK or check us out on Facebook.
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