The Smaller Creators panel took place on Sunday at Summer in the City 2018 in Panel Room C. It was moderated by Louise Griffin and featured Brandon Wisdom, Nimrita Kaur, Yasmine Summan, Nicole McGuire, Iz Harris, and Phoebe Potter.
Louise kicked things off by asking the panellists to introduce themselves. Brandon said he discusses art, musical theatre, and life at uni, Nimrita described herself as a musician and singer-songwriter, and Yasmine self-defined as “an emo trash queen”. Nicole said her channel features comedy and discussions on fandoms and K-pop, Iz explained that she creates travel films and talks about mental health and wellness, and Phoebe said she vlogs about whatever topic she feels drawn to.
Louise started the conversation by asking the panel what they felt were the benefits of having a smaller following. Brandon said that he’s able to have a “more of an intimate experience with the following that I have” whilst Nimrita said she feels able to appreciate her audience better. Yasmine said she was glad to be a smaller creator as “you can come into your own in your own time”, explaining that it allows you understand yourself and your audience as you create. Iz, whose son has autism, said she has been able to meet other parents who have children with special needs and is able to connect with them, whilst Phoebe said she feels the smaller creator community is much better as “people want to be friends with you because they like your content”.
The panel were then asked how important their niches are and how they face the challenge of standing out on the platform despite being smaller creators. Brandon confessed that he feels that he’s a “jack of all trades at the moment” and is struggling to find his uniqueness. The others agreed, with Yasmine discussing the dangers of “falling into the trap that you have to make videos the audience likes”, while Nicole emphasised the importance of staying true to yourself.
Louise then asked how the panellists manage with limited equipment, budget, and experience as smaller YouTubers. Nicole encouraged creators to create regardless of what equipment they have – “books can be a tripod!” Iz said she worked in wedding video production and collected her assets over the years, whilst Phoebe said she is completely self-taught and began by using her Samsung. Nimrita shared the story of how she began by using her uncle’s camera when he left it in her home by accident, to much laughter from the audience. Iz asserted that as long as “the message comes through and the creativity comes through” that’s all that matters, and creators shouldn’t feel like they need specialist equipment or editing software (to which Louise replied “there’s always Video Cut Pro”, keeping the running joke alive). Brandon and Nimrita are both advocates of using natural light, and Brandon emphasised the importance of letting yourself learn and grow through creating.
The panel then took questions from the audience. One person asked how the creators had coped with the many changes to YouTube. Nimrita mentioned demonetisation and discussed how, whilst it’s a setback for smaller creators and there are feelings of anger at how YouTube has treated them, she has also embraced the challenge. “It gives me time to build things up,” she said, “and allows me to think, ‘Is there a way for me to refresh my work?’” Brandon shared that he was previously a YouTube Partner before being cut off by the monetisation changes which created a new threshold to pass. However, the change allowed him to escape an MCM he was tied to and to evaluate what he was doing, regardless of numbers. Phoebe and Nicole also shared their views on the money side of YouTube, feeling that they weren’t making that much money previously anyway, and that creators should be motivated by the love of creating.
The panel were then asked, “What tips and advise do you have for meeting and collaborating with other smaller creators?” Phoebe noted that whilst it can be difficult to be found as a smaller YouTuber, “these events are amazing – go up to people!” She advised keeping in contact with people they meet and staying engaged. Iz recommended that creators form relationships first and Phoebe agreed: “Don’t just do it for the views, people will know.” Yasmine continued by discussing the “sub for sub culture”; she felt that it was better to find people whose work you genuinely enjoy and engage with them, rather than trying to subscribe to all smaller creators.
To end the discussion, the panel were asked who they would like to shout out. Brandon listed Liam O’Dell, Rebecca Jade, and Gemma Dunnell. Nimrita mentioned ShabazSays, Ellie Berry, and Aaron Hale. Yasmine listed Ashleigh Elizabeth and Emi Salida, whilst Louise recommended Joel Blundell. Nicole suggested Sam Carr, Becky James, Hannah from welcometoloserville, and Dan Cox and Cori Britton. Iz dedicated her shotout to Sam Angl, and Phoebe chose to recommend everyone on the panel, sharing that “I didn’t really have much of a community before I came to Summer in the City”.
Photos by George Yonge.
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