The best way to describe James Lye’s channel? In his words, it’s a sketchbook.
There are no two ways about this: James Lye‘s videos are gorgeous. His channel, BingJim, is host to a myriad of content including super cool vlogs and meta video essays, both of which clearly demonstrate his background in filmmaking. He combines great shots and wonderful editing with introspective commentary – a pretty winning combo, if you ask us.
“I think I first made my channel to ‘make YouTube videos,’” James says, thinking back to the roots of his channel. “I fell into the trap of making content I thought other people wanted to see as opposed to content I wanted to make.” But James’ outlook has changed completely since then. He now makes his videos chiefly for himself and his friends rather than any specific YouTube audience. It’s this mindset that brings so much uniqueness and heart to his channel. “I’m not really that bothered about sharing my current work,” he says. “I don’t feel any pressure to deliver a certain type of content.”
James believes that art is intrinsically linked to the artist, often discussing his own personal relationship with his own creations in his videos. In a nihilistic look at art, he discusses the concept of “good art” after he writing, shooting, editing, and producing a 20-minute short film on a small budget. With many professional filmmakers having access to sizable budgets and months of production time, a lack of both resources can lead to insecurities. “I realised during this process that I was placing my satisfaction and success on the response of others,” he says.
James decided then that he needed to look inward rather than outward for his own satisfaction. This understanding has helped him in further developing his style as a filmmaker. “Right now, I am very much enjoying making art for what it is,” he said. However, James says that he doesn’t think he has made enough content to have truly developed an individual style. “I try to experiment with video styles I already like and inject my own twist into it,” he adds.
Consequently, one of James’s favourite aspects of creating content is working with other creators. “I am very lucky to be surrounded by talented and creative individuals,” he says. He cites disagreements and debates as a key part of the creative process. “You need opposition and new ideas to help you define your own,” he added. “Some of the best conversations I have had have been during writing with my friends.”
Over the years James has drawn inspiration from a number of YouTubers, citing many of his recent videos as nothing but inspiration from his peers. “Zannah [Perrins] and Jake [Pemberton] are very intelligent editors, for emotion and energy respectively, and they have both inspired certain editing choices,” he says. “I think I am also legally obligated to mention Dan [Stokes] and Ewan [McIntosh]’s absurd and colourful humour as well as their committed work ethic.” Everyone knows the best compliments are ones admitted under legally binding conditions – sounds genuine to us!
At the end of the creative process of making a video, after investing hours and days of time from conception to final edit, your relationship with the end result can be complicated and many creators struggle to watch and appreciate their own content the way any other viewer would. James shares that sentiment to a degree, revealing he does not have a favourite video among the many he has uploaded over the past two years. However, he tries to avoid overthinking his videos after they have been uploaded. “If I think about any video I have made too much, I end up hating it and I don’t think that’s fair to the person I was and the effort I thought I put into it at the time,” he explains.
The closest an exception comes to this rule is Bigfoot, a video James refers to as “the most up-to-date public record of [his] ability and style.” In the video, he discusses how he has been missing making things and, now that he lives in London, doing nothing has weighed even heavier on him. Naturally, as one does when faced with existential dread, James begins an epic hunt for Bigfoot, the ultimate conspiracy and mythical creature fusion. We’re a little obsessed. He reveals that he will be making more documentaries that are stylistically similar, but will be moving on to newer different projects by the end of 2019.
So, now that you’ve been introduced to an amazing new creator, where do you jump in when staring at the intimidating video grid of their creations? “If anything, I’d prefer you to watch the next video I make as opposed to my last,” suggests James to any new viewer. “I already have some weird things lined up that I’m keen to get started on.” Weird things, you say? Count us in.
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