Written by: Keelan Joshua
Online video has moved from niche to the mainstream and has become part of our regular media consumption. In fact, YouTube is now the second largest search engine on the internet – after Google. Given its enormous reach and penetration into our daily lives, it is a great idea to think about starting a YouTube channel. This may seem like a daunting task (video is a tricky medium to get right) but think about your favourite YouTube videos. I’d bet money that most of your top 10 are videos shot by amateurs.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to get a few tips from an expert, and so I got in touch with a talented, young film maker from Cape Town who uses YouTube to get his message out there. His name is Dan Mace, he has over 11 600 subscribers to his channel and a total of 713 000 views on his videos. This is his story:
Filmmaking is about appreciating the talents of the people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself. In @cityofcapetown we are surround by creativity and my friends are what inspire me the most! I love my job! Photo by @mrbenbrown, my new room mate to be! #happydays #filmmaking #danthedirector #photography #love #instagood #inspire
Dan: I truly believe that everything is art in its own shape or form, which makes every single person an artist. My calling (film) came to me at a young age when I realised that I could showcase the way I see the world through moving pictures. I have now refined that further and started to create films that showcase only the beauty I see in different situations that people may look at from the wrong angle due to the way media has manipulated us to see things.
He has worked on many projects, including a challenge by Al Gore to create a short film spreading awareness around sustainability. It focused on the positive solutions that we can get involved in rather than the attitude that we are “doomed, and the world is soon to come to an end”.
It is pretty clear that, through his videos, Dan wants to spread positivity and inspire his audience, and he creates content in line with that goal. “Content is King”, as the saying goes, and creating meaningful videos is what stops viewers from skipping past your awesome vlog or how-to video. Ask yourself what it is that would make people watch your video. If you can answer that question, you’re well on your way to YouTube fame.
Of course, coming up with content ideas is a challenge on its own, but Dan draws inspiration from feeling lost or anxious.
Dan: If you watch any of my films, they are literally answers to the questions I ask myself and hopefully people can relate to it, as we are all the same at the end of the day – living on the same planet.
Above anything else, YouTube is a social media platform. That means it’s a place for conversations to take place. People don’t just watch videos; they “like” them, comment, and share with friends. And so it’s important not to think of it in the same way you think about television.
Dan: I chose YouTube as it gives all filmmakers the ability to showcase their films across a large audience as well as the ability to meet other YouTubers and collaborate to grow your following. It is a great platform so I try to keep all my content on my YouTube channel to hopefully grow my subscriber base large enough to be able to spread my message of positive thinking throughout the world!
Collaboration is a great way reach a wider audience on YouTube so think about linking up with friends who also have channels.
Dan: Currently I am working on many exciting projects, but there is one collaboration that stands out, with my good mate and fellow YouTuber, Ben Brown (Go check him out, he is really good). Ben and I, along with a couple mates, will be travelling down from Mozambique for 3 weeks where we will be creating a film about our beautiful country.
Creating content for YouTube is a way to capture attention, and it is a good idea to encourage the viewer to do something once you have it. For Dan, that call to action is to go out and explore South Africa with a positive attitude and open mind. What would yours be?
In closing, I asked this inspiring film maker what he thinks the future has in store for him. This is what he had to say:
Dan: I have absolutely no idea what the future holds and I plan to keep it that way! I aim to live by the day forever – Winnie the Pooh and Piglet were walking through the forest one day when Pooh said “Piglet, what day is it today?” “It’s Today” Piglet responded. Pooh looked at him and said “Today? aah thats my favourite day”. I have that as a tattoo, such a great little story that!
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