As mentioned in a recent article, I have a very successful youtube channel that now has over a million view.
It all started in 2009 when my mom died. I found myself at my godparents’ with nothing else to do but binge watch my favorite shows and…. a lot of fan-made videos.
The show I was obsessed with at the time was Criminal Minds and my favorite character was SSA Emily Prentiss.
As I sat there watching amazing fanmade videos it occurred to me that I too could make videos like this.
So I did.
Here’s how I proceeded :
- I started by bine watching the show and taking notes of moments I thought would fit well with certain topics (friendships, women kicking down doors, characters being hurt etc…).
- I would use screen flow to record the passages I had taken notes of. (I found it for free at the time but if you do not wish to go through the trouble, you can use QuickTime to record the videos and then import them in IMovie).
- I would pick a song that I thought fitted the theme of the video perfectly.
- I would then edit all the bits of footage together making sure that the transitions between each different piece were smooth and unnoticeable.
- I would export the video and upload it to youtube.
I know I make it sound easy but this was my process and to this days my videos still get thousands of views every month and even though I have not made videos in years my monthly views do not seem to drop at all.
I do not promote this channel anywhere. Quite frankly, I started making these videos as a way of coping with my mother’s death and decided to upload them as a way of saving them somewhere they would never get lost. I had no idea they would be that popular.
Here is a concrete example of one video I made that is one of my favorite.
As mentioned before my favorite character is Emily Prentiss and over the course of the show, it was made clear that while she admired her mother the two did not have the best relationship. Her mother was an ambassador and she once said that “politics make people distrustful, I think it makes them hate themselves, it tears families apart and damages people.”
When I first heard” because of you” by Kelly Clarkson, I immediately thought it would be the perfect song for this video.
I then used footage from one episode of Emily talking about her mother(see quote above) and then footage from the episode where she appears for the first (and last) time.
In the end, I chose a quote from the same video that seemed to fit the topic of this video so well ” Happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” Leo Tolstoy.
The show always starts and ends with a quote said by a different character each time and I was lucky enough that Emily was the one saying this one during the episode.
This was one of my first video and also the simplest to do but it remains my favorite.
For other videos, I had 15-20 different pieces of footages, sometimes only lasting a few seconds.
For weeks I binge-watched the show, would pause and write down the exact time something happened that would be great in one of the videos.
The thing is, I had already watched the show once, so I had an idea of topics I wanted to cover but sometimes when you rewatch something paying more attention to details you start seeing things you had missed the first time.
I started reading and writing fanfiction around 2011, not as a coping mechanism but as a way to fix the frustration I felt watching certain tv shows. It was also around that time that I discovered Tumblr.
See there is a phenomenon known has shipping which consists of liking two characters together, unfortunately, most of the shipping that goes on online is for characters (usually of the same sex) that will never get together(even though the writers bait viewers into thinking they might by using subtext, it is called queer baiting).
At the time I used to watch and enjoy a show called Rizzoli and Isles which is about the Boston Police Department. The two lead characters, a Detective and the Chief Medical Examiner are best friends and according to shippers should totally get together.
Looking back it was obvious that the writers used the actresses ‘ natural chemistry to push the viewers to continue every week a show that was otherwise poorly written.
After a while, I got hooked on the show and discovered that a whole world existed on the internet, including fan fiction.
On there you can read thousands of stories from fans who were frustrated and would quite literally write everything they wish would happen on the show.
Mind you, that’s how Twilight started….
At the time I was living in London, working for a big Telecom company, making a good living, and I thought writing would actually help me improve my English and it did.
The amazing thing was that my stories were not the best out there, far from and it was full of grammatical errors and typos and the vocabulary wasn’t very broad and yet my stories became popular, very popular indeed as you can see below they still are.
So Céline what made you stories so successful? Quite frankly I do not know. It wasn’t the sex as it always took me a good 10 chapters to have the characters have sex, but I suppose people were just eager to read about these two characters. Actually, the rare stories I wrote that were purely about sex were not my most successful in terms of views or reviews. See people are more romantic than one might think!
Also I think my stories were quite original, they were not just these two women falling in love, struggling to admit they’re feelings(they were written as straight on the show), dating, getting married and so on. I always thrived to find original plots and develop them and the characters as much as possible while trying to keep their as faithful as they were on the show in terms of their personalities.
In the end, it did not matter that the grammar was not stellar or the vocabulary repetitive, as long as the plots were original, and I did not change the characters’ personalities, people would relate to the stories and enjoy them.
Strangely enough, I have received thousands of positive reviews and probably around ….. 5% of bad reviews, or maybe a little more, I have not counted them. 99% of them would come from anonymous reviewers whom I would qualify as haters or trolls. They would quite literally review every single chapter of a story with the same copy/paste hateful comment. Yes, when you are successful you start to attract trolls and haters(which will probably something I will post about some day.)
The one % left would simply in a nonaggressive way say that my English sucked, which I would completely accept as they were probably right.
It’s the same for blogging. It does not matter if English is not your native tongue, as long as you thrive to improve it and what you write can actually resonate with people, they will follow and enjoy your blog.
So, do it, just take the plunge and enjoy yourself, the rest will eventually follow!