How To Direct Childran in Video (without crew)

So you’re a parent making an amateur video, and you don’t have a crew. You want to get the best out of the kids, but you know they’ve got the patience and attention of a fruit fly (a trait they inherited from someone). Here are some tips.

In the sample videos, both promotions, my children were generally not delivering their solo lines with their siblings. It’s too hard to keep them all together for more than 10 minutes, and they make each other laugh. So I shoot wide shots first, then take them one-one-one for individual lines. Then I edit longer lines — using “cutaway” shots so you don’t realize the entire line wasn’t read at once. The cutaways allow you to believe the kids are still gathered together.

Here are some other pointers…

• Have all props ready
• Get tripod and lighting together- best if daylight
• Incent kids (but best not to bribe); give them a time limit (15 min)
• Ask if they cam commit to that time (a verbal yes increases odds). I never like to impose or threaten them.
• Shoot all wide shots first (group ones)
• Stay off tripod for tight shots- allows spontaneity and motion shots
• Give them a cue (go!) and ask them to wait one second
• Feed them lines in tone you want delivered
• Break long lines us, and use cutaway
• If they mess up, encourage, keep rolling, do again
• When they get a line right, praise them (avoid fake praise)
• Allow for improv lines and moments
• When shooting individually, get cutaway shots of them looking in direction of other kids (even if they’ve wandered off)

Spontaneity. You can’t script lines like the horse/car and “old fashioned hot dog” lines in the video below. Most of the time my kids provide me better stuff than I could script. If you select “more” you’ll see the script of a video called “Couch Digging.” In this, the kids keep pulling out stranger things from the couch cushions. I’m too wacked on medicine to patiently shoot this right now, and I’m hoping Katie (age 13) will direct it and I can edit it. I know the best lines and shots will be spontaneous like Grant’s lines in Dr. Who below.

Storyboarding. Don’t know, don’t do it. I barely script.

 

What’s Better Than Being a YouTube Star?

Being a YouTube “star” (if I may say) is somewhat overrated. Indeed it’s truly awesome to have an audience, interact with a community, and generate income from something you enjoy… There’s something else more rewarding and enduring… helping or watching friends or fellow Tubers achieve greater success.

Check out this piece about Shaycarl from Forbes’ Michael Humphrey. It’s part of an interesting series call “Boom Tubers.” Humphrey doles out the questions, and the Tuber (or its ghost writer) responds. Certainly Shaycarl would be “epic” without you and me. But for those of us watching him before his epicness was known, it’s cool to see it acknowledged in “mainstream” media, don’t you think? His photo on an album cover… loads of media. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Here’s version 2 of my free eBook that Shaycarl said helped him. Reading it will not make you epic. But it can’t hurt.

Here’s an e-mail I got from ShayCarl (who read, or alleged to read, the piece back in January of 2008). I reserve the right to surface this e-mail bi-annually.

NALTS!! You are a true genius! Im not just saying that. I just read all 34 pages of your book and LOVED it..I think that it’s good that you did this for free but could definitely foresee you charging for this or something similar in the future. I’m very new to YOUTUBE. I made a video called “HE MAN GERM” in response to SXE Phils contest “how to get a popular show series or vlog” at the last second and by some unicorn miracle was selected as one of the top 5. Now that video has been viewed ALMOST 10,000 times. I’m waiting for it to hit the 10k so I can celebrate!! But now I’m addicted to this DAMN thing called YOUTUBE “I could totally quit I just don’t want to” and my life has turned upside down. I have been looking for something exactly like your book this whole time. Anyways I remember what you said short and sweet.. Thanks for being a YOUTUBE mentor…Official SHAY book rating—-3 thumbs up! and since I only have 2 thumbs thats pretty dern impressive!!!!

And now the “mentor” has gone to mentee, sir.

I rejoice in telling Shaycarl’s rare but encouraging story, and almost never mention any role I might have served. I usually center around the video where he discovers the new home he purchased (via his YouTube earnings) turned out to be one in which he had installed a granite counter top when he was a humble blue collar worker (and probably enjoying it just as much).

Dr. Who BBC America Campaign: I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

As Hannibal used to say on A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

I love it when a (integrated media) plan comes together.

One of the most rewarding things about participating in online-video campaigns for big brands or network shows is seeing these launch simultaneously with television and print advertisements. We call it “integrated marketing,” and it’s easy in concept and difficult but wonderful in fruition. Okay, I like the payments better, but integrated marketing is still rare enough to be a pleasant surprise… especially when it involves “new media” and social. Of course, it’s difficult for a marketer or agency to time precisely a campaign’s “peak” in various mediums, given paid “insertion orders” (formal booking of space in media) often requires months of lead time. Likewise the “books” (magazines) can require months of advance notice.

I noticed that our YouTube GE Healthymagination campaign was timed well with a series of television spots, and most recently I’ve seen it on BBC America’s launch of Dr. Who (my video below was titled “Time Travel Fail, “What Year Do You Miss,” and “What Would You Do if You Had a Time Machine?” (thanks munchvids for the video response… it’s sad that those don’t get more real estate when the video plays).

The YouTube videos included time-travel themed videos, and included branded ads for Dr. Who

I wasn’t the only part of this campaign, and I’m writing this without any inside knowledge of the agency, budget, timing or execution. Hats of to MysteryGuitarman for this epic video that was also part of the campaign. I’m especially impressed that he found a “rotary pay phone” and managed to add a LED screen. And Joe, it’s making me crazy that you’ve managed to multiply yourself with better special effects than I see in most movies (Freaky Friday, Multiplicity). Vsauce’s video actually made me think, and TheStation participated with “Waiter Takes Out Restaurant.” Check out the whole series (a link to YouTube videos tagged ifIHadaTimemachine, then ranked by views).

The very week these YouTube videos launched, I noticed a prime print advertisement in Entertainment Weekly, a NYC “out of home” component,” and some “earned” media uptake (PR). Furthermore, the YouTube “branded entertainment” video series were wrapped with display and InVideo ads.

I like these “organic” YouTube campaigns that don’t force the brand in the webstar’s videos, but let the creator carry the campaign theme in their own way. The comments I’ve read are largely positive (a contrast from campaigns that require sponsored YouTube videos to have a branded slate at the intro, which is so forceful as to scare people away).

What can producers, networks, agencies and YouTube do to make these campaigns work even harder? A few ideas, but they all have executional nuances so it’s a bit unfair for me to “Monday morning quarterback.” Again- I know nothing more than what I’ve seen as a Dr. Who fan (and the very simple directions got via YouTube to make my video).

  1. Cross-link the videos so Dr. Who fans (I know you’re out there because many of you noticed the picture on my son Charlie’s shirt) would be able to move through them without having to leave YouTube (only a few percent of people leave a YouTube session for an ad, and that’s when there’s a strong reason).
  2. I would suggest the digital agency also run paid-search ads for related keywords (even though I doubt there are loads of people searching “time machine” and “ifihadatimemachine” the cost of that inventory would be minimal). I’d certainly be buying ads for those people searching for “Dr Who, BBC America” and related terms, which would help get more eyes on the campaign website: “TimeMachineTales.” Buzz drives search, and it’s a shame to see Amazon books rank higher than the 2011 version of the timeless show.
  3. Take advantage of YouTube’s “live” programming to augment the April 23 premier with something real time (perhaps one of the webstars watches the debut and invites interaction with fellow fans). If MysteryGuitarMan said he was going live on YouTube on the evening of April 23, I imagine hundreds of thousand would follow.
  4. Recognize that the YouTube aspect of the campaign is valuable far beyond the campaign. For instance, my Fringe promotions have accumulated significant views long after the debut. There’s a perpetual nature to these programs. As Hitviews CEO Walter Sabo says, “Campaign Duration: Forever.” The 105 videos his company has delivered for brands have accumulated in excess of 30 million views.
  5. Finally the real way to “break the fourth wall” is to allow a television show’s cast to interact and collaborate with prominent YouTube creators. This can be difficult, but possible. In the case of my “Meet the Fringe Cast” video, I simply learned the cast was at ComicCon, and I convinced the sponsor (Fox) to allow me the same access the network/producers gave to professional media. In another example, we saw V’s “Anna” (Morena Baccarin) appear on YouTube’s homepage with a custom message for YouTubers, and that was a “bar raising” move. Now imagine iJustine mingling with Mark Sheppard, which would carry as much weight as a local media tour to promote the show. iCarly’s Freddy Benson (Nathan Cress) met with YouTube’s prolific “ShayCarl/Shaytards” in a casual meeting that I would have paid to facilitate if I was Cress’ manager or iCarly’s promoter.
  6. Lastly, and this is really difficult, it would be great to find ways to permit clips from the show intermixed with the YouTube videos. For very good reasons this is rare. Often the network promoting the show doesn’t have the rights to use the content in promotion. The benefit, however, is you can give people a contextual teaser of the show’s actual content… as I did with “Fringe is Scary.” These clips were approved by the producer (JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot) for use with media, and I even snuck in some very tiny snippets beyond those in the media library.
IF I HAD A TIME MACHINE hosts tweets and videos related to the campaign

I’m sure it was not part of the campaign that Elisabeth Sladen died this week (she’s the British actress who played intrepid investigative journalist Sarah Jane Smith throughout the classic BBC series’ 30-year run). But only one Guy calls those shots, and he’s not much of a marketer (thank God).

YouTube News You Missed

Okay I forgot I had a blog again. The past two weeks have included trips to (in sequence) Virginia, Minneapolis, NYC, Washington, D.C. and NYC again.

Shitty clipart makes a blog visual

Enough about me. Let’s focus on YouTube today, since it’s turned 6 (that’s a near-death 94 years in TechCrunch years). If you missed the comment stream on my last post, you’ll want to catch up. It’s steamy, and Sukatra’s on a Charlie Sheen tear.

And after this humble attempt at “aggregation,” stay tuned for my patented “synthesis” below… what all this means to a changing ecosphere-marketplace-ecosystem-valuechain-universe.

    What Does All This Mean?

    • YouTube is going mainstream with musician chart-toppers exceeding the once amateur-only club. Alas, the site is a free jute box rivaled only by Limewire in the day.
    • YouTube is embracing its new role, hoping attracting familiar faces will attract a larger base of “regulars,” who until now have chosen their own weblebrities.
    • Still, amateur hour isn’t over… especially if you’re a quasi professional. While no YouTube star has yet jumped mainstream with any endurance or consequence, we may see that change in 2012.
    • Most importantly, albiet somewhat tangental, what the hell happens to the sales of my “Beyond Viral” if Borders goes bankrupt? Perhaps you can find a local Borders that’s folding, and snatch a discounted copy of the book. Be sure to take a photo and let me know.

    This post has been brought to you by the letter S. Big S.

    YouTube Star (ShayCarl) Proves Fat Drives Subscriptions

    Shaycarl (on left with author) ate cheesecake for 3 weeks to gain 12 pounds for his new roll on DailyFiberFilms. The result? Better acting range and comedy.

    What happened when an obscure comedy troupe was given a “shout out” from one of YouTube’s “overnight successes” (TheStation)?

    TheStation2 — a secondary channel by the Venice Beach, California consortium of popular YouTubers — brought attention to DailyFiberFilms. The channel exploded from 120 subscribers to nearly 4000 instantly. (source: comment from rdidri on a video ReelSEO did about “viral video.”).

    In the video below, YouTube comedian Shaycarl/Shaytards (seen in various characters and apparently with an additional 10-12 extra pounds) shows the positive impact of fat on comedy. Notice his acting range has expanded as much as his stretch pants? The subtly of his character portrayal is driven by his adipocytes.

    It’s a comedy lesson proven by Belushi, Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy, Curly, Candy, Dangerfield, Spade & Farley and now Butler. And to that we say, “bring on the fiber.”

    Of course I’m kidding. It’s not Shay, but check out the Daily Fiber Films to dislodge your humor colon and make your laughter “regular.”

    Thanks for the Book Plug, Rhett & Link, Shaycarl and Others

    While I’m blogging about people who read my Beyond Viral book, I’d like to thank Rhett & Link for the product placement. Aren’t they cute? They called it an “insightful tome,” and not just because they’re in this fancy hardback book. They also mentioned Daisy Whitney’s “Mockingbirds.”

    Rhett and Link With "Beyond Viral," by Kevin Nalts Nalty

    So did the SweetestVegan (see video on Dailymotion). And Shaycarl showed himself purchasing the book at Barnes & Noble, although I can’t find the video. Oh and here’s one by Kiddsock. And BuddhaCharlie. Oh and here’s one of me with a cheesy mustache.

    I made a YouTube playlist for all books discussing Beyond Viral… even negative reviews are welcome! 🙂

    Shaycarly

    We watch iCarly nonstop. Me an the four kids. And we watch Shaycarl, and Shaycarl watches us. Even babytard, see?

    Now Freddy (Nathan Kress) from iCarly met Shay this week. That’s so weird, huh?

    We’re like two-degrees of separation from someone on one of our favorite shows. If you’re reading this, you’re three degrees of separation.

    So, yeah, congratulations Shaytards. And Nathan… next time you’re on this coast, come by and visit another YouTuber. You’ve had Fred on your show, and I’m his real dad.

    Gibby or Nevel would be cool too.

    Actually (shhhh) my son Patrick kinda has a crush on Jennette McCurdy (Sam).

    AdAge Celebrates YouTube Sellouts

    AdAge called out the biggest YouTube sellouts— those known for sponsored videos for top brands. Naturally my headline would have read “YouTube’s Most Prolific Sponsored Artists” had I been included in the list. For those of you whose nipples don’t get pointy when you hear words like “advertising, marketing, Mad Men, spot, creative brief, storyboards, USP, reach, frequency and single-minded proposition,” AdAge is kinda the Forbes for advertising junkies. It’s like Men’s Health except some straight people read it.

    shaycarl
    shaycarl t-shirt

    The actual article is titled “Meet YouTube’s Most In-Demand Brand Stars,” and it’s a nice representation of the booming webstar, perhaps the central point of “Beyond Viral,” an amazing new book by Wiley & Sons coming out Sept. 21. Despite some conspicuous misses and a few odd inclusions, the article points to some interesting nuggets like MysteryGuitarMan (MGM) preference for a blank creative brief… his videos have never been better, and each one squashes my own confidence more aggressively than the next.

    I would have also liked to read a “who’s who” of the companies that link stars with brands (Hitviews, Mekanism, PlaceVine, Howcast, YouTube). That’s something you don’t see covered well, and it’d be fascinating to read about the total market for sponsored videos and the dominant players.

    TubeMogul helped compile this list, and you can see the webstar’s vital signs on the TubeMogul marketplace. The stats seem to be out of synch with YouTube’s counter and other sites (TubeMogul has me at 145 million, while YouTube alone counts 161 million…. so my views on Yahoo Video and other sites must be negative 16 million). It could be that once I “private” a video (like those I’ve buried because I no longer like them), I lose Tubemogul credit for them.

    Before I could go to bed sulking for being overlooked by AdAge and Tubemogul, I discovered author Irina Slutsky sent me a note about this a week or so. And yeah I missed it. Just like the two e-mail offers to appear on AnnoyingOrange, one of the hottest web series by DaneBoe.

    ADHD online-video creator and marketer seeks minimum-wage e-mail account manager from India.

    These peeps don’t seem to read my blog, but I consider more than a few of them as friends… Trippy (he’s been in my kids’ bed), Buckley (he spanked me), Penna (wrote the Nalts theme and couldn’t get into bars at early YouTube gathersings), and Shay (he was new, we collabed, then he became twice as big as me overnight… and also got a lot more viewers). Others are more like acquaintances like Justine (who keeps a safe distance, but I made her what she is) and Smosh. Speaking of Smosh, Ian and Anthony get props for the recent Butterfinger Snackers video (“Selling Out”) that spoofed the criticism they’ve taken lately for doing a few too many sponsored videos. Heh. I did a Butterfinger video in 2006, a year before I goofed on this whole sponsored-video space with this video, which mentions Smosh. I’m guessing the Smosh kids never saw this diddy…

    It’s me 3 years ago mimicking the emergence YouTube “sell outs” and the personalities who might desperately broker brand/webstar love connections... you know, the entities connecting brands and web stars. Most YouTube webstars know more about engaging an audience than turning a brand strategy into effective and persuasive messaging… so they need help. There are some exception- like Rhett and Link, who could just as well be their own boutique creative agency, as reflected in the quality of their advertainment and the highly unusual ratio of branded to non-sponsored views. I almost like their sponsored videos better than their brand-deficient ones because like a pro athlete they make it look easy.

    And, lest I miss mentioning my book (Beyond Viral) in a single post, you’ll find mention of almost all of these cats inside the low-cost pages… including featured sections on Rhett & Link, Charles Trippy, Shay Butler and others.

    Hey what ever happened to Buckley? I think he ignored me like Caitlin Hill (thehill88) and iJustine. Maybe Buckley needs an e-mail intern… I wonder if there are any Indians with the name Mason?

    Exclusive: How Much Money YouTube Partners Make

    {Update from 2013 reveals YouTube stars making $4 million plus per year}

    How much do YouTube stars make each year? Oh for goodness sakes. Just like my same 5 YouTube videos (see right column of channel page here) represent the majority of my online views… It seems that most of WillVideoForFood’s blog traffic comes from people searching for how much YouTubers make. If you’re curious, read on. If you want to make big bucks, buy my book first. You’ll still be facing tough odds, but at least you’ll wander into the jungle equipped with some survival tools.


    We YouTube “Partners” (or “stars” as I hate saying) are all contractually forbidden to share our revenue. But I’ve given hints and clues over time. For those of you who Googled your way here, I’m both a marketer/advertiser and a creator/YouTuber, so that gives me two lenses into this Da Vinci-Code like mystery. Davinci made me think of “Da Bears.”

    I’d estimate there are have at least a few dozen YouTube Partners earning $100K per year. That’s great money if you’re in your 20s or 30s and have minimal costs in production or overhead (like 4 kids and a horrific mortgage). But it’s a rounding error for a professional content creator or network.

    To calculate a particular Parner’s income, here are some tips:

    • You basically take the Partner’s total views for the month, multiply it by a fraction of a penny, and you have a rough idea. TubeMogul‘s Marketplace shows some of the most-viewed people (and their monthly views). But remember: the most-subscribed are not necessarily most-viewed and vice versa. YouTube doesn’t give a hoot how many subscribers you have (although that certainly helps drive views, but increasingly it seems less powerful than being a “related video”). In general, the commercial content is getting more daily views but the amateurs have a lock on subscribers.
    • Most ads are placed by advertisers based on total 1K views, but some is on a per-click basis (CPC text ads placed by Google Adwords/Adsense). Google/YouTube is usually paid by an agency or media buyer a CPM (cost per thousand, say between $5 and $25 dollars per thousand views), then shares some of that with the creator. This can be highly misleading, because:
      • Some views earn nothing (if they’re embedded and no ad follows it).
      • And increasingly advertisers are paying a high premium for specific content they commission, target, or hand select. Sometimes this might average a few bucks and others it might be much higher… $25 CMP was the published rate of InVideo ads and I know of specific integrated campaigns that command a higher premium from YouTube. Yey!
    • Another confounding variable: potty-mouthed creator turns away advertisers. So watch the ads on your Partner for a while. Are they premium InVideo ads with accompanying display (square) ads? Or are they garbage Adwords/Adsense ads?
    • The text ads may SOMETIMES be paid on a per-click basis, which can make them fruitless or profitable depending on people clicking and buying the advertiser’s product (the latter must occur, or a savvy advertiser will quickly stop the campaign that’s raping them of click dollars and not generating business). I was telling my YouTube buds to turn these off because they’re ugly and don’t make much money, but a few of them gave me a stern stare like they knew otherwise. So whatever… maybe they make money and maybe they don’t. I don’t get a breakdown on them, and they’re still ugly.
    • Then you have to factor in “sponsored videos,” where a YouTuber promotes a product or service for a flat fee (or variable based on views) via Hitviews or related companies. That can easily be more than YouTube shells out per month for ad sharing. The going rate here is incredibly wide: from $1K to $20K and higher per video.

    So in conclusion:

    1. Do your own math using monthly views on TubeMogul and assuming some CPM (cost per thousand), but recognize YouTube takes a cut and some of the advertising inventory isn’t sold or is driven by keyword Google adsense text thingies. Maybe the creator/partner gets a few bucks per thousand views and maybe more or less.
    2. Use some of the assumptions above to calibrate your estimate if you’re trying to peak into the W-9s of your favorite “Stars” like Fred. There are now dozens of popular YouTube people that make a full-time living on YouTube revenue, and I’d guess a lot of $50K-$100K per year people. I am not among the full-timers. With a family of 6, I gotta have a day job too. But Shaycarl, Sxephil, Charles Trippy, Michael Buckley and many more… they’re full-time at this. If I was making the bucks I’m making via YouTube after college, I’d probably go full-time too. Fred? Let’s just say he’s got college covered, or a nice nest-egg.
    3. Before you get excited (or jealous), it’s a long haul to cashville. And if you start with the hope of making money, you’re doomed. You need to LOVE it, and be extremely patient as the road to loads of views is tougher to climb, and requires an ass-load of persistence. Start as a hobby and “just keep swimming.”
    4. Finally, there are two forces at odds that impact the sustainability of this revenue for YouTube amateurs. First, we’ll probably see continued competition from more professionally-produced content that fetches higher ad dollars because it feels safer to squeamish media buyers (see, I’m not calling them all dense anymore… only the ones that don’t read this vlog). But the good news is that dollars are projected to grow dramatically. Currently, as a marketer, I’d argue that YouTube is selling itself short.

    How’s that? About as specific I can be without breaking my contract or confidence from my friends.

    I know some of you peeps know more than I do, so feel free to comment below anonymously or not. Da bears.

    Viral Social Rule #249: Be Careful How You Treat People on Your Way Up

    One day during one of the west-coast YouTube events I got a call from one of my YouTube friends Eddie. He hates when I call him Eddie because he goes by TheMightyThor1212, and using the name Eddie might compromise  national friggin’ security.

    Eddie knows I’m boo-hooing that I was missing the SanVegasFranAngelosDiegowhatever YouTube meetup and puts me on the phone with a number of YouTube peeps (including a somewhat perplexed LisaNova who kinda pretends she knows who I am, but is really thinking “I hope this bearded dude doesn’t grab my boobies… Nothing tastes as good as thin”).

    Then Eddie puts a guy on the phone who has a spark to his voice- yeah a spark like the one that graced Joe Pesci’s tooth on Home Alone. The guy says he’s Shaycarl and I make him repeat the name about 5 times because I honestly wanted to see his videos after hearing this odd sincerity of his voice. I wrote it down and subscribed, but then (and this is unusual for me) I started eating his videos like cereal at midnight. Shay says something about Sxephil having mentioned him, and it got him a bunch of subscribers. I later find this video response to “YouTube is My Wife,” and my nuts still hurt from laughing.

    Shay and I have spoken, collabed, and met a few times, and he’s punked me good. But now he’s eclipsed me and is in the YouTube Popular crowd, but not anymore affected by it than Buckley or HappySlip. He’s the rare YouTuber you’d take home to your mama. He’s deeply faithful and not nearly as annoying as I thought he’d be. I thought I’d have to fake laugh in his presence like I was meeting Robin Williams. But it turns out he’s as delicious in person (mind you this was pre-ZZ Top beard).

    So this Shay turns out to be a mega star on planet YouTube (find him and his cult-like following at ShayCarl or Shaytards and he steals the show on TheStation). But he still has the sweet heart to reference Uncle Nalts and that book about YouTube Popularity I wrote and published for free on the Internets. Like, Scoob, it’d be worth my time writing that dated eBook if it had .05 percent of a role in taking Shay from a disk jockey gig in some state none of us have heard of (Nevada or Oklahoma or something) to 300 plus subscribers and WWF Dominator of YouTube’s most-popular page.

    Of course I can’t take credit, because then I’d have to take responsibility if he ends up getting sucked into the wild life of Venice Beach, and we find his bloated corpse all coked out on a beach like Belushi or Farley, his TV equivalents.

    Oh shit I have to write a real book in about 20 days. WTF am I blogging for? Oh yeah- my car’s still warming up. So a long way of saying… be careful how you treat people when you’re hawt because they might eclipse you, and make you proud as an Irish mama.

    P.S. Buckley said he saw me at the YouTube 777 gathering but thank God he didn’t approach me. Because I might have been all, like, “yipes! An unpopular gay guy!!! Zipster protect me!!!!” And then he’d never return my e-mails.