Content Creation Diaries - #1



08 Mar 2021

What is this series of posts about?

Time for something a little ‘meta’ - a new series on my blog where I talk about the process of making content online. Whether it’s blogging or YouTubing, which are the two mediums I’ve picked up, these posts will be in diary format, talking about progress, successes, set-backs, gear and goals.


Content creation graphic


I thought this series would be a great way to bring you, the awesome audience member, along for the ride to see how a content creator grows from the beginning - there are many routes, and things will work differently for different folks, so this is just one perspective (droplet) in the online ocean.


TL;DR

These are the main topics covered in this post:


Why I started making content online in the first place

It’s March 2020, and the global pandemic rocking the world has finally called the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom into action. Cue nearly 12 months of ‘will they, won’t they’ lockdown enforcements, tier systems and snippets of freedom before the gates slam shut again. During this time, and rightly so, the kindest and safest thing to do was to just stay at home. Even during those brief lawful periods of freedom, I still didn’t really leave the house in order to protect loved ones, and the general public in case of being an asymptomatic spreader.

That meant finding stuff to do in order to fill in the excess of time at home. Days on end were sparse of any sort of concrete plans, social contact or errands that didn’t involve deciding what impulse purchase to make from the middle of a European budget supermarket (a milk frother has been a great purchase for making hot chocolates, by the way). A vacation from all that wasn’t even worth thinking about risking with the ever-changing rules.

That same month of lockdown #1, Animal Crossing: New Horizons came out on the Nintendo Switch and I spent the bulk of the first main stint of lockdown playing that until I was blue in the face - burning out rapidly and then only dabbling with it when there was some sort of new update, event or ‘thing to do’ - or fish to catch that month.

Whilst playing AC:NH, I was multi-tasking - listening to hours and hours of YouTube videos, and closely following a number of moderately-successful YouTubers and their uploads on release. Watching one, then finding another to subscribe to off the back of that due to a collaboration or recommendation on the rabbit-hole sidebar. The ‘Tubers that resonated the most were talking about prosperity, creating life on your terms, financial independence and so on. Watching their growth, and their joy permiating through the screen into my brain made me think - “if they can, why can’t I? Isn’t it worth a try at least?”.


Goals, dreams, aspirations and all that

As a teen, I spent a lot of hours either playing The Sims 2 or running an evangelistic fansite for my favourite band of the month (things really haven’t changed nowadays, let’s be honest). This meant one thing - when I grew up, I ‘wanted to work on a computer’. That meant anything to do with spending 8 hours a day behind a screen - coding, creating, writing, making the next Sims game… it just had to involve technology. I knew the world was going that way but never imagined it would have exploded into what it is today.

Then I took up Media Studies, and that was it - that’s the career I wanted. Anything to do with designing mock-up magazine covers and articles with my favourite band of the month on, or making a trailer for a non-existent film - the grades spoke for themselves, it was ‘my calling’.

Until I went to a career advisor who pretty much said, “don’t bother persuing a media career, it’s too competitive - you either do an apprenticeship making tea with a small chance of making it, or go down the academic route and do something else”.

And so, the academic route it was - whatever ‘plan B’ was going to be still had to involve computers, so I decided to look into Computer Science, persuing it via A-levels and a subsequent bachelor’s degree.

Fast forward to now, I’m doing OK - but the left-side of my brain was screaming out all the time, wanting some sort of fulfilment, aside from spending a lot waking hours trying to pacify it by listening to music and my favourite band of the month. I’ve tried all-sorts of things, such as crafting, drawing, sewing stuff, knitting… always hitting a wall with them and either feeling stifled, not being able to improve, getting frustrated at being so bad at them and then tossing them aside for the next creative ‘fad’ (remember loom bands? Yeah, I did all that too).

During 2017-2018, I decided to make a blog as another creative venture, in pursuit of becoming the next big influencer. It was a consumer tech blog, so that was niched-out from day one. This pursuit led to an expensive purchase based off yet another search for a creative outlet / skill to build (i.e. photography) - a DSLR.

You guessed it, that blog got retired and the camera started gathering dust on the shelf.

My DSLR


Starting out on YouTube, then came the blog

Deeper into the lockdowns and with hours more YouTube inspiration under my belt, I was getting itchy feet again about doing ‘online stuff’ and started thinking of a name, a guise… something unique, but not enough to get pigeonholed straightaway into a niche. I went with my childhood nickname, ‘Titch’ - which ironically had nothing to do with being short, as I was either the tallest, or one of the tallest in the class at school.

That was one of the hardest parts, coming up with a name. The next hurdle was the ‘what’, in terms of content. With too many interests to keep up with, even with many tossed aside, some were always congealing in my brain day in, day out.

Testing the waters, I made two YouTube channels and two websites - ‘Titch Plays’ to cover gaming and then all my other interests on ‘Titch Talks’. This was all fine until I wanted to make a small change on one - it often meant following up on the other and it was taking double the effort to do anything. That meant the merger came, from ‘Titch Plays’ and ‘Titch Talks’ into one, manageable entity - ‘Titch Life’, what we know today.

For ‘Titch Talks’, I started coding out a blog using a pre-existing platform and then customising the layout and ‘branding’ to align with the modern-grey ‘Titch’ theme that I had randomly plucked out of the sky. This was then converted over to ‘Titch Life’ - meaning my online guise was now becoming an actively-updated YouTube channel and a now-and-again updated blog. This meant two means of online content outlets, doing one or the other dependent on life commitments or my mood / inspiration that week.


All the gear and no idea

Let’s set the scene here with a shameless plug of my very first YouTube video:



You’ve seen the content, so there’s no point me going on too much about that as it speaks for itself - but how is it made? Where did it all begin? Everyone has to start somewhere, and the best port of call is to make use of what you already have. Admittedly, I did that stupid thing I always do - throw money at a hobby that I’ll get bored of within a week or two, so there were a few new things that I picked up. Definitely wouldn’t recommend that from a financial point of view but we all have our downfalls, don’t we? ;)


My webcam



My microphone



Procreate screenshot

Procreate and a "here's what I prepared earlier" thumbnail



Filming to editing

Without going into the extreme nitty-gritty detail, here are the steps of the main process:


Procreate screenshot

iMovie... *shudders*


Successes and setbacks

Given that this set-up was the starting one, it’s been some time since I used it and so I’m relying on piecing together bits from a sketchy memory… but anyway.

What went well:

What didn't go so well:


Progression, and where to next?

Since that first video, I created my second one which was a speed build of a Christmas cottage on The Sims 4. This followed the same creative process as the first video.



After that, I got the bug for the whole thing and started to want to ‘upgrade’ stuff and learn how to make stuff ‘look’ better. Everyone says you should improve the audio first so I decided to do the opposite and upgrade the video quality first (rules are meant to be broken, right?). The main reason for this is that it didn’t cost me anything to do.

Why? Well… remember that DSLR that was gathering dust on the shelf? ;)

Also, I really struggled with nerves and the idea of being on camera, potentially being watched by people from all walks of life across the globe. Not a great concept for an anxiety-sufferer, but I soon got used to the idea by imagining I was talking to a close friend and thinking “you know what, it’s harder to pretend to be someone else or act like something you are not, than it is to just be yourself”. One thing I’d love to work on / change is my robotic voice, but if you have read my YouTube video descriptions, then there is a disclaimer on that as it might not be possible! Maybe over time I will improve my speaking skills naturally.


The story goes on…

Of course, that’s a shameless Shenmue reference right there - but indeed, this is a diary series and so it will be in multiple parts, documenting the progress of my content creation ventures. Stay tuned for part 2 where I plan to cover the next iteration of gear and process upgrades (I jumped through upgrades quite quickly cos again, that’s what I do - get too involved with a hobby too soon!).

At some point, I should probably talk about how I coded up this blog and the main site homepage, but I might sit on that for now as a magician doesn’t always share their secrets (just kidding, I’ve got different ideas / plans for that but just haven’t got round to it yet or made a concrete decision on how to document it yet). :)

Thank you muchly for reading. See you in the next blog, or video!


~~

Speak soon,

//Titch.



The images in this blog post were actually photographically taken by me for once, rather than just taken. ;)