Keep Calm And Watch My Vlogs Quite a few people seem to think that putting together a quick review or five-minute YouTube video is fast and easy. Surely if the video is only five minutes long, it must have only taken a few minutes to put it together, right? Wrong! Nothing could be further from the truth, even when it comes to putting together fairly basic content. Yet this is something I’ve seen people say several times over the past few years.

Recently, I've decided to completely clear my main website and YouTube channel in order to give them a full facelift, as well as to take a step back and reevaluate my approach to content production. The reason was simple: it had gotten to a point where it just wasn’t fun anymore. When I first got into “journalism” via the gaming and tech fields, I did it because I thought it would be fun to share my passions with others. Yet, as time went on it felt like I was doing things more and more out of a sense of obligation, not because I enjoyed doing it. Far too often I felt beholden to developers or PR firms to get something done within a certain time frame and it was ruining whatever sense of fun I could have had. This also spilled over into doing videos on YouTube because I’d feel like I had to cover something or complete a series because of the expectations of others, so it became a very draining affair.

Game Over RoomAll of this goes back to the main topic at hand: what really goes into producing articles and media behind the scenes? When it comes to putting together a review for a game, a comic, or a movie, you naturally will want to have, you know, actually played the game, read the book, or watched the movie. You’ll also want to have taken screenshots along the way, taken notes on various quirks, bugs, etc. as you go, and then you’ll need to compile all of that into a review that makes sense and is not a chore to read.

Some games are short and it isn’t as difficult to get something together for them, but for longer titles (like major RPGs), a lot more time gets invested into completing the game and getting a review ready, all so a reader can get through it in five to ten minutes of reading. Oh, and did I mention coming up with a review score? Many readers will skim all the way to the end just to see the score and gloss over all your hard work. It can be a little deflating when you think of it that way, don’t you think?

When it comes to putting together YouTube videos, though, it’s a whole new story. For a “Let’s Play” video I have to record the gameplay (typically 30 to 60 minutes, but this varies depending on the type of game), then put together an intro and credit sequence (which can be made easier by creating templates to use), and then run all of that through an editor, clean it up if need be, and then let the video encode. Encoding a video alone is a time-consuming process in itself, with a 60 minute video generally taking at least 60 minutes to encode (sometimes faster, other times much slower) depending on the quality of the content. After all of that is done, there’s the matter of uploading the video to YouTube (usually a few gigabytes in size), describing it and adding in proper tags, whilst making posts on various websites and social media to promote the new video.

Game Controllers
None of that takes into account the additional task of double-checking settings in my recording programs, possibly having to tinker with settings (or use a separate recorder altogether) if a game doesn’t play nice with the current configuration, adjust recording volumes or microphone inputs, and even on occasion have to re-record something because of a flub (such as a muted mic) or corruption that happens along the way.

One thing I’ve learned though is that we, as content producers, need to have fun putting all of these things together. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters. I really enjoy bringing people a little bit of joy in their days and also informing them about games or tech that they might not have known about. Many people have told me they felt that my articles and videos were always informative, fun, professional, and also laid-back at the same time. I need to enjoy myself, get relaxed, and have a good time while writing and producing videos, and it was for this reason that I ended up rebooting my channel. I just felt like the creative spark and the desire to entertain had gone away and had been replaced by a need to fulfill obligations to PR contacts. That’s really a bad place to find yourself in. When a “hobby” becomes an “obligation” that's when you’ll likely no longer enjoy that hobby.

Thankfully, even though I don’t consider myself a “journalist” as such, and do not do this as a primary means of income, my role as an “enthusiast” and content producer has become quite self-supporting. I often get free games, tech, and other services, and it more than pays for itself, but that’s not really the entire point for me. It still boils down to enjoying what I do, and I think this is a lesson that other people need to learn as well.

Deadpool Thumbs Up
For me to have the desire to play with video recording settings, tinker with audio inputs, and mess with settings in a game in order to deliver the smoothest and best-looking video possible with my current rig, I have to enjoy it on some level. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be willing to do it. It’s true that there’s a fine line between enjoyment and compulsion, and it’s easy to get trapped, but it’s something we all have to work on.

At any rate, personally, I feel that rebooting my work has been a very good move. Now, I can produce the content that I want to produce, when I want to, and without feeling beholden to someone else. It’s a good feeling and I hope I can keep it that way!

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the topic. Stay tuned for more crafty content coming your way! This installment of Jessica's Journey was written by Jessica “Allahweh” Brown from GamingGoddess.Net.


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