The Princess and the Vlog

Snow White Fairy Tale RantYesterday marks the release of the 17th Episode of my Fairy Tale Rants Vlog (Video Blog) on YouTube.

17 episodes…in US time, that could be an entire season of a TV show. (In UK time, it could be two seasons.) It feels like I’ve been doing this forever, and it feels like I just started yesterday. No, I’m not Viralnova Internet Famous yet, but it’s only a matter of time for these things. As they say, the key is Content, Content, Content. Post regular content on a regular basis, and the fans will find you.

I guess we’ll see, right? I’ll be sure to let you all know when exactly that happens. 🙂

In the meantime, I thought I’d share with you some things that I’ve learned about my video blogging experience.

Camera and Microphone: Let’s be honest, I don’t have a huge budget. But I do have a Powerbook with a pretty fabulous webcam and decent microphone, so I use what I’ve got. TIPS: If you project, like me, it’s best to go in to iMovie (or your preferred editing software) before you edit and adjust the volume down so you’re not blasting away your audience. I’ve also learned to make sure that the camera is on a steady surface–the auto-stabilization option in YouTube won’t quite do what you want it to do. The most flattering angle is the selfie angle–high up, looking down on your face. But be careful the audience isn’t looking down your SHIRT.

Lights: Lighting is pretty darned important. I’ve found that the best angle is when I’m facing a daylit window, but the webcam is facing me. Not too sunny, or I get washed out–but with the blinds drawn it gives a nice, even light. Filming at night is the toughest–I just haven’t found a good combination of ceiling lights/floor lamps that don’t cast all kinds of creepy shadows.

EScreen shot 2013-11-05 at 3.31.39 PM.pngditing: I use iMovie, which is pretty user friendly…and if you have any questions, just Google them! There is a YouTube tutorial for EVERYTHING YOU COULD POSSIBLY NEED. The more editing you do, the more you learn. I added a ton to my bag of tricks by putting together my own audiobook trailer just for giggles…I highly recommend it.

Check out some popular video blogs (like John Green’s Mental Floss, or the very fun Lizzie Bennet Diaries) and you’ll see that the most engaging style involves not just choppy jump cuts, but anticipated jump cuts, where the subject of the vlog appears all over the screen…as if he’s having a dialogue between his Smeagol/Gollum self. You may think it sounds nuts, but give some of them a watch and you’ll see. Don’t leave extraneous pauses in your video, even if they’re half a second long. Those half-seconds add up.

Timing: Try to keep your videos to about five minutes or less. Like JK Rowling, the more popular you become, the longer your vlog posts can get, but your audience most appreciates the bite-sized snack version…and it encourages them to click or subscribe for more.

Consistency: It’s okay to miss a week. No one’s going to kill you. But don’t make it a regular thing. I’ve missed two out of the last 19 weeks…one was right at the beginning and one was in the wake of a funeral, for which I asked my viewers to please forgive me. What this means: You will begin to realize that as much as you might want to be in full makeup and costume, it doesn’t always happen. It’s about CONTENT, remember? I’ve done rants without costumes and I even did a rant with no makeup on (yeeeeeah). But you know what? That no-makeup vlog entry is one of the ones with the most hits.

Be Expressive: What I learned while doing podcasts was not to be afraid of my own voice–to go over the top when assuming character voices. What I’ve learned while vlogging is not to be afraid of my own face. It’s true: the more I act like a complete Muppet, the more entertaining the vlog is to watch. So get into what you’re saying, feel the passion, get expressive. And enjoy it! Because your fans can tell.

The Many Faces of Alethea

With that, I urge you all to please check out Episode 17: “Princess Alethea Rants About Rapunzel” if you haven’t yet and let me know what you think.

And if you like it, please share! xox