Louis CK is a comedian, actor, writer, director, editor, and more. If you haven’t already, you can catch his hit show Louie on FX on Thursday nights or catch up on earlier seasons on Netflix.
While Louis didn’t get his start on YouTube (it didn’t exist at the time), there are plenty of things that new YouTubers can learn from his success. Below are a few of those things paired with a quote from the man himself.
Be Comfortable Wearing Many Hats
As a beginning YouTuber, anything you want done you’ll have to do yourself. For me that means writing my own scripts, getting in front of the camera, operating the camera, editing my footage, uploading my video, and on and on and on.
While you may not be the best at all of these things (lord knows I’m not), having some comfortability in each area of your production timeline will pay off down the road. If anything, you’ll know how to speak the language and what’s necessary to get the job done, and that makes it much easier to hire and work with others later.
Did you know that Louis CK edits his entire show on Final Cut Pro himself? That means that Louis CK had to figure out how to use Final Cut Pro at some point in time. He had to learn how to cut clips together, add transitions, add text, mix in music, etc. (I can only imagine how many times he called his computer the C word.)
Beyond educating yourself, picking a project you’re passionate about and jumping in is the best way to make sure your new knowledge sticks. Your skills may not be able to keep up with your vision, but know that every video you create brings you closer to your best video ever.
Here’s a link to one of Louis CK’s early films from 1993. You can already see the seeds of what would become Louie’s show almost 20 years later. He still uses the same fonts in his show today!
Start With the Equipment you Already Have
We’re just smart about how we spend the money. There’s probably five trucks that we don’t have that other shows would have.
As your skills grow, so will your equipment needs, but don’t let that stop you from taking the first step on your first few videos. Instead, see what you can create with the equipment you already have and build from there.
When I first started this blog in 2009 I didn’t even own a video camera, but I made videos using a cheap USB microphone, a copy of Powerpoint, and some screencasting software.
Working within boundaries can actually increase your creativity, and it’s always fun to come up with new solutions. Start with what you have and you’ll identify the tools you’ll need to grow later.
Find your Format
Then I just knew what the show was. It just became very clear to me that I could churn this shit out forever.
As you become a more capable YouTube producer try experimenting with many different styles and formats. Each experiment will leave you with new skills and you may end up stumbling on a format that you can stick with.
I’ve been experimenting with different video formats and styles since I started this site back in 2009. While I may not have found a format that I can churn out forever, I have made drastic shifts throughout the years with very positive results. The great news is that with YouTube analytics you won’t have to second guess yourself. You’ll be able to see which formats are working for your audience and which are not.
Focus on the fun, not the money
…what I know from experience is that if I was getting a million dollars a show it wouldn’t make it easier. It wouldn’t make it more fun.
If you want to become a YouTuber for the fame and riches, then I suggest you switch gears and become a reality TV star instead. Much of the work you do to grow your YouTube channel is exactly that – work. And if you’re not having fun for zero dollars, odds are you won’t last long enough to make a real living.