I Could Never Be A YouTuber Even If I Wanted To
Personality and attitude play a huge role in choice of vocation
From its spectacular launch in India back in 2008 up until now, YouTube, the world's premier and popular video hosting platform, has made its shining mark in the country. From having merely two Indian YouTube channels back in 2014, to a whopping 1700 channels with more than a million subscribers and jam packed audiences for its yearly fan fests, the online video sharing platform has come a long, long way.
It isn’t just a video sharing platform any more, but an active source of livelihood for a large number of people connected directly or indirectly to the influencer marketing industry.
Hundreds of early stage as well as late blooming YouTubers wake up greeting their followers on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube live sessions today, signalling an all-round internet presence. These professionals who have, over the years, learnt how to squeeze out every single rupee from the platform with their massively growing subscriber base now proudly collect their paychecks from the online video giant. Or rather, from their influencer marketing company agents to be precise.
With all that being said, it takes a certain amount of gumption, courage, determination, patience, and perseverance to be outside, walking with a camera in your hand filming yourself or the world completely oblivious to all the stares, glares, and sometimes even words that are directed at you. Now I understand why a lot of YouTubers choose to film only at their home studios.
When my friend suggested me to start filming all aspects of my trekking expeditions (which would include a lot of city scenes), I was livid. Me? With my social anxiety? Shoot outside? Me, an introvert who hesitates to even look people in the eye or interact with strangers outside has to not only hold a camera in his hand and talk to it, but also direct all the attention of the world to himself? Uh huh! No way!
Like seriously, if there was something I could do to even take off all the current attention that I receive walking Indian roads, I would love to know about it. Someone please let me know in the comments. 😉
The only reason I was comfortable documenting all my trekking expeditions, was because I would be residing within the safety of a group. And second, we would be inside a forest. Who have I got to be overly conscious of? The birds?
No way would an introvert like me be able to walk and talk on a public easement out in the open with the entire world watching.
If Agoraphobia could kill, then trust me, I’d be dead trying to be an outdoor YouTuber.
I would actually liken myself to how Tom Kuegler describes himself in this article about YouTube fame:
“I am a private guy in reality. I don’t like attention in public. And few things attract attention quite like talking to a camera and being famous. I should’ve thought of that before I became a vlogger — but Casey Neistat made it look so damn cool.”
So, to know why some of us could never roam outside with a camera in our faces and make money doing it, let’s look at some of the skills and qualities that YouTubers possess, skills that allow them to be outside, completely unaffected by the insanity of the world:
So what are some of the remarkable qualities that all of these YouTubers possess?
They possess heaping tablespoons of patience:
Just look at some of the travel vloggers out there. Noticed anything special about them? They possess a lot of patience don’t they?
They’re exceptionally quiet, calm, collected and patient with the people they deal with. People will push you around, argue that you cannot shoot on their premises or in public, shove rule books in your face, and what not. But the one thing that makes successful YouTubers stand out from the rest is the amount of patience and restraint they’re willing to display in such pressure cooker situations, that would make anyone else pop and blow a gasket.
A popular Indian travel vlogger whose channel goes by the name ‘Mountain Trekker’ displayed immense restraint and level-headedness when he was yanked around by a police officer during one of his tours in the Middle East.
He posted his day-long ordeal on the platform, narrating the entire incident in detail and how he finally managed to extract himself out of the situation:
Just imagining myself in such tight situations makes my nerves tingle.
There’s definitely a lesson that comes out of each incident life deals you with. It’s how much of that lesson you’re willing to remember, carry forward, and put to good use the next time you’re dealt with such difficult challenges. And some of these YouTubers do a pretty remarkable job at it.
They are well aware of their rights:
Highly principled and honest YouTubers do their research before heading out. They make sure to check with the authorities well in advance, where they are and aren’t allowed to film. Regardless of whether the location happens to be their own country or a faraway land, they do their due diligence.
They email tourism offices for permits, or call up hotels to let them know beforehand that they’ll be coming to document their premises. They obtain videography permits for tourist attractions or monuments that require it. They obey the law. No one can push them around.
For example, Alex Chacon stood his ground in Egypt when he was harassed and pushed around by a swarm of people pretending to be police officers, and did not budge one bit until an official ID card from one of the plain-clothes officers was finally produced to him. He didn’t budge from his stance no matter how many people followed him or how many times he was nudged and prodded to tell them his nationality or provide hotel stay information.
He stood his ground even after one of them pulled a gun on him. If this act, in particular, doesn’t leave me with a newfound respect for YouTubers, I don’t know what will.
Secondly, YouTubers are not only well versant with rules that are in black and white. They are also aware of the grey areas.
Where “permission” to shoot is more about the kind of people around you, rather than an official looking permit card from the tourism department. Places like India, where the likelihood of running into problems depends on the social stratification of an area rather than an official letter obtained from a tourism office. You can get all the letters or permits you want. But if you’re shooting around the wrong people in the wrong place, you can definitely get into a hell of a lot of trouble. And no official looking permit can save you from an unruly mob of people who are mad at you for filming in their particular area.
Smart YouTubers know not to go looking for trouble in problem areas, where the locals are unlikely to take kindly to foreigners walking around their homes with an expensive camera in hand, documenting their lives.
They know to improvise on the spot:
When Sonny Side’s camera and film equipment got confiscated by the Egyptian airport authorities for no fault of his own, he didn’t throw his hands up in the air, sigh to his crew mates, and get on the next flight back home.
Hell no! He was there for a mission.
He improvised right on the spot. He informed the authorities that he and his crew were fine entering the country without their equipment. And the moment they entered, they began shooting their food review series using their phone cameras. How cool is that!
Now how many of us possess the will, courage, and perspicacity to stand our ground and get on with our work in such tense situations?
This has got to be one of my favourite and most admired traits in YouTubers.
The most successful YouTubers understand that the world is their office, and no one has the right to tell them what they can or cannot do in their office. They just cannot be ordered around! They stand their ground when they know they’re right, wait for the authorities to come and resolve the matter, or even find a way around it themselves.
Undoubtedly, one needs to possess certain personality traits, communication skills, knowledge, and a go-getter attitude to become a YouTuber. It definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Especially not of those introverts who also have social anxiety.
However, one doesn’t have to be voraciously extroverted in order to become a YouTuber. Fame and the money rolling in definitely plays a huge role in improving self-confidence and the tolerance to criticism from strangers outside. What I am saying is that I’m much likelier to let things slide when I know this is my full time job which fuels my lifestyle, as opposed to something I’ve just started in the hope that it will one day start churning out money. There is no doubting this source of internal motivation.
External sources of motivation include external validation from parents, friends, relatives, peers, fans, other YouTubers or celebrity YouTubers, companies, brands, and social media accounts.
So finally, what does it take to confidently shoot outside without a care in the world?
A go-getter attitude?
Or just the support of friends and family, and an already stable source of income?
It just might be a mishmash of all these attributes, with a certain other rare human qualities thrown in for good measure.
Whether you’ve uploaded to YouTube in the past, or have filmed outside for your own personal use, do let me know your experience with it in the comments bar to the side.