The central promise of YouTube has always been that ‘anyone can do it’, and succeed at it too. It goes hand in hand with the old cliche that YouTubers are people who found success just by making videos ‘in their bedroom’. But anyone who is up to date with the world of YouTube knows this simply isn’t the case any more.
With YouTubers employing their own production staff, and megastars like The Rock invading the space, it’s becoming harder and harder for genuine, lo-fi talent to break through. At this point, we really have to ask ourselves, is there any way to succeed on YouTube without spending a bunch of money?
Why does money matter?
When it comes to money, the issue is not paying to promote your videos, or hiring elaborate studios. It’s simply buying the basic level of equipment you’ll need to keep up with the YouTube norm. Let’s break it down, in the style of the above tweet:
Tripod: £20 – £100
HD camera: £300 (and just up and up from there)
Lenses for camera: £50 and up
Computer to edit: £300 – $1000
Editing software: £200
Fun! To be clear, you could attempt to make your videos using more lo-fi tech – after all, phone cameras have reached incredible levels of quality in recent years. The issue is that you start your YouTubing career at an immediate advantage.
And then there’s funding the videos
Jack and Finn wanted to make a fun video, so Jack and Finn made a home-made ball pit. This is a very convenient way of creating a fun video. The only problem is most people can’t afford to suddenly build a ball pit in their house (for one, it requires a whole empty room). This isn’t to rag on Jack and Finn; it’s just illustrating how extra resources can give creators an added advantage.
So we should all give up, delete our videos, move to the desert and become goat herders ‘cos nothing matters and life is ultimately pointless??
No, just kidding. These issues are most definitely valid and present challenges which didn’t exist for YouTube creators back in the day – back when you literally could just make silly low budget nonsense and it would be enjoyed on its merits:
But you can’t let these issues stand between you and your urge to create. Yes, the barriers to entry may be bigger now, but so is the capacity to engage an audience and to (eventually) profit of your videos. You may not be able to dance with the big kids when you start out on YouTube, but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw some shapes of your own – because just like this tortured dancing metaphor that I wish I hadn’t started, things aren’t always the way you want them to be. But that’s life – and you can’t let it get between you and that awesome cinnamon challenge (how original!) video that you have planned, Keith.