Inside the mind of a YouTuber

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This is going to be a much longer post than I normally write (although it’s really only a 4 or 5 minute read for most people). But I encourage you to read it all the way through, if you’re at all interested in what I go through every time I make a video. Read it to the end, because you won’t get the full impact until then.

If you’re stumbling across this post and don’t have any context, that’s OK. Just know that I built a “shop cabinet” from an online woodworking course, and I’m making a video of the experience.

I’m splitting my time between building the router table (that’s the second project in the course), and editing the video for the first project, the shop cabinet. Let me take you through one of the things I deal with, when putting together a video.

Don’t talk too much

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.

– Thomas Jefferson

I’ve received lots of thanks from people for the fact I don’t ramble during a video. Or at least I try not to. But most of you have no idea how hard it is to say what needs to be said, in as few words as possible.

For me, it means I write something, then rewrite it, do it again, one more time, then delete 3/4 of it because it really isn’t necessary to the video. Even though I think it’s valuable information.

Why? Because many of you will get bored and stop watching. I know I would, so I’m not blaming you.

Example

At the beginning of the video for the shop cabinet (after the intro), I want to explain the reasons I changed the dimensions of the original plans.

The actual reasons are:

  1. I changed the plans because the cabinet wouldn’t fit on the wall, in the only space I have available. (Actually, it will fit, but the doors won’t open very far.)
  2. And so I could use the plywood sheets I already have, which are 32” x 48”.

Do I really need an explanation?

That’s the first and most important question - do I need to explain why I’m changing the plans. In this case the answer is “yes”, because the theme of the video (at least in these early stages) is how to deal with problems and challenges while building a project.

So if I want to explain how I solved the problem, I need to say why I had the problem in the first place.

Do I need to mention it doesn’t fit? (#1)

I think so, because it helps you (the viewer) to feel like you’re a part of this. You’d start thinking about where you would put the cabinet in your shop, and then you’re more invested in the video.

But honestly, it’s not really required. If I took it out, you’d still understand the rest of the video.

The big questions (#2)

I have existing plywood stock, and it’s the single truly limiting factor to the size of the cabinet. I can’t make the cabinet larger than my stock (well, I could, but not without a lot of work, so let’s just leave it at “can’t”).

So, from a technical standpoint, this is the real reason. Yet, I could leave this explanation out and nobody would notice. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

32” x 48”???

If I mention that I’m limited by the size of my existing stock, you would think I’d mention the size, right?

But if I mention 32” x 48” without an explanation, people will go “wait, what?”. Because that’s an unusual size.

deep breath In the US, a typical large sheet of plywood is 4’ x 8’, which is 48” by 96”. Most people don’t ever think of this, but you can get it cut in thirds, so you end up with 3 sheets of 48” x 32” (approximately), and usually you mention the smaller number first (“2x4” for example), so that’s where the 32” by 48” comes from. Why do I get it cut in thirds? Because it fits in my SUV.

Where do I draw the line?

And that’s the big question. I think mentioning that you can get a 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood cut this way might be the most important thing some people would get out of the video - people like me, who couldn’t otherwise fit the sheets in their vehicle. Others won’t care, or their eyes will start to gloss over.

And in the long run, it’s totally irrelevant to the video, even though it’s technically the most important limitation. (Because technically, the cabinet will fit in the space I have, I just won’t be able to open the doors all the way.)

And finally…

So, after all that, I’ll probably end up saying

“I needed to change the size of the cabinet to fit on my wall.”

And in the end…

I asked you to to read until the end.

Because.

The above exercise ends up resulting in 5 seconds (give or take) of a video that will probably be 15-20 minutes long.

And I have to go through this process over and over again. Admittedly not for everything - some things are easy to figure out. But I’ll have to do it for plenty of things.

And I didn’t even cut any video to match all that dialog. Sometimes I’ve already spent the time editing the video for a section like that, only to end up trashing virtually all of it.

Now you know. Be thankful I even put out one video a year!

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