Story | Billy Tran
Photo | Nathaniel Tan, Yejin Ahn, William Lee and Annabelle Mou
We’ve all been there—viewing the countless “Day In A Life” videos on YouTube and wanting to record our own. You might have even tried to start vlogging, that is, until you realized that it takes way too much effort. However, there is a small minority within our community who are able to juggle between editing essay drafts and video cuts to grow their own YouTube channel.
Curious to find out more, I interviewed Nathaniel Tan (Nat) ‘24, Yejin Ahn ‘24, William Lee ‘24 and Annabelle Mou ‘24 about their content creating adventures. The four of them are all first-year students who post their videos on YouTube. They film, edit, and publish a wide array of videos themselves, such as the typical vlog, informational tips video or a “Study With Me.”
What got you started into content creating?
Nat: Since I was a boy, I always loved entertaining my relatives by creating parodies of shows that I watched using my family’s video camera and eventually cell phones. (I still have one of the clips from back when I was 11 years old.) Over the Circuit Breaker, I reconnected with this passion of mine and started content creation.
Annabelle: I started my YouTube channel when I was serving [my] Stay Home Notice upon arriving in Singapore, purely out of boredom. My first video was an unboxing of the care package I received from the Orientation Committee. My friends back in Taiwan continued to motivate me to make more videos because they’re curious what quarantine is like, and because a lot of them couldn’t fly overseas to their universities, they got to somewhat experience college life through my videos.
What’s your vlogging routine?
William: I usually have an idea or theme in mind that I want to execute through my vlogs. I then try to get as much footage as I can with my phone, and then proceed to edit them with music that bops. Many ideas come and go on a whim so it really depends on what I’m inspired by!
Annabelle: My filming is very spontaneous and I almost never follow a specific schedule or plan. I film with my phone and most of the time I just try catching all the interesting things on camera, and then go through them to see what kind of video I can produce with the segments.
In the rare times when I do plan what kind of video I want to make, I think about what angles and video content I want to be included, and I also bring along a tripod to film longer, still scenes. For editing, I use Final Cut Pro, it’s very convenient and easy to navigate!
How do you manage your time between your Yale-NUS studies/commitments and your content?
Yejin: I think of vlogging and editing as a method to de-stress, so I don’t worry too much about time management. I create during my free time!
Nat: I practice blocking out chunks of time throughout my day to either work on my videos or school commitments. If I don’t complete my work within the allocated time, it’ll be fine as long as I know roughly at what points of the day I’m working on my videos or school commitments.
How do you motivate yourself to continue creating content and vlog?
William: I film to document my daily life and anything I find interesting, fun, or just extremely enjoyable. Thus, it is more of a motivation to keep these memories as opposed to creating content.
Annabelle: I tell myself that these moments are worth documenting and remembering, and that future-me would definitely want to have something to look back and reminisce on.
Are you ever concerned about sharing too much of your life online?
Yejin: I don’t show my face or publicize my Instagram on my YouTube channel due to concerns about sharing too much about who I am online. The public can only see as much as I decide to share in my videos!
William: Since lots of my friends appear in my vlogs, I make sure to always get their consent before posting. However, I am wary of how much I should share on the Internet. I think it is a matter of balance and knowing what you are comfortable with.
Nat: [I have] always believed that my life is an open story book, even my imperfections, as I believe that they make me who I am today. Without knowing the true and full me, I doubt anyone will really understand me.
Any advice for those who want to get started with creating content?
William: As with most people, I started off documenting my daily life through photos. Slowly however, I realized that videography brings these photos to life, and thus I felt that it was just a much better way of capturing the essence of your day to day life. I guess my advice would be to find a reason for why you want to create content, and hold onto that reason dearly as you create it!
Annabelle: It’s never too late to start, and you always gotta start somewhere. But I think one important thing is to refrain from imagining too much about how well your platform will do. When you set your expectations too high you begin to feel frustrated when your content does not get as [many] likes, views, [or] shares, and you get devoured into the desire to make it big. Just go along with the flow and treat your platform as a leisurely thing for you to do.
Nat: If you’re a Singaporean dreaming of being a content creator in Singapore, remember that it will only get easier. We are in a unique position where “culture cringe” is prevalent in the creative sphere where our work will be unfairly compared with more influential and established international standards. But know that if you are genuine and passionate about content creation, your audience will be able to feel it as well, so ignore the haters and focus on your supporters, they’re ultimately the ones who matter.
These content creators aren’t expecting to become the next Shane Dawson, they’re pursuing a passion and making memories that will last at the same time. You may not watch their videos now, but you might in a few years’ time to reminisce, together with the incoming students who are trying to find out as much as they can about the school. But one thing’s for sure: they’re definitely enjoying what they do, and they’re not stopping anytime soon.