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Video Research Making A Better Video | How to Improve Your Story

Stanley | Team TB

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Recently I have been trying to improve the style of my videos... I spent some time studying shows on TV in order to adapt a more professional appearance in my videos. But something was still missing. While the quality of my filmography has improved there is still an emptiness to my videos that I have been seeing. Damon and I often talk about telling a story in our videos. This is a mantra that I hold strong to... but sometimes let slip by the wayside.
Like many of the people here I do not script my videos. I go out to the beach with a fishing pole and I let the events of the day tell the story. But this is a very shallow type of story-telling and I want to improve this. Here is what I have learned about how to turn your video on it's heels and to tell a solid, intriguing story.

Strong Ideas
Recently on the TubeBuddy YouTube channel we posted a video about the things you can do to make your video 10x better:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsO1Oayp7kg


Mr. Beast mentions in our video that "the difference between a video with a million views and thirty million views; the video with 30 million views usually did not put in 30 times the effort. They might have put in two or three times the effort and just had a way better idea." This is something that we are all struggling with. Maybe you have a decent idea... but decent ideas don't make viral videos. They are placeholders in your content schedule, they fill the void between other videos and they add to your library. And that is about it. Focus on taking more time to turn your decent ideas into concepts that hold more potential for amazement.

Is it A Topic Or A Story?
This is a problem that I struggle with, and one that I am personally going to start focusing on. My videos are the representation of a day spent fishing at a certain location, for a certain species. It's a simple vlog with some above-average cinematography, editing and a little dash of personality to spice things up. My videos are topic oriented. That is great for the How-To crowd... but it is rare that a How-To video goes viral and propels the creator into the stratosphere of YouTube's elite. That is where the Story comes into play. The difference between a Topic and a Story? A Story has conflict. There needs to be a goal and the video is the journey to that goal.

Who Is The Main Character?
Sure... you. Right? You are the main character in your story (Let's be honest... if you are on making videos on YouTube there is about a 95% chance you are a serial narcissist just like the rest of us). Sooo, as the main character of your story who are you? There is a common element that movies, TV, books et cetera use when fleshing out a main character. They have 5 traits that define who they are. These traits provide solidarity for that character; they can not be broken or changed and they tell the viewer who this person is so that they can decide whether this character is someone they align with. The viewer should know who this character is in the first 5%-10% of the video. After figuring out this character's traits you are going to need to give them a desire for something in this video. The video has a beginning, and in order for there to be a journey to the end this character needs to want something and whether they get it at the end determines if this story is a comedy (they get it) or a tragedy (they don't).
Since I do fishing the consensus is that I must catch fish in order to have a viable story and therefore a video to present. Far too often creators ignore the value in presenting a 'failed video' as a tragedy. Often they give up on the video without delving into the failure as a possible story in it's own regard.

Script Your Story
So this is going to be obvious... and yet still so misunderstood and ignored. And I get it; I don't script my videos either... except that I do and yes, you do too. We just do it poorly. You see, we have this idea in our head of what the video is going to be. We are going to run around shooting people in Fortnite, we are going to bake these cookies or we are going to the beach to film our fishing trip. That is the script. While I can not script the fish that I am going to catch they are not the story. They may be a topic. The cookies you bake and your KDR are a topic. But these are not the story. The story is the journey of how we get to the end of that topic. I can script a story of waking up early in the morning, dragging my wife and daughter out of bed at 3 a.m. so that we can drive 60 miles down a desolate stretch of beach to fish a shipwreck from 1909. You can script the story of the recipe your grandmother handed down to you or the hundreds of hours you spent learning and mastering the art of building in Fortnite, only to have this ability taken away. There are stories that can be told throughout the course of your video that give it a deeper, more meaningful journey. It's magic if that happens on it's own, but this is something that can be scripted in advance and adds layers to a concept that could have easily been another simple topic for another simple video.
 

KS Moto Cafe

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man... this is way harder to achieve than most people think. Sometimes I self-reflect by watching my own material trying to dissect if I did a good job telling a story from my POV (literally as I use a GoPro on my helmet). Then I go watch some of the more successful channels in my niche and see a vast difference in quality and quantity of information delivered through the screen. It always gives me some form of writers block and makes me second guess how I should improve my story telling skills because my product is never at their caliber. I find that the good channels really know how to deliver the information elegantly and efficiently with the use of numerous camera angles, clean voice overs, use of different but relevant scenes, subtle background music that matches the action, and great pacing. I always had an appreciation of the video industry but after being a content creator for over a year, I REALLY appreciate the work put into the videos from successful YouTube channels.

The art of story telling is just... so difficult to learn. As you mentioned, this skill is what separates the Pros and the Joes. Great topic!
 
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Stanley | Team TB

Stanley | Team TB

Amazingly Decent and Not-At-All Terrible Fishing
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man... this is way harder to achieve than most people think. Sometimes I self-reflect by watching my own material trying to dissect if I did a good job telling a story from my POV (literally as I use a GoPro on my helmet). Then I go watch some of the more successful channels in my niche and see a vast difference in quality and quantity of information delivered through the screen. It always gives me some form of writers block and makes me second guess how I should improve my story telling skills because my product is never at their caliber. I find that the good channels really know how to deliver the information elegantly and efficiently with the use of numerous camera angles, clean voice overs, use of different but relevant scenes, subtle background music that matches the action, and great pacing. I always had an appreciation of the video industry but after being a content creator for over a year, I REALLY appreciate the work put into the videos from successful YouTube channels.

The art of story telling is just... so difficult to learn. As you mentioned, this skill is what separates the Pros and the Joes. Great topic!
It can be rough... but don't worry about measuring up to other channels. Luckily that is not what YouTube is about. People come to YT for raw, personal experiences. Media has become far more globalized with the internet; every network has their own streaming service etc. Think of YouTube as the new 'Reality TV' of this globalized network of services. When people want Marvel they go to Disney+ but when they want that good, old-fashioned, raw and in-your-face experience they come looking for Moto Cafe on YouTube.
 

KS Moto Cafe

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It can be rough... but don't worry about measuring up to other channels. Luckily that is not what YouTube is about. People come to YT for raw, personal experiences. Media has become far more globalized with the internet; every network has their own streaming service etc. Think of YouTube as the new 'Reality TV' of this globalized network of services. When people want Marvel they go to Disney+ but when they want that good, old-fashioned, raw and in-your-face experience they come looking for Moto Cafe on YouTube.
I think that was the case 5+ years ago but now I find that mainstream media outlets have moved into YT since they now see the potential to make more money with shorter content. I now see way more celebrities, pro sport athletes, famous musicians, etc starting their own channels - managed and run by a pro media company that they could afford or be sponsored with.

I agree with you that there are still a lot viewers out there looking for that "good, old-fashioned, raw and in-your-face experience" from a relatable person who isn't a celebrity but in order for them to get to your channel, they have to navigate through all the content produced by the top 10-20 pro channels within your niche because YT's algorithm favors the popular videos/channels over the amateur ones. It is kind of like when the Olympic events started to allow professional athletes compete and that amateur basketball player gets sidelined. I dunno.. I am starting to see a wall at the end of my journey rather than a light. I guess we all go through these stages of motivation as we create for longer period of time.
 

MattCommand1

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Recently I have been trying to improve the style of my videos... I spent some time studying shows on TV in order to adapt a more professional appearance in my videos. But something was still missing. While the quality of my filmography has improved there is still an emptiness to my videos that I have been seeing. Damon and I often talk about telling a story in our videos. This is a mantra that I hold strong to... but sometimes let slip by the wayside.
Like many of the people here I do not script my videos. I go out to the beach with a fishing pole and I let the events of the day tell the story. But this is a very shallow type of story-telling and I want to improve this. Here is what I have learned about how to turn your video on it's heels and to tell a solid, intriguing story.

Mr. Beast mentions in our video that "the difference between a video with a million views and thirty million views; the video with 30 million views usually did not put in 30 times the effort. They might have put in two or three times the effort and just had a way better idea." This is something that we are all struggling with. Maybe you have a decent idea... but decent ideas don't make viral videos. They are placeholders in your content schedule, they fill the void between other videos and they add to your library. And that is about it. Focus on taking more time to turn your decent ideas into concepts that hold more potential for amazement.

Is it A Topic Or A Story?
This is a problem that I struggle with, and one that I am personally going to start focusing on. My videos are the representation of a day spent fishing at a certain location, for a certain species. It's a simple vlog with some above-average cinematography, editing and a little dash of personality to spice things up. My videos are topic oriented. That is great for the How-To crowd... but it is rare that a How-To video goes viral and propels the creator into the stratosphere of YouTube's elite. That is where the Story comes into play. The difference between a Topic and a Story? A Story has conflict. There needs to be a goal and the video is the journey to that goal.

Who Is The Main Character?
Sure... you. Right? You are the main character in your story (Let's be honest... if you are on making videos on YouTube there is about a 95% chance you are a serial narcissist just like the rest of us). Sooo, as the main character of your story who are you? There is a common element that movies, TV, books et cetera use when fleshing out a main character. They have 5 traits that define who they are. These traits provide solidarity for that character; they can not be broken or changed and they tell the viewer who this person is so that they can decide whether this character is someone they align with. The viewer should know who this character is in the first 5%-10% of the video. After figuring out this character's traits you are going to need to give them a desire for something in this video. The video has a beginning, and in order for there to be a journey to the end this character needs to want something and whether they get it at the end determines if this story is a comedy (they get it) or a tragedy (they don't).
Since I do fishing the consensus is that I must catch fish in order to have a viable story and therefore a video to present. Far too often creators ignore the value in presenting a 'failed video' as a tragedy. Often they give up on the video without delving into the failure as a possible story in it's own regard.

Script Your Story
So this is going to be obvious... and yet still so misunderstood and ignored. And I get it; I don't script my videos either... except that I do and yes, you do too. We just do it poorly. You see, we have this idea in our head of what the video is going to be. We are going to run around shooting people in Fortnite, we are going to bake these cookies or we are going to the beach to film our fishing trip. That is the script. While I can not script the fish that I am going to catch they are not the story. They may be a topic. The cookies you bake and your KDR are a topic. But these are not the story. The story is the journey of how we get to the end of that topic. I can script a story of waking up early in the morning, dragging my wife and daughter out of bed at 3 a.m. so that we can drive 60 miles down a desolate stretch of beach to fish a shipwreck from 1909. You can script the story of the recipe your grandmother handed down to you or the hundreds of hours you spent learning and mastering the art of building in Fortnite, only to have this ability taken away. There are stories that can be told throughout the course of your video that give it a deeper, more meaningful journey. It's magic if that happens on it's own, but this is something that can be scripted in advance and adds layers to a concept that could have easily been another simple topic for another simple video.
Wow, great post! There is a lot to unpack here.

First, I think this post is quite timely to me. I feel I am evolving and perhaps getting a bit bolder and hopefully less like a stiff. I have seen many "story time" videos and they seem to do well. People still want to hear a good story. If the story is good, I have noticed that even a lightly edited video (talking head telling a personal story) can do well. I am still uncomfortable and a bit insecure about producing a video without some visual effects and enhancements. That goes to the core of my not being confident about telling a good story and focusing on topics.

Everyone has an "it" factor but I think it requires digging inside ourselves and willingness to take some chances. I have learned that I have to have some kind of outline or script or I will be horrible. But how far do we take that script? I know Hollywood have perfected these things but most of us are solo operators and we have to improvise and simplify tasks that Hollywood devotes entire teams to. There are writing teams to tell a good story. But for us, we have to do it all.

I definitely fall into the "How to" crowd but I have been sprinkling in opinion, philosophy, outlook, attitude, etc. to try to make myself unique. Otherwise, I fear I will be another "tutorial channel" which is definitely not what I want.

In regards to the "main character", sometimes I wish I wasn't the main character. Sometimes I wish I wasn't on camera all the time. I've done a couple of experimental videos where I wasn't on camera, I was mostly a narrator but that carries a cost too. That means the edit (for me) has to be even higher.

And given the fact that my efforts are to establish a personal brand, I have resigned myself that I have to be on-camera and on thumbnails despite many temptations to NOT use myself.

There is a seminar I took many years ago and a book by Robert McKee called "Story" and the importance of story-telling. It describes what makes a good story. Your post made me think of those lessons that was taught. Some people are gifted at storytelling. Most of us have to work at developing those skills one video at a time.

Storytelling is definitely important. We are doing it one way or another in our videos. As you pointed out, many of us desperately need improvement in that area.

Again, Awesome post on a very important subject.
 

MattCommand1

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man... this is way harder to achieve than most people think. Sometimes I self-reflect by watching my own material trying to dissect if I did a good job telling a story from my POV (literally as I use a GoPro on my helmet). Then I go watch some of the more successful channels in my niche and see a vast difference in quality and quantity of information delivered through the screen. It always gives me some form of writers block and makes me second guess how I should improve my story telling skills because my product is never at their caliber. I find that the good channels really know how to deliver the information elegantly and efficiently with the use of numerous camera angles, clean voice overs, use of different but relevant scenes, subtle background music that matches the action, and great pacing. I always had an appreciation of the video industry but after being a content creator for over a year, I REALLY appreciate the work put into the videos from successful YouTube channels.

The art of story telling is just... so difficult to learn. As you mentioned, this skill is what separates the Pros and the Joes. Great topic!
I know where you are coming from. It is hard NOT to notice all the nice little touches creators do to their videos that you wish you could do. I think we have to be careful to watch out mindset or we will start doing "stinking thinking" and deflate ourselves. I say that as a reminder to myself also! I have to be willing to practice what I preach!

When we see people who do "better" than us, we should learn and be inspired from it and not start beating ourselves up and being overly self-critical.

I definitely believe in the Japanese concept of kaizen for every video. You make small incremental improvements over a long period of time which leads to larger results. I feel that we have to be willing to allow ourselves to improve over time. That is why consistency is important. I try not to think too far ahead. I have a 5-year plan/commitment. I say it out loud just as much for myself as a reader. I instinctively know I will be much better after 5-years than when I started. But the specifics of how? I am not a fortune teller.

I think we just need to persist. Everyone is different but I think the rewards will be worth the effort. Our personal motivations are also different. For some, YT is a hobby. For me, it represents a source of business freedom to be able to make money "anywhere" in the world and have a global platform at my disposal. You get credibility and respect and it helps open doors in life. But personal and professional freedom is really at the heart of my motivations. So I see LOTS of benefits in my personal journey.

Money cannot buy you your own YT channel. It requires old fashioned work, creativity, and perseverance. It helps equalize things for people who are used to throwing money to get what they want. YT is different. You have to work for it.
 

KS Moto Cafe

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I definitely believe in the Japanese concept of kaizen for every video. You make small incremental improvements over a long period of time which leads to larger results. I feel that we have to be willing to allow ourselves to improve over time. That is why consistency is important. I try not to think too far ahead. I have a 5-year plan/commitment. I say it out loud just as much for myself as a reader. I instinctively know I will be much better after 5-years than when I started. But the specifics of how? I am not a fortune teller.
This is sound advice but it only works if you achieve your own definition of success after those 5 years of work. As you mentioned later, you see this as a business with passive income and so do I. But my goals are a bit more aggressive or ambitious as that is who I am, I am competitive and my only motivation to improve is to "win". Soon after I tested the waters of being a YouTuber in December 2020, I mapped out a 3 year business plan with milestones to achieve by each year. These milestones can be seen as super aggressive but during my research on successful channels, your breakout year is year 3 (10k+ subs and 5k+ views/day) and your peak is year 5 (100k+ subs and 20k+ views/day); now, some channels do get lucky from the get go and get the viral boost in year 1 but for the average successful channels that I have seen, the trend is year 3 to year 5. After year 5, if your channel doesn't evolve or pivot, it starts to decline or become irrelevant.

I have seen so many channels in their peak years where the content creator becomes so confident that they quit their day jobs, rent out a huge studio, and hire staff; but because they fail to pivot their content to something fresh, their channel slowly bleeds dry and then eventually disappear. We all preach that YouTube is a marathon and not a sprint, which is still correct, but that marathon does end at some point because there are always new runners in the race that the audience will be interested in. This doesn't mean your channel is guaranteed to fail at the end, I am just saying your business model has to pivot before the downfall. This "kaizen" concept is a good starter philosophy but ultimately if you as a content creator that lacks the visual story telling skill (which is a very difficult skill to master), you can only achieve so much with the Kaizen method.

Sorry for all the negative nancy replies - this is the only place I can vent about the struggles of being a content creator and actually have people understand it.

Cheers
 

MattCommand1

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This is sound advice but it only works if you achieve your own definition of success after those 5 years of work. As you mentioned later, you see this as a business with passive income and so do I. But my goals are a bit more aggressive or ambitious as that is who I am, I am competitive and my only motivation to improve is to "win". Soon after I tested the waters of being a YouTuber in December 2020, I mapped out a 3 year business plan with milestones to achieve by each year. These milestones can be seen as super aggressive but during my research on successful channels, your breakout year is year 3 (10k+ subs and 5k+ views/day) and your peak is year 5 (100k+ subs and 20k+ views/day); now, some channels do get lucky from the get go and get the viral boost in year 1 but for the average successful channels that I have seen, the trend is year 3 to year 5. After year 5, if your channel doesn't evolve or pivot, it starts to decline or become irrelevant.

I have seen so many channels in their peak years where the content creator becomes so confident that they quit their day jobs, rent out a huge studio, and hire staff; but because they fail to pivot their content to something fresh, their channel slowly bleeds dry and then eventually disappear. We all preach that YouTube is a marathon and not a sprint, which is still correct, but that marathon does end at some point because there are always new runners in the race that the audience will be interested in. This doesn't mean your channel is guaranteed to fail at the end, I am just saying your business model has to pivot before the downfall. This "kaizen" concept is a good starter philosophy but ultimately if you as a content creator that lacks the visual story telling skill (which is a very difficult skill to master), you can only achieve so much with the Kaizen method.

Sorry for all the negative nancy replies - this is the only place I can vent about the struggles of being a content creator and actually have people understand it.
You are obviously further down the pike on YT than I am. I made some general statements based on my prior life experiences and applied it to YT. You make a lot of great points about stagnating/plateauing after year 5. I would say that could apply to anything else in life. Everyone will plateau in anything unless someone seeks ongoing growth and improvement. In my view, that is an ongoing attitude and you don't have to wait until Year 5. My twist on Kaizen is the presumption you are constantly growing and evolving during the entire time and NOT resting on your laurels.

I understand your goal to "win". Everyone does. Everyone's definition of a "win" is different. I might have gotten the wrong impression by what you wrote. I might have been colored by my own perspective also. You are absolutely correct there is more to it than the whole "marathon vs. sprint" idea. And that is why @Stanley | Team TB post is so darn great to breaking open that discussion on storytelling. He brought it to the forefront.

And to clarify, I don't regard YT as "passive" income. Nothing passive about it from where I sit. I see it more as leveraged income vs. "passive income". YT is hard work. But video is a huge leverage to all sorts of things that go beyond the scope of this thread. I have hard numbers I wrote down for myself to shoot for but having seen the way YT channels evolve, it can be very different.

I think Stanley has said he is nice to everyone because you never know the next YTuber that will blow past you. I've taken a moderate but determined approach. I've seen some people blow past me and I've blown past others. Some of it is under our control, some of it is not.

I would say that you and I agree a lot more than might be obvious. But being a bit older, I've tempered certain things in me but you are not wrong. For me, the Kaizen statement presumes a lot of the points you make.

That is why I hang out here. Always looking for the nugget and insight wherever it might be. I give credit to Stanley, you, and several other people for bringing up a lot of good stuff. I take it all in! :)

Insofar as creators "quitting their day job", renting a studio and hiring staff, I've been self-employed since 1995 and transitioned careers a few times. I've always subscribed to running very lean. I can't think so far ahead in staff because right now I would happy to find a reasonably priced part-time editor to help me! LOL!
 
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Stanley | Team TB

Stanley | Team TB

Amazingly Decent and Not-At-All Terrible Fishing
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This is sound advice but it only works if you achieve your own definition of success after those 5 years of work. As you mentioned later, you see this as a business with passive income and so do I. But my goals are a bit more aggressive or ambitious as that is who I am, I am competitive and my only motivation to improve is to "win". Soon after I tested the waters of being a YouTuber in December 2020, I mapped out a 3 year business plan with milestones to achieve by each year. These milestones can be seen as super aggressive but during my research on successful channels, your breakout year is year 3 (10k+ subs and 5k+ views/day) and your peak is year 5 (100k+ subs and 20k+ views/day); now, some channels do get lucky from the get go and get the viral boost in year 1 but for the average successful channels that I have seen, the trend is year 3 to year 5. After year 5, if your channel doesn't evolve or pivot, it starts to decline or become irrelevant.

I have seen so many channels in their peak years where the content creator becomes so confident that they quit their day jobs, rent out a huge studio, and hire staff; but because they fail to pivot their content to something fresh, their channel slowly bleeds dry and then eventually disappear. We all preach that YouTube is a marathon and not a sprint, which is still correct, but that marathon does end at some point because there are always new runners in the race that the audience will be interested in. This doesn't mean your channel is guaranteed to fail at the end, I am just saying your business model has to pivot before the downfall. This "kaizen" concept is a good starter philosophy but ultimately if you as a content creator that lacks the visual story telling skill (which is a very difficult skill to master), you can only achieve so much with the Kaizen method.

Sorry for all the negative nancy replies - this is the only place I can vent about the struggles of being a content creator and actually have people understand it.

Cheers
Hey, no worries here. You have some solid research here and I respect/appreciate someone with a plan. I will say though that there is nothing specific linking Year 3 to being anything breakout... although YouTube has admitted that the average channel with 100,000 subscribers has 400 videos. Divided between three years that equates to a little over two videos per week, a solid publishing schedule which tends to denote the more successful channels. I would bet that this is a more pertinent piece of data that just happens to correlate to your '3rd year breakout' belief.

Also gotta say I am a little defensive in nature on this one... our third year was good, but 4th year suuuucked. Hoping for better things here in year 5.
 

MattCommand1

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Hey, no worries here. You have some solid research here and I respect/appreciate someone with a plan. I will say though that there is nothing specific linking Year 3 to being anything breakout... although YouTube has admitted that the average channel with 100,000 subscribers has 400 videos. Divided between three years that equates to a little over two videos per week, a solid publishing schedule which tends to denote the more successful channels. I would bet that this is a more pertinent piece of data that just happens to correlate to your '3rd year breakout' belief.
@Stanley | Team TB That stat is incredibly helpful. You have to make 400 videos to get 100K subscribers. Were there any other stats less than 100K subscribers? I can do 300 more videos.... in the next 3.5 years I think... maybe... LOL!
 
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Stanley | Team TB

Stanley | Team TB

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@Stanley | Team TB That stat is incredibly helpful. You have to make 400 videos to get 100K subscribers. Were there any other stats less than 100K subscribers? I can do 300 more videos.... in the next 3.5 years I think... maybe... LOL!
Don't read it quite like that... it doesn't necessarily take 400 to hit 100k. It's just that the average number of videos for a channel with 100,00 subscribers has 400. Of course the actual number between channels can vary wildly. Here's some more:

The average channel with 1,000 subscribers has 100 videos.
The average channel with 1,000,000 subscribers has 1,200 videos.

This obviously guarantees nothing, but it gives you an idea of where you stand. All it ever really comes down to for any of these milestones is one. single. video.
 
Last edited:

MattCommand1

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Don't read it quite like that... it doesn't necessarily take 400 to hit 100k. It's just that the average number of videos for a channel with 100,00 subscribers has 400. Of course the actual number between channels can vary wildly. Here's some more:

The average channel with 100 subscribers has 100 videos.
The average channel with 1,000,000 subscribers has 1,200 videos.

This obviously guarantees nothing, but it gives you an idea of where you stand. All it ever really comes down to for any of these milestones is one. single. video.
I know you didn't mean it literally like that. I understand averages have huge disparity. Average of 400 videos could mean one creator gets to 100K subscribers with 200 videos and another creator has to create 600 videos to get that 100K subscribers.

I could be one of the guys who have to make 600 videos but if I have to absorb that, I might just not try.

Right now, I am trying to make 1,000 subscribers. Getting closer but still not quite there.

Good stuff you are sharing. I need to copy and paste some of the stats you are quoting.
 

bananb

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I hat the same thing going for me to
I just saw it as I got nothing left to do so
I just doing and keep getting myself better and better
 

KS Moto Cafe

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there is nothing specific linking Year 3 to being anything breakout... although YouTube has admitted that the average channel with 100,000 subscribers has 400 videos.
The 3rd year being the breakout year is strictly from my own research within my niche - I should have specified that sorry. But here are some samples of where I get the raw data from. These channels are who I have been closely following within my niche because they are close to my production quality and feel. They are either just starting or ending their breakout year and are continuing to rise. The over 100k sub channels' data graph only goes back to their year 4 so I couldn't capture it but you get the idea.

Sample Channel A (160 uploads): This channel has been uploading steady 1 video a week since early 2020 and his content improved over the years but his personality didn't change and he is still doing things solo (without hiring anyone to work on his products) like most of us. This channel had a really good steady growth in 2nd year but 1/4 way through his 3rd year it just exploded and still continues to grow.

EXAMPLEA.JPG
EXAMPLEA2.JPG


Sample Channel B (207 uploads): This channel has been uploading 1 video a week with few weeks taken off to rest since 2019 and his style of video has not changed over the years but his personality has been really fun to be around. Leading up to his 3rd year, this channel was sitting at 5k subs and then real growth started in his 3rd year where he began to see substantial viewership and growth. His 4th year has been almost viral through some of his videos that shows crazy motorcycle stunts and as you can see from his daily data, it is paying off well.

EXAMPLEB.JPG

EXAMPLEB2.JPG


Sample Channel C (570 uploads): This channel has been uploading 1 video a week since 2017 and this is an example of what the growth looks like using the Kaizen method that Matt explained. His first videos are super raw and not well edited but he kept improving his videos and his story telling skills and you can see a more gradual growth to where he is at right now. But the steady big growth happens from the 3rd year mark.

EXAMPLEC.JPG

EXAMPLEC2.JPG


Like I said, my basis is purely from my niche (maybe) but it shows that if you keep things consistent, Youtube awards your third year with more impressions that leads to views. What you do with that influx of views is up to you to keep the machine well oiled and greased to keep the channel growing. Sorry I totally am diving away from your main topic of this discussion. Does that mean everyone should try to achieve these figures? Heck no but just know that these 3 sample channels that I brought up are all similar to our channels where the budget for production is super low (just use of 1x gopro and maybe some drone footages) BUT these three content creators do a great job at storytelling and keeping the audience's interest constantly engaged throughout their videos.
 

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Damon

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The best book I've read on story is Documentary Storytelling by Sheila Curran Bernard. (Not an affiliate link.) I script every fishing adventure just like a documentary film. Here is a typical approach I take when writing:

First, I generally go to the restaurant where I used to work. It's a surprisingly restful place to write, read, study and think.

Title | Subtitle
  • This is usually a working title based on recent keyword research.
  • You're not locked in, but you have some idea of where your going.
  • Example: Heat Stroke Fishing! Without Dying & Suffering Miserably (We're currently in a heat wave in the southeast.)
Train
  • This is what makes the story move forward. Think of how a train is hard to stop once it's moving. Ask what drives this story forward. What propels it? This should be one sentence simple:
  • Example: This is about a guy trying to catch fish during a heat wave.
Inciting Incident
  • This is the reason why you turn on the camera.
  • Example: We're currently in a heat wave in the south and mid-west, I need to get a fishing video in, and the full moon of June is upon us.
Pitch
  • This is your elevator speech. If you run into a subscriber at the grocery store, and they ask what your next video will be, what will you tell them?
  • Your pitch combines your train with your inciting indecent. The natural combination of these should produce conflict.
  • Example: We join Damon as he seeks to fish the full moon of June, but as a heat wave hits the southeast USA, will he find the fish, will they bite with all this heat, and can he fish without having a heat stroke?
You see how this works? If you don't have a natural conflict as a result of why you want to film and what moves the story forward, then you only have a topic. From there you're best to just make a how-to video and move on the try to find the next story.

Dr. Bernard lists many more points as well as lots of example from real film, even award winning documentary films, as well as ethical concerns.

This is called a treatment, not a script. We don't know what will happen, but we can use the concepts to tell a compelling true story that will get views and subscribers.

From there I generally work with the old three-act dramatic structure to better flesh out how I'm going to shoot the "film." Even when you write the treatment, you are not locked in to it. Right up until upload, you'll make adjustments. Sometimes you just don't heave enough footage and you have to either shoot more or work with what you have.

This is where the push to produce lots of content ruins the filmmaking process as a YouTuber. We're all one-man bands. We often don't have the coverage/footage as you'd see in a NatGeo, TV show or other film. It is a compromise, but the story can still be told. That's most important: the story.
 
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The best book I've read on story is Documentary Storytelling by Sheila Curran Bernard. (Not an affiliate link.) I script every fishing adventure just like a documentary film. Here is a typical approach I take when writing:

First, I generally go to the restaurant where I used to work. It's a surprisingly restful place to write, read, study and think.

Title | Subtitle
  • This is usually a working title based on recent keyword research.
  • You're not locked in, but you have some idea of where your going.
  • Example: Heat Stroke Fishing! Without Dying & Suffering Miserably (We're currently in a heat wave in the southeast.)
Train
  • This is what makes the story move forward. Think of how a train is hard to stop once it's moving. Ask what drives this story forward. What propels it? This should be one sentence simple:
  • Example: This is about a guy trying to catch fish during a heat wave.
Inciting Incident
  • This is the reason why you turn on the camera.
  • Example: We're currently in a heat wave in the south and mid-west, I need to get a fishing video in, and the full moon of June is upon us.
Pitch
  • This is your elevator speech. If you run into a subscriber at the grocery store, and they ask what your next video will be, what will you tell them?
  • Your pitch combines your train with your inciting indecent. The natural combination of these should produce conflict.
  • Example: We join Damon as he seeks to fish the full moon of June, but as a heat wave hits the southeast USA, will he find the fish, will they bite with all this heat, and can he fish without having a heat stroke?
You see how this works? If you don't have a natural conflict as a result of why you want to film and what moves the story forward, then you only have a topic. From there you're best to just make a how-to video and move on the try to find the next story.

Dr. Bernard lists many more points as well as lots of example from real film, even award winning documentary films, as well as ethical concerns.

This is called a treatment, not a script. We don't know what will happen, but we can use the concepts to tell a compelling true story that will get views and subscribers.

From there I generally work with the old Three-Act Dramatic Structure to better flesh out how I'm going to shoot the "film." Even when you write the treatment, you are not locked in to it. Right up until you'll be making adjustments. Sometimes you just don't heave enough footage and you have to either shoot more or work with what you have.

This is where the push to produce lots of content ruins the filmmaking process as a YouTuber. Because we're all one-man bands, we often don't have enough coverage as you'd see in a NatGeo, TV show or other film. It is a compromise, but the story can still be told. That's most important: the story.
This is epic @Damon Thank you for this!