I remember last New Years Eve, we toasted to 2014 and someone (I can not remember who and it does not really matter), asked me: "What do you think 2014 will bring?"
I had a few guesses, but none have come through thus far, but there is still some time left before rejecting my theories conclusively. At any rate, my current circumstance, planning to leave the country for three years to get a Ph.D had never struck my mind, but now that I find myself in that exact circumstance. I have to admit a few things, all but one utterly indifferent to you readers. I do not have 30+ hours currently to continue the June/Jonas story, so I am forced to put my story on hiatus for a while, at least to the point when I again have time to sit down and type out the plot. Everything is planned, but the writing takes a lot of time.
This is a golden opputunity to use this space to present and debate quite a few things that I do and present them with explanations and analysis. And while I do not, for now, want to dive into the backlog of what I have already produced, I can see this as a self-motivation as well to produce some content. And I will strive to do so.
My hobby of composing and arranging music is well documented, albeit it on amateur level and as a hobby at best. And while delving a lot into MineCraft designs I find myself under a blue moon looking at tutorial videos on YouTube, most of the time because someone wanted me to check this and that new feature out, but occasionally for my own purposes as well. On that note, I want to talk about some things and features of YouTube tutorials that bug me to no end. I have personally witnessed all of the following mistakes time and time again. First of all:
- Any intro sequence above 10 seconds in length is torture.
Having your audience sit through more than 10 seconds of self aggrandizing logos, pompous intro music and self masturbatory commercialization is pure torture. Your target audience is watching your video specifically because they have an issue they wish to resolve, and watching lengthy intro sequences accomplishes nothing. At best it makes me loathe the bugger who thought this was "good video content". Stop it.
- Do not state who you are and what you are here to do, if the title explains what the video tutorial is on.
Stating who you are in a YouTube video is redundant in just about all cases as your account name 2 cm below the video states who you are and in two clicks I can see all your backlog of other tutorials. The only exception is for hub accounts with multiple people producing content under the same name. Then it is fair to present who you are, but if your title says: "How to X in Y," you better not start your tutorial with: "Hello, I am Z here and today we are playing Y, and we will be doing X," or anything equivalent. We already read the title. Supplementary information, oh yes, please, that is allowed and encouraged, but do not repeat yourself. It wastes your and my time.
- Do not state whatever you are doing is "easy".
The second you do, you are demeaning the intelligence of your audience, and this varies from rude to vulgar depending on the subject matter, but it is in all cases insulting. Yes, the same goes for the word "simple," and any synonymous words. The best case scenario is if your viewer figures out it how to do it and feels smart. That pleasant realisation will have them coming back.
- Never praise yourself for doing the tutorial. No matter what.
This should really go without saying. Nothing good comes of it.
- Do not get sidetracked. If you do, edit it out.
Keep it short and to the point. For example, if I am looking up how to embed YouTube videos in WordPress, do not start your tutorial opening up the WordPress Dashboard, then proceed to show which editing software you used to produce the YouTube video and then finally after three minutes of monotonous incomprehensible unwanted indifferent shallow explanations on editing software return to show how you embed the video with WordPress. Edit it out. We do not need to see it.
- If you make mistakes in your tutorial, do it over, or edit them out.
This I have seen time and time again with tutorials that start out by going "This is super simple," (see the above!) then misclicking a few times end up with three different windows, two of which are useless and then promptly closing two get right back on track. Your audience is already confused how to perform X in Y. You do not need to show two ways on how to not do X in Y at the same time. It is confusing and unnecessary.
- Do not use third party programs that you do not recommend using.
This one is just weird, but I have seen this too many times. "So you download this and that file and anyone can edit it with notepad, no problem. So let us edit the file, just open it up in notepad, I will be using NotePad++" No! If you encourage your audience to do one thing, you do that exact same thing as well.
- If you leave during a tutorial, edit out your absensce.
Especially if you have to suddenly in the middle of a video shoot go to the bathroom for seven minutes. Edit. It. Out!
- Personal opinions on how version X.3 is better/worse then X.2 of some software is irrelevant.
Go to the software forums and vent your enthutiasm/criticism of new features in the latest software updates. From a tutorial perspective your opinions are completely and utterly useless. Especially: "You used to be able to do this and this and that and that way, but now you can not anymore," it is completely, utterly indifferent to the material at hand – a waste of time. Which leads me to the following two addendums:
- State software versions briefly when you use the software.
This keeps the tutorials fresh and you will avoid some of the confusion: "You did so and so, but now I can not do that anymore, it all looks differently," whenever the software has been updated.
- Use fully updated software when you do a tutorial.
Because you audience will more likely than not recently have acquired the newest version of the software and you do not want to create a gap between what you can do and what the audience can do. Preferably these actions are identical for the sake of comprehension.
- Do not tour the entire program looking for "new" features.
Unless all the new features and I do mean all the new features are important to the completion of X in Y, this is irrelevant, confusing and a waste of time.
- Do your research.
You are telling your audience how to do X in Y, not how you think or believe you can do X in Y. Do your research, edit your videos and be authorative in your delivery on how to X in Y. It is what you audience wants to see.
- Never "check out my other tutorials"-encouragement after a video.
Your audience is here to watch how to X in Y, now how to A in B, C in D or E in F. And if you have done many different tutorials, if someone is looking to A in B, they probably do not want to watch how to X in Y, because an interest in Y does not imply an interest in B or vice versa. If you have done a tutorial on how to A in Y and how to B in Y or how to A in X, then yes, you may promote that specific individual tutorial. Completely unrelated tutorials will be indifferent to your audience 99% of the time. Do not do it. A clean, short, precise and useful experience will bring back viewers and get you more "likes" than overly done, poorly edited confusing and condescending shite videos.
Finally two personal notes. First of all, audio is key to making a video. Bad audio is the surest way to put off your audience. And by poor audio I refer to poor microphone and sound capturing equipment, although if you are rocking an accent, and most of us are – me included, if you make sure to pronounciate properly and speak clearly into the microphone, audio should not be an issue, unless you have a bad microphone. Then in all cases, even for those who speak English fluently and natively, audio is an issue and will significantly devalue your tutorial. Audio is the most important part of a YouTube video.
Secondly, the whole "like and subscribe," argument. My stance is that providing quality will bring in more likes and subscribers than begging for those will ever do. Combining the efforts may yield the best results, but without the presence of quality, begging for likes and subscribes is much a kin to asking to be trolled and do not underestimate how many trolls populate the YouTube comment sections.