The first time I saw Bri was this week on her VLOG. (The link is below.) I laughed out loud and cheered at her presentation, instantly HER FAN. I was so impressed with the talent of her vlog performance that I asked her to share it with you here today. Please take the time to view it. You won’t be disappointed.
I also asked her if she’d teach us HOW TO VLOG. Unfortunately, we don’t all have Bri’s acting skills, but maybe with her inspiration and coaching we could excel, too.
Please welcome Bri, aka KAT!E:
Hey! My name is Kat!e Larson, though about half the time online I go by Brianna Lexen. It’s confusing, but there it is. I’m 18 years old, and I’ve been writing for about 14 years. Before I could write my stories myself, I used to dictate them to my older brother. I have never wanted to be anything but a writer (well, besides a penguin.)
A little more than a year ago, I was doing NaNoWriMo (which is a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.) I may have succeeded that year, had it not been for the fact that I discovered video blogs (“vlogs”). Browsing YouTube one day, I came across charlieissocoollike, who then recommended elmify. These two vloggers fascinated me. I loved everything they did, and their videos made me laugh out loud. In that moment, I decided I wanted to be a vlogger. So I started up a YouTube account under the name DiscipleoftheBlueBox, and went at it.
I didn’t start by vlogging about writing. Like many vloggers, I just talked about my life (which, in my case, did not make for terribly interesting videos.) I talked about my obsession with Doctor Who and Harry Potter and Zelda—but one thing that kept cropping up was writing. My Inner-Writer showed up and started talking to me (mostly getting on my case for vlogging instead of writing), and my Muse… wandered off and ate muffins, but was also in the videos.
However, I’m a little slow. The fact that I always talked about writing didn’t really mean anything to me. I had no thoughts of anyone actually watching my vlog, and so I continued vlogging about ridiculous things.
Meanwhile, I met a girl on a Harry Potter fanpage on Facebook who liked writing as much as I did. We really hit it off, and decided we should start a writing Facebook page together. Thus, Creative Teen Writers was born. There, we post writing advice and prompts and activity ideas, and listen to people talk about their writing. We also offer critique. And I love it. I love dedicating so much of my online time to writing.
At the same time, I started really trying to work on my blog Kate’s Novel Idea (something I’m still sporadic about.) I know that publishers nowadays really look for authors with a strong online presence, and I loved running that blog.
I started thinking that, if I were to get published, what I really needed to do was dedicate most of my time to writing. And, as it so often happens, I was lying in bed at three o’ clock in the morning when it occurred to me that I should do a vlog all about writing. I’ve been to a lot of writer’s conferences, devoured all the writing blogs I can find, and learned a few things about writing for myself—if there’s one thing I can talk about, it’s writing.
So I set up a new YouTube account, KatesNovelIdea, and started vlogging.
My vlogging processes works something like this:
1. Scripting. I’m not sure all vloggers script, but I have absolutely no improv skills. Also, I play more than one person in my videos, and these people talk to themselves—I have to know the whole conversation when I film, since I film one person’s part all at once. So I write out all my lines and edit a few times before sitting down with the camera.
2. Filming. I use a Flip camera, though for a while I used a webcam. Any sort of camera with an SD card or USB connection works, however. Because I don’t have a cameraman or anything, I have to film myself. I do this by using whatever I can find as a tripod. When I film my part of the vlog, I put the camera on top of a chest in my room. For my Muse and my Inner-Writer, I use a stack of books to get the camera to the right height. For my Editor, I use a table. I set the camera filming, get into position, then stop filming and watch the video to see if I got a good angle. Sometimes I have to adjust it several times. Eventually, I find a good spot, and just go for it. I usually recite every line three or four times, so that when I get into editing I have more than one to choose from. Also, I usually write more than one episode before sitting down to vlog, so I can film more than one at once.
3. Editing. To edit, I use Windows Movie Maker 2.6 – just a personal preference, any video editing software would work. Some vloggers don’t edit their videos, but to do the thing where I talk to more than one side of myself I have to. Also, I think videos just look more professional if you cut out all the “ums” and “ers”. I definitely believe it is worth learning to use a video editing software for vlogging.
4. Posting. To post on YouTube, you have to make sure your video is saved into a format YouTube accepts—AVI, MPG, MOV, or WMV. Then make sure you’re signed into your YouTube account, and click “Upload.” Once you get your video uploaded, you can share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, a blog, or through e-mail.
One thing about vlogging is that it does require you to put yourself out there—to appear online and let people watch you. I’m not a particularly shy person, but this aspect of the thing does get me self conscious from time to time. What helps me, actually, is lying to myself. I tell myself that no one will ever watch the video, and that I’m just making this for me. Once I’m done with it, it’s kind of exciting to get it posted. However, if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of being on YouTube, that’s ok. Between blogging and Facebook and the myriad of other online things, it is easy to have a strong online presence without having to make videos. Do whatever’s comfortable for you—and, as with all writing, do what you love. That’s why we write, isn’t it? Because we love it. There’s no other reason to do anything.
Thanks for reading, and happy writing!
VIEW Bri’s VLOG here: