Jay Miles, is a very cool and handsome guy who has worked in TV, video, film and commercial production for 20 years, including shows for NBC, ABC, FOX, the Discovery Channel, HGTV, Versus and DirecTV. He has completed productions for businesses (The House of Blues, Cisco/Linksys), bands (Two Man Advantage, The Afro-Semitic Experience) and blogs (On Frozen Blog). He has taught media at the college and high school levels for the past several years and has contributed to such magazines/Websites as Film Threat and Moviemaker. His first book, Conquering YouTube, combines the professional and practical tips that he has used on major shoots with the exercises that he has used to help numerous beginners reach for the stars with their own successful projects.
Jay Miles lives in New Haven, Conn.
You are author of a book titled ‘Conquering YouTube.’ What areas of YouTube are covered in the book?
“The focus is on creating your own top-level videos. The book features 101 pro tips for producing your own awesome YouTube sensations. It combines solutions from my 20 years of pro TV and film experience with fun and affordable exercises to sharpen your skills. I cover everything from basic camera moves and functions to advanced tricks, special effects and audio techniques. It’s really a manual for taking the fear out of all this new digital video technology, and giving video power back to the people.”
What is it about YouTube that draws so many people to it?
“Well, YouTube is kind of the ‘big everything’. It’s a peephole into society, from the nonsense of human existence to the glory of human achievement. It’s a visual archive, the latest form of ‘television’, a powerful marketing machine and it’s free, fun and flexible.”
What is the big deal about ‘going viral?’ . . . Did I say that right?
“Aside from truly allowing you your 15 minutes of fame, viral videos (those that are made cheaply, document an unrepeatable moment and generate huge amounts of interest) can be big income generators. YouTube has a program that allows users to share in revenues generated by ads. These ads are generally targeted towards those videos that receive the highest number of views. So uploading a cute, memorable, one-of-a-kind video that gets blasted all over the Web is not only a way to slice your name across the international easel of the internet, but it can be an unexpected source of cash, too!”
Do you think YouTube has changed our society as a whole?
“Wow, that’s an interesting thought. Clearly a basic shift has already occurred. People now casually challenge each other to ‘just YouTube it…’, when informing their friends about a new movie, a baseball brawl or a roller skating squirrel. And Google didn’t pay trazillion dollars to buy YouTube because it was a cute video site. They did it because YouTube continues to rank as the second most powerful search engine on the Web.
I think it might still be a little to early to measure the total result, however. YouTube has only been around since 2006, and is therefore still in its infancy (from a traditional broadcasting perspective). I predict that their current efforts to overtake the traditional TV viewing audience will make the site continue to grow in terms of power, finances, influence and habits. We’ve only really just gotten started…”
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
“Originally, I wanted to write a ‘how-to’ video book for teachers, which is the idea that I initially pitched to my publisher. It was their idea to expand out to a wider audience, and from there we decided that we wanted 101 tricks. At first we called them ‘chapters’, but we settled on ‘tips’, which I think is a much better fit. Especially since each tip can be self-digested by the reader, or explored in order. I’m super happy with the results, mostly in the feedback I’ve gotten from newcomers to video, or to YouTube, who felt like the book wasn’t too technical but still left feeling confident and excited to shoot, edit and post!”
Could someone who knows a little of this, but not enough of that, easily navigate and skip around from one section to another?
“Yes. You can jump around in the book a la carte style, exploring the tips that interest or challenge you the most. This way, if you already have some basic camera experience, or are mostly interested in editing solutions, you can skip ahead to the advanced sections. For true beginners, you can simply explore the book start to finish, building new skills on those featured in the early sections of the book. The book also includes ton of easy exercises to increase your competence with each set of skills, so you can jump ahead to challenge yourself with a new exercise, or flip back to refresh previous skills.”
Do I need to be a video geek to understand the material covered?
“Nope! I set out to make the book as empowering as possible, for non-video geeks, beginners, new YouTubers, converted photogs and others who are just curious enough about video to get the itch. I really feel that it’s all about putting the ‘You’ back into YouTube, so these aspiring videographers can enjoy seeing their work on the world’s most powerful video platform, with confidence and conviction.”
How do people make money with YouTube? – Do you cover this?
“As I mentioned, through YouTube’s ad revenue sharing program, you can cut a piece out of the ad revenue pie if your clip hits enough views. Once your account is established, and a video that you created generates even a modest amount of attention (say, 1,500 views or so), you can expect an email or message from YouTube asking for you to opt-in to the program. I don’t specifically address the revenue sharing angle in the book, as my approach was to give people the maximum amount of affordable, professional-grade solutions to improving the overall quality of their images, leaving the content creation (and subsequent revenue sharing) up to them to discover.
Remember, YouTube has recently made very aggressive moves to position itself along the lines of a traditional TV network, including a massive overhaul of their standard layout. In other words, YouTube made a determined decision to target current TV viewers and transform them into YouTube viewers. To do this, YouTube is banking on the fact that it’s own content creators (YOU!) will be able to generate watchable, top-rate content that will draw return viewers on a fairly predictable basis. Think of yourself as your own production company, and you are on the right track.
The next mission for you is to target your audience. If you upload videos that focus on your love of hockey, for example, YouTube will link relevant ads to those clips (hockey gear, jerseys, tickets, etc). Their hope is to approach advertisers with a set, predictable set of viewers (hockey fans), who all passionately follow your channel. Hit the right note, and you can start cashing checks!”
Where can readers buy the ‘Conquering YouTube?’
“You can order directly from my publisher at www.mwp.com, or on amazon.com using this link right here: http://www.amazon.com/Conquering-You-Tube-Video-Tips/dp/1932907947/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1297524095&sr=1-1
Jay, this is some really good stuff in your book. Thank you so much for the interview!