It’s part of the zeitgeist. Just like the holy grail a couple of years ago was to be on top of a Google search, an entire industry from guerilla film school grads to expensive publicists now extol the virtues of being on top of the moving pictures equivalent of Google, YouTube (coincidentally owned by Google).
As broadband gets better – yes, even in Australia – there’s a whole new way to engage your audience, customers, friends or hangers-on with video rather than test-based web pages or blogs (so 2005!). Video, as the authors can contend thanks to their own subscriber numbers, is where it’s at.
The first few chapters are a sort of cut price film school with tips on — for want of more casual terms — props, casting, shooting and editing. They’re followed by a couple of chapters on navigating the YouTube site, creating a channel and setting up your playlists and preferences.
It’s not until Chapter 7; Building Your Audience that the book starts to make good on the promise we interpreted from the title, not expecting shooting advice or a YouTube How-to guide (not that they’ll be unwelcome depending on your skillset). But after awhile it’s evident most of the information is just more technicalities, explaining spambots, listing the cheats and hacks you can employ but telling you why you shouldn’t and sales strategies like Google Adsense.
There’s no magic bullet about how to be a YouTube star like you hope, and the reason why is the inherent paradox in the viral nature of internet video. If you’re talking TV or movies strategy and quality certainly count. But online, mere popularity is your badge of honour regardless of your content. You can spend considerable time and money perfecting your online video presence and you’ll probably still get buried by hand drawn animation of a whale stranded on a New Zealand beach…