The Vlogstar Challenge is a unique competition that is now in its fourth season of providing innovative training to 16-25-year olds based in London and Essex. This year we’ve trained over 1,500 young people in the art of filming so that they can start vlogging.
The vlog entries that we received covered a range of topical issues, including knife crime which Sadiq Khan has identified as the ‘human cost of austerity’. Other issues included were mental health, pollution and fast fashion. As part of the competition, 150 young people were shortlisted and invited to a Semi-Final day at YouTube HQ! The day was beyond epic and consisted of expert masterclasses and workshops from YouTube staff and YouTubers.
The young people were warmly welcomed by the YouTube staff and to kick off the day they all took part in a Kahoot quiz which was, of course, YouTube themed and involved questions such as ‘YouTube began on which recognised holiday?’ If you didn’t know, the answer is Valentine’s Day as YouTube was created to be dating app. Who would have guessed?
After gaining knowledge on the basics of YouTube, the Semi-Finalists took part in a series of masterclasses. The first masterclass focused on branding, specifically how to put the ‘You’ into YouTube! This essentially meant that the young people learnt how they can go about personalising their channel, so that it is a reflection of who they are and what their brand is about. Remember, your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Viewers watch around 5 billion YouTube videos a day, so to stand out, the Semi-Finalists had to identify their unique selling point (USP).
The young people gained insight on how to portray their USP, by customising their channel banner and producing a unique intro for their future vlogs. It was also vital for the aspiring YouTubers to understand what only their channel can offer to their audience and how valuable it is for viewers.
From learning about how to stand out to proclaiming about why they stand out, the ‘I Am remarkable’ session had to be the most inspiring masterclass of the day. The workshop was created by Google and built around empowering people to speak openly about their accomplishments. It encourages people to break those British modesty norms and glass ceilings. Google uses this workshop with their clients, creators, customers and has now used it to empower our Vlogstar Challenge Semi-Finalists. Surprisingly, many of the young people were brave enough to bless the stage and tell us why they are remarkable. Some of the standout statements were;
“I am remarkable because I volunteered in my local community group for 4 years.’’
‘’I am remarkable because I accept my flaws, weaknesses and use them as my strength.’’
‘’I am remarkable because I am not scared to tell the government about how I feel.”
Before the young people made it to the Semi-Final, they all attended a Vlogstar Challenge workshop where they learnt about the filming fundamentals required to make a vlog. After having made their vlogs and reached the Semi-Final, they now had to learn the 10 fundamentals of a creative strategy. The YouTube staff provided the young people with gems of information on how certain fundamentals have been identified as being key to developing new ideas for all creators. This included fundamentals such as interactivity, consistency, shareability and inspiration.
The Semi-Finalists obviously all want to be great creators, so by being interactive with their audience and asking them to submit ideas for future content, they keep their audience happy. Another fundamental included was ways to find inspiration, one way to do this is by paying attention to what you love to watch. This can range from TV to films and then producing content within the same area. The Semi-Finalists who attended were all millennials and as millennials spend 18 Hours a day consuming media – they have a ton of places to gain inspiration.
The last and possibly most exciting session may have been the Q&A with our YouTuber Creator Panel. The amazing Ria Hebden, host of Sunday Morning Live on BBC One, chaired the conversation. She introduced the panel which consisted of Grace F Victory, Lucy Moon, London Hacks and AB Vlogs. The young people were so keen to hear from these well-known YouTubers. The Semi-Finalists had the opportunity to submit questions they wanted Ria to ask the panel and they were so many! From questions such as ‘’what were some of your early mistakes?’’ to “is there competition amongst YouTubers?’’.
The panel debunked a lot of myths about YouTubers such as the idea that you need the best equipment to create content and that creators always have free time. Lucy Moon even implied that some creators work more than 40 hours a week - depending on how long it takes to plan, shoot and edit content. Grace F Victory was very honest and revealed that when she started her career on YouTube, she was making £70 every other month. The panellist reassured the young people to be confident about the content they make and make sure that it is best suited to them and their audience.
Here are some of our Semi-Finalist’s tweets about the day:
@bryony_moss1: What an amazing day .... got to be with other young people making positive changes through vlogging and making video content. We also had a Q&A from some industry stars! #Vlogstarchallenge.
@theimoleayo_: #vlogstarchallenge @Media_Trust @JPFoundation today was so inspirational. Everyone be ready for my vlogs, they're about to be amazing. Thanks for the great day!!
@lucrecedagal_: So many young people here sharing how and why they are remarkable in @GoogleUK’s #IAmRemarkable workshop. Super inspiring stories as usual.
@marissatfooty: Great panel. ABVlogs says: "Don't make content that you think people want to see. Make content that you're comfortable with and the people will find you." #VlogstarChallenge.
Here are a few of our semi-finalists from Riana Development Network with their certificates!