This week we would like you to meet one of our Individual Creator Members, Amir Zonozi.
1. What was the inspiration behind becoming a Youtuber? What do you enjoy most about the creative process?
For me it was watching other YouTubers like Casey Neistat, Peter McKinnion, Sam Sheffer, Gary Vaynerchuk and Marques Brownlee. I realized that storytelling today has changed, and video is such a powerful medium to connect with others and to share your ideas and passions. I began by watching them and attempting to mimic similar styles by recording my life and sharing it through the vlog format. When I started seeing friends and family in real life, and their reactions and their attention to details while watching my vlogs, I realized how powerful this medium really is. This entire process is much more difficult than I first understood and the challenge of articulating a story to a stranger is what attracts me to continually challenge myself through the creative process.
2. Can you take us through your process? How long does it take? Does everything you produce make money?
I try to find moments in my life that I feel others would benefit from, and document as much as my life around this as I can. I mentally breakdown how I want each video to pan out, and this outline isn’t ever completely structured. I will let the story tell itself, and then I will reevaluate how I can present it in a consumable format that will retain attention through its entirety. Vlogging daily is not possible for me while balancing a new business and the other responsibilities that I have. So I attempt to make one video per week. Not everything I produce generates money. In fact, I have actually taken monetization off some of my videos to help new audiences binge watch more of my content with less interruptions. For the videos that I know get a lot of play, I keep monetization turned on. After I record content I organize it by moments, and take content from my multiple devices and upload it into Final Cut Pro and attempt to cut out any content I feel does not provide value. Then I look for a story string to focus on.
3. What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
I think there is a misconception about the level of effort needed to produce a story from your everyday life, something that a stranger would want to watch. A lot of people take up vlogging, but fail to understand who their audience is and what value they are providing them. Just because you have the gear, doesn’t mean you will have an audience. The gear is secondary to the story. You need to also think about the right soundtracking, and obtaining the rights to music to use for the vlogs; and also consider the notion of talking into a camera in public. I also don’t want the difficulties to be a barrier for creators to try vlogging. While it is hard, like anything in life, you should not be deterred from trying the experience and understanding how to tell a visual story through first-person motion picture.
4. When did you first become aware of copyright and why?
I first learned about copyright during the boom of products like Napster, Limewire, KaZaa etc. I was downloading music out of the sheer ease of accessibility and not realizing the creative work that was put into this content. I took a class in graduate school from Georgetown’s Communication, Culture and Technology Program about copyright law, and it changed the way I look at creative content and at the value behind it.
5. What is your best piece of advice for fellow creators in your field about copyright and how to protect themselves?
Take time to be aware of the rules around copyright, and the different types of licensing available, and attribution through creative commons. Many artists, especially new ones, want to promote distribution of their content, just make sure it’s done in a way where you take their thoughts and goals in mind.