Thoughts on VEDA

VEDA 2020

Today I recorded and posted my final video for VEDA (Video Every Day in April) 2020. Sharp eyes will notice that April ended 7 days ago. Yes, I got a late start on the project and spilled over into May, but I at least fulfilled the spirit of the thing by releasing 30 videos in 30 days.

I enjoyed doing it; in fact, I plan to do it again in August. Why not? The acronym still works: Video Every Day in August. Between now and then I have a few months to review what I’ve learned and assess where to go from here. I know there are many areas that need improvement. At a bare minimum, I can become more familiar with the video functions of my smartphone.  Then bring myself up to speed on some basic video editing software.

Of course all the software skills and tricks in the world can’t overcome dull content or a poor on-camera persona. For all of these VEDA clips, I just rambled into the camera with only the vaguest notion of what I was going to say. A little (a lot) more preparation would lead to a much more professional presentation. So would speaking more clearly, with less stammering and fewer “uhs” and “ums.”

Many years ago, I first toyed with YouTube by uploading some hastily made videos I made with iMovie and featuring some of my original music. Then I basically ignored the platform for a few years except as a frequent viewer, but not as a creator. It was John and Hank Green (VlogBrothers, SciShow, CrashCourse, OursPoetica, Journey to the Microcosmos, etc.) who inspired me to once again try my hand at making my own videos. Hank just posted an excellent interview with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.

I had intended to participate in VEDA last year, which is the first year I knew of its existence. (Apparently I am quite late to the party; VEDA is already old news to avid YouTubers.) Though my YouTube channel has almost no subscribers and has garnered only a tiny handful of views, I still feel proud at having completed VEDA 2020. I have a bad habit of making big plans then not following through. Also of not finishing those projects that I do start. So this one is a victory!




BrianVile - brightened

Yesterday I recommended some online people who inspire me. Now it’s time for the flip side. Many of the YouTubers I enjoy watching are half my age. They live in fancy big-city apartments and drive luxury cars and maintain lifestyles beyond far beyond my means. On one hand, I find them inspiring; on the other hand, I am seething with envy that is probably not healthy.

Every bit of advice I’ve read on how to be happy includes a warning to not compare yourself with other people. This is advice I have a very hard time following. How do you not compare yourself to others? How do I not watch a 20-something driving a Tesla and not resent my entry-level Ford? How do I not let a video on home decorating depress me when I’m wondering how to make next month’s rent on my tiny apartment?

Way back when I was in my own early 20s, I wrote and recorded two songs that have since taken on a bitter irony. “I Hate My Apartment” and “I Wanna Be Rich” were written when I was certain better times were just around the corner. A combination of bad luck, poor timing, and bad decisions has held those better times at bay. Don’t get me wrong; I’m certainly better off than millions—if not billions—of the world’s desperately poor and hungry people (and yes, I also wrote and recorded a song called “Hungry People,” but that one’s not online). Things, as they say, could be worse. But they could also be a lot better.

So please excuse this whiny blog post. My struggle is one I suspect I share with many people of modest means. It is also not entirely about money, though let’s face it: That’s a biggie. But even if all those talented young YouTubers were stripped of their high-price accessories, I would still be envious of their accomplishments. Ah, there’s the ticket! I may not be able to control what people pay me, but I can control what I do and how I do it. Focus on doing good work.

“Make good art.” – Neil Gaiman

And if anyone want to gift me a Tesla, that’d be cool too!