All too often, the potential of failure is intimidating enough to stop us from creating something new.
We stop short — hesitating long enough to make up our minds that the timing isn’t right or, much worse, that we aren’t right to turn an idea into something tangible.
But, as Jeremy Cowart pointed out on the Keep Creating Podcast, failure is a natural part of any creative process.
The longer we obsess over our fear of failing, the more projects we talk ourselves out of creating. By getting in our own way, we fail by default.
Accepting the inevitability of failure is easier said than done, but it all comes down to your mindset.
In Jeremy’s own words, “I don’t care if people like it or if it works. I just care about — it’s an idea, it has to be done, and I’m gonna do it.”
With more than 500 hours of video content uploaded to YouTube daily, the question on many creators’ minds is “How do I make my videos stand out?”
To revisit Jeremy’s point, it’s easier to be swayed into inaction by fear than it is to follow-through with new ideas that intimidate and inspire you.
Starting a YouTube channel and then building a dedicated subscriber base from the ground up isn’t an easy feat for anyone. You have to invest in camera gear, find a great mic for your content, create an upload schedule, and find ways to set yourself apart on the platform.
But the hardest part for many creators is having the courage to start and keep at it.
This post spotlights seven talented YouTubers who make the conscious decision to chase and follow-through with new ideas.
7 YouTubers on the Rise
Heather M. l "Don't be afraid of humble beginnings."
Heather M. started her channel Fellow Filmmaker in 2019 because, in her own words, “I felt there needed to be videos made for filmmakers that got straight to the point, cut out the fluff, and was actually helpful.”
She set out to meet this need by creating the type of content she wished she had access to as a new filmmaker — which is to say, filmmaking content that is straightforward, condensed, and simplified.
From product reviews to tutorials and practical tips, Heather uses her public platform to set fellow filmmakers up for their own successes.
And she doesn’t shy away from topics like discouragement, failure, and rejection that are difficult to face — whether you have months or years of experience in this industry.
If Heather had to rely on only 3-5 pieces of gear, the following products would make the cut:
- Godox UL150 video light
- Deity D3 Pro video mic
- Computer for editing
- Godox ML60 video light
- Phone with good video shooting abilities for recording
As you might notice from this list, Heather considers good lighting equipment to be a staple and non-negotiable part of her filmmaking process.
She goes as far as to say, “I'd take a phone camera over a cinema camera if it meant I got all the lights in the world to play with and use, because they make that much of a difference.”
In the video below, she walks viewers through her process for manipulating the lighting in a scene while also providing practical work-arounds for common lighting issues.
(If you want to learn more about video lighting, check out this blog post.)
Brandon Wise l "If my video helps one person then I'm good. I did my job."
Brandon Wise initially started his channel JustBWise to create and share video gaming content as a side hobby. As time went on, his passion for video editing led him to branch out and create photography and videography-based content.
These days, JustBWise is a channel devoted to filming and editing techniques, gear reviews, and his videography work.
The video below is an example of a wedding film he shot with the Sony A7ii, which happens to be a piece of gear he believes he can rely on for any project.
What stands out to first-time viewers and long-time subscribers of the JustBWise channel is how genuine and personable Brandon is as a content creator.
It’s apparent that he truly has his audience’s best interests at heart: “I'm no expert. I don't claim to be an expert. If I know something I'll tell you. If I can't fully explain it I'll tell you where to find it explained differently.”
The desire to help his fellow creators — even just one — find the tools they need to start producing videos is a driving force for Brandon’s channel.
Chris Watkins l "If it's something you really want to do then start TODAY."
YouTube creator Chris Watkins has been lending his videography and photography expertise on the platform for several years.
Though he launched his channel Chris Watkins Media in 2013, he cites 2018 as the year when he began devoting his energy into creating new videos consistently.
By October of that year, he had been thriving professionally but still found himself at a creative low point.
“I was totally burnt out,” Chris said when reflecting on that time. “I was working all over the world on some amazing projects, but it really took its toll mentally and physically.”
Creating videos for YouTube turned out to be exactly what he needed to rekindle his passion for videography.
Since those early days, he has streamlined his editing process and created videos that delve into the practical side of video production — like this one on preventing back pain when filming with a gimbal or this one on the best shotgun mic he’s ever used.
The motivation behind every video is to empower others to create content of their own: “I love helping people, whether that is technical advice or practical implementation of a technique.”
Ryan Riffle l "Always create even if you don't think it's worth it."
YouTube creator Ryan Riffle launched the channel “CoolTwinSkittles” with his twin brother in 2006 — a channel now known as Cinematic Fanatic.
In those early days, Ryan wasn’t looking to do anything more than create videos with friends and share said videos on the platform. But about a year ago, he decided to hone in on his craft and dedicate more time into growing his channel.
Not only does Ryan create filmmaking-based tutorials on his channel, he shares the short films that he produces as well.
To create a short film, he only needs five pieces of gear: LUMIX GH5, a Rode microphone, a tripod, Zhiyun Crane 2 Gimbal, and an LED light. With this gear — and less if need be — he has all he needs to tackle any type of short film or project.
“I once did a Mario and Luigi film because we had costumes for it from Halloween...and it ended up getting 1,000,000 views,” Ryan said.
“We have done 15+ Mario and Luigi short films now due to that, which has been some of the best memories of our time on YouTube so far.”
Ryan’s a firm believer in chasing new ideas and following through on each one.
Neil Collins l "Keep an eye on your analytics."
Neil Collins started his channel Neil Collins Recording in 2015 with the intention of showcasing music videos, drone videos, and other content for his business. These days, his channel is a hub for educational content related to filmmaking and video production.
Neil uploads videos — i.e., gear reviews, tutorials, etc. — twice a week to this channel. In the video below, he takes viewers through his process for calibrating a monitor for video and photo editing using the Datacolor SpyderX Pro.
He’s constantly testing out gear and filmmaking techniques, but what does he consider essential for his video production process?
If he had to work with a limited amount of gear, he’d rely on his GH5, USB condenser mic, Came TV light, PC, and Premiere Pro.
When it comes to building a channel from the ground up, Neil offers this advice to fellow YouTubers:
“Keep an eye on your analytics and just make sure you are optimizing your videos best you can. Post your videos to all your social media platforms and as many places you can, the rest is out of your hands really.”
It takes time to meet the milestones you set for yourself. As Neil puts it, “It’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint, for most of us.”
Michael Tobin l "Put your own unique spin on it."
Michael Tobin’s namesake channel is filmmaking-focused with gear recommendations, solutions to common issues (like this one), studio tours (like the one above), and more.
He’s been passionate about filmmaking since grade school but held off making YouTube content for years because of his fear of being in front of the camera.
But since 2014, he has been consistently sharing videos on this platform with a subscriber base of more than 35,000 users.
To anyone looking to start or build their YouTube channel, Michael offers this advice:
“If you want to succeed on YouTube, find that balance between topics that people are searching for and videos that you feel inspired to make. Put your own unique spin on it and keep repeating this process....Your biggest downfall will be comparing yourself to others. Just keep uploading.”
Adam J Bell l "Make videos about things that a lot of people know or care about.
Adam is a Vancouver-based YouTuber who has built a significant following since launching his channel Adam J Bell in 2019.
From earning passive income to establishing multiple sources of income, Adam produces lifestyle content about topics his viewers find interesting, relevant, and applicable to their own lives.
In the video below, he shares how important it is for content creators to know and understand their audience.
Adam has found that, as a YouTube content creator, “you learn what people want from seeing the results of other creators on YouTube and studying that.”
A video could be well-thought out and expertly produced but still fall short of your expectations if it doesn’t interest your prospective or current subscribers.
One of the main reasons why Adam’s channel has become so successful in such a short amount of time is that he’s a content strategist — thoughtfully researching, planning, and producing meaningful content that appeals to the audience he’s trying to reach.
Looking to expand your reach?
The YouTubers spotlighted in this post put in the work day-after-day to create new content and grow their channels — and it shows.
Whether you started a YouTube channel months or years ago, the Soundstripe Partner Program is our way of helping you (the creative community) reach your next milestones.
If you’re interested in becoming a partner, you can learn more about the application process here.
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