YouTube, Creating, and Personal Branding

February 19, 2017

Last weekend, Ryan & I filmed a super-long Q&A video for YouTube. All of the questions came from you guys. It was fun if surreal to film, but no fun to edit. I watch the footage back with no inkling at all of which parts are funny, or interesting, or relatable. I’m not even sure if I’m trying to make a video which is funny, or interesting, or relatable.

I think a lot of my issue with blogging/vlogging as a format is that unless you are really “out there”, your main selling point is your personality. Weirdly, you are entirely in control of how you present yourself and how you come across. You need to know who you are, what you’re about, and what your brand is. If it’s unclear, nobody will get it – you have to understand these things intimately. As an artist, I primarily make things that I can’t otherwise express, things that I don’t understand. I don’t have a lot of interest in the things I already know.

I know how me and Ryan interact, and it works fine, and therefore I have no interest in trying to document it. I’ve been forcing myself all week to review the footage and get the video together and it just sits there, the rock to my Sisyphus. I’m like this with everything. I have no diary record of happy days, no songs about perfect dates, no photos from enjoyable parties. If I understand it then I have further need to dwell on it.


On Friday, I took the morning off. The sun was shining. It was my first few hours off in over a week and I felt weirdly sad, even though that combination of things would normally make me happy. I went to the shops, bought ingredients and made pancakes. Spontaneously I decided to film parts of this endeavour. Immediately I could picture the framing of each shot, how I wanted the scenes to change, what the music would sound like. I sit here now uploading the video. It’s unlikely it will be of any popular interest (it’s certainly not #relatable) and I should be sorting out a video multiple people requested and contributed to.

My Aunt once told me not to do what you think the world needs you to, but to do what makes you come alive. Because what the world really needs is people who have come alive. And so, I present to you a video about the chocolate chip pancakes I made on Friday morning. Because in a tiny, singular gesture, this is the video I wanted to make, and the one that made me come alive. It’s of interest to me, and even if there is no broad appeal, I like it. And my own approval has always, and will always mean more to me than anyone’s else ever could.

8 comments so far.

8 responses to “YouTube, Creating, and Personal Branding”

  1. kikyohatake says:

    I understand what you mean onbthe YouTube front. I’ve created for a while and sometimes I still don’t know what parts to edit. Other times I’m cool, I got this but then get discouraged by the only comment being from my mom lol. But when it comes to editing. Some people let a friend edit. Some people edit to what they like or what makes the most sense.

  2. I really like this post! My partner and I have tried to make YouTube videos together, but we both get really shy when there’s a camera on us. It sucks because YouTube is so popular and it would be a good social media platform to be a part of, but if you have to force it, it’s not going to be any good. I love writing, it comes so naturally to me, so clearly that’s what I’m meant to do.

    I’m glad you found something to video that makes you happy – even if it did make me get out of bed due to a craving for pancakes!

  3. jessthetics says:

    I think your vision for this video really came through Laila, it’s so simple but so beautiful! It instantly reminds me of when I have time free and thinking of something nice to do for myself, like going for a walk, or bake some biscuits, makes me feel comforted or inspired. I’ve still not made the jump to youtube and I don’t think it would suit me. I’m much less articulate irl than I am in the written word! I think that’s the way the blogging world is going though xx


  4. Denise says:

    Loooved the video, no joke! You know why? Because it’s about happiness. You may think it’s simple, but it’s artistic. It’s about a happy moment, making pancakes, sharing the moment. It’s artistic. And yes, these days we are flooded by personality selling. And I do know people who show something very different than what they really are, people that I know in person. It’s a self-esteem issue, together with the perception that the world expects “that” from them. Your aunt is right: we should do what makes us feel alive! Wishing you a great week!

  5. “I don’t have a lot of interest in the things I already know.” & “My Aunt once told me not to do what you think the world needs you to, but to do what makes you come alive.” Love those two points. Also now I’m craving for pancakes. Will be on the look out for ingredients the next time I go grocery shopping! Your video was so calming 🙂 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  6. Natasha says:

    I really loved your video, the editing style was nice and relaxing and made me happy. I really like it when people just share their footage in a montage style, highlighting their favourite bits, with some music over the top as it’s clear to see the genuine joy in what people are doing and it’s artistic too. It’s always so relaxing to watch them and with your video, having the recipe at the very end made it nice and concise too, as sometimes, the other cooking videos on YouTube can be long-winded and drawn out, where as yours was a joy to watch and those pancakes looked so good too! I really liked it. – Tasha

  7. Laura says:

    i really liked your pancakes video! and i do think it’s important to do what you yourself want to make/do instead of what you think others want and expect of you. xx

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