Never has a camera lens looked so daunting as when you stare down it for five minutes, the words that had been on the tip of your tongue flying out of your ears and nose. You're always going to be at a loss for words when you start, confused as to why you're doing this, it's not a real hobby. All you're doing is talking to a camera - just like talking to yourself - and that no one really wants to listen to you. Sweaty palms rub together and your feet shift on the floor. You're shy, which is always odd considering you're standing in front of a machine that you could crush just by standing on it. You twiddle your hair nervously, worrying whether it looks decent or not (though it's not like anyone will really care). Trembling hands curling into fists and then relaxing when you realise that hey, it's just a camera.
That's what I was like when I started. Nerves, an empty mind and a lack of words. Exhilarating.
I'd watched thousands of videos before, and all of them were different. Even the tag videos were unique to each person, with their personality traits making every video new and interesting. Boys and girls, gay and straight, it seemed to me as though everyone was making videos and everyone was becoming more and more popular. I suppose that was the initial attraction; people will watch my videos and people will like me. But things don't always work out that way.
My first bout of inspiration for videos came from Emma Blackery. She's from the same area as me, she sings, she's beautiful and funny and dyes her hair more than I do. She was exactly what I wanted to be; confident and happy. So, I started to film myself singing and talking just to get more and more comfortable with myself. My voice wasn't my favourite part about myself and I wanted to change that, and this seemed like the best way to do it. I wouldn't script anything, I'd just talk a random stream of incoherent sentences that resembled the lines I wrote when I had writer's block. Wooden, forced and all in all, not worth it. Writing was my strong point, not speaking.
I felt stuck between a block and a camera lens, still staring at me. If I looked closely I could see my reflection looking just how I felt; tiny. Just one part of an enormous community, not worth being accounted for. Silently, I switched the camera off, watching the eye draw back into itself. I hadn't the talent to be like the popular YouTubers; danisnotonfire is charismatically awkward, veeoneeye is eyecatchingly outgoing and lukeisnotsexy is funny beyond belief. What did I have? A hoard of unrhyming poetry and 200 fans on Movellas? It didn't equate to much.
Not that I wasn't grateful, I truly was. But I didn't have a Becoming YouTube or a 'Chloe Reads 50 Shades of Grey' to attract attention. There wasn't a need to be 'Crazy Internet Famous' like Ben Cook always said, but there was a need to be known and noticed.
I stared about the camera on and off for a few months before I had a sudden realisation. I needed topics close to my heart that I could talk about and go off on tangents with, something I can ramble about and still be coherent with my ideas. It was difficult, but I realised that the words I wrote were powerful. Words can change anything. I wrote ideas down and talked about them, and surprisingly the camera I was once so afraid of became one of my best friends.
I was no longer stuck or blocked, I could talk for as long as my memory card and battery life would let me.
The only issue was editing, but I was happy to deal with that because of the joy it gave me to see my work online. I felt empowered because my words had the ability to change someone's mind with it, and it was almost as enthralling as it felt to post my writing online after working hard on it. Words were power, and if I didn't know it before then I certainly do now.
I suppose I have people to thank; my favourite YouTubers (Emma Blackery, TomSka, Jack and Dean, VeeOneEye, LukeIsNotSexy and Patty Walters, among others), as well as everyone on Movellas and my friends and family. I've gained more confidence in the last year than I ever had during school, and it's amazing to feel like this.