Storytelling through Film: How to Create Engaging Videos for Youtube | Thomas Dajer | Skillshare

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Storytelling through Film: How to Create Engaging Videos for Youtube

teacher avatar Thomas Dajer, Video Editor for Yes Theory

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Preparing a Project


    • 4.

      The Cold Open


    • 5.

      The Intro


    • 6.

      Concept in Action


    • 7.

      Choosing Music


    • 8.

      Golden Moment


    • 9.

      The Outro


    • 10.

      The Comb


    • 11.



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About This Class

Want to learn the secrets behind creating engaging videos that capture the attention of millions? Join Thomas Dajer, video editor behind the Youtube channel Yes Theory, to learn how he edits together stories to craft massively successful videos.

In this demystifying class, you'll learn the basics for how to create compelling videos on YouTube and the best practices for great storytelling through editing. You'll learn about "The 5 Acts in a Story", how to find the best music for your video, how to trim the fat and keep a video engaging, and how to find their unique voice through editing

In the class, walks you through the four main beats that he tries to hit in every video:

  • The Cold Open: Giving context for viewers on what they're about to watch and convincing them to stay with an enticing moment.
  • The Intro: Explaining the concept of the video in a creative way that builds the stakes as to what the goal is and why it’s hard to achieve.
  • Concept in Action: Creating a compelling narrative up until the moment of success, including the false hope moment 
  • The Golden Moment: Showcasing when the core idea of the video is finally realized and presented to the audience.
  • The Outro: Ending your video with meaning to provide a sense of closure.

By the end of the class, you'll have a clear framework for how to begin editing your own videos to draw people in and keep them engaged throughout the entirety of the story.

The class is targeted on making videos for YouTube, but these principles can also be applied to any other creative outlets like writing or directing since it will cover the simple concept of how to tell a good story. 

It is a great place to start for first timers who want to learn video editing, but also is valuable for more seasoned editors as Thomas shares what he's learned in the past 3 years of editing for Yes theory on how to edit efficiently and thoughtfully. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Thomas Dajer

Video Editor for Yes Theory

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: Hey everyone. My name is Thomas Dajer, and I'm one of the main editors for a YouTube channel called Yes Theory, which has over five million subscribers right now. I started editing about 10 years ago, basically, by going of YouTube tutorials, and I've been editing for Yes Theory for the past three years. In this course, I'll be teaching you the best practices that I've learned over the past decade, to make the best possible videos, especially for YouTube. It'll cover storytelling guidelines, act by act, that I use every day to make our videos as fun and engaging as possible. This course is going to be great, for first-time editors, to setup initial framework on how to actually make videos, and also for experienced editors, who may want to see what editing is for YouTube. I'm excited to be making this course, because I feel over the past few years, more and more people want to make content or videos in some form, and the biggest most important thing they overlook is the editing, which is arguably the most important. I'm excited to share what I've learned on my editing journey, and hopefully give first-time editors the confidence to upload their first video. Let's get started. 2. Class Project: The project for this course will be to create a video, and I'll go step by step through the basic storytelling structure I use. Obviously, editing is all about being creative and having an outlet for your voice and humor. So there isn't one right or wrong way to do it, but I'll show you how I go for it, and give a few options to follow along with that. Option A will be to go out and film a simple video that you can work on throughout this course. This is a good place to start, because it'll maybe get you out of your shell, and do something you wouldn't normally do, and you can maybe recruit some friends to help you along with the video. Some videos that we filmed that can be easier for you to make are, telling strangers I love you. I'm practicing telling strangers I love them so I love you. I love you, too. Awesome. Cool Throwing a dart on a map and going wherever it lands. Oh my God, you've chosen Missouri. It's in Missouri. How do you say Missouri? Missouri. Or if you are in a city asking people to ride around in their super cars. Is there's any way I can just come with you, pick your ride and film it from the inside as you drive? No way. No way. We did it. I'm going to be showing how to edit it, asking people to ride around in their super cars and you can follow along too. If you go shooting for your own video, keep a few things in mind. Make sure you shoot from B-roll, this is especially important for the intro to your video, shoot pay off montages in slow mo and with a lot of different angles so that you can make it as fun and creative as you want in the edit. [MUSIC] Keep the camera rolling, it's better to have too much footage than not enough. With these types of videos, you never know when a great moment will happen so just keep the camera rolling and lastly, make sure you get a bunch of different camera angles throughout so that you can spice up the visuals of the video. No matter which option you use, know that through the power of editing, you can make any video more grabbing and more fun, engaging than you think, and these concepts aren't reserved for just YouTube videos, but also storytelling in general. Let's move on to how to prepare your projects once you have all the footage. [MUSIC] 3. Preparing a Project: So before we get started, let me show you how I prepped the video. I use Final Cut Pro 10. But you can use any editing software for this. I first import everything into the timeline, then I take if you pass it through the footage to trim the fat. Basically cutting out any moments I know won't make it like shots are too shaky or shots were nothing really happens. To cut down version is usually four to eight times shorter than the full timeline. I then duplicate the project so that I can find all those clips later on in the editing process if I need them and I keep the b roll long, since I'll be able to cut it depending on what song I choose to use later on. There you go. Now you ready to get started on editing your video. 4. The Cold Open: In this lesson, we're going to be going into the Cold Open, which is basically a five second clip or montage before the intro that teases the rest of the episode in a grabbing way. They're an amazing way to draw the viewer in immediately tease them on what they're about to watch and convince them to stay, to get that Cold Open moment later in the video. Now videos need them, they're not part of the five-act structure. But on Facebook and YouTube, it can be especially important since you got to get people's attention fast. I'm going to be showing you how I created the Cold Open for our video asking some strangers to ride around in their supercars. Could you take us to where all the most expensive cars are? Pardon? Basically, I take a funny, out of context moment from the episode that makes the ask sound absurd, just to get a quick laugh off the bat and show how absurd the ask actually is. Immediately, you're laughing with the people in the video and you're wondering how you are going to pull off this insane ask off. Another way to do it is by going to the most intriguing part of your video and building that moment up. We did it for the video where the guys travel around Europe only using Tinder. Just 21 miles away. What's your range? Fifteen miles. That's so much we're not going to go fifteen miles. We don't have money, we'd have no energy, we haven't eaten anything all day. For the most dangerous bed, and for spinning the globe and going wherever it lands. Three, two. Oh my God. They're different emotions, but they convey their peak emotion. In the first one, it's doubt. We don't have money, we'd have no energy, we haven't eaten anything all day. The second one, it's fear [inaudible] and the last one, it's excitement. Oh my God. The key here is to grab the most exciting part of your video and see if you can build that moment up to be as grabbing as possible. The feeling that you want people to be left with is, "I want more". If you put it together and it feels like you've already watched the whole video and know the climax, then you should take some out. It's better to keep people curious about what they're going to see and spoil the surprise. Now go into your video and see if you can create a five second Cold Open that can draw people in and we'll go on to how to make the intro and acts. 5. The Intro: The intros, first act of the video, where the concept of the video is explained in a creative way that sets the scene, builds a stakes, explains the why of the episode and launches of the video. I'll walk through how I did it for our super car video. Super cars are the most luxurious cars and it turns out the Arabic billionaires fly their cars to London when they visit during summer. Here we set the goal of the episode and draw the viewer into the prize of getting into a super car. But then we need to show the obstacle. Obviously, we could never afford a super car, but we've always wanted to know what it's like to be in one. Here, we set the why. We can't afford a super car, but we still want the experience of riding in one, so what are we going to do about it? While we're in London, we decided to try to convince owners, take us for a joy ride. Here we finally launched into the episode by saying where we are and what we're going to do. In summary, we set the stakes, the cold open, explain the prize, explain the obstacles, and set the scene. Obviously, there's an infinite amount of ways to give this information, but as long as it's there, you're ready to start the video. Besides context, the intro is also a great place to flex your creativity. You can use stop-motion. We decided started to challenge ourselves to get as far away as possible in any direction within 24 hours. Films setups, and then our managers, Zac said it. All you had to do is figure out how to get to a random country in Europe. Guys, even a monkey, can figure that out. Movie scenes. Finding love. Probably one of the most common struggles we all faced at one point. Play with text. If you've been told no, a thousand times in the end, is the one yes that counts. See you on our next adventure. It's meant to draw the viewer in for the rest of the episode. The more intriguing and creatively interesting it is, the better your video will be. Now, create intro for your video using some of these concepts. This sets up the entire plot and structurally and creatively and gives the video, it's why. Take your time with it and we'll move on to the concept and action next. 6. Concept in Action: Next comes the actual meat of the episode. This is the core action up until the moment of success and includes both Acts 2 and 3. I'll be walking through how I edited the Billionaire Supercars video up until the moment of success. The main steps here are the initial feelings for how hard the mission actually is. My god, he looks pissed. Hey, man, you're very pissed off. Can I sit in your car? The initial overall failure. I just want to sit in next to you. I don't want to drive that. I just want to sit in one and- Not now. Unfortunately, I'm a very busy. With a smile though. Hello, sir. How are you doing? No. Denied. I was like, "Hello, sir." "No." A glimmer of hope that eventually ends in failure. Actually? Yeah. Can I get your number? Are you recording? [inaudible] Bringing you further down before building you up to that final moment of success. You want to keep this section fast but leave room for character development and jokes, since this is the part of the video that the title is based on. For the supercar video, I went the route of making it as funny as possible. But the whole meat of the episode can't just be failures. You need some glimmer of hope, which is why we added this scene. Yo, It's coming. It's coming your way. Quick. Did you just got a ride? No. Oh. This guy is Saudi Arabian and I'm going to try and ask him. [inaudible] If you're going to make yourself up, you're going to go with him. Just come with me. Oh, yeah. Hey, man, how is it going? We have this crazy goal today to get a ride around the block in a Lamborghini. Actually? Yeah. Can I get your number? Are you recording? [inaudible] This could have been part of the film, Montage, but I want to draw it out to give that glimmer of hope to show the ask is actually possible. Then at this moment, I want to bring it to an even lower point than when the video started, so that the success of the video is that much more powerful. Another key thing I keep in mind is the concept of kill your darlings. I know. That sounds pretty brutal, but let me explain. Killing your darling is basically means that even if you spent all day adding a section or making a clever edit, if it doesn't fit in the video, then you have to take it out. You got to get rid of any personal attachment to whatever you create in order to create the best possible video. Take a shot at the concept and action section and see if you can make this part of the video as interesting and grabbing as possible. Even when you don't have the exact beats that you need when you film a video like this, you can always have control with the speeding up or slowing down a scene based on the emotion that you want to give. Slow down a scene if you want to drag the emotion or speed it up if you want to get through it fast. Next, I'll give some insight into one of the most important factors that makes a video good, the music. 7. Choosing Music: Music is one of the most overlooked and hardest parts of editing. They can be the deciding between a good or bad video and is crucial for setting the mood for each scene. The reason I want to go into this now, is because choosing the perfect song for the next scene i.e the golden moment, the payoff moment is really important and can make or break a video so let's get into it. When I find music for YouTube, I usually go through conglomerate of different royalty free music sites like Epidemic, Music Bed, Sound Stripe, and Art List. Even if you're not worried about monetization on YouTube, a less known catchy song will stick in people's heads much more than generic pops on everyone's heard a million times. It's worth investing time and to find the perfect song. Login through SoundCloud or smaller spot by artists can also get you great music for this section. A really great feature that most royalty-free music libraries have is the ability to download stems of songs. For example, if you want a section of the video to be not as aggressive, you can take out the drums to make it softer. I usually cut down the video to 30 or 40 minutes before I go find music and when I do find music, I go find it all at once. Going out to look for individual songs can take much longer than you think and will tire you out. You'll usually stumble on your favorite songs by accident. It can be much more useful to give yourself a time limit and a general list and the type of music that you need for your video and go out and go down the rabbit hole. Now, find some great music for your video and the perfect song for your golden moment and we'll get into editing that next. 8. Golden Moment: In this lesson, we'll cover the golden moment, which is the payoff for your video, the fourth deck that you try to make as exciting as you possibly can. This is the reason that people come back to watch your video, so really milk it. Here's how I did it for some of our videos. No way. [inaudible]. Basically the songs are exciting, original, and they match the themes of these two videos, which is edgy fun. The montages are quickly cut. There's a color filter on them to separate it from the rest of the video, and it's long, but not too long. Again, the key to making these montages is to have people want more as opposed to seeing too much. Keep in mind that when filming these montages, make sure you get plenty of different angles and you put in slow mo, so that you can play with it later on in the edit. By the end of this you want to grabbing original montage, that's basically the candy in the episode. Take a shot at getting a golden moment and be as creative as you can, and know that there isn't a right or wrong way to do it, just put your [inaudible] and go crazy. 9. The Outro: In this lesson, we'll cover how to edit a compelling outro to give meaning and closure to your video. This is the fifth act to the video and a lot of time we realized the message to the story and connect the dots. Whether the lesson is a reminder that we should be kind to people. I want to hug too wait. Have an awesome day. You too. Or simply that's important to have goofy fun in life. We win. Videos are always so much more powerful when they have lessons for people to take away from it. Here's what that looks like for this video. Even if you've been told no a 1000 times in the end, it's the one yes that counts. See you on our next adventure. You see the lesson for this one came through the action. It takes a lot of no's to finally get a yes. For visuals we used to actually take clips from the episode and use them in the Outro VO. But a friend of mine reveals something flawed about that. If you use the same clips that you've already seen the video, then the visuals won't be stimulating at all. To fix that, you should save some B-roll or unused footage for the outro. That way you're more attentive to what's being said since you're seeing new clips. Depending on the vibe you want to end the video with the music ranges from something exciting to celebrate the win or something nostalgic to look back on the memory fondly. Thank you. Living with kindness on a daily basis can have a much larger impact than you'll ever realize. Also, if you don't have enough extra footage to put together the outro, you can use the same visual techniques that we used in the intro; animation, stop motions, texts, etc, to spice it up. Now go ahead and run an outro that reflects the main lessons from the video. Add visuals and music to it, and we'll move on to the next episode. 10. The Comb: This lesson is one that I do at the end of every video after I add the music and the clips, everything. I call this The Comb, basically, going through the video one last time to make sure it flows well all together. It can be easy to get caught up in certain sections, but you need to watch the video as a whole to make sure that it flows well. The key thing I keep in mind when I'm watching is the question, why am I watching? If I don't know the answer to that, then I immediately cut the scene or make it faster. Obviously, you need a room for jokes and fun montages, but there are too many of them, then you can easily bog down the video and make you forget why you're watching. In this video, we had a whole scene of asking a few more people and even getting further into this ask because we ended up calling him later on, but it didn't lead to anything and the point was already made, so I took it out. Lastly, if you're posting to YouTube, then you'll want to make sure that you have a grabbing title and thumbnail. Don't make it so over the top that it's unbelievable, but remember that packaging is really important, and it's the first thing that people see when they come across your channel. For us, we actually make time to take our thumbnails during the shoots. If you draw your viewer and they see that your video is a well-told story, they'll subscribe and stay. People come in through the title and thumbnail, but they stay engaged and part of your audience through the storytelling and editing, which is why it's so important. Now, comb through your video to make sure that no sections drag, and package the title on the thumbnail in a way that you think will make the video pop. 11. Conclusion: Congrats, you made it to the end, and you should hopefully have a video edited that you're happy with. I hope you learned some important storytelling principles that I use every day to make your videos as good as possible. Again, editing is something that's overlooked by most people who start making videos, but it's what makes or breaks a video so I hope you take these lessons to heart. Please upload your projects in the Projects and Resources tab on the class page so that I can take a look at what you guys have done. If you're more on the shy end and don't want to share your work, you should really push yourself to post. I used to be much more reserved and private about the videos that I made, but when I started to create my own videos and post them before I even joined Yes Theory, it gave me a lot of confidence in self-expression that I had never experienced before. I hope this motivates you to post your first video if you haven't. Thanks for tuning in and I can't wait to see your videos. Until next time.