Social Media Success: Video Storytelling on YouTube & Beyond | Lilly Singh | Skillshare

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Social Media Success: Video Storytelling on YouTube & Beyond

teacher avatar Lilly Singh, YouTuber, Author, Host

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

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.

      The Power of Story


    • 3.

      Setting Your Goal


    • 4.

      Generating Ideas


    • 5.

      Writing Your Script


    • 6.

      Shooting Your Video


    • 7.

      Editing Your Footage


    • 8.

      Posting Your Video


    • 9.

      Growing Your Channel


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Join YouTube superstar and late-night host Lilly Singh to discover how you can turn your love of storytelling into social media success!

Videos go viral for a reason: because they capture a truth or tell a story that resonates with viewers. Whether silly or sincere, an authentic story makes you feel seen, feel good, and feel like part of a community. Storytelling is also the engine that’s powered Lilly Singh from posting DIY comedy sketches in the early days of YouTube to today hosting a late-night talk show and connecting with 15M followers (and counting!) around the world. 

Now for the first time, Lilly is sharing her process for online storytelling from start to finish, combining creativity, strategy, and inspiration into the ultimate content creation playbook. From ideating and scripting to shooting and marketing, you’ll learn exactly how a viral video gets made, and gain the tips and tools to create your own, whatever your platform.

Step-by-step lessons cover:

  • Finding your authentic voice, while staying strategic
  • Connecting with your audience on a visceral level
  • Balancing humor and sincerity as you shoot and edit
  • Navigating social media to make creativity your career

Plus, each lesson is packed with real-world examples from Lilly’s own channel, along with her favorite tips and tricks for DIY production (hint: start your wig collection now).  

Whether you’re an aspiring YouTuber, TikTok comedian, or Instagram enthusiast who wants to grow your following, this hands-on and hilarious class will give you the tools to make your next video your best one yet. Discover your voice, carve out your niche, and share your story with the world—one video at a time!


The lessons in this class apply to all types of social media content creation, and can adapt to fit your platform and the story you want to tell. Incorporate Lilly's tips into your current content creation process, and level up or down based on your equipment and experience. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Lilly Singh

YouTuber, Author, Host


Lilly Singh is a multi-faceted entertainer, actress, producer, writer and creator. She is the host of A Little Late with Lilly Singh, her NBC late-night talk show, which kicked off its second in January. In addition to taking over late-night television, she is an executive producer at her very own company, Unicorn Island Productions.  

As a leading force in the digital world, Lilly has amassed a global audience of over 38 million followers across her social media channels where she writes, produces and stars in both comedic and inspirational videos.  

In October 2020, she released her one-woman comedy variety special Sketchy Times on Peacock satirizing how we are all adjusting to the world’s ‘new normal.’ Singh made the special from ho... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: I want to be a kid forever. I think being creative, and playing, and getting to be characters, and telling jokes, allows you to be an artist eternally, and what sounds better than that? Hi, I'm Lilly Singh and I am a lot of things. A YouTube creator, a producer, a writer, an actor, but most importantly, a storyteller. Why am I so close to the camera? I'm all up in your face I'm like hello, it's my video. Today's class is about how to create content that people can connect with. It's about the power of storytelling and how to be your authentic self, strategic resemblance. I'm really excited to teach this class because I'm a huge nerd when it comes to storytelling. I genuinely believe that stories make the world go round. It's how we understand our self, it's how we understand others. Social media is an incredible place to tell stories because there are no gatekeepers. Literally, anyone can click Upload and tell their story and there's power to that. In this class, I'm going to be walking you through everything that goes into my creation process, from me brainstorming, coming up with the idea, scripting the idea, shooting the content, editing the content, and marketing the content. Although I got my come up on YouTube, if you have a different platform that you're passionate about, I believe these tips and tricks will help you post content anywhere on the internet and probably even beyond. I don't believe you need a lot of equipment or a lot of resources to get started. I just think you need a point of view. You need consistency and you need the hustle. That sounded really smart. I'm just stop talking now. Let's get started. 2. The Power of Story: This class is going to be a mix of your authentic self and some key strategy. If you have an itch to be creative, if you want to create content, if you want to tell your story or tell other people's stories, and you have a passion to just bring a point of view forward, this class is for you. I'm going to give you all the tools you need to tell stories on social media in a way that will reach an audience that is right for you. Me and you I'm going to be very real. I started making videos in 2010 because I was a sad person. That is the truth. I literally posted my first video because in 2010 I discovered YouTube and it was during a time where I felt very alone in life. I didn't feel like I had any type of community, I didn't like anyone could relate to my struggles with life, and so without much thought, I posted a video on this very new platform at the time, YouTube. What's everyone it's [inaudible] today I'm going to teach you how to tie a Turban, or at least my version of Turban. I think it got like 70 views. But I was blown away by the fact that it got 70 views. I didn't know 70 people, and so I thought the Internet must work. But what happened when I posted this video is I found a community online. Whether it was one or two comments, it was people saying, "I can really relate to this and also it's so nice to see a fellow brown girl having these thoughts and feelings,'' and so that really encouraged me to make a second and third video. It was never intended for me to ever make two videos a week, it was never intended for me to make consistent videos, I just posted one and went with the flow. From that point on as I started to gather more and more views, and when I say that, I mean 70 to 80 to 90 up by no means was a product of a viral video. I started to experiment. Every girl said that, what the hell is going through the mind of that brown girl? [inaudible] I have no formal training in comedy, I never went to an art school, but I just liked telling jokes, so I did a comedy video and it was that video called official guide to brown girls, which I think was my first video to go onto the thousands. I vividly remember being a huge deal because at that time I still had notifications turned on on my phone, so anytime someone would subscribe to my channel, my phone went bing. I remember sitting in my friend's living room watching TV and my phone was going bing, bing, bing and that's where I knew like this could be something. So I went from a place of knowing nothing to today me sitting here in front of you knowing some things. My approach today is honestly a combination of both time periods. It is remaining authentic, so yes, I know now how to use a camera, I know now how to edit, I know now how to script. But for me the key to everything is still storytelling. I believe story always comes first and so regardless of how fancy the camera is and what editing software you have, if the script didn't have the underline and the proper capitalization, I still believe story comes first and that's what I really want to dive into in this class. Let me just be real, there are so many misconceptions when it comes to storytelling, especially on social media. I've had a lot of people ask me, "That five-minute video that took you five minutes right?" No. It is a lot of work. Social media is a 24/7 platform. All of the platforms they don't shut down at 5:00PM and so it is a lot of work. I'm telling you that very honestly, especially if you plan to be consistent and try to build a brand. However, on the note of building a brand, a huge misconception is to get started, you need to have a brand guidelines, a logo, fancy equipment, a microphone, a studio. I don't believe you need any of that stuff to start. I think you need a passion, you need hustle, and your point of view. I started my journey on social media, like I said, because I was lonely. I vividly remember some days where I was having a really bad day and I was in a really dark place and then I turned on YouTube and I saw a video from someone who is just creating a video on their bedroom talking to camera like I am and it turned my day upside down and flipped the switch in my brain and I always told myself my main goal online is to be that switch for someone else because I know the power of that switch, seeing someone or lading to someone on screen feeling like you could reach through the screen and hug them because you're just connecting so much to what they say. For me it's been a great honor to be that switch for many people. I think it's a beautiful given take of me being inspired from social media and now me getting the chance to inspire other people, to tell stories that other people connect to, have people approach me and say, "My little sister has never seen anyone like you on a screen and I'm so glad that you now are someone she can look up to.'' That means a lot to me and that's really important and that's what people should say to you. I want to give you the stepping stones to work towards your most wildest dreams and you're talking to someone right now me and you who has had wild dreams come true and I believe that you can do the same. Queue video I shot with The Rock. That was okay. I think we should do one more time though. I'll zoom in a little bit this time. You can shoot with your The Rock, I genuinely believe that. I'm so excited for us to take this wild ride together, just me and you baby, I encourage you to join along, apply these tips to your own content and post in the project gallery. I cannot wait to stock you in the project gallery, obviously. I'm going to stop talking now because we're going to dive in. In this next lesson we're going to talk about setting goals. Are you in? I hope you are in. 3. Setting Your Goal: We're going to start this journey with our first lesson, and that is setting goals. Now hold up, I know what you're thinking you're sitting there being like, "Seriously, you just talked about editing and scripting and posting and we're starting with setting goals?" I get it, if I were you, I would have the exact same thought process, and I would also be a little bit like, "Why this step?" I'll tell you why. It's very important. Storytelling on social media is a relatively new thing. Unlike other careers, it's important to understand what does success actually mean on social media? It's not clear at all. Is it how many followers you have? Is it how many likes you have? Is it how many views you have? Or is it not numbers-related at all? Is it how much your audience relates to your content? Is it how many brand deals you get? Is it how many opportunities beyond that post you get? There is no right or wrong answer. The answer actually lies in you. That's why the first step is, what is your goal? Why are you watching this class? Be honest here, because I can assure you the first answer that popped into your head, although might sound nice, is probably not the complete truth. Because if you asked 2010 Lily, "What is your goal with YouTube?" I would have said, "Oh, you know what? I just like being creative, and I really want to give back," and that's true. However, you know what's also true? I wanted it to be my career. I wanted to make money. I wanted my dreams to come true. I wanted to have events, where the audience would know me. They would know my content. They would be excited to meet me. All of those things are valid, so this is a safe space. What I would like for you to do right now is genuinely think, what is your goal? Also, know that this answer can change over time, and that's completely fine. I think something I stressed about a lot, over the past 10 years, my goals changed, and I beat myself up about it so much thinking, "Oh but, my first vision board had money on it, and it had numbers on it. At a certain point, I stopped caring about that. I stopped caring about how many subscribers I got. I stopped caring about how many views I got, and I started to care more about fancier projects, and longer-form storytelling and being more risky with my content." That's where I am right now. That doesn't mean that's where you have to be. Right now, what is your goal? For example, if your goal is, "I want to be a brand. I want to get impressive numbers on my videos. I want to make money. I want to open my own studio, xyz, yada, yada." That means you're going to really want to hone in on the strategic parts of this class. How to get eyeballs on your videos. How to work with brands, how to make yourself seem really buzzy and timely, so people are talking about it. However, if your goal is, "I've never seen someone that looks like me on screen, and I want to make meaningful content." Then maybe you focus more on the parts about authenticity. Telling the story that only you can tell, about how to connect with an audience, and maybe numbers don't matter as much. Maybe it doesn't matter if you have a million views. Maybe it matters more if you have 100 views, of people, who are dying to see your next video. Your goal and what your goal is, is going to really depend on what you take away from this class. Another reason it's important to set goals is because, it's going to matter when it comes to where you choose to post content, and how you choose to post content. For example, if your goal is money, what you've established is fine. It's fine to want to make money. But if your goal is money, you want to post on platforms that are monetizable. That's going to matter. If your goal is, "I don't care about the money much. I just want a lot of people to see my content so it can reach a lot of people." Your goal is going to be to post somewhere where it's very easy to access your content, and there's no paywall, and people don't have to watch an ad, and there's no chance of him clicking away. It really matters what your goal is. Because if you don't know your goal, you're not going to know the roadmap. Basically like saying, "If you don't know what your destination is, how you going to follow the GPS?" Now, setting your goals cannot happen unless you're specific. There are certain tools I use when it comes to goal setting. One of them is a vision board. I'm a huge advocate for vision boards, but totally not all on you, we'll talk. What does it mean to say, "I want money?" What does that mean? How much money? How much money do you have to make for you to have made money? What does it mean for you to say, "I want to impact people?" Does that mean if one one approaches you and says, "Your video made my day?" Will you feel successful? It's good to be specific when you're talking about goals. Instead of saying, "I want to make money," say, "I want to make $50,000 this year." Instead of saying, "I want to impact people," say something like, "I want to build a community of 200 people that are very engaged with my content." Instead of saying, "I want to shoot with cool people I look up to," say, I want to do a collaboration video with my idol, whose name is Lily Singh." That sweet, but whoever. Now, you're in class with me, and when you're in class with me, you're going to get strategy, which you're also going to get spirituality. Okay? Because I'm going to get deep for a second. One of the ways you can help set a goal for yourself is by paying attention to your daydreams. Let me explain what I mean by that. A lot of times when people are like, "I don't know what my goal is and I don't know what I want to achieve, and I don't know what I want to get out of this." Well, what do you daydream about? I say this because I started to pay attention to my daydreams. In 2010, when I was driving, I used to daydream about being on the radio, saying, "Hey, this is Lily Singh and you're listening to dadada, and I'm so excited to tell you about my new partner." I used to do that. I used to daydream about being on a set and I didn't even know what a slate was, at the time. But I knew I was going to a set, there should be people shooting me and there should be a sound person, and they were going to use green scripts. I used a daydream about that. I knew that my goal was to create content that was bigger, and better and that would be recognized. I knew that, and I can say that I don't think any goal you say is a matter of ego. This is a safe space, it's your goal. Whatever you daydream about, pay attention to that, and incorporate that into your goal. I generally set goals for a year, and that's because I make a vision board every year. I give myself a year to try things out. The reason I do that is because I think social media is ever-changing, and I think there's obstacles that will probably pop up that I could not even tell you about right now because they don't exist yet. Such as the land of the Internet, it's ever-evolving. I'm a believer that, consistency should be at least a year when you're trying something. If you're trying to build an audience, and you've tried for two months, and it's not working, I don't think you should give up in less time than a year. However, I do think you should pivot your strategy. In other words, I don't think you should go from plan A to plan B unless you try it for a year. However, I do think as you go from plan A to plan A.1 if it's not working here. I've had to become comfortable with the idea of what I consider success changing over the past 10 years. I've gone through a lot of phases. In 2010, I wanted the numbers and I wanted to learn, then a little bit later I wanted opportunity, I wanted to collab, I wanted to work with brands. Where I am today, is a goal I'm very comfortable with. My goal today is to create content that I am proud of, and that is fun for me to create. My reality is that I shoot for thirteenish hours a day, and I want to finish that shoot, and on the drive home, I want to say, "That was really fun." I don't want to do things that don't excite me. I understand that's a privileged position to be in, but I haven't always been in that position. But that's what my goal is right now. Create content that I think is fun, that I am proud of, and that means something to people. What I would like you to do, is I want you to genuinely, honestly think, what is your goal? What do you want to get out of these lessons? Be very specific and honest. Then if you choose, post them in the project gallery, and don't go anywhere because coming up, we're going to talk about ideation. Ooh, it's going to get juicy. 4. Generating Ideas: For eight years of my life, I uploaded two scripted comedy videos a week, every Monday and Thursday, scripted comedy. Needless to say, I had to have a lot of ideas for these videos. One of the ways I come up with my ideas is I'm a big believer that inspiration is everywhere around us all the time. Me sitting down at my desk and thinking, ''What can I make a video about? Now let me start thinking about it,'' is not what I do. I am always thinking about it when I'm talking to my friends, when I'm at the mall, when I'm at a restaurant, when I'm at a movie theater. I'm always just paying attention to how people are interacting, what people are struggling with that I might also be struggling with. Hey, I had this conversation with my parents, I wonder if other people are having this conversation with their parents. I think everything around us is inspiration. The universe is art you all. It's right there for us to look at, and to manipulate and turn into our stories so always have your inspiration hat on. I have a notes app on my phone. It's just ideas, and it's a safe space for just me, where spelling doesn't matter. Thank God. Grammar doesn't matter. Anytime I'm in a situation and I think of something or I see, oh, that's interesting, no matter how small the idea, I write it in my notes app. Could be as simple as arguing with my mom over how to wear a face mask, put that kernel of an idea, or it can be something bigger like, make a movie about a haunted bar. I don't know, whatever the idea is, put it in your notes app or whatever notebook, whatever you have, and let it be a safe space to accumulate, keep adding to it. Now, when it comes time to create content, I open that notes app, and I think, ''Can I build on this? Does this one still excite me? This one is a little more of a lift than I can do right now.'' It's like going through it. It's like you're doing the work for yourself before you have to actually do the work, and it's wonderful. Now when you make as many videos as I've made, you'll come to a point where you may have exhausted the inspiration around you. You can no longer extract things from your parents or your friends because you've been there, and you've done that. That's why I'm a big believer of scheduling inspiration. I know that sounds a little strange because generally speaking, inspiration is not something you schedule, you schedule appointments, but when you're creative, it's part of your job to be inspired. Just like you would schedule a meeting, I believe you should schedule inspiration. Now, what does that look like? Do movies inspire you? Do certain artists inspire you? If so, schedule time to interact with those things. I will build into my schedule times to watch new movies, especially if there's a genre that I'm really excited by or an actor that I'm really trying to learn from. I'll be like, ''All right. They got a new movie coming out Friday night, 8-10, that is what I am doing.'' Yes, it's leisure, but it's also scheduling inspiration. Is there an artist whose album always makes your brain go into overdrive with ideas, schedule time to listen to that album. I do this with musicals as well. I love musicals, every time I go to a musical, a Broadway show, I'm sitting there and I think that would be a great sketch. That would be really cool on a YouTube video. What if I did that? Scheduling inspiration? I can not express this enough. It is a very important thing to do, it is not a waste of time. When it comes to storytelling, not every story needs to be about everyone, but there should be stories for everyone. That's why you should make stories about specific things that you're going through. When you have an idea, and you're telling it through your lens, you might often feel pressure to water things down. This happened in my life, it was very specific to my culture, my religion, my language, my mom, my family, but now how can I make this more universal? I encourage you to actually lean into the specifics of what it is you're telling because you'd be surprised how much relatability is in the specifics. Even if it's not relatable, it's a point of view that's uniquely yours and that should be expressed. Really dive in to all the things that make your story yours, and don't feel the need to make it so it's more palatable for everyone else. There's a time to do that. Yes, there are certain concepts where we should explain this a little more for people that aren't familiar with the culture and language, but sometimes no, make it completely you. Let me just put a little asterix into that comment I just made. I have decided that when I tell stories, they will be about me, my experience, my point of view. I think it's a slippery slope, especially on social media when you start telling stories that involve other people. I talk a lot about my family and friends. I never throw my family and friends under the bus. I never tell real stories about someone else's heartache because that's not my position, it's not my story to tell. That is a rule I've made for myself. That's what my moral compass is. That's your choice to make. But I will say the respectable thing to do, is to ensure that you are not endangering someone else or putting someone else in the spotlight if they're not deciding to do that. Remember, this is your story, it's your point of view. It's something you can offer, and so it's not fair to put someone else in that position. Now that I've talked all the things, let me walk the things, and show you this in action. I'm going to show you my notes app. Now, remember I said this is a safe space, spelling and grammar and formatting do not matter. I have this, as you can see, video ideas is a simple heading, and it is a very long, long, long list of kernels of ideas, more fleshed-out ideas. I'll start from the top here. Now, this is years in the making, so Some of these ideas are probably very old. Dance, hip-hop into Bollywood dance, fusion with costume changes. As you can see, that's a very vague idea means nothing but it went on the list. Simpsons rap in response to hate comments. Then literally I just put this one line here, stop rapping, you sound like a cartoon. I must have gotten a hate comment that said, "You sound like a cartoon". I thought, wouldn't it be so cool for me doing an entire Simpsons-themed rap where I turn that into a compliment, and that kernel of an idea went into the notes. When your parents become grandparents, responsibilities of a best friend. I actually shot this video. Will you take a picture of me? Hey babe. A portrait, full body? You know what? I'll take both. Okay. Yeah. This one's really fleshed out. I shot this video with Reese Witherspoon for a collaboration. It all started with the kernel of an idea that was in this notes app. If my family was Beyonce, and the line I put under it to jog my memory was Chipotle partition. I don't what that means, but my brain tells me that I might have thought I could remix the song partition in a Chipotle. This is a good one. It says, friends fighting at game night. I know why I wrote this. I had a game night, friendships were lost. I remember sitting in that game night feeling so awkward because two of my friends were fighting. What were we playing? Either Catan or Monopoly? I have no idea. But I remember these things so tense, and I think in that moment of tenseness, I took out my phone and I put, friends fighting at game night, this is definitely a script. That is a kernel I have turned into a video which I will walk you through later on. Party time. We're going to play charades, okay? It's an acting game. Oh my God, Bollywood game. Okay, I want to be Priyanka Chopra. You say game, not time machine. What do you say? What I want you to do, is I want you to pay attention to the story you want to tell. What's going on in your life? What's your point of view? What excites you? Because in our next lesson, we're going to plan out your video, so share it in the project gallery. 5. Writing Your Script: Now that you know your idea, this lesson is about bringing that idea to life. How do we actually execute it? You've got a beautiful idea. We need to do it justice. When I have my idea, I take the kernel, I expand on it. What are some jokes I could tell, what are some scenes that could be in this video, what some commentary I could make. I try to plan on all of those bits. Again, this is not the stage of perfection. This is the stage of just let me put as many ideas as I can down there and we'll fine-tune it later on. A big part of my process because I'm creating stories for social media is also, how can I frame this idea in a way that is accessible online? What I mean by that in very blunt terms is, what can I title this video in a way that people will click it? Now you can come up with really great ideas, but also, if you can't think of a concise and exciting title, it becomes really hard to get people to click on your idea. While I'm scripting, I actually always think about the YouTube title at that stage and if I can't think of a title, I know I have to change something in the idea. Very often I will tweak the scenes or add commentary or add jokes just to lend itself to a good, clickable YouTube title. You want to grab people right away. I say put the most exciting part of the title first, take out unnecessary words. If you don't need the or, if, or so, or and or a, take those words out, make it concise, make it exciting, make it clear, and honest. "That awkward moment when you're on a first date." That would get people to think of, "Oh man, that reminds me of the time I was on this awkward first date." Or "Five ways parents are annoying." No matter who you are, when you see that title, you'll instantly start thinking of the times your parents were annoying and you thought no one can relate to you. I'm a fan of those relatable type of titles. I'm also a huge, huge fan of listicles. A lot of my videos, the way I script them and format them, is through listicles because I've learned that the Internet generally likes organization. It's a very clean format to say, "Here are five things I'm going to tell you, and now we can walk through them." If you say, "Hey, here are five types of people during COVID", it gives you the opportunity to give names to each of those types of people and that encourages people to comment and encourages dialogue. Yeah, if your friend share this with you that because it's about you. Number one, the clueless teacher. Very often when I make those types of videos, the top comments will be, "I am such a loud popcorn chewer, I am so number three, which is the person who can't stop talking during the movie." That fake keyboard I'm doing here, even though there's one right there. I know this because people can easily have conversations about what you're talking about. It's clean and it's organized. That's my preference. Doesn't have to be the way you do things, but if you're unsure, let's just try a listicle. When I'm planning out my script, I also have to be realistic with what resources I have available to me. I write to my production strengths. When I shoot my YouTube videos, I don't have a massive crew, I don't have a massive set. I use the things I have in my home studio here. I write to the wigs I have, I write to the costumes I have. If I write a character that requires a costume I don't already have, I need to justify why that costume is important in that script. Every costume I reused, every prop gets written, that surfboard has been in every video of mine. We getting news out of these things. A lot of my videos contain characters that I play and I've played a lot of characters in my time. I don't always know what a character is going to look like or what a character is going to sound like when I'm scripting, sometimes I do. I'm going to have an idea like this person's going to be very sophisticated or this person's going to be very silly. But I don't always have an idea of exactly what they're going to be like. I give myself that room to play on the day of shooting. But I do need to know what their point of view is when I'm scripting. I need to know what they believe. I need to know what jokes would be believable if they said them. But you don't need to figure out all of those details in my opinion, even on my Late Night Show, there are scripts where I don't know what that character is going to look like in time in the hair and makeup room and I see the wigs and I put on the wigs and I look in the mirror and I say, this person is trash. I don't know why. They're just trash. I have been talking a lot. Let's see this in action. The kernel of an idea turned into a script I named Indian charades. Now, I did not go with this title and I'll explain why when we talk about posting. But when scripting, I thought Indian charades concise might be clickable, boom, boom, pow. We go in to the script. Now, in this script, I was very, very passionate about. I thought it was super, super funny. I leaned more into the 50 percent of my passion. There is no rent in this video. It is purely sketch. I usually do many passes of a script. First I'll write the structure of it and I'll say, Okay, I know what they want to start on the couch, they have to get into the game, there has to be some explanation of the game if people are not as familiar with charades, then we'll get into jokes, when they're each doing them, each character will have jokes that relate to their personalities. These are all established characters. I knew that my mom character was going to be very difficult to play with. My dad was going to be silly, goofy, a little bit egotistical. My uncle character is, very, very awkward, and so I knew there could be a lot of comedy mine from him and my aunty character is just a little over the top and superficial. I thought, okay, I know what each character is going to bring to the sketch. However, that's because I've played these characters before. If there were new characters I was bringing into this world, I would have to think, okay, I'm introducing Brian, what's Brian's deal? Does he think the family is cool? Does he know how to play charades? Is he a great actor? Maybe he has some quirks that are like he likes to cheat, maybe he has a history with one of these other characters. You give your character a little bit of a backstory. What is this character like in this scenario? What are they like playing charades? What do they like a family game night? I started off with a scene that got us into the comedy. The family sitting around, they decide to play charades. Lilly explains charades. They each get up and they have their turn of playing charades. Now, I'm a fan of a few things while script-writing. Number one, I love to plant Easter eggs. Easter eggs are beautiful because if someone picks them up, they get a bonus, and if they don't pick it up, they lose nothing. They can still follow along the video. I have an Easter egg in the first sentence here, we follow Manjeet's hand from a tray of Indian snacks to his face. Now the reason this is an Easter egg is, I use a very popular Indian snack that I knew my Indian followers would be like, "Oh my God, my parents eat that all the time. That's so chewy" and they're already relating in a way and not a word has been said yet. They've already just connected to the video. If you don't know what this popular noon snack is, you lose nothing. You just know that Manjeet is eating a snack and they're about to start a conversation. I do this very, very often. Because I make my videos for YouTube, I understand YouTube is a international platform, not everyone has the same frame of reference, not everyone has the same culture or speaks the same language and so when I create videos, I want to make sure that my videos are accessible to the most amount of people. Now again, it depends on your goals. Maybe you want to make videos for a certain community. When I make videos, I'm trying to make them for everyone and so when it even comes, things like charades, I have to ask myself the question, do people everywhere play charades? Maybe not. So I have a line explaining that very briefly. What is charades? Same with the movie references I made in the video. Do people have to know this movie in order to understand this joke? You want to ask yourself those questions of I'm I allowing people into the story or I'm I creating barriers for them to understand what's going on? Maybe you want to make it so only these people from a certain category understand. Maybe it's only for Harry Potter fans and everyone else, this video's not for them, but if you're trying to welcome people in, just make sure it's accessible. A lot of times with these characters, comedy comes from their personalities, not even dialogue. Have your awkward silence on go loudly sips a drink. It not very funny on the page. On my mind I know there's going be a lot of physical comedy to an awkward pause followed by a, and I could hear that in my brain while I was writing it because as I write, I perform the characters as I go. Now this is a lot of dialogue before characters, and this is my specific style of comedy. You are free to decide what works for you, that's the best part of this. My style of comedy is fast. I don't like long paragraphs with one person talking for a long time because I'm playing every character, I like to cut pretty frequently. This is for a few reasons. One, I think faster comedy, I personally think it's funnier, and two, I know over the years people's attention spans have reduced over time. I try to make things quicker paced, I don't over-explain anything. You'll never see me write a paragraph that's longer than just maybe two to three sentences, and if it does go longer than that, I'll always incorporate another character reacting just so we have a cutting point. Let's move on to Lily starts handing out paper and pens. This is an important sentence. Why? Because how can Lily hand out paper and pens to other characters that are also Lilly? This we need to take into account when I'm writing scripts, I always have to think about if I'm playing all the characters is what I'm writing realistic? How I figure that out is, like I said, I always act out what I'm writing. I literally said, "Lilly is handing out paper. Who's on the other side taking the paper? There's ways to cheat this when you're shooting what you want to write to your strengths. Again, I wouldn't be able to write, "Lilly does a salsa dance with Manjeet" because I'm both of those people. You want to make sure that you're thoroughly thinking through what you're writing. Finally, we get to a point where they get up and there's some activity. They each take a turn to play charades and this is where I introduce my favorite style of joke writing and this is callback jokes. Throughout this video, and it's not even completely scripted, we see it once you're the uncle gazes Jungle Book. Jungle Book becomes a joke throughout this script and it becomes the ending B of this video. Now the actual video ends a little bit different because I improve something onset. But Jungle Book as now this thing that everyone is looking forward to throw the script, the uncle saying The Jungle Book and I've learned that if something is funny enough, no matter how many times you repeat it, it gets funnier every time. There's the rule of three where you say a joke, you say a joke the third time you misdirect them. This rule is called, I don't know, making it up exhausted your jokes to the point where it's still funny. I'll show you what, I'm going to say Jungle Book once. Jungle book. Jungle book, Jungle book, Jungle book. Each time it gets funnier, because you're waiting for it to happen, but for some reason it's still funny. I put that into my scripts a lot. Once I write my script and I have my structure, I understand, okay, they're going to be sitting on the couch, each of them, I'm going to take a turn, I do a comedy past like bringing the funny into it, because the structure is the first thing I I it. There has to be bones to it. Now I'm adding the meat like what are the jokes? What are the humor? How can I put in last? How can I put in quirks? I do all of that. Then if time permits, I actually will sleep on the script. With fresh eyes, I'll look at it the next day, even if it's an hour before shooting and I'll think is there anything else I can put in here that's pointed, that is a really sharp joke somebody didn't think of yesterday. You'd be surprised how much stuff you will think of if you walk away from a script for a while and then revisit it with fresh eyes. I cannot stress this enough, for my best additions to scripts or right before we start shooting because in the moment thing oh, this would be really, really great. My biggest indicator of when I feel a script is good to go has to do with the ending. I'm a big fan of endings being either a callback joke, being something unpredictable, being something that flip the entire script on its head or shows you a point of view you are not at all anticipating. I don't like to have loose endings. By that what I mean is does it just randomly end? Was there a motivated end? I'm very big on this is why this script ended at this time, and this is why the script couldn't have continued because it's a definitive ending. Now this is obviously for a comedy script, but maybe comedy is not your thing. Whether it's comedy or horror drama or whatever you're trying to write, take a stab at writing a script that is your goal today. Take a stab at writing the script, first the structure, then adding the meat, and then once more going through it to say is a concise, is it ready to shoot and then share in the project gallery. Next up, I'm going to teach you how to shoot this bad boy or a bad girl. We don't know this, but they don't. 6. Shooting Your Video: Now we've done all the things. We've ideated, we've scripted, and now it's time to shoot the thing. Now, my approach to shooting, and this is my style, is that story always comes first. Yes, I want things to look as good as they can look with the resources I have, but I will not get hung up on not having a specific camera or lens. I will not stress about any of those things, I will focus on the story. All of that really for me is just the sprinkles on top. I very seldom get comments that say, "Oh, I wish this shot was sharper," or, "I wish the angle was different." I more often will get comments that say, "Wait, I didn't get this part," or, "Why would this happen?" Or, "I can't relate to that." So I feel like the average person, especially on social media, with how fast they consume content, I feel like the thing that will really captivate them is not all of this small, tedious production stuff, it's more so the story. Can they relate to it? Do they think it's funny? Do they grab their attention? Also, if you're making stories for social media, it's important to remember that there's a high percentage of people that will view your content on a phone. That means something this big, that they'll watch vertically sometimes horizontally. So it's important to remember that everything you're shooting is likely going to be condensed to that size screen. What does that mean? That means super small details usually get missed. That means you don't have to fixate on small things in the background of a set or a detail of a prop. But the flip side of that is if you have a joke that is dependent on a prop, or text, or something on a phone screen, you need to make sure it's big enough to communicate the story and the message. Key elements of my videos that I feel I'm well known for are fast-paced like I said, but also because I'm playing all the characters, I always like when I can make it seem like these characters are real people. One of the comments I get on my videos that I take the most pride in is, "I forget all of these people are Lilly." So anything I can do to contribute to that narrative, I do do. Whether it's having an extra that has the same complexion of me, so it looks like my character is a real person, whether it's a shoulder just being in the shot. I literally bought a mannequin that I would dress in my clothes just to have a shoulder in the shot so it seemed like me in my characters were different people. I also like to be as close to camera as possible. I always keep in mind when I'm shooting, again that people are watching on a phone and so I like to be closer. I like everything to be a little tighter and I will only do a really wide shot if I feel like something needs to be established or if contributes to like a certain mood. Example, if I'm shooting a horror parody, yeah, I might do a wide shot of a scary landscape just to set the tone. But otherwise, I'll just be up-close. In terms of colors, I'm a big fan of bright colors. I like contrast, I like colorfulness, because I want to grab people's attention. A big part of making content for social media is not only telling the story, but you have to remember people are going to see your content while scrolling through a bunch of other stuff unless they're actively going to your channel, that's how they might discover you. Having something bright, flashy, high-contrast that sticks out is in your benefit. In my journey, I've made a lot of videos. So process for me generally went from script to the morning of shooting, I would read through the script one last time to make sure everything made sense. On this read through, I generally perform it instead of read it. When I meet with my team, I hand them a script and before we shoot, we always go through the script together. There is a very specific method because I play every character. We always build up in terms of makeup, because it would be a waste of time for me to be Lilly with makeup, then turn into a man with a beard and then go back into Lilly with makeup. We always have to shoot my videos with characters in mind and the order goes as such. Least amount of makeup goes first, that would be my mother character who has almost no make-up, maybe you fill in the brows a little bit, we shoot her out. Next would be an auntie character who has bare skin, little bit more blush, little bit eye shadow, little bit more jewelry, we shoot her out. Then from there, we would probably go into the uncle character which is just a mustache. Then from there we'd go into my dad character that has a full beard, that way you're adding on and not taking off makeup. After I'm finished all the characters, I usually end with Lilly, and that's only because then I can be Lilly for the rest of the day. My crew comes, we read this script, I establish the order of characters, and we walk through the motions. We'll shoot the mom first, she will sit there. It's important to establish where everyone is sitting so that we know where everybody has to look. Just give me sitting back down or what is am I supposed to do? Yeah, let's do that. When it comes to actually shooting, here's where the special sauce comes. Not only do we go through the script and capture all the lines as scripted, but every time I shoot a video, I do one take of improv. I say now that I'm done all the scripted lines, now I'm just going to play. You know what a good guess is for Jungle Book. Oh, good one. So smart. Good guess. Oh, good guess. If I feel like any of those are really funny, I'll make a note of it so I can ensure that a future character I shoot responds to whatever she's saying. Because the worst thing would be for me to improve a line that's a question and then have no one answer her so I have to cut it. After I do the scripted lines in the improv, I always do a take of no speaking, just facial reactions. So I will do a take that literally looks like this. A series of facial reactions. Anything I think of, surprise, shock, happy, disappointed, all of the things just to have as options. Then always one generic listening. Because the worst thing you could do is have everyone talking all the time and have nothing to cut to, because no one will shut up in the video. Another thing me and my crew discuss before shooting is what the thumbnail for the video is going to look like. I have to proactively plan this because it's an important part of releasing a video. It's the first impression you have on the viewer, and so you wanna make sure it's captivating, it's clear. I will know, okay in this thumbnail, I want Lilly, the mom character, and the dad character. Well, that takes some planning because of all of those characters. So we'll establish where we're shooting the thumbnail, what the characters are doing so that we can make it make sense in that picture. Now, I want to address something that you probably have running through your mind or you have at some point, which is, what if I'm embarrassed to do that in front of camera? What if I sound weird? What if I look weird? What if I'm not good enough? I went through this a lot. A lot of people don't know this, but when I first started making videos, I would never play characters in front of people. This is a rule I had. I would tell people to leave the room if I ever had to be my mom character or my dad character. I would make people in my house, wear headphones. Anytime I did have a crew, I would say, "I'm going to need you to turn around." The only thing that fixed that was time, putting in more hours to your trade, practicing more, fine tuning your skill set, are all things that will help you feel more comfortable. The more you embrace those things you are embarrassed about, the audience is drawn to that stuff. Now when I make really weird faces that I used to previously be embarrassed about, the audiences like, "Oh, I totally died at that facial expression, she did it at four minutes." Nothing I say right now will encourage you instantly to feel comfortable, but just know with time and practice, you will give yourself permission to be liberated and free, and you will unleash all your creativity. But that's why it's important to put hours into it, because hours will get you there. I want to talk a little bit about shooting content by yourself. The reality is, not a lot of people have a crew shooting them. For most of my career, I didn't. I want to tell you the bare minimum of what you need to shoot a video by yourself. One, you obviously need some capturing device. Webcam, a camera. I would say, today's day and age, you probably need a camera. Phone, acceptable form of camera, by the way. It's important for it to be flip screen, flip screen meaning, can you turn the screen and see yourself so that you can frame up yourselves, so that when you're recording, you don't have someone behind the camera tell you to move a little bit to the left and the right can you make that call for yourself? Do I think you need a tripod? I think you can get away with not having a tripod for a pretty long time. Unless you need a lot of movement for your videos, a stack of books works great. Lighting is crucial. I would say lighting is somewhere you don't want to cut corners. Because lighting really affects video quality and I just feel like if your video was darker, it's not going to pop as much and it's not gonna grab as much attention. Now sound and I have been frenemies for a very long time. I am not good with sound equipment. I'm not too savvy with microphones, but I have learned that a simple mic on top of your camera goes a long way. Because at the end of the day, if people cannot hear you, there's absolutely no point. I would say to invest in a good sound device, probably even more than I would say invest in a fancy camera. Two tricks I had while shooting videos by myself, one of the problems I run into very often was I used automatic settings on a camera that auto focused on an object, but you have to push down a button to auto focus. Of course, the problem then is if I'm at the camera pressing auto focus, I'm not standing here allowing the camera to focus on me. You get a plant, you get a lamp, you get a broom, anything vertical, put it where you are planning to stand, then go to the camera, auto focus on said object, move it out of the way, take its place, boom, one-person crew. Another thing I really struggled with was if I'm trying to shoot myself over there and I'm talking, my mic is attached to the top of the camera, so how can I possibly get sound from over there? Go on the Internet, you want to buy an extender cable that's basically a headphone jack extension, you put your mic into that, and they come in like 20, 30 feet. I would literally take the wire plug it into my camera, run that wire all the way over there, hide it just off-screen, so that my small mic would be on the floor right beside me, but I'd be like 20 feet away from the camera. One last thing I'll say and people who are tech savvy, and camera savvy, and post-production savvy might not agree with me, don't be ashamed or scared, especially when you're starting out of automatic settings. They are your friend very, very often. Especially when it comes to color correction, all that type of stuff. I don't know how to color correct, but you know what? There's an automatic function on my computer, so now I do. Now that you've got the tips, I want you to apply these tips to your own production setup, whatever it may be, no matter how small, medium, big, it doesn't matter. Go out and shoot your shot and share it in the project gallery. Next up, we'll talk about editing. It's a doozy. 7. Editing Your Footage: Now you've shot the video and it's time to edit the video. This is where the fun and also, I won't lie, a little bit of the stress comes in, because editing is a beast on its own. For so many years, I edited my own videos and I had to learn how to do it. The great news is there are so many tutorials probably here and other places online, where you can learn the basics on how to edit on pretty much any software. Now, my keys for editing are as follows, I do a first pass where I just create the structure, very similar trial script actually. First pass is just what are the bones of this video? Let me make sure all the jokes make sense, let me make sure there's no takes of me making mistakes that are in there that I can avoid. That's the first pass of editing. The second pass of editing, just like scripting, is how do we now infuse a little flavor into this edit? Things like, is there something that wasn't scripted that we can add that just makes it so much more fun? Teenage must be Ninja Turtles. Was there improv? Is there an extra facial reaction we can throw in? Did something magical happen on set and we are going to decide, let's just throw that in the video, even though that wasn't as we planned. Can we add some editing tricks? For example, could there be text to emphasize a certain point? Should we punch in on this joke? Should we frame it in a way where we cut this distracting thing out of frame that we didn't recognize onset? The second is where we give the edit a glow up, that's the second pass. The third pass from my videos is where I add music. One thing my psychology degree taught me was that if people are exposed to the same thing for a long amount of time, they become used to it and they start to tune out. For example, you're studying in a room and you start reading and reading, you start to tune out. Science will show that if you turn off the lights or open a window or change positions, your brain will refocus on whatever the task is. I use the same science while editing my videos. Underneath my videos, I have a subtle, not distracting loop track of some sort, usually like a hip hop, nothing too aggressive. I put that at a reduced volume underneath my comedy video so that there's just a little something more going on. However, I usually cut that instrumental very strategically throughout the video. On a punchline, I may cut the audio and punch in just so there's something to emphasize the punchline and the audience refocuses on what's happening. If someone's been speaking for a little too long, I will cut to someone else just so they can refocus on the story as well. Everybody write down either a movie or TV show and then we'll take turns asking them out and we have to guess, okay? But you cannot talk. There's all these tricks on how you can keep people's attention and make sure things don't become too stagnant. That's three passes. Fourth pass of editing is watching the video. I will take off my editor hat, I will take off my writer hat, and I will watch my edit as simply a viewer. I will imagine as if I went online, I saw this video, I'm going to click it, let me start watching. If I get bored, I need to trimmed down that video. Am I understanding what's happening in the video? Or were there moments where I was like, wait, I have to rewind, "What did they say?" If that's the case, I need to fix whatever audio issue caused me not to understand. If I'm watching the video and I think this is really strong and this is really strong, but honestly, I'll probably click away, I like that section. Do I need that section? Should I take that section out? I always watch the last pass as a viewer, from beginning to end to get my overall thoughts about how I could improve. Then I go back and make the necessary adjustments. I hope other people will like it, like I did. There have been times where I become a sensitive artist. This is not a rarity. It has happened many times where I am so passionate about a scene and when we're shooting onset, I thought, this is amazing. I love it. I love the way this was performed. Then I watch the edit and I know in my heart that it doesn't really translate, or this is the part I actually liked the least. Then I had to make made decision of do I cut this thing I enjoyed so much from set for the better of the project, or do I leave it in? Honestly, this is where your instincts as a creator will kick in. You may sit there and tell me, "I don't know my instincts are." You will know in that moment. It's usually the first thoughts you have. If I watch a project and I go, "That's not that good." But then I have to go through the thoughts, "No, it's supposed to be good and it looks so good." If you ever do all those justifications, but your first thought was, "I think I can live without this," your instinct is probably right. If I'm really on defense about an edit or a joke landing, I think it's important to put your ego aside and say, "Friends and family, gather around. I need you to watch this, please watch this." Then I do two things one is I ask for their feedback, but more importantly, I watch them watch it. Because people's live reaction, that does not lie. Very often when someone is watching something of mine, they're looking at the screen but I'm just looking at them. Because I am looking at them, "Okay, they chuckled there. They didn't get that joke. There wasn't even a sparkle in their eye, they didn't get that joke." You got to put your ego aside sometimes and know that, hey, if the goal of this is to bring people in, people understanding and people enjoying is important. But again, if the goal is, "I'm making this for me," then don't. When I started making videos in 2010, it was very normal to have an intro that was a little longer. "Hey, I'm Lilly. Thanks so much for watching this channel. How's your day going? I hope it's doing good. You know what happened the other day?" That was a very acceptable thing. That has changed in my opinion. I feel like more and more people want to dive right into the content. Now, how I start my videos is I edit all of that fluff out and I say, "Hey, how's it going? I'm Lilly Singh. The other day my family tried playing game night." Boom, you're in it now. You're in it and that fluffy intro is edited out, same with an outro. There's a little bit more leniency with an outro because people have already watched your video to get to that point. But I feel like if you want to have a lot of that fluffy conversation, save it for the end of the video where you've already got your view. I end my videos with an end card and a call to action. My end card is something that has a template. It's a video of me in the corner and then there's links that you can click. Now, if you're making YouTube videos, know that if you want things at the end card to be clickable, meaning "Subscribe Here", "Click Here", "Check out my last video," you have 20 seconds to do it. This is why it's good to be aware of functionality of platforms, because if you spend a minute saying, "Thank you so much for watching my video. Make sure you subscribe. I hope you had a good day." If you take more than 20 seconds, those links are no longer clickable. It's important to say a call to action, but be concise. But call to actions are important at the end. When I edit my videos, I ensure there's a place to drive people to my last video because my goal is to be a storyteller that brings people in and what better way to bring people in than to get them to only watch one video, but then my last video, and my video after that, and then my video after that. I'm just trying to keep people engaged for long as possible. Now, it's time for you to edit your project and don't forget to post it in the project gallery because I am looking forward to seeing it. Next up, we'll talk about taking your video and optimizing it across various platforms. We're about to get so nerdy. 8. Posting Your Video: Once I've done the video, now the art of posting the video is an entire thing. The title and thumbnail and the posts and the captions and all that stuff for you to promote the video, that's what frames the video. All of that is the first impression that comes back around. It's the bookend for what's inside. So it's important to think about all the outer stuff like that. When I originally scripted this video, it was called Indian Charades and at the moment I thought that's concise, I like it, it gets to the point. But then before posting I thought, "Well, are people going to see this title and think, oh if I'm not Indian, this doesn't apply to me." What if some people don't know what charades is? I thought, you know what's more relatable and more universal is, "My family sucks at game night." Most people know what a game night is, most people have families and that's a little bit more inviting than Indian Charades. So although I believe in stories being very specific and I'm not scared of getting into the nuances, when it comes to the first impression, the thumbnail and the title, I do believe those should welcome people in and then you can get specific. When it comes to promotional assets and any assets for social, I'm a big believer of more is better. You want options of what you want to post. Audiences get bored of the same thing over and over again. I've actually learned this from experience. Every Monday morning, you're going to see me saying, "Hey, new video today". Then after the video releases, you are going to see the video and it would say, "Swipe up to watch." It had this beautiful template around it that said, "New video," "Swipe up." Over time, I saw that people just start to skip over that story. People get used to things that they see over and over again. I'm a big believer of switching up how you promote videos. Now I don't do that. Sometimes I'll say, "Hey, I'm on set right now, this video is really, really awesome. It's coming out this day." Or I'll be sitting right here in front of my computer and I'll say "I just released this video, check it out." I'll show them the screen. I'll show them how excited I am. Or I might do a video cut down. I think you can be just as creative in the promotion of a video as you are while making the video. There are so many platforms. I don't believe every video and every piece of content needs to live on every platform. I do believe in certain content making sense for certain places and I don't think the translation always happens on other platforms. Having said that, as a businesswoman and someone who has built a career out of this, it's important to me from a financial and resource standpoint to make sure that every video I make has legs to run as far as possible. What I mean by that is, how can I make a video for YouTube that can then also succeed on Facebook and then also succeed on Instagram and then also succeed on TikTok. Is that possible? If it is, I want to do it. The science I have worked out is as follows: every video I make for YouTube, I shoot it and edit it in a way where it can live on other platforms, not necessarily to drive traffic back to YouTube, but more so to garner a following on those platforms. Back in the day, I used to use every social platform as a funnel back to YouTube. I used to say, "Just posted a new video, check out my YouTube." But since then, platforms have become smarter and more competitive. When you post links from one platform on another, they generally don't like that. Every platform wants you to stay on that platform. As a creator, that's something good to know. Now what I do, instead of trying to drive people from here over to over here, I say, fine. I will post the same content tweaked on all of these platforms so that my people on Twitter can enjoy them, people on Instagram can enjoy them, and people on YouTube can enjoy them and people on Facebook can enjoy them. How? We're about to get real nerdy y-all. Pull out your notepad because I'm going to turn into a huge geek. Let's take my video, "Four signs that you're Boujee." If you watch the video on YouTube, there'll be an intro, little animation, Lilly Singh. You'll hear me introduce myself, you'll hear me ease into the subject matter. I'll throw to the first sketch. You'll see the sketch. I'll go back to the rant, throw to the second sketch, go back to the rant, there'll be an elaborate outro. I'll have a call to action. There will be an end card. That is the YouTube video. That will not work on any other platform. If I was to post the same video on Facebook, I need to tweak it and optimize it for Facebook. This is where it's really important to know what works on different platforms. On YouTube, people will go to, or they may see me as a recommended video and click on me. On Facebook more often than not, people discover your videos because they're on their timeline and they're passively scrolling and a video starts auto-playing. Not all platforms do that. But because Facebook auto-plays videos, you have about three seconds to capture someone's attention while they're scrolling past your video. You got to make sure the first couple of seconds of your video grab people's attention. I wouldn't have a releasing animation intro. I wouldn't have a, "Hi, my name is Lilly Singh." If I'm editing a video for Facebook, I'm probably going to start that video with an edit that says "Here are four signs you know you're boogie," boom into a sketch. Another thing to know is that most people watch Facebook videos on silent. Why? Because they're at work and in class and they're not paying attention and they're on Facebook. So it's crucial to have subtitles embedded into the video. Whereas on YouTube, my captions are an option. You can opt-in and out of them. On Facebook, my subtitles are burned into the video so that no matter what, they show up, even if your volume's off, you'll know what's being said and there's more chance of your attention being grabbed. Last thing for Facebook is that I changed the dimensions to perform vertically because I know most people are watching on their phone and I also add text to the top one-third of the video, very different from how I would present it onto YouTube. Now, I am monetizing my video on YouTube, and now I'm also monetizing it on Facebook. Instagram recently started monetizing. What all that meant to me was, "Okay, now I have to cut this video for IGTV." How do people interact with IGTV? Scrolling on their phones 100 percent of the time, because Instagram is not a desktop application. I will now format the video to be optimized for the specifications of IGTV, which means it's more vertical, it's more stretched out this way. All details on this side of the frame, if you were watching me, all of this would be cut out. It just this to this. So you have to be able to tell the same story with this framing. What you have to keep in mind when you're actually shooting the video. When I shoot my videos on set, I ensure that my frame is set up for success across all platforms. Here's a real gag. You're ready? If you're trying to monetize on IGTV, you only get a preview on your feed, of 15 seconds before people are then sent to Instagram TV. When they see your preview, their transition from your page into IGTV is where an ad goes. You have to convince people to go from here to here and watch this ad in order for that to count as a view and for you to get some money from that ad being seen. That means those 15 seconds better be really good and convince me to sit through an ad and get to this side. So no first act, straight into the comedy, straight into a joke. I always edit where in the first 15 seconds you will laugh and you'll be enticed to go over into IGTV. Now we've taken the same video and we've monetized on YouTube, Facebook, and IGTV. But that's not all, because now there's TikTok. TikTok is an interesting one. They've just rolled out monetization and by the time you watch, this could be changing. It's important to keep up to date with all these platforms. Well, the performance on TikTok is really short videos. People don't want to know four signs you're boogie. They want one joke while being boogie. They don't want the listicle of words. It's quick, it's 10 seconds, it's 15 seconds. I'll probably take one single joke from that video, make it optimized for TikTok so again very vertical, no text on-screen, not a lot going on, one joke, we boom, that's it. The good news is, out of one YouTube video, you could probably make five or six TikToks because the first type of boogie person can be a TikTok. The second type of boogie person could be a TikTok and so on and so forth. There's many reasons to optimize your content for various platforms. Yes, I just focused on money and monetization, but that's one reason. Another reason is building your following across those platforms. Each platform has a demographic that it's really known for. For example, TikTok has a lot of young people on it. Facebook, generally skews a little older. The people who watch my videos on Instagram, honestly, some of them might have never seen one of my YouTube videos. I'm hitting different people by understanding the types of people that are on these platforms. Also, it's good to build relations with these platforms because if you get into the business of brand deals and endorsement deals, some companies like working with certain platforms. There are some companies that say, "Okay, this year we're putting a lot of our ad dollars into TikTok." If you have a TikTok presence, you're part of that conversation. Same goes with Instagram. There are some brands that say, "Our strategy is Instagram. We found the most success with people buying our product through Instagram, so our ad spend is going to Instagram." Well, if you have a large following on Instagram now you're part of that conversation. There's lots of reasons why you should optimize for different platforms. Sometimes you'll hit the jackpot and you'll really learn the power of optimizing for different platforms. Allow me to show you. My best example in my collection is a video called, "How to Make a Migos Song." On YouTube, the video looks like this. Seven seconds in, I know nothing about this video; 4.2 million views on YouTube. Formatted it for Facebook, where it looks a little something like this. We got a title that has graphics behind it. We started right away with step one. Now, on YouTube, this video had 4.2 million views. On Facebook across all the times I posted it, it has 50 million views. Something about this video hit better with a Facebook audience than it did a YouTube audience. I would have never known that because I had initially made the video just for YouTube. So optimize your videos friends. Now, you might be wondering, how do I do all of these things? I need to make it clear that this is a lot to do for one person and I wouldn't be able to do all of these things if I didn't have a team. For those many, many years where I was editing and shooting my own videos, I focused on YouTube. I do believe that when you're starting out, you should focus on one platform, build an audience there, build a community there. Then when you are in enough of a rhythm and you have increase of resources, you can start putting resources towards okay, let's try posting on Facebook, let's try posting on Instagram. But I found that your strongest community is usually where you focus. If you don't focus anywhere, you won't have a community anywhere. Even though I post a lot on Instagram and TikTok and Twitter, my main community is still on YouTube. I don't think you should feel pressured to right away start and be like, "I got to post on all these things and cut," no. I think you should definitely focus on one platform and when you feel like you've perfected that platform and you have a strong presence on that platform and people know what to expect from you, then you can start focusing on building in other places, but this doesn't have to happen overnight. Up next, we'll talk about growing your channel. Yes, finally, what you've been waiting for. 9. Growing Your Channel: Now let me guess, you had an amazing time making this one video, now you are like, "I want to make more, how do I grow my channel?" Well, that's what this lesson is all about. A big part of growing your channel is becoming familiar with your community. Over time, if you post videos consistently, you'll notice that you start to develop a fanbase, people who expect certain things from your content to feel a certain way, whether to laugh or to learn, or whatever it may be. The best way to grow your channel is to keep those people engaged and then to also bring in new people that have similar interests. Well, how do you do that? You've got to tell it to your audience. A big part of my career was going through the comments, seeing what things people really connected with, what things people weren't as thrilled about, replying to comments, really getting an understanding of what does my audience want to see? Only if you know what your audience wants to see can you make the 50/50 rule work for you. Because remember, 50 percent is passion, 50 percent is strategy based on what your audience wants to see. Rabid on what your audience wants to see, you can take advantage of that 50 percent. Have call to action in your videos that say, "Hey, comment below, let me know. What part of this video did you like, what other videos do you want to see for me?" A big part of my come up was doing a live stream once a month. On the 14th of every month for many years, I did a live stream, where I just chatted with my audience. I answered their questions, I took their video recommendations, and what happened there was not only did I learn what my audience wants to see, but my audience also learned a lot about me. Something magical happened, people weren't coming to my channel just for the videos, they were coming to my channel for the person behind the videos. My fans today don't just know me as the girl who does characters and the girl who has videos, they know me as the girl who idolizes Dwayne Johnson, the girl who worked really hard for that one shoe because we saw them behind the scenes. As much as you can bring your audience in and make them part of the experience, the more engaged they will be with your wins and your journey. Beyond that, collaborations are really important. A lot of my channel growth, you could see little spikes in my analytics any time I would collaborate with another big creator. Find other creators that are on the come up just like you or maybe have been doing it a while. If you've been doing it a while, I think it's important to find creators that are on the same page as you. I remember when I started, I would email people, I think I had 1,000 subscribers, and I would email people that had 10 million subscribers. I'm like, "You want to do a collaboration with me?" The level of delusion. This is not meant to be mean, it's just meant to make you aware that there is a business side of things. So if you're going to collaborate with someone, find someone where it's mutually beneficial, where you both have something to offer each other and you can create art that makes sense for both of your audiences. Another way to grow your channel is using functionality that exists on these platforms for the purpose of growing. Putting your videos into playlists on YouTube, allow someone to watch one of your videos, and then for another video to play right after, so there's less chance of someone clicking away to someone else's channel. Understanding playlist, understanding channel trailers. When you go to my channel, it will look different depending on if you're subscribed to me or not subscribed to me. So what can I do to my channel to entice you to subscribe and to give my content a chance? All of these are ways to grow your channel and be shinny in a sea full of a lot of content. Part of the job is keeping up with platforms. If you're a storyteller on social media, you have to know changes that are happening to social media. There's lots of ways to learn them. One is, I am subscribed to most newsletters from platforms. If there's an Instagram update, I get an email about it. I also follow all of the head teams on their platforms. For example, the head of Instagram is Adam Mosseri. He, on his profile, always makes videos and posts about new features, and so just by following him, I know about all the new functionality as soon as it comes out. This is the playground you're playing in. If there's innovations, you need to know about them, that's a big part of your job. Facebook's monetization has changed so many times over the past couple years from, "Hey, we're monetizing only over three minutes, now you can monetize one minute. But this doesn't count as a view, but you can't do this," and if you don't know that information, you could not be hitting your goals simply because you're not giving yourself a fair shot. Let's talk about something that has to do with growing your channel, but also making money, and that is brand deals. Brand deals help grow your channel because a brand deal is likely to expose you to a new audience, that brand's audience. Essentially, a brand deal is a trade. Money for exposure for a brand. This can be through many ways: it can be a YouTube video for that brand, a YouTube video featuring that product, an Instagram post featuring that product. In talking points you need to hit in an interview or a Tweet. When it comes to the art of negotiation in business, you can also be very creative there. You want me to talk about this brand? Let's do it in the middle of a sketch, where it's a brand deal, but it's organic, and it can be funny, and we invite people in, and it doesn't feel like they're being advertised to. There's a lot of room to play in that arena as well. If you like a brand, I encourage you to try to get that brand\s attention. A brand I really love is Skittles, and I made that abundantly clear in many of my early videos. Before I had a team and before I had people teaching me about brands, I used to eat Skittles on my videos all the time and it got the attention of Skittles. When Skittles reached out, it was a very organic partnership, and it also resulted in a lifetime supply of Skittles. This whole story was just for me to flex my lifetime supply of Skittles. I would say be familiar with analytics, but balance that with your instincts. Another way to grow your channel, but this is aside from numbers, aside from money, it's not only growing your channel, it's about growing as a storyteller. I think one of the greatest things storytelling can do is it can show us a perspective we would have otherwise never known or seen. So I have chosen to pick a cause I'm very passionate about and embed it into my content whenever I can, and that cause is a social good initiative called Girl Love. You, we have something to tell you, 1, 2, 3, "Spread girl love." Girl Love is all about women supporting women, but beyond that, just the support of women getting opportunities, getting education. Anything that is a women's issue, I like to touch on. Now, it can be tricky to have a cause like that that's pretty serious and then also do comedy. It's like, how do you marry those two things together? Well, there's lots of different ways. I have a lot of videos online that are comedy, but that make commentary on gender inequality. I have taken my audience on trips to South Africa, to parts of Kenya, to parts of India, to parts of Ecuador. When you can go on a journey with someone like that and say, here are the girls. They're literally write here, hear from them. These are the girls we're helping with whatever initiative am doing at the time." It's so much more powerful when you can see those stories in the screen, and so I believe a big way to not only grow your channel, but just be a good human and be of service is to pick a cause you're really passionate about and be an advocate for that cause. After all of this, how do you know you've reached your goal? It's tricky. It takes a lot of reflection, and it takes a lot of honesty, and it takes a lot of openness to change. Years ago, my goal was to be the top of top on YouTube. I wanted to be a big creator, I wanted big numbers. Anything YouTube would present to me in terms of events or shoots, I would say yes. I wanted to be everywhere, and I did that for a while. At a certain point, I recall feeling like, "I really want to make a video that's different from what I've been doing," or "I really have an incline to do auditions, to do movies, to do TV." I had to pay attention to these voices inside of me that wanted something else because so much of me was resistant to change. It was "No, but you've got to focus on YouTube and the numbers, not to sell your vision board. I had to be open with my priorities shifting, and that's okay. Right now what I'm trying to do is I'm trying to step further out of my comfort zone and continue to grow my Late Night Show and trying to do riskier, bigger, funnier things. What I'd like you to do is think about the next step in growing your channel, whether it's a dream collaboration, a cause you would like to support, or whatever the next thing you want to do is, and share it in the project gallery. Do it. For real go do it. We don't just have these daydreams to mock us, we have them as guidance. If you've dreamt it up, you can do it. I am telling you, you can do it. I'm usually right. 10. Final Thoughts: Congratulations, you did all this stuff. Now, what happens? Well, I mean now you're going to go on and create stories and create dope content that people are going to see and find, and you're going to start this incredible journey. If I could give you any final thoughts on how to deal with that journey, it would be as follows. You're the storyteller, you the creator. Follow your gut and don't falter based on what other people say. A tricky part of social media is putting yourself so out there and allowing in essence the world to judge your work. If you're anything like me, I'm a sensitive artist, when people say things about my projects, it makes me feel some type of way, and that's okay. How I learned to navigate the world of social media, you have to like what you're doing more than you're scared of what other people think. Because regardless how good your content is, someone out there will not relate to it, and someone out there will not like it. What you need to do is focus on the positives, focus on the people who you are making content for. Do not focus on the people who you are not making content for. It's easier said than done so remember these words: Focus on the people you are making the content for. If they give you criticism, take it constructively. Do not focus on the hate from the people you are not making the content for. At any point throughout these lessons, you might feel like this is a lot of information. It's good, but also it's a lot of information and I don't blame you. It is a lot. It's a lot even in my brain. But I can tell you, knowing this stuff, for me has made it so worth it. Because knowing all this information has allowed me to perfect my craft and to be the most efficient with my craft, and to really capitalize on all opportunities. Not only capitalize on opportunities presented to be, but with this knowledge, I learned how to create my own opportunities. Whether it's getting a brand's attention, whether it's getting a collaborator's attention, whether it's making a video excel because I knew all of these tips and tricks that otherwise would not have excelled. Never underestimate the power of any of these steps. I always say I'm not a product of a viral video, I'm a product of everything I'm telling you. Now, up until this point, in case you've been resisting and procrastinating. I'm telling you any part of this lesson or lessons previous, upload them into the project gallery. Collaborate with people on this platform. This is your chance to put what you've learned into action and I cannot wait to see the magic you create. That's all I have to offer. The rest is up to you. I'm Lilly Singh, thank you so much for watching. One love, Lilly. That is a wrap and zoom.