HOLY SH*T, I’m Starting a VLOG

I’ll be honest, my nerves are wrecked. I’ve been anxious all morning about hitting the “Publish” button because I’m tackling a new project this year that I have almost no experience with.

“Boy on a High Dive” by Norman Rockwell

Or perhaps it’s a strange mix of being anxiously-excited — you know the feeling just before pulling the trigger on something you’ve been wanting to do or try and then getting to the edge and the realization hits you: You’re going for it.

I suppose it’s like that first time you attempt the high-dive at your local swimming pool.

At this point, I honestly can’t say, but I can tell you that putting out my very first VLOG into the wild was nothing short of exhilarating.

In fact, the entire process of shooting, editing, and publishing it was an experience I will not soon regret; the feeling was akin to hitting the “Publish” button on one of my very first blog posts 15 years ago and the adrenaline kick still hasn’t subsided.

So, without further ado, here’s my very first vlog:

Show Notes #001

Before I lose you, I’m going to ask you for a ton of grace, especially if you were able to make it through that cringeworthy first episode because I really don’t know what I’m doing.

But… that’s… the… point… … …

You see, this experience is very much an experiment in every single way imaginable. And my goal is quite simple: Vlog once a day for one year.

Yup, that’s it. There are no other “metrics” that I’m going to worry about, at least for now, since most of those will put too much pressure on myself as well as complicate what I want to ultimately be a fun endeavor.

Naturally, I hope that these few things will be a natural outcause of vlogging 365 times this calendar year:

  • Learn a new skill (vlogging)!
  • Learn how to use video better.
  • Learn how to become a better digital / visual storyteller.
  • Engage with my (new) community in a new way.
  • Become a better communicator.
  • Help others learn to vlog themselves through watching my efforts, successes, failures, and everything in between.
  • Again, there aren’t any “hard” metrics (goals) or personal KPIs here but rather a few points that I’d like to return to a year from now and feel good about.

For historical purposes…

But for kicks, there are two statistics that I think will be neat to calibrate, the first being # of subscribers (of which I have 176) and # of views (of which I currently have 130,753).

The subscribers that I’m starting with are from the many, many years of simply having a relatively inactive YouTube account with the exception of a few video game-related videos that make us the the vast majority (like this one about how I “solo” an end-game boss in World of Warcraft which accounts for nearly half of my total views).

I can honestly say that I’m starting from scratch here with an old legacy account and I feel good about the clean start. This should be really fun.

My Gear & Cost (So Far) and Process

As I mentioned in my vlog, I’m keeping things super-simple and super-trim in terms of my tooling, apps, and utilities. My goal is to continue to keep my dependence on expensive products to a minimum for my own purposes as well as an encouragement to others.

Cheapo tripod…

Currently, this is everything that I’m using to capture, edit, and produce my vlogs:

  1. iPhone 6s Plus — Variable cost
  2. Apple iMovie for iOS — $4.99
  3. Cheapo Tripod — $9.99
  4. Bought www.john.show URL — $39

That’s it. Amazing.

So, my total spent costs so far, excluding the iPhone 6s Plus, is ~$15 ($54 if you include the domain, which is unnecessary for most people, but I thought was super-cool). Not bad for starting a vlogging channel!

The “Process”

In terms of my process it “kind of” went like this:

  1. Made a commitment to vlog for a year.
  2. Spent New Years Eve chatting and “strategizing” with my wife about what I should do.
  3. Determined that this video would just be a general introduction to who I am and what I was proposing to do.
  4. Went to YouTube Creator Academy and did as many assignments as I could
  5. Completely missed New Years celebration only realizing that we had crossed into the 2016 year after mistaking some loud noises as gunshots outside our window (they were fireworks).
  6. Took a few “test” videos (a few at the end of the first vlog).
  7. Went to bed around 3:00am.
  8. Woke up.
  9. Turned on the camera.
  10. Started to film everything.

And honestly, that was my so-called strategy. I started shooting, capturing video, and then throwing them into iMovie on my iPhone. There were some basic editing features in the app and it was just enough to put together what you’ve seen so far.

Not bad, not bad at all…!

The music that you hear was built-in to the iMovie app and so I just took one of their ‘theme’ songs and went with it.

For those that are really interested, I took about 55 videos in total (including time-lapse) for a total of about 25 minutes of captured footage. I then put those things together for a finished product of 4 minutes and 11 seconds.

I can’t tell if what I did was efficient but what I can tell you is that I’ve spent a total of 5+ hours so far on this first vlog and that is not acceptable and certainly not sustainable.

My biggest lesson learned today is that I need to reduce the amount of time to capture, edit, and product my vlogs if I’m going to make this year long goal possible. Otherwise, I’m sunk.


So, if you’re interested, make sure you subscribe to my brand-spankin’ new YouTube Channel and join me on my quest to become a vlogger in 2016!

Be awesome. Subscribe.

Subscribe and be awesome.
I’d be completely remiss if I didn’t mention my friend, Kyle Van Pelt who is also starting up a new vlog for the year.

He is my friend and system of accountability for this project and experiment and we’ve been pinging each other back and forth about what we’re doing, how we’re going to do it, and essentially making sure one of us doesn’t back down or out:

Friends are pretty useful for things like this.

I’m glad to have someone who will push and encourage me through this new journey and I can’t think of anyone better than Kyle to do just that. Thanks buddy.