Tag Archives: news

I’m Teaching On Udemy: How To Make Videos

Ever since I started making videos, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how I do things.  How did you edit like that?   What should I do if I want to start making my own videos?  What kind of camera should I get?

I’ve also always wanted to create an online course.  There’s a small bit of entrepreneur in me.  I wasn’t sure what the topic would be though, because I felt like I had a lot of random skills and knowledge, but not enough in one area.  Then I remembered I have a film degree, work in Hollywood, and constantly make and edit my own videos.   I do know a few things!  So I sat down and wrote out a rough outline and realized I have enough material to create a nice course for beginners.

And that’s what I did. How To Make Videos: Learn Production Basics From Scratch is my video course for beginners.  If you’re interested in making videos for your own brand or just as a hobby and you have no background in it at all, you might enjoy this.  Check out the course description (about halfway down the page) and decide for yourself: https://www.udemy.com/learn-video-production-basics-from-scratch/learn/v4/overview

video production for beginners

I’ve even got a coupon code for readers of this blog.  If you purchase my course by the end of July you’ll get it for 50% off.  $10!

Use This Link To Get 50% Off

 

And if you don’t care about learning how to make videos, no worries. I’ll still post to this blog very regularly (currently that seems to be once every three months).

Thanks for reading!

-Randy

 

Sam Pepper Killing Best Friend Prank: Everything Wrong With Finding Success On YouTube

youtube logo

This isn’t my usual style or topic for blogging, but I have a few things to say about a particular issue.

First, I love YouTube.  It’s great.  For the first time ever, people who don’t have access to a major movie studio,  multimillion-dollar budgets, and expensive equipment can compete against the big dogs…and win.  YouTube has turned everyday consumers into superstars who have more followers, fans, and social influence than many A-list celebrities.  It’s shaken up the way we consume video content to such a degree that mega brands have restructured how they produce content just to keep up with that YouTube “nobody” who’s crushing it online.

Now, if you spend any time on social media, you’ve probably seen the controversial viral video making its rounds.  I’m not going to link to it, but if you type in “Killing Best Friend Prank” anywhere, I’m sure you’ll find it.

For those of you who don’t know, a successful YouTube prankster named Sam Pepper decided it’d be a great idea to “prank” a friend by kidnapping him and forcing him to watch his best friend get shot.

In Pepper’s own words: “Let’s see how he reacts to his best friend of five years being killed in front of him!”

He literally threw Sam Golbach in the back of a car, then tied him to a chair on a rooftop, and had him watch a masked man “shoot” his best friend in the head.  The video is full of Golbach screaming, crying, and pleading.  The production quality is so high that they even cut the sound and added an emotional musical score while Golbach cries over his friend’s body.  You know, to tug at our heart strings.  All fantastic elements to a dramatic Law & Order episode.  Except that it wasn’t a scripted episode.  At least not to the one who was pranked.  Those were real tears of horror.  All in the name of a good prank, right?

My first response was WTF?

My second was, at what point were we supposed to laugh during this prank?  Aren’t pranks supposed to be funny?

People around the internet are calling him sadistic and disgusting.  Some are even asking him to be banned from YouTube.  All understandable responses to a truly upsetting video.

But my main question is why? Why make that video?

And I think I figured it out (although you are free to still call him sadistic and leave it at that).  I like to call it the YouTube Success Syndrome.  When you make it big on YouTube, you start to see it as your career.  In fact, it becomes your career.  There’s a lot of pressure and expectation to produce amazing videos each time you post.  Not only that, you want to stay relevant and on top.  So you keep trying to one-up yourself.  You can’t put out crappy content, or your career will be over as quickly as it started.  So what can Sam Pepper do?  Well, he can put out a video that’s going to be so controversial or ridiculous or funny or disgusting or amazing that it will send him straight to the top.  Until he has to one-up himself again.  And the cycle repeats.

Let’s take it a step further.  When the cycle keeps repeating, eventually someone is going to cross the line, right?  But where is the line?  What makes YouTube great, in most cases, is that there is no line.  Or, rather, the creators and fans define it.  In traditional television, everything you see on your TV is approved by the network.  They draw the line.  What’s too gruesome? What’s too risqué?  What’s too offensive?  Certain things are censored before they reach your television set.  With YouTube, what the creator makes goes straight to the viewer.  No tape, no censorship.

So when someone arguably crosses the line, the internet enforces itself.  We as fans or viewers become the moral compass.  And if you just take a look at any Twitter feed, it’s clear that people love being the moral compass in controversy.

 

Here’s my main problem with prank videos as a whole:  I’m not a big fan of success at the expense of others. The pranksters are making a profit off someone else’s pain/anger/embarrassment and, in this case, horror and suffering.  Fun, innocent pranks? Great, no problem.  But we’re clearly not talking about that here.  This video was full of real emotion and pain…unless, of course, this whole video is a huge prank on the internet, and they were all in on the joke.

Another big problem with many YouTubers (and any brand on the internet) is their obsession with views, stats, likes, and monetization.  When that’s your motivation, you’re no longer making videos you truly want to make.  You’re making videos so they go viral.  So they get attention.  So you can become more important and successful in the public eye.  That doesn’t always translate to the best (or smartest) video.

I think that was definitely the case here.   If it weren’t for Pepper’s thirst to be successful on YouTube, would he ever prank-kidnap and kill his friends?  I don’t think so.  There would be no point.  This was done purely for shock value.  Sam wanted the outrage.  He wanted the attention.  He lost focus of what a prank is while trying to make the craziest, most viral video possible.  I’d say he succeeded.  As of this writing, the video has 4 million views.  I’m risking giving him more attention by writing about him, but then again, I only have 36 subscribers on YouTube, so who am I?  You might think Sam Pepper is a (insert your descriptive insult here), but he’s a (insert your descriptive insult here) that everyone is talking about.

The lure of success can grab us all.  So before posting that CRAZY, CONTROVERSIAL, OMG video that’s going to blow up the internet, use some common sense.

Common sense for posting on YouTube:

  1.  Be aware of what world events are going on around you.   Do you really think a filmed, bag-over-the-head-style execution prank is a smart thing to post in light of current events?
  2. Is the content you’re posting actually what you say it is? Aren’t pranks supposed to be funny?
  3. Are you posting it for the right reasons? No, money, attention and controversy should never be your primary motivation.
  4. Respect your friends, family, and community.  The best way to show you love your friend is not by agreeing to fake-kidnap him.

The Internet Keeps Changing How We Drive

I’m not shy about my feelings towards L.A.  There are many things I don’t like about this city.  These include but are not limited to: trendy cupcakes, trendy green juice, $14 salads, a sense of entitlement, an alarming number of grown men and women who are still children, small parking lots,  no parking lots, people who are on the gluten-free diet but also don’t know what gluten is, and a lack of water.

But the worst part of this city, without question, is the LA traffic.  There are just too many people in this city.  There are too many cars trying to get to the Hollywood Bowl, Dodger Stadium, and Santa Monica Pier.  Highway pileups begin way before 5pm.  City gridlock can happen anywhere, at anytime.  For drivers in LA, going 10 miles can easily take an hour.

People have been trying to find solutions for years: carpool lanes, anti-gridlock zones, and certain no left turns at peak traffic hours.  Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a fix for the LA traffic problem.  Getting around is a major struggle for everyone.  

You have to be resourceful.  You have to find shortcuts and tricks.  And they don’t always work.  What may be a shortcut one day could add 30 minutes to your commute the next day.  But the one thing you can always count on LA for having is trends.  And just like its annoying green juice trend, LA has driving trends too.

Turo’s (previously known as RelayRides) Los Angeles car rental crew recently put together a drivers guide to getting around the city.  In it, they share tips and tricks from local bloggers who know the city best. What I immediately recognized in most of the answers was trends.  Thanks to apps like Waze and Uber, people are moving around the city differently.  Instead of driving and parking, people are spending the extra money to take an Uber.  People’s favorite “secret” shortcuts are being exposed because of apps like Waze.  Trends change the game.  It will be interesting to see what sticks and what doesn’t.  Here’s that infographic.

Driving.Tips.In.LA

If you looked at it closely, you might have seen a familiar name.  Yep, right at the bottom left there – yours truly.  Now this whole article makes sense, Randy!

Turo is a peer-to-peer car sharing service.  Think of AirBnB for cars!  People who have a vehicle to spare can rent it out to someone in need.  Renters always have a variety of cars available to them, and at much cheaper rates than you’d find at more traditional rental services or airports. 

One of Turo’s most appealing features is its large mixture of model options.  Since your selection is pooled from real people all over the city, not just a garage or a lot with a few different models, you have a much bigger variety of cars to choose from.  If I’m trying to plan a road trip up in the mountains, I’m not going to want the same type of vehicle that I’d pick for city exploration. 

I love the way that the internet and technology are connecting people and ideas.  I love that these new ideas are creating trends that change how we do things.  Turo isn’t going to fix LA traffic, but LA is certainly a perfect city for a cool service like this.  It’s also the perfect city to rent a car and GTFO using Turo.  Check them out here:

www.turo.com

Go trip yourself.

-Randy