With over one billion users, media giant YouTube continues to crank out the best and the brightest content creators the Internet has to offer. The social media site recently held its annual NextUp contest, where budding video bloggers competed to take their channels to the next level.
Among this year’s finalists was Georgia resident Jeremy Fielding, who dubs himself a “backyard engineering” enthusiast. The married father of four is unashamed of his love for all things mechanical engineering and says he was inspired to share his talents on YouTube, creating craftsman how-to videos for viewers who share similar interests.
“I really love what I do,” Fielding told Atlanta Black Star in an interview. “I love tinkering and making things. And I think that’s the key; it’s the inventive, creative process that drives me out there. I just have this true obsession with all things mechanical.”
After noticing a “gap” in relatable content, Fielding said he figured he’d create some himself.
Fielding was just one several up-and-coming YouTubers flown out to New York City for NextUp’s one-week “creative boot camp” designed to help creators hone their camera, lighting and sound techniques, thus helping them make better videos. According to the program’s website, participants also received dedicated support on building their channel development strategies to boost their number of subscribers.
Graduates of the Oct. 8–12 creators camp received a $2,000 stipend for new production equipment, among other perks aimed at helping them become successful vloggers.
Fielding said he didn’t expect to win but was simply interested in trying his hand in the competition. The 37-year-old mechanical CAD designer said the $2,000 voucher was also a major incentive, as he’s in need of a few pricey pieces of equipment that’ll help take his videos to the next level.
With over 83,000 subscribers already, Fielding is working to make that number grow. While there is no magic number he’s looking to reach, the do-it-yourselfer said he expects to get close to 100,000 subscribers or more by the end of the year. His niche channel, aptly titled “Jeremy Fielding,” features 79 videos of him deconstructing everyday appliances, salvaging the key parts, and then using them to create something completely new, such as a custom- made wooden clock.
In one video, Fielding dismantles a treadmill and uses the parts to build a variable direct-circuit power supply. For him, it’s all about creating original content that both he and his viewers will enjoy.
“Don’t try to follow big channels and copy them, because that’s not you,” Fielding said. “If you are not loving what you’re talking about or passionate about it and wouldn’t watch it yourself, then don’t waste time recording it. You’ve gotta love the content.”
The seasoned vlogger offered several other nuggets of advice to users looking to grow their own YouTube channels. Tip number one? “Don’t make crappy videos,” Fielding says.
The YouTuber added that excess “dead space” and time spent rambling off topic can really tank the quality of what might have the potential to be a great, informative video. He said creators should also avoid walking off-screen and take the time to make simple yet important edits that will boost the quality of their clip.
Fielding says he makes sure to heed his own advice of “never creating a video I wouldn’t want to watch myself” and eliminating all the “crappy” stuff he hates seeing in other folks’ poorly edited YouTube videos. He says it is these changes that really make the difference between a bad video and one viewers will actually want to watch.
For Fielding, the biggest challenge was finding time to perfect his videos. Editing is already time-consuming, so budding bloggers will likely run into similar issues, especially if they’re on a publishing schedule. Fielding says YouTube recommends cranking out fresh content at least once a week, but he sticks to his own schedule to avoid breaking his own rules.
“Good videos take time,” Fielding said. “Time maintenance is a hard thing, and I think the way I solve that is being wiling to bail on a project that I’m not happy with.”
So far, his two most fulfilling projects have been the aforementioned custom clock, which Fielding calls his “most technically challenging project,” and a self-built rowing machine used to power his children’s video game. The doting father said watching his kids enjoy something that didn’t take much effort to make was the true reward.
“My goal is just to keep focusing on what drives me to my shop, what drives me to want to create and learn,” he told ABS. “And then hopefully I grab an audience with that same interest.”