I started the Living a Sustainable Dream YouTube channel back in the beginning of 2015. I had an iPod Nano and our Nikon Cool Pix and filmed a couple segments about how to clean our wood cook stove, making a waffle on the wood cook stove, and troubleshooting our electric log splitter (our most popular YouTube video, go figure). Then we adopted our son and every video I made was dedicated to making his transition to our home easier. We made a brief movie introducing him to our home when we visited the first time and several music montages of his daily life with us over the years (these videos are for him and are not meant to be shared publicly).
At the beginning of 2017, my wife and I decided to give YouTube another try, so we started making more videos about what life is like living off the grid, some how-to fix it videos, and getting the word out about our off grid homestead business, Pauper’s Candle Company. We saw YouTube as another potential income maker for the homestead. If we could get thousands of views, we could earn money just for documenting what we do and providing helpful tips for others considering living off the grid.
However, a reality check happened, and we realized the possibility of making money from YouTube was quite low due to the click bait problem. YouTube’s algorithm was another death knell to this vision of view related income as we realized that shock and awe videos seem to be the only way to promote oneself in this platform. The once popular channels that I watched for content were slowly morphing to create titles to get views versus titles that categorized the actual content of the video. We also began to witness more YouTube drama being engineered to show “potential” or imagined peril to get more views.
Seeing how the game is played, we decided to choose a different path. Our channel and the YouTube platform is simply an extension of our blog. So far, we are free from the above-mentioned reality on YouTube because our livelihood is not connected to YouTube. We are free to explore what we want to do with our channel and we have decided that we want the channel to give helpful tips for living off the grid, be an encouragement to others who happen to cross it, and to promote our homestead business.
Overall, I am happy to learn this new hobby of cinematography and hope to improve upon it. Some people like painting, I like video editing; it’s a form of artistic expression that I want to explore. We updated our camera to a refurbed camcorder as we attempt to improve our video quality. We use free editing software known as the “infamous” Microsoft Movie Maker as well as the free, open source Blender. Combining the two free platforms has helped greatly. We are not heavily invested into our video equipment; instead, we have chosen to purchase just enough equipment to hone our skills without detracting from our homestead projects.
Some questions for you…
Why do you blog? What struggles and successes have you had along the journey? How has blogging become an artistic expression for you?