I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos over lockdown. Prior to lockdown, I would only enjoy the occasional video on YouTube. I would catch up on US late-night satirical political and comedy shows. The likes of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, A Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and the late-night show with Seth Myers were firm favourites.
During lockdown, I spent a lot more time on the weekends and evenings watching YouTube. I became slightly addicted to tech review videos. Initially, it was looking for ideas for much-needed upgrades to my home office set-up. The tech inspirations improved my home-working experience. Then I got hooked on tech reviews more generally. I enjoyed YouTubers like MKBHD with Marques Brownlee, Unbox Therapy, and Jeremy Siers.
Jeremy is the antithesis of me in every imaginable way. But I enjoy watching his channel. He is a 40 something American who lives in Florida with his wife and kids. He has a Southern drawl that makes his videos easy listening. He completes his rustic DIY look with a long lumberjack’s beard and is heavily tattooed. He does funny segments on “man-shit” which include making custom wooden desktops, smoking cigars, and drinking bourbon. I’m useless at DIY and don’t smoke but he had me at bourbon. Although I’m a square English lawyer on the other side of the world to Jeremy, there is something about that bearded tattooed dude that I find engaging. He’s warm, genuine, and funny.
Lately, I have moved onto watching a few creators specialising in photography and filmmaking on YouTube. Guys like Peter McKinnon and his mate, Matti Haapoja in Canada. Plus, chaps like Casey Neistat and Matt D’Avella in the US. I have watched tons of Peter McKinnon in particular.
There is a theme that runs through the experiences of all these creators. They all started off in other walks of life. They had their passions for tech, photography, filmmaking, or just bourbon. Each of them took the decision to embrace their passions and follow that direction of travel. They made the bold decision to quit their day jobs and embark on potentially risky careers on YouTube. That wasn’t a career option when I was growing up. However, for many millennials or generation Z (or “Gen Z”) it is not an uncommon aspiration.