Television is a cartel. It costs thousands of dollars and hours of meetings to get a TV show produced. But if you have a creative spark, a camera and an internet connection you can get on YouTube instantly. YouTube stars make their money from advertising hits and are starting to spin their success off into more traditional areas such as publishing.

The pro-quality, homemade YouTube channel has a number of sub-genres. Before we go any further, let’s investigate a few.

The Tutorial

Tutorials are a huge subsection on YouTube. Music tutorials are very popular. Make-up and beauty tutorials abound, and some of the most popular providers have millions of subscribers. Michelle Phan (7,644,347) now has deals with L’Oreal and Lancome, and Zoella (7,965,153) broke records with her debut novel in November 2014.

Screen recordings can be very helpful ways to learn how to use various software. Another subsection of this genre is ‘The Lifehack’ – practical advice to make one’s life easier. Perhaps in the past, your mum or dad would have taught you this stuff….

The Walkthrough

Although this is connected to ‘The Tutorial’, it’s large enough to warrant its own subsection. Several of the biggest channels on YouTube are devoted to video gaming. Minecraft in particular has a massive following.

The Pop-Scientist

The Pop, or popular, scientist explains scientific principles in fun and easy ways.

Many of the best are created by public service broadcasters and bricks-and-mortar universities aiming to broaden their reach (P.B.S and Open University, for example), but the biggest and most revolutionary was started by a man who just wanted to explain mathematics to his younger cousin.

The Khan Academy now has more than two million subscribers.

Science extends to other political, cultural and sociological topics. These would once have remained in the realm of academia, but are now part of popular public discourse.

The Unboxing

A niche, but an interesting one. It panders to modern obsessions with pop culture and gadgets, and with the need to share and document everything we do. The YouTuber opens a new product or displays the contents of their bag and gives a commentary.

The Lifestyle Sharer

Each of the above genres contains an element of lifestyle sharing. But as each of us becomes our own personal brand, and celebrity becomes self-generating (‘He is famous for being famous’), many of the most popular YouTubers are popular for being themselves. Skits, parodies, rants are fun, but what really makes these people popular is that it feels as if they are talking directly to us. They have authenticity.

Genre Styles

Can you find any common stylistic devices in these YouTube videos? Common themes, visual styles, editing styles, camera angles, background decorations?

Choose a style and start planning your video. Good Luck!

1. A tutorial.
Explain a process or task. Be sure to impart your own personality into the video.

2. Pop Science.
Make a scientific or academic concept interesting and easy to understand.

3. An Un-Boxing
Show us your new product, or the contents of your bag.

4. A Skit or a Rant
In the style of a lifestyle sharing YouTuber.

There are plenty of channels for you to check out for inspiration.

A list of YouTube personalities

Ten YouTube stars your kids love

Top 14 YouTubers for 2014

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