Thursday, 19 January 2017

How I Became Confident Filming YouTube Videos

Credit: @laceypr on Instagram
I'm not a confident person. I have chronic anxiety, for a start. Then there's the matter that I've always got good grades, but I constantly worry that I don't actually deserve them and that it's some kind of marking error. I dislike the way I look sometimes, so much so that one year on holiday I turned away from the camera every time a photo was taken. When I meet new people, all that's going through my head is what if they think I'm weird what if they think I'm ugly what if they laugh about me later what if they think I'm stupid what if they're disappointed what if I come off as rude because I'm so busy worrying.

I don't think I'm completely alone in that.

And yet, a few years ago, I was happily prancing around at drama school, drama club, and another drama club - yeah, I did three - because it was My Thing. Diving into emotional improvisation with people I'd never met; learning pages and pages of a monologue until I was word-perfect and then performing it in front of important director-y people; attempting to run through an entire world of accents in front of the class; being given a leading role and being nervous but not that nervous. All of that was My Dream, and I was doing it. Words can't explain how much I loved it. I was going to be an actor one day and no one was going to stop me (except myself, as it turned out.)

And before that, I was on track (oh, puns) to be pretty successful in sport... Which is interesting, because the sofa is my best friend and I genuinely miss my bed when I get out of it. McDonald's is life. The only time I run is if I'm about to miss a train. And yet, I probably would've been well on my way to being on Team GB by now. Apparently. This is not my own opinion. I was very young and I quit because even at the age of 5 or 6, the coaches were big on pressuring us about our weight (yet bribing us to work harder with free chocolate???) but that's another story for another day... I may or may not include an embarrassing photo. We'll see.


Anyway. Amber, how is that relevant to your YouTube videos?

It's relevant because even though I would now hate being in the harsh environment of a drama school, and sport really isn't my thing anymore... there's still a sliver of performer in me. Just a little bit. Enough for me to not care too much about being on video. Not that I like the sound of my own voice, but I don't think it sounds terrible on camera... And I often think I look gross in my videos, but I upload them anyway because this is the face I was born with and I'm not going to let it stop me from doing things I like to do. That said, I nearly have let it stop me in the past. I still have a video I made in 2014, announcing that I would be quitting YouTube.

I never uploaded it because I saw sense and got over myself.

My point is, I think everyone has a sliver of performer in them - or, if not, I think this is something that can be developed over time. No one is immediately comfortable in front of a camera. It's easier for some people, sure, but it's something you get used to, just like starting at a new school, or learning to drive; some people take ages, some people are fine within a few weeks, but most people get there eventually.

Related: How I Make My YouTube Videos

Aside from that, there's the fact that everyone sees you differently from how you see yourself. You might think you look disgusting, but I guarantee someone else thinks you're beautiful - after all, there are 7.4 billion people in the world, not to mention a bunch of wonderfully different cultures each with completely varied ideas when it comes to beauty standards. And as for your voice? It's exactly the same concept. I find my accent pretty boring and ordinary, and kind of annoying sometimes, but there's one person who literally only watches me because I'm British.

Which, now I think about it, is not the best thing I've ever been told. But I'll take it. Thanks for subscribing anyway.

To wrap up? I became confident on YouTube by finding my inner performer, talking to the camera like I would talk to a friend or even myself, and... I try to ignore my issues. Yep. If I'm having a 'bad face day' (every day, kids, every day) I just make myself not think about it; the same goes for any other visible thing I dislike. They say that we're our worst critics, and it's true - who's going to notice that you're having a bad hair day? And if they do notice... will they really care? The world doesn't revolve around me, or you. There are worse things going on, after all.

It's easier said than done, but it's the truth.

A good tip floating around on the Internet is to film loads of videos and get comfortable with it before uploading anything - then you'll be awesome straight off the bat. I didn't do this. Learn from my mistakes. (And if you're not subscribed to me on YouTube, you definitely should be. Just saying.)

If you make videos, how long did it take you to become confident with it? If you don't make videos, do you think you ever will?

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