YouTube, Patreon and This Guy Edits
- What is Patreon and how does it work?
- How to run a successful Patreon community
- This Guy Edits on YouTube, Patreon and more!
I’ve been interested in Patreon, the concept and the platform, for a while now and I thought it might make for an interesting post.
Plus one of my favourite YouTube channels, This Guy Edits, has recently launched his own Patreon community so I thought Sven, This Guy (above), might be able to give me some insider info on how he’s finding it.
I’ve previously interviewed Sven at length in this post, so be sure to check that out too, to learn a huge amount more from him about a wide variety of topics.
Am I writing this post because I’m planning on launching a Patreon community?
Nope. No plans to but maybe I should?
What is Patreon and how does it work?
To my mind, in the world of content creators building a viable livelihood online, YouTube seems to be the place to find and grow a wide audience and Patreon is the place to incubate a core community of patrons, who are your superfans. Those who want to both support you and get more of what you do too.
I would wager that you can only do the later, once the former is in place. From the crowd of onlookers, emerge the benefactors.
Patreon also seems like a great way to make content creation sustainable for it’s creators, in a world where everyone expects everything for free and no one clicks on ads.
From a financial perspective Patreon should offer creators more stable long-term resources, because most patrons are showing their support through relatively low amounts, a few dollars. This means that if one or two patrons should leave your community, it won’t have the same financial impact as say your single major sponsor deciding to stop.
It also means you can plan further into the future and develop on-going series of content, as these subscriptions recur on a monthly basis, so you know roughly what you’re going to get.
Although interestingly the Patreon homepage has this quote about average monthly payments:
An average patron pays more on a monthly basis than consumers pay for Netflix, Spotify, or Amazon Prime.
Which just goes to show that people might value your content more than these big players!
In rummaging on Patreon I found the Chapo Trap House Podcast is bringing in $94,897 a month from 21,359 patrons, which sounds like a staggering amount, but is only costing each Patron a $5/month.
You can check out the Top 20 creators in Video & Film here, with some of their communities raising between $5,000 and $35,000 a month. The Kurzgesagt -In a Nutshell educational science videos being on of the most successful.
In other news, Patreon stumbled over a recent fee structure change, but then had the good sense to listen to the uproar from both Patrons and Creators. (You can read about that here) This just goes to show how delicate is the balance of trust, community and cash at the heart of the relationship between Creators, Patrons and Patreon HQ.
If you’re planning on launching a Patreon community of your own the key ingredients seem to be:
- A popular core product that’s freely available (YouTube/Podcast etc.)
- Producing extra bonus material for your Patrons on a monthly basis
- Strategically setting your tiers towards lower amounts, whilst offering limited top tier bonuses
- Maintaining your Patron community’s personal connection to you via Facebook or webinars, etc
This freely available core product should help funnel more supporters through to being patrons, over time, helping to increase your total monthly earnings. Whilst the exclusive content will give them a good reason to stay.
This Guy Edits in Conversation
Catching up since last time we spoke you’ve long since passed the 120k subscribers mark on Youtube. How is the channel going and how does it feel to have hit this major milestone?
It’s going well. It’s still a lot of fun to post videos and connect with the audience. Getting to 100K plus subscribers is a big deal for me, because it represents 2 years of continuous work and 80+ videos.
What kind of content is emerging on the Youtube channel?
Video Essays have become the biggest play as it is the most creative, gets the biggest response and requires me to step up my game.
The Science of Editing series will soon post its 4th episode and I started a new series about Creativity Hacks based on a great audio documentary by Tristan Laurillard.
What’s been the most popular video / or most fun video for you to create?
Doing a parody video based of a Nerdwriter video “How Hitchcock Blocks A Scene” by simply applying it to another great master.
The video I made is called “How Tommy Wiseau Blocks A Scene” and it has over 800k views so far.
It falls somewhere between a remix and total artistic theft, and I’ll be definitely doing another parody soon, or should I say shit-post?
Will you ever bundle the Flesh and Blood series (maybe with some extra bits?) as a downloadable course?
Interesting idea. What I’ve started doing, is to record lessons for a hands-on editing course where members will actually get access to real footage, with known actors, and edit scenes on their own. Plus they can follow me cut the same scene.
I’ll have exercises for a feature and a documentary edit, both of which were shown in theaters.
I’m also trying to lock down a brand, so that we can go through the edit of a corporate video too.
(Ed. note: Check out the original Flesh and Blood feature film editing series here.)
You’ve recently started a Patreon channel, what was the rationale for that?
Patreon is one way to solve the monetization challenge for creators. It gives those subscribers who love your content, and see value in it, a way to support their favourite creators and get more value in return.
If they become members not only do they graciously show their monthly financial support but get membership benefits too.
I do have a few sponsors on my YouTube channel, but ultimately I think Patreon is the best model to sustain it.
We’re living in a culture of free content, but the truth is if you are not paying for the product you become the product.
What do you think of Patreon – is it a viable mechanism as a content creator and for consumers?
Yes, there are some niche content creators that can make their full income entirely through Patreon.
A friend of mine, Jessica, runs a channel called “How To ADHD” which is an fun and educational channel on that particular mental condition.
She enjoys a huge support by her community and recently was able to quit her job as a waitress to become a content creator full time.
My situation is a little different. I’m a working editor and I’d like to continue cutting film projects. But This Guy Edits could help me become more selective over the editing projects I take on, since I now have second full time job.
In terms of consumers, they turn into members which means they get a richer content experience.
Is Patreon an important component of making a YouTube channel viable? Combining sponsorship, ad revenue and Patreon together, does that make it possible to invest so much time and energy in creating great content?
For me, Patreon is the most important part of the mix.
YouTube Ad revenue is only a small portion and it is in decline. As a business model for creators, YouTube only really works if you have a huge audience and/or you can make videos fast.
I don’t have a big enough audience to sustain the type of contain I’d like to make, and making videos quickly is not not a recipe for quality. It takes me about a week or two of writing, shooting and editing to make one video.
Thanks to Patreon and my sponsors, I’m hopeful I can eventually get to the point where the numbers add up.
What do people get on your Patreon channel that they can’t get elsewhere?
First of all every Patreon member that pledges $1 or more before March 15th will have their name immortalised in the upcoming Science of Editing series. Not just as an end credit, but their name will be creatively put into the video as an “easter egg”.
The Science of Editing series is really one of the highlights of the channel. It is a collaboration with Dr. Karen Pearlman, from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. It’s where we go deep into editing and cognitive science.
(Ed. note: Dr. Pearlman is the author of Cutting Rhythms, which you can check out here.)
Apart from that, we have sneak peeks and early access to rough cuts of the episodes. There is now a Behind The Scenes video on every new project.
For these I turn the camera on me and record my editing process for about an hour, so you can watch me cut and talk through a portion of the edit. I’ll cut that down to about 15-20 minutes and post it. The core audience of This Guy Edits loves these videos because it gives them the opportunity to shadow an editor at work.
Then we have a private Discord chat where members post their work and get feedback from fellow patrons, and myself.
If you are a higher tier patron I hold monthly one-on-one Skype calls and we go through your work. For example, I have a guy called Kenneth who is currently working on his documentary and every month we set goals for moving the project forward. I review his cuts and we brainstorm new ideas. I think he really enjoys that he has a qualified mentor who keeps him accountable every month.
Soon, there will be a monthly video conference for all members ($5+) once we reach our first milestone. Here we can have live group discussions about the craft of film editing.
Oh, and you can get a free t-shirt and a DVD of my directorial debut – which really shows that it’s OK to suck!
Some of this stuff only becomes available if you go up in your contributions, but the goal is that for $5/month you get great in-depth content and engagement.
(Ed. note: Having looked at the tiers the $5/month contribution is an absolute steal!)
It’s pretty amazing that they get direct access to you for such a small amount of money, how has that experience been so far?
It’s been a great.
The higher tier membership is the most time-consuming so I have to be very limited about the spots I can offer. But I do enjoy the direct one-on-one interaction.
Also some of the patrons actually get even more out of the channel by giving back in other forms than money.
For example, Joel does all the subtitling for the videos and we get to talk every week not just about the channel but our projects.
Steve was a very early patron and when we first spoke he offered to help with editing and graphics. He now, together with his friend, have completely taking over the editing and filming of two of the videos. He is amazing!
Have you ever considered using Twitch for ‘watch me edit sessions’?
It’s on my mind. But I’m not quite there yet for real-time editing, because it’s not a show.
I still have to make sure that I’m actually cutting and I’m not just pretending to cut. So it’s important that I just turn on the camera and forget that it’s running. All I have to do then is verbalise my thought process and do the actual work.
Is the This Guy Edits Youtube/Patreon/Facebook community developing in any unexpected ways?
The This Guy Edits Facebook group is great. It has over 3000 members and an unexpected discovery was that it’s a great way to get feedback and research on video ideas.
I ask a lot of questions and do polls to actually test some of the content before I launch it.
What’s next for This Guy Edits and what’s next for you as an editor?
With the YouTube Channel, I have various projects in the works, I started outsourcing more of the content creation and I’m going through the growing pains, but ultimately that’s going to help increase output without compromising quality. There is also a bigger sponsorship in the works that I can talk about soon.
Oh and on my actual job as an editor: I just finished cutting a documentary on the Alt-Right movement and I’m heading to SXSW for the premiere.
In Austin, I’ll be meeting with a new director to discuss his upcoming feature and see if this could be my next film project.