Last weekend I went to my first YouTube convention, Summer in the City. And it wouldn’t be a traditional Sophie Counts Clouds blog if I didn’t review it and tell you all about it, right?
(also, I vlogged it if you want to watch that!)
Friday was the ‘Creator Day’, only a fifth of the people that were there over the weekend attended on Friday and it was my favourite day without a shadow of a doubt. Creator Day is for the YouTubers more than the viewers – for content creators to learn more about the field they’re interested in and meet other creators.
I went to four panels – the first one about production, learning about camera settings and lighting and I made lots of notes (so hopefully my video quality will improve!). The guy that ran the talk – Sam – was brilliant; engaging, very knowledgeable but funny and entertaining too. He also ran the second talk I went to called ‘production on a shoestring’ – he recommended lighting and microphones that were more affordable and discussed other options for vlogging on a budget which was really useful as the sound quality in my videos really isn’t that great and my lighting is questionable at best. I learnt a lot from these talks and it was a really great way to start off the weekend.
After a short lunch break, I went to a panel about ‘Gaining Fans and Influencing People’ and whilst the woman running it clearly had some experience in the field, I didn’t learn anything that wasn’t either 1) pretty obvious, 2) pretty self explanatory or 3) relied on having infinitely more subscribers than I do. She was good and she had a very well rehearsed presentation (with chapter conclusions and everything) but I didn’t learn anything about reaching out to new viewers and gaining more subscribers. That’s not why I make YouTube videos anyway, so I suppose it was still useful? Kind of?
The last talk I went to on Friday was by a company called ‘Somewhere To’ which is sponsored by the lottery (I think?) to find locations for young film makers and vloggers to get them out of the bedroom (direct quote). It was interesting because they also had TimH, Hazel Hayes and Tomska there to discuss the importance of location and some stories of when they had to find locations for their original work on YouTube. There was a very interesting story regarding Tomska, a church and a fake bride.
After a quick look at the merch and leaving it until the full selection was out the next day, I went back to the hotel to meet my mum and my sister and go on the cable cars over to the O2 and have dinner in the O2. It was pretty snazzy and I’ve never been more grateful for garlic bread in my life.
Now I want more garlic bread, damn it.
Day 2 was the beginning of the weekend – it took us a lot longer to get in and then we queued straight away for the Pun Panel and it’s a good job we did because we were almost an hour early and if we’d turned up at 12 we wouldn’t have gotten in.
By ‘we’, I mean me and my friend Karolina that I met on Friday. We spent the whole weekend together, it was nice to have someone to go around with and we had very similar interests, she was a great SITC buddy.
So we went to the Pun Panel (where Niki of NikiNSammy fame acknowledged my existance for a whole 5 seconds) and it was really funny because no planning had gone into this panel and I think that might have made it funnier. It was just Evan Edinger, Niki and Sammy pratting around for fifty minutes and it was really entertaining, I laughed a lot.
I went and bought some of Evan’s merch (a tank top with a pun about tanks, what more could I want?!) and then had lunch, before going to queue really early for the travel panel with Bry and Candice, Doug Armstrong, Evan Edinger, Steve Booker, Ben Brown and LaurBubble. We were lucky to get close – we could have had front row seats but we felt vulnerable so we chose second row seats.
The panel was so interesting – as someone who’s only three days previously returned from a month in Ecuador, it really fuelled my desire to go travelling and really helped me realise that it doesn’t have to be big volunteering expeditions like the one I’d just been on. I’m really inspired to go travelling around Europe and even to see more of the UK in the following year, especially with my growing interest in photography I think it’ll make both my blog and my YouTube channel a bit more varied and interesting. I’m really excited to get to uni and find a job (oops) so I can save to go travelling and see more of the world.
After the travel panel, we went to the main stage in preparation for the YouTube Awards (the presentation of Silver and Gold subscriber plaques) but caught the end of the band called Area 11 that were actually pretty good – kind of punk pop vibe that I’m into. We then stayed at the main stage for Area 11, the YouTube Awards, Dodie Clark’s performance (absolutely astounding, I adore that woman), Bry’s performance and we then endured a band called Myth City who – let’s just say – weren’t my cup of tea. We’ll gloss over it.
The next act was the one we were most excited about to be honest – Jack and Dean. It was everything I could have expected and more – they’re such hilarious and intelligent guys and I really hope their sketch comedy takes off because even with their subject matter including time travel, spies and dinosaurs, it was a brilliant set and to hear their song Consent performed live was the best way to end the second day. Whilst the Creator Day was my favourite from a learning perspective, I really enjoyed the main stage performances on the second day.
The third day is difficult to compare to the first two because I had to get a mid-afternoon train home so I only had time to go to one panel and buy some merch then I was navigating the London DLR and underground to get home. I went to a film making Q&A panel hosted by the kickthepj team and it was actually just as informative as some of the panels on the first day – as an audience, I feel like we really got an insight into PJ Ligouri’s creative process and how his series ‘Oscar’s Hotel’ came to be. It really inspired me to get writing again and rediscover the love for creating my own characters, even if mine are more human and less… diverse than PJ’s. I didn’t want to say ‘less interesting’ because that makes my characters sound awful.
I then bought a doddleoddle t-shirt with lyrics from one of my favourite songs of hers ‘She’ and Karolina and I then noticed Jack Howard at the Jack and Dean merch stand. I wanted Jack and Dean merch anyway so it suited us just fine.
We were then greeted by a volunteer at the back of the queue saying the queue had been cut off because Jack had somewhere else to be. I proceeded to hang around the back of the queue because even if Jack was leaving, his merch would not be and was then told a further 5 times (at least, probably more) that there was ‘no point’ queueing because Jack wouldn’t be there for much longer.
This is the only run in I had with narrow minded volunteers but I told them on a variety of occasions that I wanted to buy merch and didn’t mind not meeting Jack, in fact I’d prefer not to meet Jack because if anyone’s going to saying something really incomprehensibly stupid to someone I admire as much as Jack, it would be me.
Obviously there were a lot of fangirls at this event, but I thought it was awfully naive of the volunteers to assume we were queueing at the merch stand to meet a YouTuber and I felt very belittled by them. Literally my only complaint about the weekend, I promise.
But eventually I got to buy my wristband and hop on my train home. I then proceeded to nap on the train, in the car and on the sofa after dinner. The weekend wiped me out more than anticipated, but luckily I’m not suffering too badly with jet lag – just going back to my awful sleeping pattern that I had before Ecuador!
I’m going to start blogging about Ecuador in the coming week, but I’m telling stories on my YouTube channel so I don’t want my content to overlap too much over here. My plan is to go through my journal, maybe camp by camp, and tell you about what happened – the project work we did, the people I met and so on! If there’s anything in particular you’d like to hear about my trip to Ecuador then do let me know in the comments!
Thank you for reading,
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