How I Got Hired to Shoot My First YouTube Video
My Big Break Was Directing a YouTube Video for a Client Over 3,000 Miles Away.
People often ask me how I became a video director, and I tell them my big break was a YouTube video.
At the time I was a freelance writer, working with a client over 3,000 miles away.
At this point in my career, I had been an advertising copywriter and creative director for years. I had worked on a lot of big brands, including Budweiser, Coca-Cola, and AT&T.
Brands like that have big budgets, so I had been fortunate to work with A List directors, and had learned a lot.
The YouTube Video
Liquid Agency in San Jose, CA called with a freelance project for Intel, the microprocessor company. They were launching a new product, and needed ideas for a YouTube video.
I sent in some ideas, and figured that was that. But then a few weeks later, they called again.
The client, it turned out, liked one of my ideas.
But Liquid Agency was so busy, they needed more freelance help. Could I produce this video for them here in Atlanta?
Never Waste an Opportunity
So there I was, a freelance writer turned freelance producer. And I was on a limited budget. So why not become a freelance director, too?
As I mentioned before, this was over 10 years ago. Production was more complicated (and expensive) back then. So I turned to my friends, and other people I had worked with before, to actually create the finished video.
Mark Simon at Fizz City Films put together a crew and helped me find a location. Tim Vece at Outback Editorial agreed to edit the video. Rebecca Shrager at PeopleStore helped me cast local actors. And another local talent, Smith Harrison, was the VO announcer.
Lessons I Learned That Day
Looking back at this video now, I realize that I did a lot of things right. Just lucky, I guess.
I worked with the actors and gave them the flexibility to improvise. And I used visual storytelling—something I still try to do today.
Of course, I’ve learned a lot more about production since that first YouTube video. I have my own cameras and lighting. And a better sense of what shots I’ll need in the edit, before I start shooting.
Now if I can just get Liquid Agency to call me again…
About the Author:
Harry Hayes is the owner and executive producer at Content Puppy Productions, a corporate video production agency based in Charlotte. Before starting Content Puppy, he spent 20+ years as an advertising writer and creative director.