Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Maria Sharapova Looking Delicious At Henri Bendel - SUGARPOVA!!

I could barley contain myself!  The YouTube gods rained down hard on me the other day!  It was my day off and I was headed to Central Park by way of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.  This time of year, there are always tons of tourists clogging the streets.  Mostly Europeans who think they are getting a good deal by shopping in America.  As I was up the block from Henri Bendel, I saw a crowd of people all gawking towards the store's windows. 

This just wasn't any crowd of tourists - something was going on.  The media was actually there.  I'm not talking about freelance photographers or hobbyists, but the NEWS.  As in the local TV stations and newspapers.  "OK, this has potential," I thought.  Good thing I had my trusty camera, since I'm trying to build a YouTube audience.

I made my way to the front of the crowd and I got a good look at the target of all this attention.  A tall blond woman was there posing for photos and signing autographs.  I'm not really a celebrity watcher, but I can tell Sarah Jessica Parker from Angelina Jolie.  This woman just didn't ring a bell.

Then somebody passed me a bag of candy called "Sugarpova."  OK, that was enough to jog my memory.  Indeed it was Maria Sharapova, in the flesh mere feet away from me.  Of all things, she chose to launch a candy line at Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue.  I was shocked at the whole thing.  It seemed like an unwise choice for an athlete to put her name behind junk food.  And Henri Bendel certainly wasn't known for selling tacky $5 bags of candy.

But who was I to judge.  If I could get some decent footage, then I could have a viral video on my hands.  Although I was utterly unfamiliar with everything about her, a blond Russian tennis player could only help my YouTube stats.

I broke out the camera and attempted to hold it over the crowd.  There was quite a bit of pushing and shoving.  Everyone was clamoring for a photo or an autograph.  I seemed to be the only "amateur" who was recording the entire thing.  Most people were only flashing photos.  I knew I had to do something.  In a preemptive move, I decided to head to the back of the store.  It seemed like they had small table setup upstairs, and I figured she would probably make her way there eventually.

Usually, I don't get these things right.  But this time I did!  With two huge bodyguards at her side, she trudged a mere foot away from me.  I tried to ask her a question, but was shut down by one of the bodyguards.  It will be interesting to see how many die hard Maria Sharapova fans bother to watch the video I post on YouTube. 

It's actually quite interesting.  I got some good shots of her face and body, and she looked much different than on the court.  Her face was a bit more weathered than I would have thought.  Possibly because of all that sun exposure!  She wore white jeans that seemed to be slim cut.  Her jacket was fashionable and hugged her body, although I didn't get to see the designer.  She looked taller in person.  Overall, I'm glad I got the chance to see Maria Sharapova in person.  I won't be eating her candy or watching her tennis matches, but it's clear that she's a good businesswoman.  She sure sold lots of candy to her fans!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dreams Of An Aspiring YouTube Entrepreneur - YouTube As A Full Time Job

It seems like video euphoria is sweeping America after YouTube allowed everyone to monetize their content.  For many people who already had a strong YouTube presence, it's been a real windfall.  Others are playing catch up. 

Before monetization, I focused my attention on other online moneymaking pursuits, ignoring YouTube because I really didn't see the potential.  Of course, many had long successfully used YouTube for self promotion and driving traffic to other monetized websites.  I never really felt comfortable putting myself out there for all the world to see, so I stayed away.

When YouTube announced that anyone could be in the cherished "partner program," I took another look at it.  I travel quite a bit for work and decided that I could make some videos or slide shows that might be of some interest to the universe.  I reasoned that even if I didn't find huge success on YouTube, I would learn something new.

I've been publishing to YouTube for a bit over four months now.  It's been a steep learning curve, but I'm getting more comfortable with the medium and last month earned enough to buy a pizza.  It's very encouraging and has given me the inspiration I need to keep on plugging along.

Of course, we all know of the so called YouTube millionaires, those few lucky stars who not only make a living from YouTube, but have actually gotten rich off of it.  My personal favorite is Nalts (www.youtube.com/user/nalts) who has become somewhat of an inspiration for me.  What's really amazing is that the guy kept his day job. I would have quit a long time ago with that kind of success!

Anyway, my ultimate goal is to make enough money from my various online prospects that I don't need a "real" job anymore.  YouTube is going to play a huge role in my liberation from the workforce.  I've seen a few estimates, and it seems like 1 million views per month will provide an income similar to that of a full time job.  Onward and upward, at 5,000 per month, I've got a ways to go.  While you're at it, check out my latest slide show video of the Cup Cake Cafe in New York City!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Monetization Issues With Stupeflix and Windows Movie Maker

Hey everyone! I know it's been a while since my last post, but I wanted to address some questions I've been getting about my YouTube videos regarding monetization.  Monetization is a really great benefit from YouTube and encourages regular people like me to share interesting things in my life with the world.

Most of my YouTube videos thus far have been just that - videos.  I've had no problem monetizing videos I've made, they are approved immediately.  I've encountered some issued when making slide shows using photos I've taken.  To make the slide show more interesting, I use royalty free background music.  There are many websites providing royalty free music, some for free and some charge for it.  One website I've found to be particularly helpful is www.musopen.org

Anyway, all of my slide shows using royalty free music have been flagged for review by YouTube.  After the initial flagging, YouTube sent me an email asking to detail the music, where I got it from, and a link to the license.  As many others have pointed out, YouTube has been extremely slow to approve flagged videos.

I'm not blaming YouTube, I understand that they are trying to protect themselves and me as well from lawsuits copyright holders might file.  But still, there has to be a better way.  A few days ago, a friend sent me a link to www.stupeflix.com.  Stupeflix is very similar to Windows Movie Maker, however they have stock music available.  They also have a very cool robotic voice that will speak the text you type.  Although Stupeflix is not owned by Google, they seem to have some sort of a business affiliation.

I thought that by using Stupeflix, I would be able to avert the monetization delay.  I was wrong.  Although I enjoyed using Stupeflix and it's very user friendly, my slide show using the provided background music was still flagged for review.  It's been a day and the video hasn't been approved yet.  This is all the more frustrating because Stupeflix costs money.  Not much, only $5/month or $29 per year for the cheapest plan, but so far it seems like a waste of money when Windows Movie Maker is free.

I'm not giving up on Stupeflix yet, maybe they're just working out some kinks in the system.  I also expect YouTube to get better at approving flagged videos more quickly.  YouTube was undoubtedly inundated with content when they opened up monetization to the masses.  In the meantime, all we can do is wait and hope for the best!