Do the preparation exercise first and then read the story. If you find it too difficult, try one of the lower levels. After reading, do the exercises to check your understanding.
Do weird, funny or interesting things happen to you a lot? Are you good at telling stories? Can you imagine hundreds of thousands of people wanting to hear about your life?
That’s what life is like for YouTube star, Jessii Vee. Her videos of funny stories about herself, and ‘Creepy Neighbourhood’, have been watched over 150 million times and subscribers to her channel grow every day. In just a month after I first found Jessii’s YouTube channel, she had gained over 8,000 new subscribers. And a video that’s only been on her channel for five days had already been watched 169,000 times.
With these kinds of numbers, you might think Jessii is an international star with her face on magazine covers all around the world. But she’s just a regular 23-year-old living in Ontario, Canada, with a talent for turning her life into her work, six days a week. ‘My days change depending on if it’s the beginning of the week or the end,’ says Jessii. ‘Typically I’ll spend the whole day Sunday thinking of ideas and researching for videos that I want to film that week. Then, come Monday, I’ll wake up bright and early to start filming. Usually a video will take just over an hour to film, and I try to film around five, so it takes up most of my day. Then, from Tuesday to Friday I’m usually editing them.’
Being a YouTuber isn’t just about making videos. Jessii also spends a few hours a week replying to messages from her subscribers. Sometimes she meets fans in person because, since passing 700,000 subscribers, she gets recognised when she goes out. ‘It’s so funny because I can meet subscribers anywhere and everywhere,’ she says. ‘The other day I went to buy coffee and there was a girl serving me who almost dropped my coffee when she realised it was me. She actually left the coffee shop to meet me in the parking lot to take pictures. It always makes me happy to see them greet me with a huge smile.’
Online life isn’t all wonderful and Jessii used to feel bad when people said negative things about her. ‘Some people online are so quick to write hate comments,’ she explains. There were people who said that she has huge cheeks and really thin lips. It made her feel bad until she found strength inside herself. ‘I realised that the things people were hating on were things about myself that I couldn’t change. So I decided to love those things and became more confident in myself. Now, she just laughs when she sees a hate comment. ‘I know that they are from people who don’t feel good about themselves and I know that I have way more supporters than haters.’
So for anyone who wants to start a YouTube channel, Jessii has some advice. ‘Be yourself. If you hate wearing make-up, don’t wear any when you film! Don't change to impress people. They will fall in love with YOU! When I first started YouTube, I was extremely self-conscious. Mostly because I wanted to look good and act in a way that people would like. If you look back at my old videos, I seem uncomfortable because I’m not being myself. But when you look at the videos I make now, you can see that I’m completely myself. I’m crazy and weird, and I don’t care what people think.’
Not all the big YouTube stars tell stories about their lives. The biggest YouTubers are often gamers, but there are others that make comedy or make-up videos. Jessii thinks you should ‘base your channel around something you are passionate about, not something that is trending. Your goal should be to make videos that inspire people. People can tell when you’re forcing content because you just want to be popular. When you actually focus on something you love, you'll grow so much faster, trust me!’
There are some other things to think about before starting a YouTube channel. It’s a good idea to think about privacy and safety. You don’t need to show your face or real name and you shouldn’t tell people where you live, for example. One of the most famous YouTubers, DanTDM, a 26-year-old English man, began his YouTube career playing ‘Minecraft’ and telling stories about the characters in the game, but he didn’t show his face at first. Another thing you might want to do is turn off the comments so you don’t find any ‘haters’ like Jessii did.
By starting their careers with a YouTube channel, some of the most famous YouTube stars have written books, been on TV and toured the world doing live shows. DanTDM went on a tour of America, Australia and the UK in 2017. Tickets sold out in minutes, with no advertising except Dan talking about the tour on YouTube. It’s not surprising if you think that Dan’s YouTube videos have been watched almost 11 billion times. Films and TV can’t even begin to compare with numbers as high as this. The biggest worldwide TV show, the music competition Idols, has been watched by about 6.5 billion people and about 5 billion people saw a part of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Worksheets and downloads
Would you like to be a YouTuber? Why?/Why not?