Queline Meadows is a student at Ithaca College, whose YouTube channel is kikikrazed. First published in Notes on Videographic Criticism on February 14, 2021.
The video does a great job in providing an introduction to "Film TikTok" while also making clear that the community/genre of TikTok is constantly evolving and changing. How did you strike this balance? Have you seen any new evolutions in Film TikTok since you created the video?
I tried to make it clear from the beginning that each person’s experience of TikTok will be different, and that I was trying to convey my own view as opposed to making any overarching statements about the entire community. I also situated Film TikTok alongside other pockets of online film culture, as well as film history in general. I don’t think I ever made a conscious effort to strike a balance between past, present, and future. It just happened naturally as I spent months on Film TikTok and began to notice certain patterns emerging and evolving. Since making the video I’ve noticed a lot more self-aware content on Film TikTok, similar to the user @stepheniemeyersbaby, who I discuss at one point. It seems like more people are taking advantage of TikTok sounds and our associations with them to make their arguments. I’ve also noticed that the name “FilmTok” has started to gain popularity over “Film TikTok.” As someone who had to say the latter almost 40 times in my voiceover, I absolutely welcome this simpler name!
If I can someday create a video that is half as well edited as yours, I will be very happy! What is your workflow like? Do you sketch things out, create a diagram? What programs did you use to create the video?
I use a website called Milanote to plan my videos. Milanote lets you create “boards'' with notes, images, links, and so on. I created a board for “The Rise of Film TikTok” and added to it over the course of a month or so as I began to map out what exactly I wanted to say. I collected TikToks, tweets about Film TikTok, links to helpful video essays, and more. The next thing I did was create the thumbnail. I usually do thumbnails first as a way to establish the aesthetic of the video. For this one, I decided to stick to only the colors from the TikTok logo. I also created a template to use whenever I showed a TikTok on screen, with the username, caption, tags, and sound title (all using Sofia Pro, which is one of the fonts that the app uses). For the actual script, I had already picked out most of the TikToks that I wanted to refer to, so I was able to shape my writing around that. The script consisted of two columns: one for the voiceover, and one for any notes. I used the notes column to plan out what I was going to show at certain moments, like a piece of text or a certain TikTok. During the entire planning and writing process, I tried to pay equal attention to what is seen and what is heard, and the format of the script helped me do that.

The video was edited in Premiere with a few clips done in After Effects. I chose the music beforehand so I could match the pace of the editing to it. I also tried to make sure there was movement on screen at all times. The main reason that everything looks so smooth is that almost every bit of movement follows the animation principle of slow in and slow out. In Premiere, this is done by selecting the two keyframes at the start and end of a movement, right-clicking, and selecting both “Ease In” and “Ease Out” under the Temporal Interpolation menu. In After Effects, just select the keyframes and press F9. After that, you can fine-tune it to your liking. It’s a small change that goes a long way. Many of the editing tricks in my essay were things that I came across unintentionally while messing around in Premiere.
Most of the past students featured in this newsletter created their video essays as part of a course. You (I assume) did not. How do you balance creating video essays for your YouTube channel with your other coursework, and how do the two influence one another?
Correct, this video essay was made as a personal project. The only time I’ve ever made a video essay as part of a course was in high school. It's actually part of the IB Film assessment, although they don’t call it a video essay. Otherwise, my YouTube videos are separate. My coursework tends to help with the videos, though. For example, this essay features a clip from Chuck Workman’s Precious Images, which I watched in one of my film courses. I’m actually taking a course dedicated to making video essays this semester so I’m excited to see how that will impact my work outside of school. If I turned one of my regular college papers into a video essay, I don’t think anyone would watch it. With my video essays, I always keep the audience in mind and try to consider what people would actually enjoy watching. I struggle a lot with balancing my coursework and making video essays, which is why there are large gaps between each upload. One thing that has helped is breaking it up into smaller chunks to work on each day instead of trying to tackle the entire video all together.
I know I'm not alone in being excited for your next video(s)! I'm curious, as someone with a relatively new YouTube channel, how are you approaching growing your page? Does that shape the form and content of the videos you create? And what advice would you give to someone who may want to start a channel of their own.
When I upload my videos to YouTube, I obviously want people to watch them and keep watching them all the way through, so that definitely affects my content and form. In terms of content, I tend to gravitate toward more popular works, or at least approach the subject from an angle that makes it easy for anyone to understand. My target audience is basically my high school self: someone who doesn’t know a lot about film but wants to learn all that they can. In terms of form, I put a lot of effort into the editing, especially in the first 30 seconds. Most of my videos begin with some sort of direct address, whether I’m asking the viewers a question or appealing to a common experience. Both of these things help me grab the viewer’s attention right away.

I definitely don’t rely on YouTube alone to get my videos out. I always share them on other platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and Discord. Twitter has been the most helpful so far. I’m sure my followers are sick of it by now, but every now and then I’ll retweet my video when it's relevant. The vast majority of my views have come from other Twitter users tweeting about the essay on their own—so if you ever see a video essay you like, be sure to let everyone know! It helps the creator a lot. For people who want to start a YouTube channel, I recommend learning how to effectively share your essays on other platforms. So many amazing essayists remain undiscovered because nobody can find their videos. The subreddit r/videoessay is a good place to start. My most important tip, however, is to CAPTION YOUR VIDEO ESSAYS! If you have a script typed out, you can paste it into the Video Subtitles section of YouTube Studio and it will automatically sync it to your voiceover. Even if you find you have to go back in and adjust the timing, it’s not the end of the world. That tiny amount of effort will allow more people to enjoy what you’ve created.
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