Publishing my first YouTube video

Yesterday, I published my first video on YouTube: “Three Ways To Open The Firefox DevTools”. As the title suggests, it covers the three main ways of opening the DevTools in Firefox, the browser menu, “Inspect Element”, and the keyboard shortcut.

This is new territory for me, so I wanted to take a moment and reflect on why I started a YouTube channel, what I hope to gain from it, and what I learned in the process.

A new career goal

Before working as a software engineer, I worked for three years as a teacher. And while that specific career was right for me, I am still passionate about education and sharing what I know with others. So I am making it a career goal to teach on the side.

This focus will complement my work as an engineer for all the wonderful ways that teaching is helpful. It will help me be a better team member and mentor at work. And it is an opportunity to give back to a developer community that has already given me so much.

Eventually, I would like to lead workshops and teach on-line courses, but that is more of a 3-5 year plan.

Plans for YouTube

I am going to produce short, informative videos in the same style as Egghead.io. I have really enjoyed their content and think that there is a strong formula for laser-focused content.

With that in mind, I’m aiming for videos in the 3-10 minute range: long enough to be valuable, but not long winded.

My goal for YouTube is to put out twelve videos that have an average of twelve views and gain twelve subscribers. I’m hoping that this will take three months, but I don’t want to commit to a hard timeline.

After hitting twelve videos, I will reassess my efforts and determine if YouTube is the right platform for this.

So this first video puts me one step on that journey.

1/12

Lessons learned

Harder than it looks

In a world of endless high-quality content on YouTube, it’s easy to assume that making videos is easy. At least that’s what I did. But every step of the process was more difficult that I had anticipated.

Writing, recording, and editing are all skills unto themselves, and ones that I am not very good at. All of this will require practice.

I need a script

When I was teaching, some lesson plans had a script for the teacher to read. In front of the classroom, I found this restricting and would avoid reading verbatim.

In front of a screen, however, the dynamic changes. You can’t see faces to meter your delivery and the lesson pace. As a result, I find myself getting further off-topic during digital instruction than I did in-person.

But with a script, it’s different. I can plan my thoughts ahead of time and hit all the intended points, only lingering when I intend. Writing this kind of script is a skill that I’m developing, but they are a valuable part of the lesson.

Things to improve

Editing

I edited this video with iMovie, and it was a new experience. The “Project” structure is a little confusing, and I had a little bit of trouble importing the video. But the biggest hangup was the preview, which would occassionally not follow the scrubber.

As a result, I didn’t edit this video as much as I would have liked. Going forward, I want to watch a few videos on editing in iMovie and see if I can resolve those issues.

Multiple takes

Going into filming, I planned to get everything correct in one go. When something went wrong, I stopped the recording, reset, and then started from scratch.

That is not sustainable. Instead, I want to keep the “film rolling.” If I mess up, just wait a beat and do the line correctly. This should increase the recordig process because I’m not repeating lines that are good for the sake of ones that need fixed.

Mouth sounds

Hoo boy, do I make a lot of mouth sounds. My wife had some helpful suggestions that I am going to try in the next recording:

  1. Stay hydrated: Keep a glass of water on hand and drink when you’re thirsty
  2. Record one line at a time: Whether that is a sentence or a paragraph, do it in one go without swallowing

Once I can isolate the content better, it will be easier for me to edit out those unpleasant sounds.


I plan to post an update on my goal once I’ve hit the “six video” mark. Until then you can watch my progress on YouTube and subscribe to stay updated.

Happy watching!

About

Sean McPherson

My name is Sean McPherson (SeanMcP), and I am a software engineer and educator in Pittsburgh, PA. I have given conference talks, lead workshops, and organized meetups. Here I write articles about programming for developers of all levels.