YouTube Partner Kyle Roberts On Living The Online Video Life

Kyle Roberts is one of the rising stars of the online video world, a YouTube partner with 3,000 subscribers and over 1 million views on his YouTube channel. Most known for his music videos shot entirely on the iPhone and Nokia N8, as well as his stop motion animation, Kyle has been putting videos online since back in 2006. I had the opportunity to ask Kyle a few questions about how he got into online video, his experience with becoming a YouTube Partner, making a living off online video and, finally, what advice he would offer someone looking to get into the online video word. Read on to find out what he had to say.

Before I get to my interview with Kyle, let’s take a look at some of his work. As a self-proclaimed stop motion animation addict I was most struck by Kyle’s work with stop motion, which he told me he has only started getting into in the last year or so. His stop motion projects include a dance-off between Wall-E and Michael Jackson, an interactive Iron Man vs. Batman parody, and an amazing TRON stop-motion light painting clip.

Kyle has also gotten a lot of press and attention for music videos that he’s shot entirely on the Nokia N8 and the iPhone. Check them out the Nokia N8 music video below, the first official Nokia N8 music video for Denver Duncan, and click here to watch Kyle’s iPhone music video for Dr. Pants.

When Kyle isn’t uploading videos to YouTube he’s creating online videos for his “day job” at NewsOK.com and for his independent motion picture company Reckless Abandonment Pictures. But enough about Kyle’s background. Let’s get to the interview to find out what he’s got to say about living the online video life!

Megan at Social Times: When did you fist start uploading videos to the web and how long did it take until people started to take notice?

Kyle Roberts: I started uploading videos to YouTube in 2006 when I was in college. Just a few music videos and projects I did for class. In 2007 I graduated and got my job as a videographer/editor for The Oklahoman and our local paper’s website NewsOK.com. I upload videos just about every day for NewsOK.

This takes us to about a year ago. In the 4+ years that I had a YouTube account I had never treaded YouTube as a “community” – just posted videos every so often and hoped people would watch them. I had roughly 40 subscribers and a couple videos had 10,000 hits but that’s about it. One of those was “Wall-E Meets an iPhone”. About this time I had the idea to make a follow up short film, “Wall-E Meets Michael Jackson” and received an overwhelming (for me) response to that video, and in the last 10 months or so I’ve grown from 40 to 3,000 subscribers.

I was told my a dear friend of mine, Zack Scott, who has over 200,000 subscribers, to start treating YouTube as a community, making friends, commenting on people’s videos that are similar to yours and, of course, posting fresh content that will hopefully WOW people.

Megan: Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with becoming a YouTube partner?

Kyle: I had been getting comments on my videos and personal messages from people asking me why I wasn’t already a YouTube Partner. I didn’t even know what that was, but it sounded cool. I found out a little more about the process and applied. Just a couple of days later YouTube accepted me as a partner. The biggest thing I was excited about is that I could now change the thumbnails of my videos! (Megan’s note: Thanks for rubbing it in, Kyle!)

Megan: Do you currently make a living entirely off online video (between NewsOK.com and YouTube)?

Kyle: Yes, my main day job for NewOK.com is my financial stability. I am making some money through YouTube, and have even gotten some nice gear through Goggle AdSense revenue. But if someone thinks they’re going to get rich through YouTube immediately, that’s probably not going to happen. I do it because I love it and love hopefully inspiring others!

Megan: What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into the online video industry?

Kyle: I’m not trying to act like I’ve got everything figured out. I’m still a very small fish in the Internet Video pond. But, just like I’ve said before, once I realized it really is a “community” and start treating it like one, people starting paying attention to my videos, telling their friends, their friends started telling friends, then LA Times and Mashable started posting stuff and it just kind of spiraled from there.

Also, collaborate with other YouTubers! This is how many of the top YouTube channels grow rapidly, by collaborating you are sharing your friends and growing in the community that much faster.

Kyle also points out that with such a huge number of videos being uploaded to YouTube (at last count over 35 hours a minute), it can easy for your videos to get lost in the mix if you don’t tell people about them and promote yourself. Kyle says that he has built a network contacts at major online publications and he lets them know when he posts new videos that he thinks have viral potential. Often times they’ll post about his videos, but if he didn’t put the effort in to promote himself and nurture his online video community then he may have fallen through the cracks. Thanks Kyle, this is great advice.

What do you think of Kyle’s videos and his story and advice? How do you promote yourself in the online video community?