Having picked up his first camera at the age of twenty-five, YouTuber James Calder is now an experienced vlogger. You can catch James and his mum, who is a big part of his YouTube videos, having fun on his channel. We recently chatted to him about becoming a YouTuber, vlogging and his plans for the future.
What made you decide to start YouTube?
Two weeks before my 25th birthday, I went through a really rough break-up. Having grown up watching YouTube videos and being on social media since I finished school, (I set up my Facebook account on prom night so I could share a few photos) I naturally gravitated towards watching a lot of YouTube, mainly daily vloggers. I was unemployed at the time and looking for a form of escapism; basically living my life through watching someone else. I thought it was pretty cool. Two months later I picked up my first camera, a Canon 700D, set it up on a tripod in my living room and recorded myself talking about my love for coffee, whilst tidying my bedroom. That’s a whole different part I don’t share often and now I’m in a completely different place. But escapism was why I really made that first video. That’s the story in a nutshell.
For those that haven’t seen your YouTube channel, how would you describe your work?
Family fun with a dash of light-hearted playfulness. When there’s a camera around I’m having fun and I really enjoy it.
How do you come up with your YouTube ideas?
I’m never sure how to answer this question, but I basically film whatever is going on in my life that week and make the content I’m passionate about. Recently it’s been a busy few weeks with family weddings, birthdays and pre-planned events, but I’m always jotting down ideas for videos on my phone or laptop.
What do you enjoy most about vlogging?
Is it too cliché of me to say capturing memories of good times with my friends and family? I always say I can’t wait to show my future children how much their nan is a legend. I try not to think about the amount of people watching or the age bracket, because when you do that, you stop being who you are and stop enjoying it. I went through a time where I was thinking about it too much and I was kind of just censoring what to say. I think it’s the best way to be, to just not think about it.
Your mum appears in a lot of your vlogs, how would you describe your relationship?
My mum is my rock. I’m probably biased, but she’s the most selfless and unconditionally loving person you could imagine. She was a social carer for my sister, Emma, for the first 34 years of Emma’s life, until 2014 when my mum transitioned into elderly care. My mum retired this year and now if we’re not travelling somewhere to film a fun video together, then we’re chilling with a movie or nattering away in a coffee shop.
What’s been the best opportunity that has come from YouTube?
Earlier this year I was invited to visit The Prince’s Trust centre in Cardiff for their Future Wales day. I went along with my mum and spoke on a panel about employability routes for young people aged 18-24. Everybody was so lovely and there was a real vibe of inspiration in the air. I rewatch my old vlogs back sometimes and that’s an experience I’m so happy that was captured on camera.
What did you think of Summer in the City this year?
I’ve been for the past two years and it becomes more homely every year. This year I made a bunch of new friends and we’re arranging to meet up again in London soon. I just didn’t want the three days to be all over, it’s wonderfully exhausting.
Which YouTubers do you watch?
I’ll always be a PointlessBlog fan, I owe a lot to the guy and his positive outlook on the world. I met him for the first time at his book signing (The Pointless Book 3) in Waterstones this year and my mind just went completely blank. He’s a lot taller in real life than I imagined from watching his videos! I think I just said something like, ‘me and my mum love your videos’ and then smiled for a photo. Alfie on the other hand was as cool as a cucumber. My other favourites that I watch mostly every day are Alex Wassabi and Logan Paul. They’re both daily vloggers from the U.S. and their videos always crack me up.
Do you have a full-time job?
Yes, I film and photograph houses for sale for estate agents here in Wales. Last year I didn’t know this kind of job existed, but I genuinely love the work. I’ve been very fortunate. After studying architecture in University, which I left in the second year because the career route wasn’t for me, I always wanted to work in some kind of creative field.
What would you say to anyone starting a YouTube channel?
I don’t know, as long as you’re passionate about what you’re doing and you’re enjoying it, then just go for it. The hardest part is starting the journey, especially when you feel so unsure and alone… but you aren’t alone. YouTube has become a platform where anybody can do whatever they want and be whoever they want to be, and of course that’s something I believe in, and that’s exactly what I want my viewers to feel like. Don’t feel ashamed to speak out about something on your mind. It’s actually taken me until recently to say, “yeah, I’ve worked really hard for this,” so I kind of wish I’d started my YouTube channel the same night I set up my Facebook account. Although I’ll still have moments where my nervousness gets to me, maybe overthinking things a bit too much, I’m so proud of how far I’ve come, and you can too, if you just go for it!
What are your plans for the future?
My mum and I love travelling, so that’s definitely been a focus throughout 2017. My dream is to be able to take her to Canada to visit her family, which we’ll be planning in 2018. I also recently photographed a wedding for the first time last month for my aunty, which I’m really excited to see where that could lead. Wherever I go, my little vlogging camera, great support network and fantastic audience will be coming along with me. Other than that, I’m not sure, but I’m excited to see what the future holds…
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