Automotive

AdamC3046

How Do I Fulfill My Passion on Car-Spotting and Photography on YouTube.

Side Hustle
September 12, 2020
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Who are you and what kind of content do you create?

My name is Adam, known as ‘AdamC’ online, with ‘C,’ of course being the initial of my surname. I am best known for my YouTube channel, which is currently just shy of 400,000 subscribers. My full username, ‘AdamC3046’, was a username from my Bebo account that I used all over social media. The numbers mean nothing. I am known for attending a majority of the UK’s car events and capturing the scenes. I am based in the South of England, but I do my best to travel as much as possible to witness the full variety of the British car scene.


I call YouTube my ‘lucrative hobby.’ I try my best to keep it a hobby as I thoroughly enjoy what I do. I am fortunate to be able to earn enough from it to fund a lot of the events and venues I travel to, which was a bonus that I never hope to take for granted. Until recently, I worked full-time alongside YouTube. Monday-Friday, 8:30-6 pm, and every 3rd weekend. I kept that side of my life relatively private, but it was a very car-related workplace. However, since the pandemic, I was made redundant after four years working there. So I am currently discovering whether YouTube is viable enough to earn a living. 


I am and always have been a 1-man team. I pride myself on doing all the filming, editing, and uploading myself. I am also the one who replies to any comments and messages that I receive to maintain a personal relationship with my fans. 


Let's go down memory lane, tell us your backstory! 

Like many YouTube channels, mine began as a dumping ground for various clips that I filmed during my youth, many of which are still discoverable. I have been doing YouTube ‘properly’ since the summer of 2012, around the time that I started traveling to London to film the abundance of rare and exotic supercars that frequent the wealthier areas of the capital. Before then, I uploaded all sorts of videos, from animal clips to random weekend captures. But once I realised my car-spotting hobby, I decided to, from then on, solely upload automotive videos. 


Around that same time, an old video, entitled Dog Saves Cat From Fox, went viral. It is a pretty useless video of my dog barking at a fox, scaring it away from its pursuit of a neighborhood cat. I came back from a holiday in Egypt to find that it had reached over 100,000 views in the two weeks that I was away. It has since climbed up to 25 million views, making it my most popular video.


The “crazy car kid” in school is what I was known. Cars have always been my passion. And it was an obsession that would forever rule my life. It began during my early years, with “Aston Martin” being amongst my first words. My first car videos were captured while at events with my Dad, the Goodwood Festival Of Speed, being a principal culprit in his TVR Chimaera. It was his TVR that provided my interest in loud, predominantly V8 convertibles.

 

I used to combine my passion for photography with my love for cars and bring my DSLR with me to each car show and London trip. However, in recent years still-photography has taken a back seat, and I am unfortunately less able to pursue that form of art, as videography is now at the forefront of my channel.


My channel has undergone a few genre shifts through its time. While it has been automotive-related since 2012, the style of video has certainly changed a lot. While spotting supercars in London, I met the Kream Developments community, who organise modified car cruises around Piccadilly. I joined in with Rob (@RBD_Photography), who was always a modified car enthusiast. Rob had tried on many occasions to convince me that modified cars are far more interesting than the supercars that I had been filming, and it was these events that proved him correct. 

From then on, I began to discover more modified car events, and supercars took more of a back seat. I rarely spoke in my videos, but between 2017-2018 my commentary became a more regular feature after a fellow YouTuber persuaded me to pursue the more vlog-like style. 


How do you brainstorm ideas for your content and your advice in getting the creative juice flowing?

My inspiration throughout the years has not been from a direct influencer. I watched a lot of Shmee150 videos before getting to know Tim during my time in the London car-spotting scene. BrianZuk was an American alternative that I used to watch a lot too. There are a few YouTubers I still watch, but I wouldn’t say I directly look for inspiration from them. I mostly listen to feedback on my videos and see which ones are popular amongst my loyal fans. This way, it allows me to grow on what is best received to create more unique videos in my style, hopefully. 


I am fortunate that the car events I attend provide all the inspiration that I require for each video. I walk around these events and find comical features about each car, and make my classically-sarcastic comments about them. Another friend of mine, @Munch997, also helps spot some of these features for me to mention in my video.


If the turnout of an event is not as high as I had presumed, I hope that my commentary and wit is enough to bring it to life in video form. While my dry humour is not always well received and my sarcasm is often taken the wrong way, most enjoy this side to the videos. 


What are the tools and platforms you use to help with your brand?

I generally use a camcorder, a dying breed of a video camera, to capture my content, but I find it the easiest way for me to record while on the move. The in-built zoom and stabilisation, and in-built microphone, eliminate the need for bulky external attachments. I am currently using a Panasonic VFX-1, but I am waiting for Sony to release a new model as I find Sony better at producing cameras for my requirements. Unfortunately, I am only able to film in either 4K 25fps or 1080p 50fps. But I tend to stick to the 4K option.


For in-car footage, I use a GoPro. For years I have trialed and tested with various in-car filming methods. GoPros, while convenient, are tainted with reliability issues, and the sound quality is awful. The Hero Session was a good all-rounder, but I am now using a Hero6 with a case that allows an external microphone to be discreetly connected, without being too bulky. 


I use Cyberlink PowerDirector to edit my videos, which I have had multiple issues with various versions. I have wasted so many hours of editing because of crashing programmes. However, I am quick and knowledgeable about the interface, so I am not currently prepared re-learn a new programme.


I currently only upload the feature videos on YouTube but would like to experiment with Facebook’s video player soon. I upload behind-the-scenes photos to Facebook and Instagram. My biggest tip for capturing car photos and videos is using a polarising filter (CPL). I use one for all my videos and most phone pictures that I take. The filter eliminates a lot of reflections in the car’s body and windscreen and makes for a more professional result.


What were your fears starting out? How did you handle it? 

I never actively decided to be a ‘YouTuber.’ Instead, my channel has experienced gradual developments through years of fulfilling my hobby. Negative comments are always difficult to receive as I try to be as neutral and honest as possible. I read all my comments to gain useful feedback, so it is easy for the negativity to distract from the positives. I was surprised to learn that many popular YouTube vloggers are still uncomfortable in front of a camera. A man pointing a camera at himself talking enthusiastically will always be an unusual sight for the general public. I, too, suffer from that natural form of anxiety. But after a deep breath, you can ignore the prying eyes and get into the flow. I have certainly improved in recent years. 


How did you build your brand to where it is now, take us through your process.

It was always going to be difficult, creating a famous brand out of such a lousy username. As soon as I started speaking in my videos, calling myself ‘AdamC,’ the numbers 3046 became more of a username and less of a brand. I graduated from University with a BA degree in Graphic Communication, so I have always created my graphics. Year-by-year, my brand has developed to what it is now thanks to my skill-set that I am fortunate to have. The growth has always been constant, with a few viral videos helping now and again. Now that I have a more dedicated fan-base, you can rarely see a viral video. But I am lucky to have between 40k-100k consistent viewers on each video, which I never dreamed of having achieved. 


For someone who wants to get into content creation, what is your advice?

My advice has always been the same two words:

Passion and consistency.

You must be passionate about what you do. I hope that my genuine passion is reflected in my videos and used as my most important tool in content creation. But you also need to be consistent in what you produce. I am currently producing one video every two days, which is more than enough to keep my subscribers interested. One video a week is plenty too. It is a lot easier to be forgotten about than most predict, and consistency is vital for the generation of a fan base. It also allows for as many opportunities for growth as possible. It is getting more and more challenging to grow in the saturated market that is YouTube. It will be frustrating at times, but that is where passion is vital as with passion comes consistency.


How did you finally commit to X platform rather than your regular day job?

It was always a consideration to pursue YouTube rather than a typical day-job. But I never had the confidence to do such a jump. You still have targets in mind, but once you reach those, it is easy for the goal to grow further. Redundancy was unfortunate for me to be in, but I hope to turn it into a blessing. I am lucky to have the experience of school, college, university, and a full-time job under my belt. However, the unconventional lifestyle of a ‘YouTuber’ is a difficult to grasp for a more traditionally brought-up person. 


Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

I am very grateful for each opportunity that I receive, whether it be invitations to events, meeting well-known figures, or reaching a numeric target of mine. One hundred thousand subscribers was a big one, as brought to life in the form of a celebratory plaque from YouTube. The combination of YouTube and my ex-career also allowed me to purchase my dream car, an AC Cobra replica. As a child, I thought all Cobras were kit cars, so I genuinely dreamt of owning a replica Cobra. Unfortunately, my Uncle had one as a project that sold unfinished, which convinced me to buy a pre-made car partially. My Cobra is my best representation of my success, and I will treasure it for as long as I can.

What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

My main marketing strategies are another combination of two items: Title and thumbnail. They are 1st and 2nd in one’s decision to watch a video, with the content and quality of the footage coming 3rd and 4th. I always pay particular attention to the titling and a video’s thumbnail as a catchy title is an essential written window into the happenings of a video. A thumbnail is a further representation of the best of the action. I spend between 30 minutes and 1 hour on the creation of a video’s thumbnail. 


I rely on my audience, enjoying my videos, and sharing them around themselves. Rarely do I benefit from collaborations of large-scale shares of my content. All of my marketing is within my channels, but I hope that any successful video of mine would spark enough interest to demand more shares. I wouldn’t wish to bombard forums and groups with the ruthless advertisement of my videos. If people want to watch my videos, they will, and if they don’t like them, I try to encourage them to move on to something else.


How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

I rarely reach out to individual brands myself, and most of my sponsorships contact me themselves. If I have a particular brand that I would love to reach out to, I make sure that the partnership would be mutually beneficial. I don’t want to become the famous modern-day influencer, begging for freebies and collabs. I generally go for brands that I feel will be well-received by my audience and relevant to my videos. It is not worthwhile for any non-relevant brand to work with me if they receive no sales due to low interest. Unfortunately, one does have to be careful about accepting specific brand deals. Links clicked on emails can be risky. I never click on any links sent to me unless I am 100% certain that it is from a reputable business or brand. A lot of research on my part confirms this or not. 

I have recently decided to set-fees for sponsor deals. Different companies have different budgets, so it is good to have figures in mind to speed up the agreement process. I would rather under-sell myself to a brand that I hope to work with than scare one-off at a high price. But I am ultimately selling the devaluation of my brand, so I need to consider that, too.


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