Modding and Gaming Videos

Crash Hard

How Engrossing Myself in Making Simulation Videos Developed into Great Success.

Side Hustle
September 1, 2020
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Who are you and what kind of content do you create?

Hello everyone, I'm Crash Hard. I was born and raised in Norway. I work full-time as a driver, and I supply car parts to car repair shops. In most of my free time (afternoons, evenings, weekends, and vacations), I'm doing YouTube, mostly one game BeamNG Drive, a soft-body physics simulation game simulating all kinds of vehicles.

Like most other YouTubers, I dream of doing this full-time, but I need a safe and reliable income. I have decided to keep this as a spare-time hobby, at least for now. As this is just a hobby, I do it all by myself, from recording, editing, building virtual sets (levels), and using cars in my videos. As for my channel name, I'm so bad at coming up with names, it’s embarrassing. A friend of mine had started YouTube before me. He used the name Game Hard, so I thought my channel would involve many crashes, thus the name, Crash Hard.


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

It all started back in January 2015. I had an old YouTube channel, renamed it, deleted the 3-4 videos I had on it, and started fresh. I was so excited to release my first video on January 17, 2015. It had 15-20 views for the early 24 hours. I got my first subscriber. I know this seems so small, but it was such a rush, and I was very enthusiastic about it.


My first video.


One of the reasons I started making videos on YouTube was to keep my mind busy, not thinking about the tough times I was having back then. I was trying to fill my mind with other stuff so I could forget and overcome all the evil thoughts filling my head. It worked after 2-3 months of working hard on videos for YouTube. I was feeling a lot better and was looking forward to a brighter future.

As for how I came up with what my channel should be about, I was already playing BeamNG Drive most of my free time anyway. I started to watch videos of the game on YouTube. Most of them were the same content repeatedly, and it looked a bit static, and I thought maybe I could give this a try. So, I started recording my videos with a moving camera and recording it from different angles, and after a while, I started adding more cars racing at the same time in my videos. People seemed to like it. I started seeing others making videos using my style, so I had to evolve. I started building my maps (set pieces I call them), filled with ideas for different broken roads that cars could race, jump, and crash on.


My first video of cars racing together on my first test map

My latest video from that same map.


The best way to keep me motivated is seeing when people react positively to a video I have worked so hard on, and seeing all the great comments. I try to remember how far I have managed to come from struggling for 2-3 weeks to get ten subscribers to what I have today.


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

I usually get inspiration from watching action-packed movies, and then I work at it from there. Other times, I get ideas just driving at work, and strangely enough, many of my best ideas I get right before I fall asleep at night. And if I'm completely stuck, I look through my comment section on my videos. It can help you at least get going. Other times, there can be suggestions for complete videos to make, so it is a valuable tool to have engaging subscribers.  


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

For recording my video clips In-game, I use Geforce Experience. I use Powerdirector for editing, but have moved on to Davinci Resolve Studio 16 to have more tools for fine-tuning my videos (retiming, slow it down speeding it up) and more options for color grading. I spend a lot of hours looking at tutorials on YouTube, but it is all worth it. As for video thumbnails, I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 12. For making maps/levels, I use the In-game World editor in BeamNG Drive. I use 3D Studio Max Design 2016 for modeling cars and other stuff. 


I only use Youtube for my channel. I have used Twitter and Facebook for some time as well, but I use them less and less, mostly because of time restraints.  


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

The thing that scared me the most was thinking I would wake up one day and have wasted years of my life with nothing to show for it. But I have realised that this is what I love to do. All the great feedback I got in the comments helped as well, but even with hundreds of positive comments, the one and two negative comments really could ruin your whole day sometimes. But in time, you learn to brush it off and move on. And sometimes, if you answer rude or angry comments with kindness but let them know that maybe use a different tone next time, some of them apologise, and realise they are talking to another human being at the other end of the comments.


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

I had a friend that started YouTube around six months before me. From seeing his channel and how well he did at that time, it took me around 1-2 months to upload my first video. I started off making videos almost daily, but soon found out if I was to do this for the long haul, I needed to slow down a bit, and instead tried to be consistent. Eventually, I landed on three videos a week - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

It was slow getting traction for my channel at the start. My first 100 subscribers took me over three months to achieve. It took over a year to get to 1000 subscribers. But I kept uploading, and around two years into the channel, things started to pick up a bit more steam.

 

My first video with over a million views:


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

One of my biggest mistakes was not starting sooner with YouTube. Yes, it is vital to think about what you want your channel to be about, but... 


Don't overthink every little detail. Upload something, get feedback. You will learn a lot from making videos, not just thinking about making videos.

I started making stuff. I wanted to see in my genre of videos, and soon, I found an audience that liked what I made. It can be hard to set yourself apart from the other creators, but I think it is essential to find your style. In my case, I started off using moving cameras in my videos, then I started making my maps to set myself apart from the rest, and lastly, I jumped into making vehicles for my videos. All these took years to master, but it was so worth it. And most of all, don't give up. It is hard to get started, yes, but if you keep making videos, you are proud of and know you did your best, other people will often see that too. 


Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

I remember when some of my videos got views of 500,000+ in a week. The first video got over 10 million views. That was pretty big for my channel. Of course, another milestone was hitting 100,000 subscribers and eventually getting the silver play button. It’s hanging on the wall beside me, where I work on my videos.



What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

One of the subtle side effects of making the map and car mods for my videos is that people who watch my videos want to try them out. Instead of keeping it all to myself, I release them on the BeamNG Drive forum or modding section, where I include videos (from YouTube) that people can watch to see if they like the mods before they download them. If I'm lucky, other YouTubers will try them out and make videos with them and link to my mods, and even better, talk about the mods and my YouTube channel. That helped me grow my channel, and it is excellent to know my hard work is appreciated.


When it comes to posting my videos on other sites, I post my modding progress videos on the BeamNG Forums. I was a part of the forum long before I started making videos, so I felt that was fitting together.    

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

I have no experience with brand deals and sponsorships so far, at least. I find it challenging to integrate this into my content, as I do not speak in any of my videos. Most brands want you to talk about their products, so that's a problem in my case. But if you’re going to accept a brand deal or sponsorship, get someone who has the experience and know what to look out to handle that part of your business, at least in the beginning.

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