Reactions and Product Reviews

Dennis Chua

How A Savvy Drone Pilot Takes Off on YouTube.

Reactions and Product Reviews
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August 4, 2020

Who are you and what kind of content do you create?

My name is Dennis, I’m based in Perth, Australia. Currently, YouTube is a side hustle and I have a full-time job working in marketing and I also provide drone photography and videography service. I started creating YouTube videos to showcase my drone videos however after experimenting with different types of videos, I’ve pivoted and focused on creating more reaction videos specifically reacting to KPOP, Asian music videos, and Filipino related content. I provide my honest reactions and brief commentary on what I’m watching and I’m always on the lookout for unique videos to react to.

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

Officially, this is my third year on YouTube although I started my channel back in 2011, I never really published anything until late 2016. I suppose I’ve always wanted to start my own YouTube channel in 2011 as I was watching tons of awesome creators, and I thought I can do this too. I thought of many ideas on different types of videos to create, some of which I’ve recorded, but I never really uploaded and some I didn’t finish because I kind of wasn’t just moved on to the next thing. Also, at that time, I didn’t really consider YouTube as a genuine side hustle as it is more like a fun hobby.

 Things changed in 2016 when I saw Devinsupertramp’s Kauai The Lost World video (link here - and it really inspired me to take up videography seriously and focus on improving my camera work, which led me to sign up to an online filmmaking course by Parker Walbeck (Parker used to be one of the main camera guys for Devinsupertramp and he started his own video production company and created his online course which highly recommends especially if you have no clue on how to be a filmmaker.  You can see my review of the course here  -

 Also in 2016, I got my first camera drone a DJI Phantom 3 Standard. At that time, I was really into drone videos and I was motivated to create my drone videos to showcase my portfolio of work which I then published on YouTube (here’s my link - ).

Ever since I published my first video, I was like, wow this is fun, and I thought maybe I should continue and create more videos and I’ve started uploading random stuff ranging from tutorial videos, travel content, product unboxing, drone montage, etc. which as you may know isn’t a great look for the YouTube algorithm and my channel didn’t really grow. I got frustrated and I felt like giving up.

Through that experience, it really made me think of a way to be able to maneuver my YouTube journey. I started asking questions on how to grow my channel, how to create better content, how to manage your channel better so I studied other successful content creators and picked up some of their best advice and I also found a mentor - Sean Cannel, who is an awesome teacher. I’ve completed one of his online courses which again I highly recommend.  See link below –

 That learning process allowed me to better understand not only myself but the type of content that I want to show my audience which allowed me to pivot to the content I produce now to grow my channel. This also helped me connect and engage with my audience and I’m enjoying the ride so far! 

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

To be honest, I’m not sure how or why but ideas just flow through my head every now and then, like when I’m in the shower or when I go for a jog, etc. I think the most important thing is to

Take notes and store them so that you can look back at that idea otherwise, you will forget about it. There are certain ideas that I feel that I can create now, and some that I park and save in the future.

When it comes to actual brainstorming sessions, I look at trending videos/topics and see if this video fits what my audience will want to watch. For example, for KPOP reactions, I pretty much try to react to the latest music video that gets released by a particular KPOP group. I do listen to feedback from my viewers in terms of what to watch and react but also to improve my videos.

For analytics, I mainly use the YouTube studio and VidIQ to go through historical results of each video, which videos do well that I should double down and which videos to improve.

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

I mainly use Adobe Premiere Pro to edit my videos and I use Lightroom and Photoshop to edit my photos. I learned Lightroom and Photoshop as I was into photography a couple of years ago and learned it on the fly. As for Premiere Pro, I learned it on the go as I was creating heaps of drone videos, cosplay montages, travel videos, etc. Also, I use Canva for my thumbnails and I highly recommend this!

Aside from YouTube, I’ve got an Instagram account to showcase my portfolio work -@dennis_chua_  and another Instagram account to post some of my candid shots - @dennisreacts. 

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

It’s the fear of being judged! I think that’s always going to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest hurdle for a content creator. You worry about how people perceive you because of your looks, the clothing you wear, your hair, etc.

I was a bit worried when I was starting, especially when I first showed my face on the camera! I was worried about what people would think of me, what if no one watches or I get criticized for what I said or worried if I said something wrong or mispronounced something. I kind of took it one video at a time and thought of it as a way to practice my presentation skills. This also allowed me to plan out my scripts better, how I present myself on the camera, learn about body language, etc... Each time I published a new video, this allowed me to be more confident and it does get better the more you do it!

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

To be honest, I’m still building up my brand so I’m not in a position to talk about this, maybe give me another year. I take it one step at a time and focus on my immediate goal which is currently building up my community and subscriber base.

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

For someone keen to start creating content specifically on YouTube,  here are some of my key learnings so far that I'm happy to share:

  • Be consistent in posting - whether it's weekly or daily - just continue to post regularly and don't give up. Time of day does not really affect me based on my experience.
  • Simply posting a video does not guarantee you to grow (subs and views) - you need to be posting the right content for your audience. Sure you can do a totally different content from time to time but you need hone in your niche and give it 100%
  • Finding your niche - I struggled with this a little bit, I started with a drone video/tutorial/product review channel plus random videos before switching to more niche reaction videos but with occasional product reviews and now slowly integrating vlogs (as some viewers of mine wanted to see more daily activities or my personal life)
  • Let the viewers dictate what to watch - again another tough one, sometimes a video that you want to create may not hit the mark - reasons could be multiple things such as messy editing, you're not familiar with the topic, or there's just not much interest in it. Definitely important to do some research on videos your audience wants to watch and mix it up with videos that you want to create and share. I probably do a 3:1 ratio, 3 videos for the audience, and 1 video that I want to make.
  • Mindset - you need to channel that mamba mentality if you really want to do this! And as my mentor, Sean Cannel says it’s not a sprint it’s a marathon! Another thing that I can share, the more videos you make, the more learnings you get, more video analytics available for you to review, and make sure to keep improving 1% at a time.

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

From a brand deal and sponsorship, initially, I was really open to anything. However, I did learn along the way to pick and choose products and sponsorships that resonate with me and my audience. I don’t just simply accept deals now and I really think it through before committing to it. At the moment it is challenging, most brands and sponsorships have pulled back, however it gave me an opportunity to review and map out the brands that I want to work with and also make sure to research brands that reach out to me as some of them could be a scam.

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