Tips and Tutorials

Gael LEVEL

How I Established A Channel That Empowers Content Creators.

Full-Time Creator
July 8, 2020

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

I’m Gael Level, a french, full-time multimedia creator. I’ve been making music, photos, videos for 10+ years but I went full time 3 years ago. My main content is focused on helping others become better content creators. I do everything myself and really enjoy the process of making a project come true from brainstorm to reality. Gael Level is a name that fits really well with my main content since my subscribers are mostly gamers, but it is also my real name! So I was lucky to not have to come up with a brand name (Although “Bad G” use to be my stage name when I was younger). 


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

I was born and raised in Haiti, a third world country. My mom was the cool mom type, she was in a band and also a painter so I get my creativity from her for sure. Being raised in a country like that has a real influence on me and my content. Coming from a place where people still die of hunger I have a “special” relationship with money, through my content I try to teach the value of products like tools and equipment and the reality behind price/quality.
I quickly followed into my mom’s steps and was always fascinated by art of any kind. At the age of 6 my brother and I were playing classical electone/piano concerts with the music school, About 4 years later we would get our very first “real” computer with Windows 98 installed.

Fast forward to me not doing great at school at 17 years old and decided to quit, move to France, and start a professional career, any career. I was already skilled with photo editing software so I did multiple jobs as a graphic designer, then as a media technician, then as a photographer, editor, vfx artist, motion designer, and my last “real” job would be as a multimedia artist for a company that sell phone accessories online.
I already had multiple YouTube channels by then but I never took it seriously, I never really tried to get income out of it.

I realized there was a certain pattern present in every 9-5 job, the same setup, the same bosses, the same lies, I felt like no matter what I did, no one would value my skills or my work. I felt backed up in a corner multiple times, a couple of things happened and I was close to the edge. I once passed out because I ran to catch the train, when I woke up I was panicking and kept saying “I gotta go to work!”, the people around me had to hold me down until the emergency personnel arrived. Then one day I had a panic attack in my cubicle and it really made me reevaluate my life, made me decide to put myself out there and really try to make a living being my own boss.

When I started streaming on Twitch, it was really complicated to get everything working. There was so many different programs to install and use it was a pain. So I made a quick video on how to get alerts on Twitch (Follower, Donation, Subscriber, etc…) posted it to Youtube and it was really well received. Before I was uploading highlights of me playing games on Twitch (Which wasn’t getting any attention. So I made more and more tutorials, figured out the keywords people were researching and made videos answering those questions.
As I got familiar with the livestreaming community I noticed a lot of things that just weren’t right. Companies and other creators were profiting off the ignorance of new livestreamers, promoting tech branded as “for live streamers” at a high price. Having worked in the film industry, I know a lot of workarounds to get great audio/video without breaking the bank, I also know the real price of that type of gear, so I also try to educate my viewers about it and even show DIY alternatives. My goal is really to stop this idea of “Creating = Investing a lot of money”.

In my field I believe there is one single quote that has all the answers one can need, “Just do it!”. The best way to make videos, photos, music, etc… is simply by doing it, doing it a lot until you can “perfect” your craft. There’s so much to learn, try, create, that the best thing you can do is ...start. Everything is so accessible nowadays that you really have to self-sabotage to not already be doing what you want to do.

The people who inspired me are creators in the film industry. I use to also have the mindset that I needed to be rich before I could really start creating valuable things. Then I started watching Youtuber like Erik Beck, Knoptop, and Film Riot. This Youtube show call “Backyard FX” where Erik Beck was creating movie props in his backyard, Knoptop was making camera gear out of PVC. They really taught me that the only boundaries are the ones you impose to yourself.

Backyard FX undefined

Knoptopundefined

Film Riotundefined


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

I have somewhat of an advantage when it comes to inspiration, being fascinated by so many different industries really help me think outside the box. Brainstorming is like my favorite thing to do, taking inspiration from one industry, translating it to another, i’m always inspired.
I started using pinterest recently for motion design inspiration, I use to avoid that app but I recently got a tablet and it feels more practical on mobile.

Mental blocks rarely happen to me, when they do, I try to focus something else, for example if I can’t seem to find ideas for tutorial videos, i’ll work on making music for a bit, or i’ll visit a friend because being physically distant from my tools usually help me think about all the thing I can make with them.

Not really, making content on the internet, no matter what the niche is, there’s always another domain to draw inspiration from. When it comes to strategies for livestreamers I apply ideas from the beauty community, from independent filmmakers, models, artist, even the NSFW community.


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

I mostly use adobe products, Premiere for video editing, After Effects for motion design or compositing, Photoshop for image editing and graphic design.
I’m everywhere except for linkedin never liked that website and their spammy ways of getting people to join.
I sometimes use Later.com to schedule my instagram posts, and I use VidIQ for youtube to get better keyword searches, but that it. I like having a real time hands-on approach as much as possible but each platform is a full-time job really.
My phone has a notepad app but I stopped using it since I realized that writing on paper and having a project idea be physically here makes it harder to forget. I you close the app you don’t see it, my notebook stays on my desk at all times, looking at me, judging me, telling me to get to work.


Youtube | Twitch | Twitter | Instagram


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

I’m a black guy, I’m not really handsome, english isn’t my first language so of course I was scared to put myself out there. The lack of representation didn’t help at all, not a lot of people doing what I do and also looking like me. I hate the idea of being somewhere i’m not welcomed but I had to handle it. To this day I still get hate mail purely based on what I look like, I just brush it off. The amount of positive comments is way high than the negative so it doesn’t bother me too much, I give advice and make tutorials, I help people.
I was never afraid to post anything, i’ve always posted without hesitation. The only fear is of the sudden attention the content might get. My very first YouTube video probably wasn’t great, I was learning, but what if it blew up? What a popular show like Tosh.O somehow made fun of it in front of their audience. Everyone wants to be popular, but no one is ever ready for popularity. I had someone cry of joy because I interacted with them, they said I was their fav YouTuber, I had no idea how to feel.

I was always comfortable in front of a camera. Back in Haiti I was in a band we had music videos playing on TV, we were doing interviews, concerts, and everything. So never really had to fight shyness, I was already a Diva!

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

After quitting my job to go full-time I wasn’t making money with Youtube at all so I needed to push out tons of videos in my niche to get picked up by the algorithm and become a YouTube partner. It took a couple of months in which I would sometimes post 1 video per day for 2 weeks. I stay consistent without having a schedule, nowadays you can expect 2 videos a week at minimum on my channel and 5 videos max.

I rarely got any help, people around me didn’t understand what I was doing. No mentor, nothing. I really had to figure it out on my own without ever asking for help. Of course I had to learn about a lot of thing from the internet, watched seminars, thousands of hours of content, etc…
I don’t think it’s hard to get 100 subscribers on Youtube, knowing what I know now, so that in itself is the hardest part, the knowledge. There are no shortcuts to creating content that a large amount of people will like, just gotta try a lot of things until you find the sweet spot. That first step is the most important one.

I mostly work in order to feel free, free to take breaks, go on vacation, or just do different content. It sounds counter productive to work more than I 9 to 5 job when there’s no guarantees in creating content, but the freedom makes it all worth it. Nowadays I wake up whenever I feel like, work whenever I feel like, as long as I put out 2 to 3 videos per weeks and i’m active on social media, the rest is just fun.

Something that I had to learn the hard way is that teaching the complex/advanced parts of live streaming is not a great idea. In order to keep a large number of people interested I have to keep everything basic, complex tasks are not what the average viewer is looking for. So the most viewed videos on my channel are exactly that, either taking something complex and making it simple, or just showcasing something at a beginner level.

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

JUST DO IT! Every platform is free and you can create an account in 2 mins, there’s no such as “want to get into”, you’re either doing it or not. Our education makes us doubt, fear, make excuses, but the only thing you’ll regret is not starting sooner.

A big mistake is planning with success in mind for every step. Just because an idea sounds great doesn’t mean it’ll work at all. I sell full animated graphics pack for Twitch streamers at 99cents, you can think “wow every is gonna love that” but I still get messages daily asking me to give them out for free, even tho most of my products are free. So yeah if the goal is to please people, no amount of planning or logic can prepare, only experience.



The “easy” steps are 1_ Find something you are really passionate about, 2_ create your branding 3_ Find your strengths and what makes you different 4_ advertise based on step 3, of course research in between all the steps is the real key here.
Competitive research is the big easy button of creating content, finding “proven methods”, understanding why they work, and finding ways to improve them even more.


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

I didn’t “quit quit” my last job, there was a mutual agreement with the boss at the phone accessory company. I had lost interest in working there so we agreed to me leaving. I had spent years learning about passive income and all the different ways people could make money on the internet, I just had to commit to one that I was already doing as a hobby, YouTube.
I had spent about 4 months with a $0 salary before joining the partner program. I was living off my savings. First Youtube payment was 65 cents and I was so happy to get paid I created by myself. Then the channel grew, I started putting my eggs in many baskets and by the end of the year I was making more than I was in any of my old jobs. 


Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

Reaching 10000 subs on YouTube felt unreal, I never imagined I’d see this number. Then I started getting mentioned alongside other well established creators. Then some of the people who inspired me in the first place started watching my content and talking to me. Then sitting in my PJs listening to business executives compliment my work to convince me to work with them. It's all surreal!

It really helped me realize the potential of anyone who tries, who really tries. I could’ve came up with so many excuses to not do what I do, but I didn’t. Hopefully i’ll be able to share that with others.   


What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

Make something similar to a business plan. Know the content, who’s is already making it, who enjoys watching, and what you can  bring to the table.
Every niche has misconceptions and bad actors, don’t fall for them. There are simply no shortcuts to “success”, its as simple as “create content people want to watch” and “understand why they want it”.


How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

I almost never reach out to companies (I need to start). What I’ve done is work hard enough to be in a position where the relevant companies will know about me and they will reach out.
I refuse 99% of brand deals that I get. I try to be as honest as possible with my audience, so if I think a product is not for them, I will either refuse the deal, or take it and be very clear about who I think the product will suit best.
My advice is always allow the opportunities to come to you (have an email address visible everywhere), and place yourself in a position where you actually have something to offer. Your relationship with your audience is something a company cannot replicate.

👇 You might also like:

Julia

How My Passions Help Market my Services and Businesses.

Read full interview
Reed

How I Left My Web Development Career To Doing YouTube Full-time.

Read full interview