Anime Music Video

Goddess AMV

Harnessing My Skills as an English and Film Major Through Creating Anime Music Videos on YouTube.

Anime Music Video
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February 11, 2021

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

Hi! My name is Ilene, and I’m a queer Fil-Am content creator based in California. I sometimes edit AMVs (anime music videos, which are bits of anime edited together to go with a song) for fun and occasionally accept song promos (making this a little bit of a side hustle). Being a one-woman show gives me flexibility with my schedule and total control over what anime and songs to use and how I want the final edit to look like.

I was known as Kurumi AMV starting out. I quickly chose that name for my channel since Kurumi Tokisaki was my muse for editing and the reason I decided to make AMVs. I also wanted my channel to be the first to pop up when people would search “kurumi amvs” in general. It was this video that inspired me to create my first AMV. Kurumi became a mascot for my channel, but some people started addressing me with her name, so a few months ago, after poring over names in my head for about a week, I officially changed my channel name to Goddess AMV! I have a love for Greek mythology and thought this fit me a lot better.

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

Gosh, it’s been about… four years? I started the YouTube thing near the end of 2016 when I was in my second year of college. I grew up loving anime and seeing YouTubers edit anime in a way that matched with a song. It looked so cool! So I wanted to try making my own. But my first attempt was honestly trash. I was super new to editing, and everything I did was very self-taught. I had an idea in my head how I would make a song I liked match with an anime, but it didn’t turn out exactly as I had pictured it would be.

The whole thing was meh to me, though. I wasn’t expecting many views on my video initially and thought that’s where my AMV editing would come to an end. But then, a year later, I watched My Hero Academia and fell in love. A renewed desire to make an AMV again sparked inside of me, and I went on to earn my most viewed video, “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid.”

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

I learned from majoring in both English and Film in college that to create, you also need to consume other content. I heard a saying that goes something along the lines of how every creator is like a sponge - if you don’t take time to soak in anything new when it’s time to create, you’ll be wrung dry. If you want to write, you have to read books; if you’re going to make films, you have to watch them. Watching others’ AMVs makes me appreciate their editing style and also gives me inspiration and ideas for my own. Sometimes I just hear a song and think, “This would go perfectly with this anime.” .

Other times I’ll listen to music and picture one specific scene that would perfectly match and go from there. Like with my Gasoline AMV, there’s a line that goes: “I think there’s a flaw in my code / These voices won’t leave me alone.” As soon as I heard those lyrics, my mind immediately went to the scene where Tanjiro is fighting Rui and has a flashback. When I matched the clip with the lyrics, it looked exactly how I envisioned it.

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

I started with Movie Studio by Vegas since I was a total noob when it came to editing. It’s an excellent program for beginners - but you can’t do any fancy editing with it. You can only piece the clips together, and that’s it. As I grew as an editor, I moved on to Sony Vegas Pro 15 & 16. Now I use Adobe Premiere Pro & After Effects (I was taught Premiere in film classes, and After Effects was utterly self-taught. Thanks to YouTube tutorials).

My workflow usually goes like this - find the anime I want to use, convert the anime into an MP4, piece together a rough draft in Premiere, and edit specific parts in After Effects. Depending on the AMV, this can take me from a few weeks to a month or so. There are also some pretty neat plugins I use that really make my videos pop, the main ones being: Sapphire & RSMB (for transitions and motion blur), Twixtor (for a slow-motion effect), and Magic Bullet Looks (for color correcting). I’m hoping in the future (once anime cons are open again) to submit my videos in AMV competitions!

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

After the subscribers started rolling in, I had a couple of fears - my videos being taken down, reposters, and toxic comments. I’ve only had one video blocked so far, and I’m learning to avoid that. My videos are reposted all the time which is why I now watermark my edits. Honestly, I didn’t think that many people would watch my videos. When some videos like “You’re Gonna Go Far Kid” and “Whatever It Takes” unexpectedly blew up, I started noticing the nasty comments. Some of my followers gave me a beneficial critique that I treasure, but others just said what was on their minds without a second thought. That took a bit of a toll on me. I was still growing as an editor. And I still am.

As I created more AMVs, I compared myself to other AMV editors who were pumping out quality content so quickly in time with specific anime episodes airing. I lost my confidence for a while. I finally reminded myself that the reason I started making AMVs was for me. For fun, because I loved editing. Sometimes my videos won’t bring in a lot of views, and that’s okay. As long as I was enjoying what I was doing, that’s all that mattered.

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

I noticed that my BNHA videos were the ones that tended to grab the most viewers and subscribers. The series was becoming so popular, and I was obsessed with it; I focused on those for a while.  Now I see that I can’t just focus on BNHA AMVs because current anime tends to garner many views. Some AMVs I made coincided with anime that just finished airing, like my Darkside AMV (posted this around the third season of Date A Live) and Gasoline AMV (when Demon Slayer was becoming massively popular). Some videos will start slow in gaining traction and then slowly rise, while others will just flop. And you have to deal with that and keep creating.

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

My film professor gave us a piece of important advice - create something you want. Not what your parents want, not what your peers, but what you want. I took this advice to heart and noticed that the more fun I had with a video, the better it became because I had enjoyed making it. And another thing I learned - you’re never going to start perfectly.

Your first video might be trash, and that’s okay. You will learn from it. And the more you get at it, the better you’ll be.

Here’s a comparison of an AMV I edited back in 2018 and the remake I made in 2020. You will grow, I promise. You just have to keep doing what you love.

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

I have since graduated from college and am currently working a full-time job where I sit at a computer for 8 hours. It makes going home and editing on my computer a bit difficult at times since making AMVs was something I used to do in my free time at college, but I still want to make AMVs, so I do. I plan to make another channel where I talk about shows and movies, so we’ll see how that goes!

Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

The first video of mine that blew up was my “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” one. The fact that it has over 11 million views still blows my mind. I think the fact that the anime quickly became popular played a massive role in it. A year later, my “Centuries” AMV also blew up. I guess people love Deku just as much as I do, haha. Another thing that I’d consider a milestone is that my “Darkside” video is the most viewed AMV about Kurumi. I didn’t expect that video to blow up, but it introduced many of my subscribers to my favorite anime character and gave me new subscribers who already loved her.

Also, two months ago, I finally hit 50k subscribers! That was a massive milestone for me. I remember only having maybe 20-30 when I started, and now I have over 50,000 people following me? That makes me so happy. 

What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

I originally had my Twitter and Ko-Fi linked on my channel, and some musicians and producers reached out to me in my DMs and asked if we could make a collab. They provide me with a song they want me to promote, include what the YouTube description should say, pay me, and then I edit an AMV for them with that song. I always go through the final draft with them and get an okay before posting.

So far, I’ve only done two collabs with song producers & music artists. Unfortunately, these haven’t given me many views, but I am always willing to help provide more exposure to artists. I am also hoping in the future to be able to work on an AMV with another editor.

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

The majority of the time, if someone wants to promote a song through my channel, I don’t accept right away. I listen to their song, and if I am interested, I get down to business. I ask, “What anime do you want to go with this? Do you need specific wording in the description? Are there any deadlines?” When I decline promo requests, it’s merely because I am not the editor for every kind of song. I cannot provide the anime that they are requesting, or I cannot meet their deadlines.

My suggestion is to make a business email (or just an email for your channel) and give yourself some boundaries! You don’t have to accept every offer that comes your way, but when you do, let the other person know what you are willing and not willing to do. And if the offer is too good to be true (thousands of dollars in monetization, advertising offers with no fees, promises of your channel making tons of money), it’s probably spam. I received an email that read, “P.S. this is not a spam email” that went straight to the garbage.

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