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#129: Hayden Hillier-Smith: Logan Paul's former editor on the future of YouTube

December 13, 2022

#129: Hayden Hillier-Smith: Logan Paul's former editor on the future of YouTube
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Hayden Hillier-Smith is a Streamy-award winning editor having worked with Logan Paul, Sam & Colby, Alex Wassabi and many more.


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Hayden Hillier-Smith is an industry leader in online editing.

He has edited for top-name talents like Logan Paul, Sam & Colby, Alex Wassabi and many more. In 2020, he won the Streamy for best editing. Today, Hayden is also the cohost of The Editing Podcast, publishing weekly videos about film editing.

In this episode, you’ll learn where YouTube is heading, how to keep an audience’s attention, how to hire an editor, and why Hayden doesn’t believe in creating videos for the YouTube algorithm.

Full transcript and show notes

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Jay Clouse  00:00

The biggest stars on Youtube today focus on larger than life videos and creating a massive spectacle.


Hayden Hillier-Smith  00:09

I spent two and a half million dollars from 1 foot to 1000 feet off the ground.


Jay Clouse  00:11

But what if you didn't need spectacle to keep people's attention?


Hayden Hillier-Smith  00:18

Now that creators are vlogging and bringing back the really personal grounded element, and that's bringing in lots of views. And then we're seeing the big space of content that's spectral content that's bringing in lots of views or what happens if we put those two together. And I think one of the best examples was Ryan Frey hands Penny series. It was a big spectacle roadtrip adventure of him traveling across the US, but it was a beautiful personal story about him adapting to environments and circumstances that he found himself in.


Jay Clouse  00:46

That's Hayden Hill, your Smith, one of the biggest video editors on YouTube, who is known for making videos with Logan Paul since 2016. Now, Hayden is out on his own. He started a podcast called appropriately the editing podcast. And as a creator, Hayden isn't focused on spectacle, he's not even focused on retention.


Jay Clouse  01:04

I don't care if I get 70 to 80% retention, if I get 50 to 40% retention, but that 50% of people that stayed men, they had a much more better time than I've made a good video. So


Jay Clouse  01:17

in this episode, you'll learn where YouTube is heading, how to capture people's attention, how to hire an editor, and why Hayden doesn't believe in creating videos for the YouTube algorithm. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this episode. As you listen, you can find me on Twitter or Instagram at Jay Clouse tag meet, let me know that you're listening. If you're here on YouTube, leave a comment and be sure to subscribe to the channel. But now let's talk with Hayden.


Jay Clouse  01:54

What sticks out to you as like the hardest part of running an operation at the scale that you guys were doing all that pressure on you as an editor? What was the hardest part of that?


Jay Clouse  02:02

The hardest part was the work life balance. I think once you once you're in that flow, that's the only thing that you know. And so I'd wake up, spend 1012 hour days getting x video done, go to sleep and get wake up and get started again the next day. That was an incredible flow, and it was producing phenomenal results. If I'm honest, I wouldn't wish that on anyone. It's a very, very unhealthy mindset that we had. And so despite us getting the results that we have, in that we can celebrate is actually not worth the mental health toll that it did create.


Jay Clouse  02:30

How many videos do you think YouTube made together? Over those years?


Jay Clouse  02:34

Minimum 600.


Jay Clouse  02:35



Hayden Hillier-Smith  02:36

It's the sheer amount. I think I looked back on that library recently. And I think we've made also a total of over 50 hours of content as well. So, so yeah, so if you were to sit down and try to watch them all in one sitting, yeah, that's going to take you well over two days but what a great two days out will be.


Jay Clouse  02:55

you balance when you were working on your own channel and your own videos and your own content? How do you fit that stuff in


Jay Clouse  03:01

Logan would then go find a boxing opponent. And then that means that he's has to do has to train on that. And so that gives me literally three months off once I got out of that flow. And so I didn't have a video to edit next time. I'm like, What the hell am I gonna do with my time. And so I figured, oh, I guess I'll just keep making videos. So I started making videos on my own channel, and then that career started taking off a lot more. And so the mistake was for Logan to start training for a boxing fight. Otherwise, he probably would have kept me.


Jay Clouse  03:27

That's amazing. So during that period of time, and what year did you guys first start working together?


Jay Clouse  03:33

We started working together at September 2016.


Jay Clouse  03:36

So since that time in the last six years, do you see like there have been different stages of YouTube? Like when we look at world history, we have like these different eras of things. And that six year period seems like a short period of time. But even within there, I would bet you've seen some changes. So what what type of stages Did you see as YouTube grew in the last six years?


Jay Clouse  03:57

I think YouTube has this two to three year cycle during the 2016 to 2018 was like the vlogging era, every question known to man was doing the daily vlogging. But I think a lot creators and audiences started getting really really tired with that. And so therefore creases in started experimenting with our long videos that take a little bit longer to make. And this is when the spectacle era came through. So this was the era when like Mr. Beatty was able to come in and say, Hey, here's this big, ridiculous idea that took me a long time to make here. You guys enjoy it. And people started really, really enjoying that we had the free years of daily vlogging. And I've had the past four years of the Hi big spectacle, Big Idea content. And now we're beginning to have this really interesting change where the industry is so big now that we can have creators who focus on a big spectacle. And now we're beginning to have creators who want to bring back that really personal, very grounded reality, and we're seeing creators go back into like daily vlogging or just well vlogging in general that just shared our lives and so now we're sitting best of both worlds and Now,


Jay Clouse  05:00

that's really interesting, because in some ways, that makes sense to me. Because you know, fashion has cycles, a lot of things have cycles, you swing in one way, you kind of revert to the knee, and then you swing back in the other direction. But this almost speaks to as if there are two content types that dominant on YouTube. And I wonder if there's a third future or a different future that we might be moving towards? But you would know way better than I would do you think we're just gonna oscillate between vlogging. And in spectacle for the next 10 years,


Jay Clouse  05:30

I think what's happening is that now that creators are vlogging, and bringing back the really powerful and grounded element, and that's bringing in lots of views. And then we're seeing the big spectacle, and that's spectral content that's bringing in lots of views. And then we're now having the creators that simply asking, Well, what happens if I put those two together, and I think one of the best examples was Ryan Frey hands Penny series, it was a big spectacle, roadtrip adventure with him traveling across the US. But it was a beautiful personal story about him adapting to the environments and circumstances that he found himself in. So that's what I mean by a really interesting hybrid. I think airac has definitely been experimenting with this as well. Well, they do bring in the big spectacle idea, but it's having a an emotional impact on him and his team, as experienced it as well. Jimmy is also exploring it and like he, here, he tried the video where he was fasting for 30 days, try to make that a bit more personal. So about as a very creative we saw trying to improve and how to tell those stories a little bit better creators are, we're beginning to understand how much better of an emotional impact you will have with your audience. If you're simply vulnerable, and ready to have those grounded moments with them, you will develop a much better core audience because of that.


Jay Clouse  06:39

Yeah. And that's actually kind of the experience I have with a lot of the creators that I talk to because I mostly swim in this world of people who are educators on some certain topic. And so they're never going to be as big as Logan or Mr. Beast or an Emma Chamberlin. But they almost do like this vlog style stuff that's pretty highly produced and ultimately, like teaches people something. And some of their videos will get hundreds of 1000s or even peak a million views. But it almost feels like they get kind of lost in the wash of discussion of YouTube. I think they're looking at, you know, the Ryan trains and Mr. B's, they're saying, I don't even think this is the game that I'm playing. And I don't know how to win the game that I'm playing. I'm curious if you've spent any time looking at channels that are a little bit more niche like that.


Jay Clouse  07:24

It's definitely been one of the curses of YouTube, where we look to what are the biggest creators doing and and we feel obligated to only be doing what they're doing, because of their style, going down the wrong path, and missing the most important lessons to make their content specifically work. And so if you're doing some educational style, the agenda we'd ask why would you feel like you need to look at Ryan Trahan or Mr. Beast as the inspiration. That doesn't make sense to me, just because what is popular, you don't have to be obligated to do that. Because once you then begin exploring what you can do as an individual, you're going to stumble upon something that makes you stand out. And suddenly you're gonna get the millions of views and everyone else is gonna start trying to copy you. So I'm thinking just giving yourself permission to not copy or not alter, giving yourself permission to not be directly in spite of what's on top will make your content inherently better.


Jay Clouse  08:16

I'd love to talk about this, this leap that you've made now to go completely out on your own. And now you're doing the editing podcast, and you're really focused on putting yourself in front of the camera, why was now the right time for you to do that.


Jay Clouse  08:29

I've wanted to be a YouTuber when I was 12. It's one of those classic stories. But if I'm completely honest, it was I was still developing my personality, I would say or at least even maturity. And so I never really felt like it was the right time for me to be a creator because I was so trying to understand. And bottom line fall in love with myself is only really until recently, and especially the best way of putting it my pandemic project was fair opee and so I managed myself I find like the best therapists was really able to help me find how I can feel most comfortable with myself. And then through that it was me being the editor for Logan and then seeing the millions and millions of views I was able to kind of a monos project that success on to me a little bit as well slightly unhealthy. And so I was like, Okay, we need to make these changes. And so it was for me ripping the band aid off and going okay, what I feel like I'm in a mature place where I can express myself and be and be a be a decent personality and charismatic personality that people are really interested in. And I found that just by my pure passion and my pure love for YouTube editing my treated as seriously as someone with Hollywood editing, people found that really infectious I wanted to find the right time for me to finally stop being a public creator myself.


Jay Clouse  09:52

I'm interested in the strategy that you decided to take when going out on your own because, you know, as we're just talking about like Working with Logan and doing videos that have mass mass mass appeal is probably not going to reach that size teaching people editing not that is a small niche at all. But how do you reconcile that in your mind with your strategy and how you're going to go about doing this? Because it isn't also, like you're doing vlogging you're not doing vlogging you're not doing spectacle stuff. So how have you decided to frame your content?


Jay Clouse  10:24

If my video gets 100,000 views, that's like Mr. Beast getting 100,000,001 of his videos, like that's the audience that I know, I want to capture. And when I can capture them on 100,000 views, I've done it, like I died is my banger video, I very much knew from the get go, I'm not gonna get the millions of views. That's not the audience that I want those 100,000 or so that I do get on my videos, those are the people I want to listen in. Those are the people I want to help inform or educate or entertain. And if I'm giving them a great experience, I'm happy. That's exactly what I want for my audience. And so I very early on accepted that I'm not going to be millions and millions of views, because actually, that's not the audience that I want to capture.


Jay Clouse  11:08

I've heard you say that you guys didn't look at analytics much when you are producing videos for Logan, now that you're doing things on your own. Are you looking at your own analytics? And are you using that as any type of guide,


Jay Clouse  11:19

one of the advantages that me and Logan had was, we were both very natural storytellers. We knew the film language and how to tell story very efficiently and very effectively. And so that's why our videos always worked. And now creators who are trying to learn how to do storytelling, look to analytics to try to teach them now what was working and what wasn't. But we never really did that I take analytics with a massive grain of salt. Whereas a lot of people treat analytics as fact, I treat it as a loose interpretation. And so I look at it and went, Okay, I got a dip here. I guess maybe I spent a bit too long in that point. Or maybe it wasn't quite clear enough. Okay, I'll do better next time. Whereas a lot of creators will look at that data and say, We can never say this type of thing ever again, cut it out. My main feedback is how was I entertained making this video? Was I entertained watching this video? How did I feel? Was I ever confused? Or was I ever having a really entertaining experience? Through this? I look to myself emotionally and internally, rather than allowing external data to tell me why I went wrong or went right.


Jay Clouse  12:25

When you're preparing a video? What are your top priority items to get right? And in what sequence? If that makes sense? I'm just interested, like when you have an idea, what is the pathway you take to make your best video and as you're editing, making sure like, you know what, if nothing else, I gotta make sure I get this part, right? Is there anything like that?


Jay Clouse  12:47

One of the hardest parts of editing is the moments where you realize you don't know what to do next, every time I start working on a video, I want to ensure that what the content I provide is the reignition, for an editor to get back into what they were working on there always has an element of inspiration or there's an element of yeah, you might not know what to do. But if you just start thinking in this way, you might find that solution. I think that for me is one of my biggest rules, when I do come into making a video


Jay Clouse  13:14

will tell me a little bit more about your process in terms of storytelling. Like do you start with a title? Do you start with a beginning and end? How do you how you outline and ultimately deliver a finished product?


Jay Clouse  13:29

My priority is feeling? How does this make you feel? I would say I'm looking for just footage and I can see, okay, this footage has a potential to generate this feeling, I need to find a way to get there it wants to achieve that feeling I then look at the next scene or sequence and think, Okay, this is what this type of feeling I need to transition from this feeling to this emotion. And so I think that's always going to be my priority in terms of storytelling, storytelling is just change. And so if you're able to provide emotional changes, you're doing a good job.


Jay Clouse  14:00

But even before the footage, like you have to know what footage to capture. So do you storyboard out and kind of like build a framework for what footage to capture? What is the starting point for a new video? Is it just an idea? Is it the beginnings of an idea and the ultimate video comes out of the footage? That's the kind of stuff I'm trying to dig into a little bit,


Jay Clouse  14:19

if I'm honest, is because I've been an editor my entire career, whereas I get dumped footage without without prompts. And I didn't have to figure it out that way. And so my entire work, I'm in my work disciplines the wrong way around, where I film anything and everything and then figure it out any edits, or so I am better at figuring it out at the start. That's a discipline that I don't have whereas I am the fix it in post guy. That's not a that's not good. It's not particularly professional. And so I think for me, yeah, I need to still develop that those skills to fall to work at the beginning was something


Jay Clouse  14:55

that I was watching today. I actually had a call with Patti Galloway this morning and we were talking about A video interview podcast. And he said actually, I did an interview with Hayden and Josh on the on the editing podcast. And I really liked the way they did their intro. So I watched the intro because we're talking about how we can get a little bit better retention at the beginning of these videos. And I was like, damn, these guys crushed this intro, I underestimate how important the first 3060 seconds of this is, because I'm kind of new to it. But you know, you have your video talking about how the Pokemon card video you did with Logan had just insane retention. And that starts in the first 30 seconds. So how how much of that is muscle memory now or you have like this implicit feeling of how to get early retention versus an area of explicit focus. When you're doing your editing,


Jay Clouse  15:48

early retention, I define it as energy, we could just start the podcast with like me and Patty and Jordan, and we're just setting the table Hey, how you doing? Let's get started. But that's very low energy. So my logic so me and Jordan design, the idea of if we do a really high production, storytelling introduction, it creates this massive energy up here. And now because of that, we now have all of this space to start. It's slowly diminishing over time. And because there's a podcast that energy will dip, but every now and again, we might have a really good banging line, or a really good soundbite that brings that tension back up, brings the energy back up brings it down to backup, it's so much easier to start them here, and then have them dip, rather than have them start at the bottom and try to get those sound bites into they start building up their energy. That's a much harder process. And so our logic is is to bring up energy up at the start. And so when it begins to dissipate, it's so much easier to hold their attention because of that,


Jay Clouse  16:45

when you're thinking about starting high energy, what creates high energy,


Jay Clouse  16:51

we watch YouTube very passively, despite I think we have five minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, we go. And we instinctively go on YouTube, and we just choose a random video. Okay, let's have this be in the background. And my definition of energy is Hey, fuck you for treating this as a passive video. Let me tell you why you need to stop everything and watch this now, but I do it very politely I would say actually. So I don't grab their head and say I answer begging them to watch it. Like,



I've got 100 strangers.


Jay Clouse  17:20

Exactly that like that. That's like that's frustrating that can be patronizing. And that will make me not want to watch a video. But it's like, Hey, I've really worked hard on this. I would love for you to please watch my video. And then and like as a gesture and invitation that makes them go okay, actually, I think I will pay full attention towards this video. And so it's I think that's a difference for me in terms of energy is simply the quality of the invitation.


Jay Clouse  17:47

After a quick break, Hayden and I talk about how he edits video introductions to keep the viewers attention. And later we talk about how you can find and hire an editor. So stick around, we'll be right back.


Jay Clouse  17:59

Welcome back to my conversation with Hayden Hillier-Smith, not only do I love the editing podcast, but we've actually taken some inspiration from it for the show.


Jay Clouse  18:06

You've never seen his face. But you've seen his content, how he got away as an editing consultant who captured over 2 billion views. And he learned editing with data.


Jay Clouse  18:16

What I love about this introduction is how well it works in both audio and video, and how quickly it captures the listeners attention.


Jay Clouse  18:24

One thing I definitely want to emphasize those are the intro is a collaborative process. Whereas Vic me and Jordan wrote the scripts, and we actually have hired an editor who was able to do those really, really well. But it is also under our direction, or we give feedback back and forth. And so he already has an amazing initiative that I think also helped inspire him to go forward in that direction. But yeah, we work with him a lot. The rule is, and then we all understand this is that you should still be able to understand the story. Without visuals. I think the intro is a really, really important gesture. But I think also part of it is since we also host these on Spotify as well, knowing that is a much more listening audience, we still got to make sure. And so sound design, again is another big element of energy. We're always taught in film school that you can get away with bad visuals you know, like something being really grainy or poorly exposed or like the ISO so so high that the passions washed out. But you can't get away with bad sounds like if we were recording this podcast with our laptop microphones, this would suck. But if we were both using studio microphones that is making it sound so much more better and easier to listen to. We're following that same logic where you should not neglect sound. And so each cup should have a motivated sound effect. This point needs to have a motivated sound effect to go with it. And so you can still have a decent understanding of the story without having to watch the video.


Jay Clouse  19:40

Can you define what you mean by motivated sound effect?


Jay Clouse  19:43

There's a good reason as to why it's there. There's a role in improv comedy called yes and where someone says a line and you have to go yes. And then we'll also be doing this as well. And then that person Yes, and that's why we should do this and I don't know Yes. And therefore let's go do that. This, it's there is a response to each other motivations kind of following that same logic, if you do this, that means this happens, because this happens, that means this happens. And so there's a response to each other. So it's Following the same logic of Yes. And and a motivation is a response to everything that everything else that is happening. How do you choose


Jay Clouse  20:20

what sound to pull in? Do you look at a large library? Or do you at this point have like a smaller group of, you know, energy related sounds that you pull in kind of frequently,


Jay Clouse  20:34

I've accumulated a massive library of sound effects are relatively does the intro he's got his own massive accumulation of of a library of sound effects as well, you kind of know what type of kind of tone you're looking for. And then you got to go through your library and see what matches that tone. And tone is really difficult to describe. It's just like, I want to sound rather than a sound. It's just It can be as simple as that. And you're gonna go free labor to see if something happens to match that. So simply a bottom line is Yeah, knowing the feeling that you want to get and then going through your library to see if something happens to match that.


Jay Clouse  21:09

Have you watched the documentary on FX, welcome to Wrexham. I have no no, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, couple of movie stars that bought a football team in Wales. And it's like a real life Ted lasso documentary, it's kind of wild love it. What started to bum me out is I started cluing into the sound design of documentary because I can almost predict the result of the game they're covering by the type of music they were playing early on in the story of I'm curious, as someone who spent a lot of time editing, does that improve your enjoyment of like watching other things? Or does it detract from your enjoyment of watching other people's work?


Jay Clouse  21:49

I call it the triple F, which is fantastic fucking filmmaking. If I'm watching something, and I hear a music cue or hearing a cut, or if I'm hearing a music cue, or I see a cut, or there's some sort of visual change, I'm getting that emotional response. I'm like, Oh, you've got me. And so therefore I then embrace it and feel it. But I'm just like, this is also the nature of filmmaking. It's very manipulative. It's it's it's very sociopathic, I guess. And I'm thinking, when I noticed that they're doing X thing in a film, I'm like, Well done, you're doing a great job there. And I'm actually actually makes me really happy when I realize I'm being manipulated, which is odd to say out loud. I get happy when I know I'm being manipulated.


Jay Clouse  22:37

But you're in on the joke. That's the joke. Yeah, exactly. I want to talk a little bit more about the intros you do for your show. I want to talk about your show in general, because it's interesting to me that as you went out on your own, you decided that interviews are a path forward you want to do because it seems to me that that's not necessarily the easiest way to succeed on YouTube. curious why interviews were interesting to you,


Jay Clouse  23:00

I find myself wanting to talk about editing and content with every person that I meet. So if there's someone who's never watched a YouTube video in their life, I will still find an excuse to talk about YouTube or filmmaking with them. And so these are the conversations I've really, really enjoy making and having. But I always thought that people weren't particularly interested in it until I started talking about editing on my channel. And people were like, Oh, my God, finally, someone's talking about it. And so people do seem to really enjoy those conversations that I enjoy having. And so I found an excuse to be able to do those three to four times a week. And then we'd like we batch shoot. And so we're like, we're like eight episodes ahead now. But I'm just finding any and every excuse to sit down with my friends and say, Hey, let's talk about what we love. And we happen to make content out of it. And so that's kind of my aim here. It's just like finding more excuses to talk about what I love with my friends.


Jay Clouse  23:55

Do you have any constraints or bounds that you put on the interview products that you make in terms of how long they are, or structurally or things you do to try to give it his best shot of succeeding?


Jay Clouse  24:08

One of my big rules, and it's definitely been an already a big piece of friction that I really stand behind is, we can't just have anyone on the podcast, like, we need to find a way to package them. Like can we put their name in a title and thumbnail, and people will be interested in that click, let's just say there's an incredible editor who did a really fantastic behind the scenes for X movie, but because they weren't particularly involved in the movie, though, and more sort of behind the scenes that's difficult to package. And so I'm so sorry, i Despite how much I love you, I can't have you on the podcast. But with that, though, Alicia, so we're having an editor from Netflix TV show, why would a YouTube editor want to listen to this person? And so one of my big things that I want to work with is, Hey, YouTube editor, here's why you need to listen to this person. And so we like to push the conversations to have you come in, and then you're gonna have to tell us why we should did listen to you. And one of the ways that we're working with that structure is they can come in, and they talk about one of their favorite scenes of Add or Edit ever edited it, we feel their passion, we feel how the like, how like how proud they are of that scene, that's gonna make me go, Okay, I actually want to listen to what you have to say now. And And once we've got that in, we call it the character defining moment, once you've got them in, we can now allow the conversation to go into a bit more creativity. And then I would say more, so maybe it's that we sometimes have some practical questions. And then we go into creative philosophy, as well. And so in terms of like, what is it about you that makes you be in love with editing, animal storytelling? What is it about you that I think you what advice can you give to the industry? And so the invitation to, for them to share their perspective is one that I think is one of the ways that we like to push for conversations to go in that direction.


Jay Clouse  25:53

You've taken a high production stance on the intro, as we've already kind of talked about, there's a world where you don't do that at all, and you just go straight into the interview. Obviously, you've chosen not to do that. So can you can you talk about that decision? And you know, why? Why do a high production, interview or intro and if you have any bounds around that process, either.


Jay Clouse  26:16

This is the editing podcast. And we need to tell new viewers that we know what we're doing. And you can't particularly do high production really amazing editing on a podcast, it's relatively standard. So therefore, my perspective is that doesn't really basically give us the right to say we know how to talk about editing. And so it's to tell the audiences, this is the editing podcast, here's some really high production editing, here's why we have here's why we think we have the right to talk about editing. That's what I mean by an invitation. This is what I mean by a gesture of trust, please, can you trust us that we can talk about editing?


Jay Clouse  26:54

What has surprised you so far as you've been out on your own in terms of good results, or even disappointing results, things that didn't go the way that you wanted? Imagine at this point, you've you've had some learnings,


Jay Clouse  27:05

one of our most best performing videos was why professional editors weren't welcome on YouTube, which is a negative title. And the thumbnail has like as has a conflict in it. So of course, that's gotten the most views. And so it's because that's drama. And so that's become our best performing video. Whereas if I'm not even kidding, that was a, we need to record a video this afternoon because of our schedule, screw it, I found this Reddit post Off we go. It was like just like we wanted to just get a video out. And that's become my best performing video. And so but again, it's because conflict and drama. And also money is in the in his in the form now as well. That's why it's worked. Whereas then there's another video where me and Jordan talked about the things that we're most passionate about. And so we talked about some of the best edits we've ever seen, then the best that we've seen this year and some of the best edits that we've ever done. And for me, that's my favorite episode I just the pure passion immune Jordan talk about it was incredible. And the people who have watched it really, really enjoyed that. And they also that is their favorite episode, but it kind of underperformed, there's two things, you can go with this. It's one you can learn. Okay, let's package all of our videos with conflicts and put money in the farm. Now great, off we go. And here's what we get 100k views every single time. But that's the wrong lesson. I think the lesson that we had is we are still a low, a lower, so a low lift viewership channel. And so we still wishes focus on growth content for now. And and once you've established a bit more of an audience, we now have a better opportunity to express our personalities a little bit more. And then people will start being more inclined to tune in for those. And so it was just we made that video, the creative video that we talked about our best editing that that video was too soon, we should have waited a few more months. Once you've grown a video to then start investing into our audience. That was probably one of the best lessons I've had while growing this channel recently.


Jay Clouse  28:56

This is low key actually pretty high key my least everything about YouTube as well. Yeah, that we've been doing the show for like three months like I understand the game. And if we throw numbers in the headline and we put money in the thumbnail, or if we we create some conflict as you're saying, like it performs better, you know, if if I took that same approach to what I put on it on Twitter, if I'm just trying to like stir up conflict, I'm going to hate everybody that's commenting on my stuff. Like it's just going to draw negative money obsessed people towards me. And I have an assumption that the same is true on YouTube. And I don't know if that's actually true, but it certainly certainly seems to perform better and I kind of hate that.


Jay Clouse  29:37

It's it's it's the open secret. It's the unfortunate truth. I think negative emotions are far stronger and much more powerful than positive emotions. There's a bit more than inherent instinct towards them because negative emotions gives plays towards that self preservation instinct. And so negative we have to pay more attention towards it. Whereas positive emotions suggests comfort, and where you can let your guard down a little bit more. So therefore you become less aware of your surroundings because you're comfortable. So it's because of that fight or flight response is why drama and negative and money, money self preserve a lot of people see money as self preservation, I have to get money to ensure that I can pay rent that month. And so when someone says I get paid X amount per month, they go, wait, I'm broke all the time. Could this be my answer to finding how I can get out of poverty or something like that? It's just money is inherently a negative emotion, and has a negative connotation. So therefore, we are attracted to it so much more. And it sucks.


Jay Clouse  30:41

Yeah. You mentioned that now you're going to lean into some growth oriented content for the next few months to grow the channel. Can you talk more about what that looks like? And maybe what lessons we can pull from it as YouTubers ourselves?


Jay Clouse  30:55

I'm still working as that myself. So I'm going to think probably a bit more. I'm going to think through the mouth a bit. I think what it is, is that industry related questions, frequently asked questions, maybe unfortunate truths, if I do want to go for the conflict thing hit like why professional editors won't work on YouTube. That's an unfortunate truth. I'll be it maybe hot takes but with decent information to pre backup those ideas, like that's going in a negative route. But whereas part of it also be like, what is inspiring, and so it can be like you stuck in an edit, here's how to fix it. And then where me and Jordan probably talk about how can you get out of a creative rut? Or things like that? What are ways that we can help inspire? What are ways that we can bring in new information that potentially is challenging a negative aspect of our industry, but then also positive frequently asked questions such as like, how do you get out of a creative slump? And so going with those philosophies, having those types of conversations, I think conversations is what's the best packaging for our content? That's where I feel like would be the growth and so challenging industry standards? And how to be a better creator and editor yourself?


Jay Clouse  32:10

Do you have any goals for yourself or for the team that you're aiming towards right now that you've like, actually articulated,


Jay Clouse  32:17

this industry has existed for well over 10 years now. But yet, it's still very messy. There's no particular best practices that is highly considered to be common. Everyone has a different idea of day rates, everyone has a different idea of delivery, everyone's everyone has a different idea of the structure of workflow. And because of that, the web industry in terms of editing or post production or storytelling is still the Wild West. Whereas I look towards the film industry Hoover's that have existed for 100 years, and they've figured this out. And so they do have the regular hours, they do have the okay, if it's the weekend, we get paid more, we do have the organizations that are able to help negotiate, there is still massive immaturity, in terms of editors, and how we work with creators. And so I'm hoping that the podcast can help create a better baseline and a better foundation of a more healthier and better professional environment as well.


Jay Clouse  33:21

When we come back, Hayden and I talk about how you can find and hire a great video editor right after this.


Jay Clouse  33:42

patients, if you're really really great editor on YouTube, you're already in a full time job of it with that creator. So unless you give them an offer or triple their income, they're not going to budge, because they're loyal. That's one of the things I do really like about this industry, there is all love loyalty. And I love that. But all of these editors have grown with that creator. If the Creator keeps on growing, they need to bring that editor up with them. So that needs to be the healthiest philosophy. You look at my editing that I had with Logan, we first started in 2016 is terrible. But me and Logan grew up together. And then we became really, really great storytellers just by the experience of us working together for six to almost six or seven years. And so to hire a good editor is find someone who has a decent level of base talent, and then be patient and teaching them your language. Teaching them your philosophy, teaching them how you like to approach story, teach them how you'd like to approach content, and giving them your patience and forgiveness for when they don't quite get it straight away. You do that for six months. You do it for a year you do it for three years, do it for five years. Suddenly you're able to trust them 100% Give them give them your footage and forget about it and then suddenly it's uploaded and ready on your channel for you to publish. That was literally pretty much what it was for me and Logan it was just like he gave me the footage left me alone for a week or too, and I went, Hey, sup on YouTube, off you go. And Logan faqeer. Great, thank you and then publish, we got there because of time, we've got to because of patience, we've got there because of forgiveness. We got there because we have respect as well. And so, in order to hire a good editor is all of those elements. And so bottom line, you gotta give them time.


Jay Clouse  35:19

Do you recommend people go to like an Upwork, or a fiver? Or is there a different way for people to find even like Junior just beginning started? Editors,


Jay Clouse  35:28

I think if they were on Upwork, they're looking for a more traditional work or more corporate work, slightly stereotyping. But that's how I feel about Upwork. What my editor that I hired that I really, really highly value and respect. I found him through Tik Tok. He was posting really high production videos, I thought, wow, this is a style that I love. And so I sent him a message, say, Hey, I'd love to work with you. And so I give him so we're working on a freelance basis, because he still has his own aspirations I highly respect and encouraged as well, if I'm honest, it's there isn't really a definitive place. I mean, I know Patti gallery also just posted his YouTube Jobs website as well, that's probably a great place to find work. A lot of work is also still found through word of mouth, or at least my work is found rumoured at word of mouth, there isn't really a definitive place, I think you just could be able to cast a wide net, and then start just pulling up pulling along that net until you catch someone that says, hey, I actually would love to work with you for a long term.


Jay Clouse  36:26

If I'm just getting started on YouTube, or I'm thinking about getting started on YouTube, do you recommend that I learn some editing myself before trying to find an editor?


Jay Clouse  36:37

Yes, if you want to be able to communicate with your editor, you got to understand it yourself. You can't just hire an editor and then say, Hey, make this better, because they're going to ask, okay, how and then you say, I don't know. So you've got to be able to go have your own experience in editing, to be able to explain it in the same sense. You've got to have your own experience. Being a director, you got to have your own experience. Being a presenter, you got to have your own experience. Being a gaffer, if you want to be lighting your sets and studios. With experience, you can then communicate with people who know it better than you. But you got to have that experience yourself. So you can talk to them.


Jay Clouse  37:10

What is like minimally viable to try to get any play from YouTube at all? If I'm starting at zero subscribers, like what are the minimum things I need to be doing to give myself a chance to get in front of new viewers?


Jay Clouse  37:27

It's a really, really tough question. But I absolutely love it. If you're really starting from scratch, it doesn't matter. Because the first videos that you're gonna make for the first year, or even say, the first video is gonna make for the first for the second year are going to suck. Because you don't know what you're doing yet. Of course, your videos aren't gonna get 10s or hundreds of 1000s of views because you don't know what you're doing. You keep trying to do that. Keep making videos for yourself. Maybe keep making videos for your family, keep making videos for your friends, and then you get those 1015 20 views and great, great keep going made the next video my next video make next video because you learn something better every single time. And then suddenly, two, three years down the line. Suddenly, you're gonna realize, oh shit, I have 20,000 subscribers I fish vessels grabbers, I have 100,000 subscribers. Oh, off I go. You won't know what you're doing and to make those mistakes. And so the best thing you can do is make the mistakes.


Jay Clouse  38:21

I see you haven't uploaded any shorts to the editing podcast channel. Are you guys thinking about shorts as part of your strategy?


Jay Clouse  38:28

Yes, we just haven't quite, because we're still a low lift organization, we still don't have the manpower to be able to manage and communicate with our other editors on how to make the shots. We just we just don't quite have that organizational skill just yet. But we we are intending to have shorts on a separate channel. So therefore the podcasts are a lot more easier to find, despite shorts having this own tab very soon. But then with their shorts being highly valuable growth strategies, and they will then be directing them to come back come on to the main channel. And those shorts can be posted on tick tock. Those shorts can be posted on Instagram reels they shorts can be posted on shorts. And so yeah, it's part of the process as part of the plan. We just haven't quite got that manpower just yet.


Jay Clouse  39:17

What about the Community tab? This is something I've been thinking about. Probably not enough level of depth. How have you approached the Community tab? Or have you seen creators approach the Community tab in the past in an effective way?


Jay Clouse  39:30

I think community tabs are extremely underrated. I think they have a really really great way to have a direct communication with your audience. So I have 260,000 people subscribed to my channel on Hillier Smith, but I only have about 50,000 on my Instagram. Why would I neglect sending a direct message to 250,000 people? That's why I think it's an underutilized tool. If you if you want to direct communication with the audience, they're on YouTube. And so keep talking to them there. And one of the ways of doing this is if we're bringing in a large guest list Just say we're bringing in Mr. Beast, I would ask in the community tab. Hey, we're gonna interview Mr. Beast, what questions we'd like to ask. I think we've ended that with paddy Galloway, and we got amazing responses that helps inform us the conversation that audiences wanted us to have. It's also a very good way, let's just say we happened to have not posted an optimal time, we can probably the next day, make a community post, hey, we posted a video yesterday. If you missed it, go check it out. So we're gonna do a second wave of viewership, just because audiences happen to have missed it if we have a collaboration if we have an interview. So for example, I will share this interview on the Community tab, hey, I was on this interview, go check it out. Therefore, my viewers should be editing podcasts and and come on to this episode. It's a really, really underutilized and undervalued platform to help communicate with your audience and start sending him the direction that you would like for them to go.


Jay Clouse  40:46

Who are some of the creators that you're watching for inspiration because you think they are at the cutting edge of a trend or doing things different in a really positive way? I'm sure you'd have an interesting take on this.


Jay Clouse  40:59

It's no secret and very obvious that the biggest inspiration for the editing podcast is Colin and Samir, but they gave industry permission that we can start talking about YouTube. Seriously, that was a huge moment for me. Finally, we can have these conversations that I've been wanting for years, I've taken on massive, massive inspiration. Also also the good friends of mine as well. And so like, I'm very open minded, like, Hey, you I really love your thumbnails where you had a conversation, the thumbnail that had that raise a good conflict and question, is it okay, if I can borrow that concept? And they're like, Yeah, that's okay. due to just the nature of me working with Logan impulsive is another really, really great example, where it's, it is just just a bunch of boys hanging out and having a good laugh. And so that means experiencing that firsthand. I still go that direction. And so I would say, Colin Samir, and impulsive are two really good mixes that I'm trying to blend together into the editing podcast.


Jay Clouse  41:53

Man, yeah it seems I look at stuff like impulsive. And these, these more entertainment shows that are like in person podcasts that are just really chill. And they don't, there's not a great, like business world corollary to that. That's actually something that Connor, my editor brought to me as like, Hey, we should try to figure out a way to like, get more of this vibe into the world that's a little bit more overtly business centric, because it just doesn't seem to have crossed the chasm yet. Unless you've seen differently.


Jay Clouse  42:25

I think you're I think people really like to see x industry through y person's perspective. People like to tune in to Khan and Samir because they want to get the credit crummy from their perspective. people tune in to Logan, because they want to see what Logan's perspective is on X drama that happened that week. If Steve Jobs had a podcast, how incredible would it be to hear his perspective on the Apple products being made? Like I think perspective podcasts, I think would be highly valuable. And so if there was someone in the business, who was really top tier that was able to share their perspective on business, that would be a breakthrough moment for podcasts.


Jay Clouse  43:05

That's something that I think you guys are already doing well, on your channel that we want to prioritize a little bit more is, when you're an interview show. If you only do interviews, you're almost by default, putting yourself in like a secondary position to your guests constantly and not like able to give your own perspective enough. And we're realizing the opportunity to doing more just like me direct to camera stuff, to start to build some some perspective for people or to build the ability for people to understand my perspective on things. Was that intentional choice that you guys made or is it just kind of happen that way?


Jay Clouse  43:43

Oh, absolutely intentional. It was even a massive discussion where it was like we would have considering Iver how much of our personalities do we put into this, if it's just an interview with X person, X person, next person, and therefore none of it about the host? Who am I actually tuning in for it becomes a difficult emotional connection for you to then will emotionally connect to that show this just that we bring in a Netflix editor, people are going to tune in knowing what's Hayden going to say to the Netflix editor like that brings in such an extra element of life towards the content that we make. And so that is why I don't want particularly have interviews, I could probably have a couple questions. But I want it to then be an invitation for a conversation. Hey, what do you think of this? This is my opinion about it. That's interesting, because I think this I love the fact that you think like that, because I feel like it could be this way. Well, actually, I disagree. How could What if we try it this way, then becomes a debate or a conversation. That's more interesting for me. But then I wouldn't be able to do that. If this was a pure if my content was purely based. It was purely interview based.


Jay Clouse  44:44

Well, we already talked a little bit about how we're seeing a little bit of a return to vlogging. With the last couple of minutes here. I'd love to hear if there are any other predictions you want to make on where things are going with YouTube, what types of content you think will start to pick up and if we're gonna have New copycats doing a new type of thing.


Jay Clouse  45:02

I'm thinking a lot of creators have been obsessed with the idea of growth, try to get 10 million try get 20 million try to get 40 million try to get 50 million views. i A lot of people have started focusing on views instead if they do the high retention content because of that, but then when you try to make your content cater towards everybody, you end up catering to no one. And so therefore, you might I might have watched the whole through the whole video, but in the end probably meant nothing to me, creators are starting to wise up to that. And now beginning to invest a bit more on to I don't care if I get 70 to 80% retention, if I get 50 to 40% retention, but that 50% of people that stayed men, they had a much more better time, then I've made a good video, and that video might only end up getting 234 million views or maybe even in my case 100,000 views but those people that stayed and had a great time is the people that I want to make the content for I've increased the construct changing towards investing in the audience they already have rather than always trying to be as big growth as possible.


Jay Clouse  46:05

I love it. Well, the editing podcast I'll send people there anything else you want to call out as something people should investigate after the show?


Jay Clouse  46:13

Check out the ads in podcast check out my channel as well Hillier Smith, and I'm still trying to push on my socials if you can put this as you can follow me on my socials as well. Yeah, I think going back on my last note, if you start investing on your audience, now, you're going to be ahead of the curve. So invest in the people that you already have and make sure they have the best experiences and best relationship with you. And you're going to have a significantly stronger core audience because of that.


Jay Clouse  46:43

This is a great primer on where YouTube is heading. If you wanna learn more about Hayden, you can find him on YouTube at Hillier Smith or the editing podcast. Links to both of those as well as Hayden's Twitter are in the show notes. Thanks to Hillier for being on the show. Thank you to Connor Conaboy for editing this episode and Nathan Todhunter for mixing our audio they get Brian Skeel for creating our music and Emily Clouse for creating our artwork. I'd love to hear what you think about this episode. If you enjoyed it, tweet at me at @jayclouse, let me know if you really want to say thank you. Please leave a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify. Thanks for listening and I'll talk to you next week.