Somewhereto_ Profiles: IzonHow

Avid YouTuber Adam McCallion on life as a rising vlogger and sustaining a following on the video sharing giant

Each month Culture NI is teaming up with UK-wide social enterprise somewhereto_ to spotlight emerging young talents it has helped access free physical or digital space to explore their creative pursuits in Northern Ireland.

Derry-based vlogger Adam McCallion is a Moving Image Arts student at St. Columb's College who has amassed thousands of subscribers to his IzonHow YouTube channel through a steady stream of uploads, ranging from life hack and gaming videos musings to more topical, day-to-day clips. Adam was also a keen attendee of our VlogIT 2015 event with Honeycomb - Creative Works, which brought together some of the UK and Ireland's most influential YouTubers to share their expertise with aspiring users.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your channel.

Hello my name is Adam and I make YouTube videos on my channel called IzonHow. I make videos from vlogs on a weekly basis and along with that I make gaming videos. I've really enjoyed playing games ever since I was young. I've had my channel about two years now and recently hit 2000 subscribers, which is so cool to have! Thanks to all the people who subscribed. I really enjoy making YouTube videos, but my favourite part of the whole process would be being able to reply to people's comments.

What inspired you to start vlogging?

I started vlogging because I wanted to try and entertain people and make them laugh. At the same time I wanted to try and express my thoughts and opinions to people. I also watched a lot of other vloggers on YouTube who said that they really enjoyed it, so I gave it a go!

How have you managed to grow your audience to the number it's at currently?

At the beginning my videos were of very poor quality and it showed with the low amount of subscribers to my channel, but as time went on I taught myself how to edit and people seemed to like it. It just went on from there and is still going up. I guess people must be liking what they see!

How did you go about monetizing your channel and have you had any other opportunities come your way through it?

A while back I joined a network called Fullscreen, a global youth media company based in Los Angeles which helps online creators by promoting their content and connecting them with like-minded people. YouTube itself gives you the option to partner with them and monetize your channel with Google ads and other features, so it was just a matter of figuring this out really.

In what ways do you promote yourself through social media?

I have a Facebook fan page and an Instagram and Twitter which are really good with communicating with your fans, and getting to know them better, and seeing what kind of videos what they want to see.

Are there any notable YouTubers who've influenced you and your channel?

There are plenty of YouTubers I watch, some have influenced me in some ways when it comes to things like editing techniques, but the best thing to do when it comes to you as a person, is to be yourself. People are able to tell right away if you are being superficial or putting on an act, and you might get a lot of hate for it.

What typically goes into making one of your videos, from hitting record to clicking publish?

One of the most important things about vlogging is the lighting, so I have a light box in my room which take about 15 minutes to set up before I start recording. I don’t script my videos like many vloggers, I just think of the topic and talk about it whatever comes to my mind, this usually takes about 40 minutes. Then comes the editing, which can often take three to fours hours on one vlog, sometimes more if the footage captured needs further cutting down.

How much of your time would you devote to vlogging? Is hard to balance with other responsibilities/interests?

Vlogging can be pretty tricky when it comes to school but it becomes a lot easier if you manage your time right. Personally I would devote a lot of time to making videos as it's my biggest interest and the thing I find most enjoyable to do.

In your experience is it more difficult to develop and sustain a YouTube following than on other social media platforms?

I think it's harder to sustain subscribers on YouTube than on Facebook. On YouTube people tend to unsubscribe if they find them boring or unpleasant to watch. But what I do is just enjoy making videos and as long as people enjoy watching I'll keep making them. Facebook is easier in some ways, then again more difficult in others. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. 

Where do you hope making YouTube videos will take you on down the line?

In years to come I still want to be doing YouTube, I’m not sure where it will take me but as long as I am still enjoying it, I can’t wait to find out!

What would you say to someone thinking of starting their own channel?

Have fun with YouTube! Enjoy what you do!

Subscribe to Adam's YouTube channel here. If you're aged 16-25 and need hooked up with free space to make your ideas happen then get in touch with somewhereto_NI. Contact Joe at joe.c@somewhereto.org.