Having talked about my idea to create my own cooking channel on YouTube for over 4-months and actually doing it has been a process. The fear of having this project turn into what my husband calls, “a half-baked idea” was beginning to hatch. Every time I started, I couldn’t follow through. I’ll admit, at first it was mainly due to my fear of reading the instruction manual to my Gopro and learning how to get this minuscule camera to work. But then, it wasn’t my fault that my camcorder died on me nor could I be blamed for my sudden case amnesia when it came to editing on iMovie. Regardless of the issues, I’m proud to have finally posted two YouTube videos. It took a while, but thanks to YouTube and my Apple One-on-One class, I got it done.
I was so excited with my first little video called L’omelette, which my mother quickly noted I spelled the title wrong and that I don’t have to add milk to the eggs… well I know, but it’s my recipe, so I can make it how I want, is what I thought to myself… But these comments were the beginning of an avalanche to come where my friends, family, old co-workers and acquaintances all had an expert opinion on how I should act, be and do my show.
I posted my video on Facebook for my friends and family to see I had finally started Deliciously Detroit. Some overly liked my video and shared it with gushing compliments that actually embarrassed me because I knew the episode was filled with mistakes and had a ton of room for improvement. Once the compliments died down, subjective, opinionated, director-like, expert-in-the-field, which nobody I’m closely acquainted to is really in the “industry” as they say in LA, came pouring in. Comments lacking compliments surfaced…. some I agreed with, but it was a lot to swallow. My 9-year old son is also getting into having his own YouTube channel. He wants to show the world his latest Mine craft creations, newest Nerf guns, or expertise at reverse filming turning pieces of ripped paper miraculously back into a full sheet of paper. But, even my son had something to say about my video. He came upstairs after making a mini-movie with his dad and stated, “Papa thinks I’m better than you at making movies than you.” Annoyed, I ask my husband who is walking behind him, what he means by this. He tells me, “Seb sounds natural, you sound like you are out of it, or trying to be someone else.” I say in defense, “But that’s my voice over voice!” and “The guy on YouTube teaching me how to get rid of Poison Ivy sounded like an idiot,” I retort to Paul. “Yeah, but he is an idiot, at least he sounds like himself and is real,” says Paul.
I secretively listen to my voice over again and realize that Paul is right. I re-edit my voice-over and my Quaalude-sounding, slurring voice transforms into a peppy, clear and articulate me. Much improved. I repost on Facebook thinking the compliments will pour in. Ping… first comment– I’m told I could use direction and possible video and editing help. PING… my footage is too fast. Ping.. my footage is too slow. PING…I should smile more. PING.. I should drink through the whole episode and be drunk, because drunk people on YouTube are funny. PING.. I should dress like a French maid. PING.. I should have a cigarette hanging from my mouth. PING… and it just goes on and on.
The phone rings, it’s my good friend calling from California. I was happy to hear from her. “Hi there,” I answer. Not even a “hello” or a “How are you”, she jumps right in, “I just need to tell you the problems with your video…” Argh, here we go again, as much as I love her and respect her opinion and taste, I just really don’t want to hear it right now and wished I hadn’t answered. How much more advice can I handle? Did anybody realize I wasn’t trying to win an Oscar or beauty pageant? What do any of the comments thus far have to do with cooking and sharing recipes? OK, fine, my mom did ask me why I was adding milk to the eggs and that she cooks her omelette differently, but really. I agree it’s true you want to look your best on camera, I actually learned this the hard way with one of my Periscope broadcastings. I did a little live broadcast, actually it’s always live, no room for mistakes or editing. Anyway, it took me 2 days to get over the comments I got from viewers watching me on Periscope that night. One person said “Wow, old lady knows how to use an app” Must have been an annoying new millennial kid, as 43 is up there but far from old. Then someone said I looked like a meth addict. Another viewer came to my defense saying, “ She lives in Bloomfield Hills, she’s too rich to be a Meth addict.” That hurt! Now I was the stereotypical rich, Bloomfield Hills, housewife which offended me even more. We aren’t rich and I’m far from being a perfect housewife. But it wasn’t until the next day when I went to Google image to see what a meth addict looks like that I was horrified at the images and the following day shopping at Costco, I grabbed the Crest White Strips for the first time in hope of the promised whiter teeth in 24 hours.
Official seal of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My friend’s still on the phone “ I know, I know, I’m working on it! I interrupt and tell her. I try to change the conversation and move onto a different topic – “How are your parents?” She says she still has a few more comments to make that are important on my direction and editing. I continue to listen without getting a word in. Anything I say at this point will just make me sound like an argumentative, little JR. copywriter that is in love with his work. It takes thick skin to be a copywriter, I know this as I worked over 10-years in the industry. Knowing when to let go of a bad idea and understanding that a car commercial featuring a car driving on water isn’t a good demonstration of superior driving machine, hello Chappaquiddick, cars and water don’t mix?! However a little side-note, my husband and I did randomly see car/boat that went on land and water one day in Como, Italy so it is possible, but again this is not a good idea for a major GM spot.
It’s been over 10-minutes of listening to my friend tell me how to stand, sound, talk, be…. I continue to bite my tongue and listen to how the real “karine” isn’t present in the video, that I don’t even have an intro and how are people to know how funny, quirky, French/ American or well travelled I am? I know she is doing it out of love and means well, but I interrupt, it’s the only way to get a word in, letting her know that an intro is on my YouTube channel page and in the “About” section of my blog. She goes on saying I should take a step in towards the camera when talking, not a step back. Totally frustrated, I end the conversation nicely saying that I appreciate the constructive criticism and I do realize I need to improve. She then snappily says, “Well you wanted comments.” I didn’t get into it and tell her that when I say in my video, “please comment,” I mean for food comments or recipe ideas-something about food or Detroit. I didn’t post the video on Facebook and write, “Please comment on my video” I just posted it to show what I’ve been up to. When a Vlogger asks for comments, they aren’t really asking about direction. I mean really, since when do you look at a cooking video and comment to the Vlogger, that you don’t like the color of their nail polish, that they should put some lipstick on or that you don’t think they should look into the camera so much and be more natural? I got off the phone letting her know that I was super excited about my next attempt at my food video and that I would send her an unedited clip right away so that she can see the improvements. We hang-up and I send her the clip. I was hoping for a “much better” or “super, keep on going”… or “I like it better, you are getting there,” response.Example, you see your friend in a race or marathon struggling on the last mile, you don’t say, “Change your form, you need to work harder, move your legs!” It’s obvious! You say, “Keep going,” “You can do it” you don’t go into the faults. But my friend did just that. She tells me, “I think you shouldn’t look at the camera so much but just focus on the cooking and it looks like it’s freezing inside your house!” I guess she didn’t like my warm wooly sweater and cool scarf I was wearing? She continues… “Wear an apron ala 50’s attire with a cute dress… June cleaver.” She writes. Ok wait, I thought I was supposed to be more natural and show the real Karine… Am I now a 1950’s housewife? I’m doing a show about cooking not about June cleaver. My image is me, am I supposed to seem more natural by becoming someone else? And by the way, it’s freezing here, I live in Detroit and it’s Winter! If I were to put on a skimpy little dress or play the French Maid then I’d look pretty ridiculous?
So maybe the natural me is unnatural? Totally discouraged I complain to my husband and he just says, “You are the one that posted on Facebook.” I tell him, imagine if he posted one of his paintings up on Facebook and got comments like: “I think you should have painted the leaf a bit more green, your focus should be more on the plants and not the house, still life is passé, you should wear a beret… “and so on. You get the point, right? It’s easy to criticize until you are staring at that little circle on your iPhone trying to sound natural and talk while cooking. Before this the only talking I would do while cooking would be, “OH shit, I forgot the roast in the oven, it’s burnt!”, or “Crap, I forgot to steam the veggies…” Just as I was almost done with writing this post I got one last Ping… my sister. She lives in Geneva, CH and has been my life-time critic, as a sister should be, and my stylist and supporter who is not afraid to tell me how it is. Her comments came to me in such a surprise. A positive and good surprise that I needed… that little morsel of hope you’re doing something that is remotely good. She wrote: “What a fantastic blog karine! I just read it all online in one go…. I really loved it. I also liked the videos. Really fantastic. You know you don’t need to wear makeup for them nor earrings–you are so beautiful as it is… think about it! It might look cool. It already looks super cool though. Lots of love. Elisa loved the cookie video we watched it 3 times in a row. XX.” Conflicting opinions of looking sexy, June cleaver, 50’s housewife, to the 60’s feminist with no make-up. Whatever the direction or advise, I take my sister’s as MOTIVATION! Thanks!