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VidCon 2014: Tips from online content producers

Panelists share tips on how to make it in the online production world

You don't have to be a YouTube star to be part of the YouTube world.

According to panelists at a VidCon panel called "Working for YouTubers," producing and behind-the-scenes work is just as fun as being in front of the camera. 

On Friday, producers from popular online channels discussed how attendees, mostly in their teens, could break into the production side of online content.

Here are six things to take away from the panel:

1. The digital content world is full of job opportunities.

"I think what's exciting about what's going on in digital media is none of these jobs exist until you get in there and you create them," said Lauren Schnipper, head of production and development for Shane Dawson TV Inc.

Schnipper noted that unlike Hollywood productions, YouTube and other online content platforms allow "you to figure out what you are good at."

2. Working in online production has its perks.

"We are working together to create content that's constantly evolving," said Stevie Wynne Levine, production manager of Rhett & Link.

The role of producer regarding online content requires many hats. 

"The producer has the same spirit toward the channel as the creator," said Caitlin Hoffmeister, executive producer of SciShow. 

3. YouTube stars can be divas.

When asked by an attendee what it's like working with the talent (and if they have overblown egos), the panelists laughed but admitted there are some downsides.

"It's a dark, dark cloud," Schnipper joked.

"You'll never be as smart as them," echoed Jonathan Green, executive producer for Fine Brothers Entertainment.

4. To get hired, showcase your skill set, not your inner fan.

There's nothing wrong with being a YouTube fan but it's important to distinguish from fan and aspiring producer.

"It's all about your portfolio," said April Salud, producer of Strawburry17.

"You have to start working on your own body of work," Schnipper said. 

Green agreed: "Focus on marketing yourself."

5. Don't expect a star salary.

"When you start on YouTube, obviously you have to be doing it for the passion," Green said. "You have to be working hour after hour, day after day, just putting content on your channel." 

Even once you build a fan base, "if you are lucky enough ... you can maybe hire one person," he added.

6. Above all, panelists agreed, to make it in the industry it's important to be: 

Flexible, passionate and dedicated.

For more news on VidCon, follow me @saba_h

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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