A full-time sophomore at Principia College working what is now a full-time job, Kent Heckel is a daily Vlogger with over 20,000 subscribers and 1 million views — not to mention that he recently won a Buffer film festival award for his video, “The Best Day of My Life.” WayUp sat down with Kent to learn more about his experiences: from the positives of following his passion and interacting with his followers to the challenges of staying creative with every single post. Check out his inspirational answers below.
Tell us about you! What are you studying at Principia College?
I am a special Major. My school and I are working on creating a curriculum for me that embodies what I do on YouTube. It’s a mix between film, marketing, graphic design and computer science to include all of the possibilities of YouTube. We are nicknaming it the “YouTube major.”
Tell us how you first got into vlogging.
I got into vlogging after seeing a few daily vlogs from Charles Trippy, ShayCarl, FunForLouis and Ben Brown. I was captivated by how cool their lives were…So I really took the concept of daily vlogging and broke it down. I realized that they don’t get to do all this cool stuff because they are famous and have tons of money and fans. They do all this cool stuff because they put a camera in front of their faces everyday and use that as a reminder that they need to do something cool or be worth someone’s time. That’s when 18-year-old Kent who sat at his computer all day decided enough was enough. I picked up the super old and crappy digital camera and started vlogging. I did it for a week before I posted them just to make sure I was up for it but after that week, it became my thing. Now here we are 460 days later, and I am still in the same mood. Loving life.
What is your favorite thing about YouTube?
My favorite thing about YouTube is how simple or complex it can be. Everyone belongs here from the best-produced video with the highest quality like Vsauce or Phil Defranco to the lowest webcam quality–like where Jenna Marbles started or even me filming myself with a camera with the same resolution as a potato. Everyone belongs here; it’s just the passionate ones who make it to the top. *Disclaimer: I am not the top*
Check out one of Kent’s amazing videos below – note the shout out to WayUp at 4:11! :D
Has there been a time when the pressure of growing your following affected your ability to create?
100% yes. Everyday. If you look at my videos, they always have a click bait title and some thumbnail that hopefully makes you want to click on my video. I do this because as much as I focus completely on my content, I also want to progress as a YouTuber, and I think there has to be that balance. People lose track of this though when they let the views decide their content. Don’t change your life to get views.
What’s the best response you’ve gotten from one of your followers on social media?
Actually I consider lots of my viewers friends and we often talk. One viewer in particular commented every day about some part of my video, sometimes negative, but he still commented. The comments started to trail off and I actually got worried. After a week of no comments, he writes again that after lots of our conversations he had gone to get help from a counselor. This really touched me. My viewers had made someone realize that he needed something better in his life and they inspired him to go get it. That is the best response I have ever gotten. That’s why I make videos.
Any advice for students who want to pursue YouTube & vlogging?
First off, don’t make YouTube videos to make money, get free stuff or become famous. That’s what is wrong with YouTube. Make videos to share, inspire and create. Make sure your motives are pure before you start. And if you really want to start creating and sharing, the only thing holding you back from doing that is doing it.
What would you say to students who are neglecting their passion because they feel that school work is time-consuming?
I think neglecting your passion is ignorant. If you really think something is your passion but you aren’t doing it, then I don’t think it counts. I believe everyone has dreams and we should all strive to make those dreams your passions, hobbies and then lifestyles. School work is time-consuming but so is Buzzfeed, so take the time you have and use it for you. Don’t wait for life to fully control you.
Editor’s note: So students, next time you say you don’t have time to pursue an incredible internship during the school year, think about what you’re missing out on!