How to tell stories and grow a YouTube channel – Interview with Beau Miles

Beau Miles, Filmmaker and Writer
Beau is the kind of person everyone wants to be their best friend, but more importantly in this context: has found a way to tell stories about things that wouldn’t be obvious and do it in a captivating fashion.

Table of Contents

Beau Miles’ guide to shooting videos

  • Casey Neistat is an example of someone who has every shot dialled before shooting. Beau goes out and shoots the hell out of it, then boils it down in the edit: going in the reverse order. It’s all about reduction, reduction, reduction for Beau.
    • There is a quick tip here. Beau writes his introductions at the end of his videos. While an idea may be one thing at the beginning of a shoot or edit – by the end, it could have morphed.
  • Many filmmakers will have beautiful shots, but Beau is all about the narrative. With technology being where it is these days, shots are cheap. Not everyone can tell the story they want to tell!
  • Create for the user! If you want attention – you have to feed the attention. Respect the audience’s time.
    • Good sound is critical. 
    • Have a grab at the front. 
    • Use subtitles – in multiple languages
  • Finally, Beau will also be challenging himself with a series of one shot films soon. To us, these spoke of curiosity and constantly trying new things.

Beau Miles’ guide to having great ideas

  • Sometimes you don’t know when a video is going to be a success. If you have sought out something that makes you feel joyful – then you can enthusiastically pursue that. It’s not about trying to create a hit, it’s about trying to tell the story. That’s where the best ideas come from.
  • Even when something does catch – trying to subsequently recreate that ‘lightning in a bottle’ it is a fools errand. Appreciated and enjoy it – then you should look for the next idea.
  • Beau runs his ideas are run through a few trusted people – Beau’s wife and his filmmaking partner act as a fall back to filter the idea. If they agree – then the idea is developed. Sometimes, ideas go in the bin!
  • Sometimes ideas have to be more literal. Beau is interested in the nuance of storytelling, but sometimes it’s about clearly explaining what’s going on so the audience can understand what’s going on. In online platforms, this feels important.
  • Even when you have the idea – sometimes it’s about releasing yourself from the expectations about the idea and the vision. It’s not always about romanticism.
  • Beau has faith that everyone has an internal monologue that is interesting. It’s the challenge to get to their nectar. The challenge is the same with storytelling from a ‘boring’ company perspective. This is a great challenge and something to be excited about! How can you find the thing that you are getting excited about?
  • The failing of forced storytelling is when someone feels like they ‘have’ to do something.

“When someone feels like they have to keep up appearances on Linkedin… write a column every week… or do something for their in house newsletter every week. The fact that these things are pressurised and somewhat forced… this is bad from the start.

I make films because I love it… Creators make things because they like things. They want to do these things.

So beggars belief that we tack on all these things to be seen and visible, but they’re a pain in the arse to do.

So if you’re going to do these things… do them willingly, and on your own terms.”

Beau Miles

Beau Miles’ guide to growing on YouTube

  • Why YouTube? It’s about inclusivity and exposure. The traditional broadcasters: the CNNs, BBCs etc of the world felt like a club you had to be part of. YouTube, at the time, wasn’t like that – they were giving exposure to all. Beau says if you are a filmmaker or a storyteller: you’re bonkers if you don’t want your films seen by the most amount of people possible. 
    • It’s also about control: you post the videos. You write your own paychecks.
  • YouTube runs on ‘peak velocity’ – if you get all your mates to watch at the same time – it’s going to please the algorithm. That’s essentially the benefit of having a subscriber count, too. When publishing – try and get as many people watching early, and together!
  • There are a few pieces of ‘marketing’ you can be doing on YouTube. Even though Beau will never compromise the story he is telling to optimise for the algorithm, he will be conscious about the title and thumbnail. 
    • Beau suggests that being quite literal with your titles is something he’s considering right now.
    • One of his videos is currently called ‘Homewrecker’ – but now Beau is considering titles more akin to what actually happens in the video. In the case of this video it would be something like ‘Saving 15 tonnes of timber from a wrecked house’ or ‘Saving $15,000 on timber’
  • Beau thought he had found his formula at 400k subscribers. But then he’s now realised he has to change how he approaches things. What got him here won’t get him there!