State of YouTube, Motorz TV, and Tool Talk in 2024

I love creating video content. I realize it may not look like it if you take a look at the recent uploads of my YouTube channel, @chris. It looks like something bad happened. Well, it did… so let’s talk about that, Motorz TV, and “Tool Talk with Chris Duke”.

So what happened? The pandemic happened, and I had to pivot quickly. That led to putting my TV show and YouTube videos on ice so I could focus on providing for my family.

Just prior to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, things were going quite well. My TV show (Motorz) was in full production and I was creating product review videos on YouTube (“Tool Talk with Chris Duke”).

Without going into a lot of details, filming stopped, sponsors dried up, and the money stopped flowing. It was panic time. So, I went full speed into my professional voice over work and eventually landed a new full-time tech job that is perfect for me, I am damn good at, and love.

Unfortunately between the new full-time job and spending time with my family, there’s not much time remaining to produce video content. Weekends are spent on home DIY upkeep and forcing myself relax before Monday rolls around again.

Fast-forward 4 years, where is my head at?

Motorz TV: The filming of new episodes is still paused. I have not cancelled the show. In fact, every day of the week it is still being aired to millions on television via multiple networks. When the time is right for a reboot, I’m all for it. I’m just not sure when that will be.

Tool Talk with Chris Duke: This branding was a lot of fun, especially with the awesome sponsorship I had with Craftsman. Eventually I dropped the “Tool Talk with” and my YouTube channel became my personal brand, “Chris Duke”. That’s where it still is as of today. I think I’m done with the alternate branding options and logos. It’s all about the content that makes me happy to share.

Sponsorships? For now, I’m over it. If I get free products to feature in videos, it will be because I reached out to a company and asked them for it. Other than that, it will be products I buy and want to talk about in my videos.

Cool story, bro! So where are the new vids?

Yeah, about that. M-F is the full-time job, weekends are made for Michelob family, and home upkeep. How the hell do I carve out time to write, film, edit, and produce videos? Well, thankfully I have had well over a decade of experience (including over 100 episodes of the TV show). I know how to streamline, downsize, and simplify the process I used to film before.

Gone are the fancy cameras and all that gear. My last video on YouTube was filmed entirely using my iPhone as a test. It was a huge success, so that’s what I’ll be using going forward as my main A-camera. For my B-camera, I have a Pixel phone and an Insta360 GO 3 for action shots and unique camera angles. For audio, I have my professional Sennheiser shotgun mic for when I need it, but will mainly be using small wireless lav mics like the DJI Mic 2. Along with a few good lights, some creative ideas… that’s all you need these days. It’s amazing what you can do with very little. And hey–that is a topic for one of my upcoming videos right there.

With that said, even though I’ve figured out how to streamline my workflow–it still requires a large time investment. I just need to make time for it with some late evenings and on the weekends when I can. I don’t want to pump out half-assed videos, so the perfectionist in me prevents me from publishing junk. My goal is to stick to my new mission statement and always make sure the viewer is entertained, educated, and I don’t waste their time. These are qualities I look for in other YouTube channels that I subscribe to.

The typical advice is to upload a video at least once a week to YouTube, if you can. I’ve already determined that is impossible, so I’m shooting for 1 or 2 per month. If I can do more, I will. I figure once I get back into a routine it will be a lot easier and I’ll find my way. One thing I am not going to be doing is the “niche down” approach many YouTubers adopt. The topic of each video will be whatever I am interested in at the time… it could be about tech, home, cars, or something completely different. Not any one single topic.

So that’s the state of my YouTube channel and TV show. Like I said at the start of this post, I really do love creating video content. I miss doing it! It exercises the creative side of my brain that I truly enjoy. I got a little burned out from doing too much prior to the pandemic, so perhaps this forced break was a good thing? I can’t wait to be consistently creating again and make that side of my brain happy again! 🧠

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