Interview Editor Aimee Dickinson chats with ‘ThatOneCharlie’, Durham University student and YouTuber, about his YouTube channel and the joys and struggles of making university videos during a national pandemic.
Charlie is a second year at Durham studying Archaeology, with a couple of History and English modules thrown in. His channel, which currently has over 3,000 subscribers, explores life at university, from ranking the Durham colleges to day-in-the-life style vlogs to sketches exploring the kinds of students found in a Zoom class. Charlie started his YouTube channel while still in his A-levels, explaining that the initial inspiration was to help him revise: “teaching is meant to be the easiest way to remember things, so I thought if I spoke to a camera it would hopefully help the information stay in my brain a bit better.” He says that continuing to talk about his experiences of applying to university and eventually coming to Durham felt like the “natural progression” for his channel. Charlie was inspired by StudyTubers like Ibz Mo and Jack Edwards, who he explains has been a “big inspiration”, saying “I probably wouldn’t have considered Durham for university if I hadn’t seen Jack’s videos”.
Charlie’s states that his main aim for his channel is to “help motivate people to aim higher than they maybe thought they could”, explaining “I think a lot of people limit themselves in terms of applying to university. I never expected to get into Durham, so if I can encourage someone to aim higher and get into their dream university, that would make me very happy and make my platform worthwhile”. Charlie explains that his video ideas are a combination of “what I enjoy making and what I think my audience want to see”. “At the moment”, he states, “I’m in a period of experimentation with my videos, looking at the kind of videos I like to watch and what other people are doing in the StudyTube community, as well as thinking about what people will find helpful. For example, with the video explaining each of the Durham colleges, I mainly posted that because I had no idea which college to apply to, and I feel like so many people are in the same position”. He laughingly explains that he picked his college (Cuths) simply because he recognised the saint it was named after, and, as someone who picked their college almost entirely at random, I could relate. The inner workings of a university can seem a mystery when viewed from the outside, so explanation and reassurance can be invaluable.
Charlie has a great relationship with his viewers and responds to every comment on his videos individually. As he explains, “I’m small enough that I can generally reply to every comment, and if someone’s taken the time to write a comment, it seems only right that I take the time to respond. There’s also so many people who comment on my videos asking for advice, and it’s really great to be able to help them out in a more personal way, especially in the current climate where people can’t really be going to university open days.”
Upon being asked about the best and worst aspects of the YouTuber gig, Charlie answers that “the best parts are thinking of the ideas for videos and going out and filming them. Editing can also be really fun, but at the same time, the worst bit is knowing how much you’ve got to edit and not really wanting to start”. He was surprised when he started making videos by the amount of time it takes to film and edit, explaining “it can take up to 12 hours to edit one video” and that “finding music is a nightmare”. While I was also curious to know whether Charlie has struggled to create content during the pandemic, he explains that being in Durham without his housemates has proved to be a “really good time to make videos”, explaining it’s been “quite nice to have Durham to myself to film”.
Of course, when people hear the words ‘YouTube’ and ‘Durham’, their minds immediately go to Jack Edwards, so I had to ask Charlie what it was like to have that legacy. While Charlie does get compared to Jack a lot, he explains that he doesn’t really mind: “especially in comments, people ask, ‘is this the new Jack Edwards’ and my friends joke about it quite a lot, but as we’re both YouTubers from Durham university making similar videos, the comparisons are inevitable.” He also explains that Jack “has been a big help” in terms of understanding the business side of running a channel, helping him to “write up legal documents for collaborations with businesses”.
In terms of the future of his channel, Charlie states “I would love to continue it during my time at university and maybe even beyond, but I guess we’ll see where things go”.
Check out Charlie’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8xcR1WXfJLufcwXJPRBk0g
Image credit: Charles Llewellin