“Let’s start a YouTube channel,” Delia announced one day over breakfast at Crack the Egg.
Frankie Ann looked dubious. “Why? What would we do?” She crinkled her nose as if the very idea stunk.
“I don’t know. But if these silly teenagers can make millions from it, so can we. Or, at least maybe hundreds. My kids are obsessed with that silly child who does nothing but play with toys,” Delia noted.
I thought about it a moment. My kids watched that same silly child, thanks to an introduction from Delia’s family. And that kid did have money rolling in. As three stay-at-home moms, we could use any dollar amount that wanted to roll our way.
“It’s not a bad idea,” I offered. “But we would need a topic. There are already mommy vloggers out there.”
“V-vloggers? I thought they were b-bloggers,” Frankie Ann questioned. She wasn’t always up on the latest internet trends.
“Video blogger. Vlogger. Some of those people are raking in the money. Makeup tutorials, book reviews, some kids just play a video game and they’re famous now. And remember, Justin Bieber was discovered on YouTube.” I took a bite of my bacon while the notion swirled in all our heads.
“Okay, okay, I can get on board.” Frankie Ann nodded as ideas turned in her head.
“You didn’t have any ideas beyond YouTube?” I looked at Delia. It has been her idea after all.
She smiled. “I don’t know. I’m a big idea person, not a details person. The world always needs more uplifting momma talk. Maybe a mom advice thing?”
I lit up at the idea. “Ooo, I like that. Advice to other moms or to people who want mom wisdom?”
With only a shrug, Delia went silent. She really wasn’t a details person.
“What about Grits Great Advice? Like an advice column, it can be everything and anything,” Frankie Ann finally suggested.
A huge grin broke out onto my face. “That’s fabulous. And we can all offer our brand of expertise.”
Finally speaking again, Delia offered up an amazing, “Southern Advice for Southern Women.”
We discussed it a little further and agreed on “GRITS Great Advice, Southern Advice for the Southern Life” as our title and tagline. We assigned tasks so we could go record our first session the following week.
As we packed up to leave our weekly breakfast, Frankie Ann posed the most important aspect of the whole idea. “Where will we get questions to answer?”
We sat back down, the server who had been heading to our table groaned and backed off to wait some more. He was about twenty and adorable and I wanted to put him in my pocket. No longer was I attracted to that age, now I wanted to parent him. But that’s a conversation for another day.
“We can make them up,” I suggested.
“No, they have to be real. Maybe we can ask our own questions at first and the other two answer?” Delia looked at us expectantly.
“Well, we’ll have to do intro videos anyway, right? We got this.” Frankie Ann, who had been the initial naysayers, now had a sparkle of excitement in her eyes.
“We do have this,” Delia said. She stood and took a sip of her iced coffee. “Now. You have your assignments. Go forth and conquer.”
I stood as I chuckled. “Delia. We’re not attacking Rome.”
“Not with that attitude we’re not. We can become YouTube sensations.”
With that, we all made our way to the door, leaving the poor young server shaking his head after us as he began to wipe down our table.
At home, I looked up what it took to have a successful YouTube channel. It was a lot more involved that I had thought. There were all kinds of analytics to pour over. Data from a dozen different companies on how to be successful vloggers. My head began to spin. And this wasn’t even my assignment from Delia.
I was in charge of how to make a video. This seemed like the most important part and I wondered if I had been burdened with the most daunting task. Lighting and cameras and microphones. These would all take money. As I researched, I realized setting up our phones as cameras in the living room really wouldn’t do. The good channels had gorgeous backdrops, professional lighting, and the sound was impeccable. I needed an expert’s help.
“Savannah? Can you help me?”
She slowly came into the room with her eyebrows raised. “That depends. What do you need?”
Oh, the teenage snarkiness. But I didn’t have time. I had a YouTube channel to create.
“We’re making a YouTube channel,” I announced.
Horror. That was the ook on her face – pure horror. “We? As in the family? I refuse.”
I rolled my eyes. “No, not you. The Grit Girls. We’re making a video advice column.”
Eyebrows bunched and nose crinkled, Savannah looked unsure of this declaration. “Mom. You? Delia? Frankie Ann?” She added emphasis with each name. “Why? Who would go to you all for advice?”
I feigned shock. “What? Who wouldn’t come to us for advice? We have about 8,000 children between us. We’ve lived a combined…um…lot of years. We have a lot to offer.”
“What’s the name of this channel?”
“GRITS Give Advice,” I said proudly.
“Good, now I know to avoid it.” The giggle told me she was joking, but I still gave her a look. “What do you need?”
I patted the chair beside me and pulled up a shopping website on my laptop. “We need something called a beauty light. And we need a mic. And maybe a camera. Can we use a cell phone for now?”
Now my girl was in her element. She was a YouTube expert, it seemed. Maybe I needed to pay better attention to what she was watching, but she seemed to know all about beauty lights that would make us look youthful and smart. She recommended a set of tiny microphones that clipped onto our shirts and didn’t break the bank.
Lastly she grabbed my phone and downloaded an app. “This is what you want to create videos. You can record, filter and edit all from this app. Have Frankie Ann and Delia download it as well. Who’s doing the editing?”
Editing? I blinked a few times. “We don’t just upload the straight video?”
“No. You can’t have dead air, people will click to another channel. You want seamless cuts. No silence. You’ll cut more than half of what you record.”
I looked at my child in a new light. “How do you know all this?”
“I’m thirteen mom. This is what we do.”
With lights and mics ordered, I texted Delia and Frankie Ann to tell them how much they owed for the equipment. And to remind them that there was money involved and we could not stop now. We – I – had invested into this scheme.
“Anything else, Mom?”
I loved it when my child smiled at me, which she did now. “No, thank you, sweetie. You really know your stuff.” Maybe this could be a great mother-daughter bonding experience. She could help us with our editing. I could even pay her a little. But mostly, we would bond over our shared love of videos.
My tender moment was cut short though, when she replied, “Duh,” and left the room.
Oh well. Maybe Caroline and Magnolia would still love me when they were teenagers.
I spent the next hour clicking through YouTube channels. There were channels for everything. How-to guides for anything from plumbing to hair. Comedy channels with silly singing or stand-up. Farming videos (I’ll admit I got sidetracked by some adorable baby llamas). You name it, it was out there.
And while there were plenty of advice and tips videos, I didn’t see anything like what we were thinking on an initial pass through. Maybe, just maybe, we could pull this crazy idea off. It would certainly fill our time since all the kids would be in at least some sort of preschool program this year.
Delia was in charge of finding out how to get questions. I would check in with her later to see what she had found out. Frankie Ann had assigned herself the job of aesthetics – creating a look, a color scheme, an identifiable brand. We would convene via our group chat after supper that night to see what had been discovered.