Vidtalks 2017: Authenticity Rules.

The Video Experience in Person


On Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Vidtalks here in Vancouver.

With speakers like Corey Vidal, Rachel David, Sunny Lenarduzzi and a few others, what’s not to like?

But I never attend these things based specifically on the speakers.

I go for the gems of wisdom. The unique observations provided by the presenters.

These insights can transform your thinking and the value of your own work and creative process.

It is rare that I attend an event like this where I cannot walk away with at least one amazing insight.

This event had several.


DIY for the YouTuber


Vidtalks began with a tutorial on making high quality video by Justin Sabarre from Pushr. Over the course of his presentation a couple of things really stood out for me.

The amount of time they spend writing scripts. 10 minutes of script is distilled into a minute of video.

The written word has a role to play even  in this medium.

Emotion and feeling can be conveyed in a very powerful way on video that other mediums can’t.  Here the visual is transformed by the presence of sound and body language.

He talked about the fact that video, like other mediums needs a focus and a purpose.


Making Bank


Sunny Lenarduzzi followed with an upbeat demonstration of the business development side. How a video can be a tool for a wider strategy.

The process of taking your video and doing something with it.

Her presentation was a masterful exploration of “the system”. The how it’s done aspect of YouTube marketing.

The takeaway here was as in most things, understanding facts is nice at parties, but understanding the system means making bank. This is the same in many aspects of life and business.

Know the system and the role that video plays in it and how it works.

The core of the entire system is: authenticity.

In other words your content, your voice, your desire to build a relationship. Develop credibility. All must be real. Honest. Authentic.

In a world where relationships are defined by text and without personal contact, I can see why this process is so important in video.

Video is personal contact for the digital age.


KYC: Know Your Client


In the next section on Affiliate Marketing we had: Ryan Thomas Woods moderating Rachel David of Hashtag Communications and Adam Handle of Famebit.

Some things really stood out here as well.

The emphasis on the personal touch was evident throughout. Knowing your product and message is important but knowing your influencer is equally valuable.

The deep personal bonds. The value of “knowing your client” was heavily emphasized.

Knowing the influencer and matching your product and message wisely allows for authenticity and generates results.

In other words, the audience has a bullshit meter. In video they know by watching you when you aren’t authentic. Real.

Personal relationships and authentic behavior turns digital interaction into an intimate relationship between the viewer and the presenter.


Content is Gold. Applause is Platinum.


Finally Corey Vidal spoke at length with Ryan Wong of Juniper.

Here again some standout moments.

The emphasis on content and authenticity was showcased throughout.

The story of starting the Buffer Festival for YouTubers contained several interesting stories including the reason for the Festival.

Corey believed that if a YouTuber could see their video on a big screen in theater with others; see how others responded and experienced their work, YouTubers would be hooked.

Because YouTubers make these videos in isolation. They receive no personal applause. They don’t hear people laugh at their jokes.

Present in the theater with others YouTubers get to experience authenticity by providing it.

So obvious and yet I found it a remarkable story.

It also demonstrates the importance once again of understanding your audience and their underlying values.

Authenticity becomes not being paid to do something. Not being told to do something.

But rather making them want to do something so badly they will essentially do it for free. For the love of being a part of something.

Making a YouTuber promote something rather than providing them with the reason to join and enthusiastically support the product or mission was both expensive and awkward.

Even worse: inauthentic.

Near the end while describing video quality Corey emphasized that low quality video wasn’t necessarily a negative, but that poor audio was unforgivable.

The often overlooked part of video, the sound is a key component. As Justin emphasized at the beginning of the talk, great audio has one important characteristic: it isn’t noticed.


A Canvass in Another Form


As a writer I noticed a number of themes that seemed to cross mediums:


  • Content is extremely important. It’s everything.
  • That content needs to be authentic. Period.
  • You need to know your audience well, and speak to them in a clear conversational tone.
  • People don’t like to be sold.
  • Writing like video, is effective when you understand its role in a system.
  • Different mediums do not have to be mutually exclusive.
  • The most effective communication is direct. It speaks to your audience. It identifies a problem and provides a solution.
  • You can have an intimate conversation with a person one on one.
  • Where audio must be clear and unnoticed to balance and enhance a video, the writer must be able to engage the imagination of the reader without interjecting themselves.
  • Each piece of writing like each video requires a focus. A goal. One objective.
  • Comments and likes are testimonials.

The big picture message is that video is growing in importance and represents another valuable way to build an audience, tell a story and build relationships.

It’s the way people in the digital age experience human contact, body language, voice intonation.

Video is undervalued as a medium by many businesses.

It’s another arrow in a communication quiver.




For a first time event, I thought Vidtalks was very well done. Great speakers. Insightful commentary.

An introduction to the medium that was informative and thought provoking.

I felt completely engaged throughout.

My congratulations to the organizers, volunteers and all the speakers.

I look forward to next year.


Tristram Waye