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YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts [Paperback]

Alan Lastufka , Michael W. Dean
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 1, 2008 0596521146 978-0596521141 1
Want to make a splash on YouTube? Even go viral? You've come to the right place. This book is written by two veteran 'Tubers who live their art and know what they're talking about -- especially Alan Lastufka, a.k.a. "fallofautumndistro," who has over 50,000 YouTube subscribers and over 6 million views. Alan and co-author Michael W. Dean show you how to make a quality video, and how to optimize, encode, upload, and promote it. This book can't promise you'll be rich and famous, but it can tell you how to make great video art, and what you need to do to get your work seen. You'll learn about:
  • Storytelling and directing
  • Shooting, editing, and rendering
  • Creating your very own channel
  • Broadcasting user-generated content
  • Re-broadcasting commercial content
  • Cultivating a devoted audience
  • Fitting into the YouTube community
  • Becoming a success story
Join Alan, who makes part of his living from YouTube, and Michael, a successful filmmaker, author, and D.I.Y. art pioneer. They'll take you from the basics of gear to making it big on YouTube, with a focus on networking and interaction. You'll also sit in on informative interviews with YouTube stars LisaNova, Hank Green (vlogbrothers), WhatTheBuckShow, nalts, and liamkylesullivan.

Alan and Michael understand viral marketing -- and they know what it takes to get your work on everyone's YouTube radar. And, once you read this book, so will you.

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YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts + YouTube For Dummies + How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alan Lastufka a.k.a. fallofautumndistro (YouTube user name), is a musician, writer and filmmaker who was one of the Top 100 Most Subscribed on YouTube in 2008. His YouTube videos have had more than six million total views. One of his early short films received multiple airings nationwide on the Independent Film Channel.

On YouTube, Lastufka is widely praised for his collaboration videos including his "iPwn" iPhone parody commercial, starring ex-MadTV star Lisa Donovan and "Now That's What I Call Emo", a commercial parody bringing in over a million views.

Lastufka is currently running an independent record label for YouTube musicians. That label, DFTBA Records, was named "Best Online Music Label of the Year" by Mashable during its first full year of operation, and has been written about numerous times in YouTube's official blog.

Michael W. Dean is an independent filmmaker who has written for Make Magazine, writes for the O'Reilly Digital Media site and runs the pop culture blog, He was a contributor to the O'Reilly book Digital Video Hacks, and edited the O'Reilly book DV Filmmaking: From Start to Finish.

Michael has sold over a million dollars' worth of books. He is the author of the how-to books $30 Film School, $30 Music School and $30 Writing School. $30 Film School has gained a substantial cult following, just went into the third printing of the second edition, and is taught in colleges. Michael wrote the novels, The Simple Pleasures of a Complex Girl and Starving in the Company of Beautiful Women, and the popular Creative Commons eBook Digital Music - DIY Now!

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596521146
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596521141
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alan Lastufka is a musician, writer and filmmaker. One of his early short films received multiple airings nationwide on the Independent Film Channel (IFC), and he has directed both ex-MadTV star Lisa Donovan and Hollywood film star Kevin Pollak in comedy sketches.

Lastufka has published a book about YouTube with O'Reilly Media and has contributed articles to numerous international magazines and zines, including a Featured Article in Verbicide Magazine.

Lastufka is also the lyricist behind the hit songs "Summer of '09", "Boxcar Blood" and "Can't". Lastufka has collaborated numerous times with the electronic band ALL CAPS, in addition to working with rapper MC Lars and the Billboard Top 20 recording artist, The Secret Handshake.

Lastufka's debut full-length album Erase This (released May 2010), was labeled "a triumph" by UK recording artist Alex Day (of the band Sons of Admirals). The album featured a voice cameo by Kevin Pollak and was spotlighted by in their exclusive "1,000 Albums for $5 Each" January 2011 sale.

Lastufka is the co-founder of the independent record label, DFTBA Records, which was named "Best Online Record Label of the Year" for 2009 by

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't watch the media, be the media February 20, 2009
This is a thorough introduction to creating videos for YouTube, aimed at the absolute beginner. It is especially strong on explaining how to tell a story and on how to behave yourself as part of the YouTube community. The emphasis is on making art, not on making money.

It is not a techie book. There's a long chapter called "99-Cent Film School" that covers the mechanics of creating a video, but it's very basic and deals mostly with the selection of equipment, with some discussion of editing. The book is unusual in that it is not Macintosh-centric: the authors use Windows and claim there's no need to consider Macintosh because Windows is cheaper and has more software.

The authors summarize their position on p. 248 as "Don't watch the media, be the media." This is a good sound bite and gives the flavor of the book, although it is not really accurate since they encourage watching and commenting on the videos of other YouTubers. (Besides, if no one watched the media, would there be any media left?) The authors detest traditional media, especially television, and they detest much of the new media too. This doesn't have much impact on the book, except to cause occasional outbursts of gratuitous nastiness. For example, on p. 244 we read, "Social networking provides websites to people who shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a computer." Although there's some truth in this, it is unnecessary to state it here. The isolation from other media also gives the impression that YouTube is its own universe, with no connection to anything else.

The nastiness comes out in concentrated form in the Preface, which attempts to explain "Why You Should Buy This Book" by trashing the competition. Be sure to skip this section of the book!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting. November 22, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am not an YouTube expert but I was expecting more about the "psychological secrets" of making and "distributing" a five star video.The book contains to much information that I could find in the HELP pages of You Tube or in different user manuals.For example ,there are 14 pages about the Vegas Movie Studio (editing software made by Sony) and a whole section (chapter 4) about how to register with YouTube. Also,there are to many details about hardware (cameras, microphones, props).

I have found some of the information I was looking for mostly in Chapter7(Building Your Audience),Chapter 8(The Community:Where Do You Fit In?),Chapter 12(Beyond the 'Tube) and Chapter 113 (Becoming a Success Story).

I think the book might be useful to an absolute beginner who do not have the time to sit in front of his computer and learn online how to start with YouTube.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This is the best of the You Tube books, in my opinion, and I am surprised by that fact. I was expecting a purely artistic viewpoint with no technical details and the authors actually start from the beginning, including a condensed You Tube history. They take you through the technical aspects of getting started on You Tube, and actually give you a ninety-nine cent film school chapter on how to shoot a video. Anybody can do it, but observe the You Tube videos with annoying/mismatched music, no music, or characters that drone on endlessly to no point. Here they show you how to avoid doing that. One of the authors has written a very good book that expands on how to shoot an interesting film, $30 Film School, Second Edition, one if its good points being that it doesn't even cost thirty dollars and it is accessible to people whose "day job" is not the art of filmmaking.

What makes this book really stand out is the authors' tips on "climbing the charts" with your quality videos. He talks about everything from tagging to communities on this issue. Finally, the author talks about "Them Tube", the mainstream media, and how it becomes more and more the antithesis of everything that You Tube is about and that makes it a success. With the onset of this latest recession perhaps depression, one thing you can be sure of is that "Them Tube" will become more and more homogenized - more reality TV, less quality films, fewer mainstream filmmakers and their financiers willing to take a chance. You Tube is the answer to that and this book shows you how you can be a part of it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Basic Guide April 14, 2010
By Only
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a good, solid, basic guide to youtube. Ignore the hype behind the book, and there is a lot of it. The book is a simple, great basic guide to youtube with a common sense approach to achieving a lively channel. It's not going to work a miracle for you. But nothing will.

In the end, and the book states this explicitly, you have to be likable, cool, and a great communicator to become popular on youtube. This book just gets you started on the right path.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It'll get you going January 24, 2012
O'Reilly was kind enough to send me this book quite some time ago, so it's about time I got a review posted for it.

Having a BA from Temple University's School of Communication & Theater, I have some experience with learning how to communicate via film & video. Ok, so most of my experience was 16mm film, but that's another story.

What I liked about this book was that it didn't start with any technology advice or how to shoot video. After a quick overview of YouTube it dives into storytelling. Storytelling is one of the most important tools you need to be aware of (and potentially master) to not only make great videos, but to thrive in our current economy. Don't skip that chapter.... Read it 3-4 times. It is the foundation of all that you will be doing going forward.

The rest of the book is solid information, guidance and/or advice on how to best utilize YouTube for your needs. The 99 cent film school chapter covers the technical aspects of filming. There's really not enough room to get all of the details you'll need to shoot high quality footage... Experience will teach you that (and right quick too). But at least in these days of digital recording you don't have to suffer the same loss as a flashed can of film, you just tape over the bad stuff with better stuff.

So pickup this title, get the basics going & start shooting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Experts, too true
Fellas who have been making videos, sometimes a viral, for many years on Youtube, describe the way a video channel can become successful and popular. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Bruce E. Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars Close to being the Bible for YouTube production
A fun read with great insights and guides to what it really takes to be successful on this web site. Goes way beyong technical information. Read more
Published 12 months ago by J. OKeefe
5.0 out of 5 stars Youtube 101
This guide will give novice & expert alike a good Youtube education. Everything from setting up accounts to tips on writing treatments for your videos are thoroughly covered. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Really great book for beginners like me!
Step by step and in layman's terms. Excellent book. It is a bit dated but one can easily find current programs and equipment. I have posted 2 videos... Read more
Published 16 months ago by JamieO
2.0 out of 5 stars There are better
I now know why so many youtube videos are so poor, and boring. This book gives you just enough to put less than the best on the net.
Published 16 months ago by Ernest Abell
Published on January 31, 2012 by Iceballs
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of great information.
I loved the book and it had plenty of great resource information. I love the fact that they put the information out in a way a newbie can understand
Published on October 9, 2011 by Sabu
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Dopey to Take Seriously, Full of Opinion Presented as Fact
I got as far as page 89 before deciding to give up on finding any really valuable information in this book. If you are new to the internet, this book will probably be helpful. Read more
Published on October 6, 2011 by Angus Black
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just about YouTube, it's about EVERYTHING a filmmaker should know
This book is absolutely fantastic. Just buy it, right now. If you're reading this to see if this book will be worth your time, stop right here and just buy the book. Read more
Published on March 7, 2011 by Jeff Aski
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is definitely the best book I have read about getting your internet videos out there.

Pros: Is specific to YouTube, rather than being too general. Read more
Published on June 16, 2010 by Sam Tracy
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