Recent McGill graduate and entrepreneur Thomas Brag had wanted to start a YouTube channel for a long time—ever since he discovered the class “Marketing and Society,” taught by Just for Laughs founder Andy Nullman. The class teaches you how to properly start a YouTube channel; however, even with the benefit of quality academic preparation, taking the leap into the world of YouTube takes courage.
“It was so scary making the first —it was terrifying,” Brag admitted. “So [the class] was a good excuse to actually do it.”
At first, Brag had considered the content.
“I hadn’t thought about how I wanted to release it, how to market it, the analytics, the thumbnail, the title, etc.” Brag said. But the class taught him how to navigate the intricacies of YouTube.
“For example, the thumbnails have to be consistent with a chosen style,” Brag explained. “And it can’t be misleading [because] YouTube’s algorithm is based on how long people watch the video, so if you click away after a few seconds the algorithm assumes it was not something you wanted to watch and the video will end up a lot further down the list.”
After the class ended, Brag continued to make videos, and his channel, “Practical Procrastination,” is now a growing platform. It offers life hacks to college students through comedic skits of absurd situations that are surprisingly relatable and typical of life in your twenties.
“I wanted to combine practical advice with comedy,” Brag said. “And I’m experimenting every episode and trying to change it up a little bit, basically trying to get as much feedback as possible to find what styles and themes people enjoy watching.”
As Brag noted, YouTube is more than cat videos, and a channel can be run almost like a business, which demands some real marketing skills.
“Some YouTubers are able to make a lot of money, fund other projects, [and] even employ people to help them,“ Brag explained. “I really just see it as a way to build a community for people who enjoy laughing [….] and it’s also just a lot of fun to make them. Every week, I cast my friends and we all just have fun with it.”
Brag has received a lot of support from his friends.
“I had friends who were into acting already,” he said. “My roommate, Nicholas Lepage, had been in plays at McGill every single semester.”
Lepage also indirectly inspired Brag to take that leap and start posting content.
“Seeing him on stage made me realize that it might not be so scary and it kind of pushed me to go for it,” Brag explained.
A lot of work goes into making YouTube videos—approximately two days of scriptwriting, two days of filming, and between eight and twelve hours of editing—so Brag appreciates the help from his friends.
“Nick has become absolutely necessary,” he said. “I do most of the work since he is still in school, but he has become pretty essential for brainstorming, for scripting, and for the improvisation he does on set. He always changes the script into what he thinks will be funny and I really trust his opinion.”
Taking the leap into the world of YouTube has paid off for Brag so far—he has even been recognized a few times around campus.
“When I was at Gerts last week, a dude came up to me saying he had seen my videos,” Brag shared. “It’s so overwhelmingly flattering, like ‘Holy shit’ you actually watched the video and remember the jokes. It’s just very flattering and it makes me really happy that people enjoy what I’m making.”