A videographer based in Texas, Hallease has been active on YouTube since 2009. Read on to learn about her production process and motivation for making videos as a new member of the Creators for Change program!
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YOUTUBER: What motivated you to start your channel?
HALLEASE: Originally, I got on YouTube as a consumer, as a way of learning how to take care of natural hair as an African-American woman. What motivated me to start uploading was finding a way to have a creative outlet outside of my full-time work: I’m a freelance video producer and editor. YouTube let me experiment with different techniques, which I could then hone down, refine and use in the corporate stuff.
YOUTUBER: How do you make decisions on the best way to curate your own content?
HALLEASE: Since the channel was initially me trying to flex a creative muscle, the only person I knew well enough to talk about was myself. It’s an amalgamation of anything that I’m currently finding fascinating. So there’s hair content because, as a Black woman, taking care of my hair is a big part of my life. I’m a video producer, so I’m interested in tech and gear. But then living in America during these times and learning how to express my identity in these different ways, that’s also important; that motivates my short film, narrative-type vlogs. There’s not much rhyme or reason as far as scheduling goes; it’s just when inspiration strikes and I start writing a script.
The audience does help inform what ends up on the channel. A lot of people follow me because I have dreadlocks! That’s its own community … they’ll comment that I haven’t made a dreadlock video in a while. And that’s honestly what keeps me on YouTube, the community itself.
YOUTUBER: How has your video making process changed over time?
HALLEASE: It’s mostly changed in terms of upgrading gear. Considering I went to film school and all that jazz, I kept it very low budget for the longest time. As my salary grew, so did the production value! The turning point to invest in myself was to upgrade my main camera to the Sony a6500, which is what I use now. I don’t upgrade gear for the sake of it, only when it limits my ability to tell the story that way I want to tell it.
YOUTUBER: How has your filmmaking style evolved?
HALLEASE: I’ve leaned more towards the abstract as far as visuals go, which has stemmed from thinking how I could make the prettiest picture possible by myself. I started watching a lot of documentaries as well as larger YouTubers who were cinematographers by trade, like Peter McKinnon. I’d watch those videos and then go into filming with my script, and I’d ask myself how they would shoot it. In doing that, you end up finding your own style. So I pull from many directors, Wes Anderson and people like that: saturated, centered, constructing this frame to make a nice photo.
The conversations I have with friends from various backgrounds inspire me.
YOUTUBER: What has influenced the development of your more recent film journal style?
HALLEASE: A lot of it has come out of the interesting political spectrum that we’re in right now. The conversations that I have with friends from varying backgrounds inspire me. We will talk and I’ll think oh, there’s a video in in this conversation somewhere. I have a journaling app on my phone called Day 1 where I start typing out ideas. That turns into the 3–5 minute essay, and then I figure out the visuals.
YOUTUBER: Where did the phrase “endeavoring to persevere” come from?
HALLEASE: It’s not technically mine, it’s my mother’s! If she’s on the phone with someone and they ask “Hey Linda, how are you doing?”, she responds “Endeavoring to persevere, as always”! That’s something I’ve heard her say since I was a child, and it’s true! That’s life!
YOUTUBER: What keeps you motivated to continue to grow and develop your channel?
HALLEASE: I’m continuing to do freelance, but I’d love to become a documentary filmmaker. I just really enjoy telling stories and adding an element of education to everything that I do when I can, even if it’s as simple as a headwrap tutorial. I’ll find people who have never thought about why people wrap their hair, or cultural significance or the perspective of comfort. I really like helping to inform people when I can. I really do enjoy engaging with people online. The people that watch my channel are awesome! They’re constantly making me rethink how I view things, or adding insight in ways I would never think of. It’s like having a whole bunch of friends that you’ve never met.
YOUTUBER: What challenges have you had to overcome to continue creating?
HALLEASE: I don’t feel like anything I’ve faced in regard to shooting and uploading a video would be considered a challenge. I would call them inconveniences at best! I’m not like Franchesca Ramsey, an activist who has to be really vulnerable in the content she creates. It’s very obvious to me how emotionally taxing that can be on somebody. Whenever I feel like I have nothing to say about a social issue, then you’re gonna get a silly video! Youtube is my therapy. I always feel good after I upload a video.
YOUTUBER: What do you hope to achieve by participating in the YouTubers for Change program?
HALLEASE: By the end of showcasing all the differences in these groups of people that I talk to, you discover that we all have a similar idea at the core. It’s jumping around and celebrating the differences and acknowledging how they make us all the same. I want to create a vignette of people across different cultures that aren’t shown in the best light, to diminish the othering that happens now.
YOUTUBER: How does that fit into your plan to “Be a Chaotic Good”?
HALLEASE: One thing I try to do is — I went to this place and here’s what I learned, and I tell the audience about it. So this will be the same thing, centered around other cultures. As I’m learning, hopefully the audience will learn too.
Within the greater theme of chaotic good, the people I’m collaborating with are in various stages of whatever they’re creating. I want to meet people where they’re at. Like Jouelzy, who will be on one of the episodes with me. Her videos are drastically different; they’re about what she’s saying. The visuals aren’t as crucial — it’s about the meat of her talking points. Translating that into a video with her, what does that look like? I don’t know, and I’ll be figuring it out with her!
It’s jumping around and celebrating the differences and acknowledging how they make us all the same.
YOUTUBER: Where do you hope to take your channel in the future?
HALLEASE: I would really like to put out these 8–12 min documentaries on a schedule, to the point where it becomes a running show. I have other documentary series that I’ve been trying to secure funding for, and if that happens, then I hope those would be on the channel as well. Essentially, I use YouTube to establish myself as a documentary filmmaker and storyteller, while staying true to what interests me. Every now and then, you’re going to get a silly video, too!
YOUTUBER: What do you hope people take away from watching your videos?
HALLEASE: I always want to be accessible to people and seem calm. That’s why I’ll probably always stay on YouTube, so I’ll always feel reachable. It’s a platform that feels open to most of the population, no matter where you’re at economically, socially. That’s one of the biggest things on my channel, and in life, that I want to be a relaxing person to be around.
I’ll listen to you, no matter the mood I’m in; you have an ally in me. Even if we don’t agree, that’s what I always strive for.