Time Diaries: A Week In The Life Of YouTube Reactor Kyle Katarn

Kyle Katarn/YouTube, Sasha Al/Shutterstock

This Time Diaries was written prior to the 2023 WGA/SAG-AFTRA strike. Passionfruit and Kyle Katarn stand in solidarity with the unions in their fight for fair dues. This interview focuses heavily on the Star Wars brand but is not meant as direct promotion of that material or the studios associated with it. As with every Time Diaries interview, the goal is to highlight the creative endeavors of the participants and their passion. For more info please visit: https://www.sagaftra.org/get-involved/solidarity-wga

Welcome to Time Diaries, a series detailing how content creators spend their days. Each Time Diary follows a career creator, aspiring career creator, or side-hustler over the course of one week to see how they balance their creative projects with the rest of their lives. Audiences don’t always realize how much time and effort goes into a finished product—Time Diaries aims to shed light on this process.

In today’s Time Diary, Kyle Katarn breaks down a week in the life of a YouTube reactor running a Star Wars channel.

Hi, I’m: Patrick

But people might know me better as: Kyle Katarn or Grizz

From the YouTubes: Kyle Katarn and Grizzled Wizard!

My channel started in: 2017

Covering: Reactions to Star Wars-related news and trailers

Currently my subscriber count is: 42K

My socials are: Twitter, Instagram, and everywhere else as Ky1eKatarn

My content monetization model relies on: Trending reactions and Patreon support

How many hours do I spend working on my channel every month? I spend approximately 160 hours each month. It’s worth noting that I film in a block schedule of alternating weeks, and the following seven days take place in a week when the filming happens.

In a perfect world, I’d spend less time: setting up and prepping and spend more time: generating reactions for my channel.

DAY 1: Monday. Wildcard reaction day (typically a streaming day).

8 a.m. Woke up, grabbed a smoothie, and spent about 25 minutes going over Patreon correspondence (responding to messages, comments, etc).  

9 a.m. Began setting up for the UbiSoft livestream, which was rumored to contain a Star Wars reveal trailer (20 minutes of prep).

10 a.m. Reacted to the UbiSoft livestream on Twitch (2 hours). 

12:15 p.m. Stopped for lunch, then came back and began editing the Twitch footage to prepare it for YouTube (30 minutes for lunch).

12:50 p.m. Got into a Twitter argument that distracted me from editing (10 minutes).

1 – 2:30 p.m. Repurposed the Twitch reaction footage into 3 separate aspect ratios, for 3 separate destinations: YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. (10 minutes downloading the footage, 80 minutes editing, 30 minutes exporting).

3 p.m. Tidied up the studio for 20 minutes; cleared away Red Bull cans and loose papers. I can’t concentrate in a cluttered environment, but ironically, this task usually happens at the *end* of a work day.

4 p.m. Did the dishes, cleaned the house, and turned on the TV! 

DAY 2: Tuesday. Fan Film Day.

8 a.m. Woke up, played with the cat, and exercised.   

8:45 a.m. Set up the studio for a day of filming, powered up lights, and ran audio/visual checks.

9:10 a.m. Checked up on daily correspondence on Patreon and Discord, and made a list of fan film reaction requests I received over the past week.

9:30 a.m. Took a shower, picked out a shirt, and got camera-ready.

10 a.m. Reacted to six fan films (3 hours).  

1:05 p.m. Ate for the first time today because I went ADHD mode on my list of fan film requests this morning. 

1:40 p.m. Created tonight’s podcast and scheduled it for 7 PM, copy and pasted the previous podcast’s info and description, made a thumbnail, then Tweeted and posted an Instagram Story to promote it (took 25 minutes).

2:05 p.m. Sat down to edit the footage I just recorded and exported six separate reaction videos to be uploaded and scheduled (1 hour).

3:10 p.m. Prepared thumbnails for the reactions—which mainly consisted of scrolling through the raw footage for the best facial expressions—and generated custom logos for the fan films because .PNG assets are rarely available (45 minutes).

4 p.m. Tidied up the studio for 20 minutes. My cat Murderpaws decided to supervise my work so I had to make her a little nest on my desk.

4:35 p.m. Took a break to eat a proper meal and started forming a battle plan for tonight’s Podcast. Browsed Twitter and Reddit looking for any content-worthy developments (1 hour).

6:30 p.m. Logged into StreamYard and begin prepping for the podcast. Texted my cohost to double-check everything is set on his end (I typically wait way too late to check in). 

7 p.m. Did a live podcast session with Bendu and interacted with chat (2.5 hours).

10 p.m. Took a shower, ate dinner, watched some Forensic Files, and fell asleep.

DAY 3: Wednesday. SWTOR Day.

7 a.m. Woke up and got ready for the day, grabbed a smoothie, and posted an Instagram Story to promote the upcoming stream at 5 PST.

8 a.m. Set up the studio for greenscreen capture and prepped to record SWTOR playthroughs, doing capture tests and gameplay audio tests (30 minutes).  

8:30 a.m. Began playing through my SWTOR class story (2 hours).

10:40 a.m. Took a break to feed Murderpaws and browse Twitter, played back the raw capture, I usually make adjustments—but it was all perfect this time! (15 minutes). 

11 a.m. Continued recording SWTOR until I finally got to the end of the mission (another 30 minutes).  

11:40 a.m. Edited the footage down to ~40 minutes, exported and uploaded it to YouTube, and scheduled it for early access on Patreon (1.5 hours). 

1 p.m. Began setting up for the upcoming stream, and double-checked that I have all the correct titles for the comic releases of the day (20 minutes). 

1:30 p.m. Broke for lunch, watched TV, and played with Murderpaws.  

3 p.m. Reset the studio, struck the greenscreen and got set up for the comics stream. Did some video and audio test runs and entered the stream info (35 minutes).   

5 p.m. Hosted Comics With Katarn, cold-read the comics that were released today, and reacted to them in real-time (1 hour).

6:10 p.m. Downloaded the stream, edited the intro/outro tags, uploaded as a YouTube video, and made a thumbnail (20 minutes).

6:45 p.m. Had dinner and relaxed! 

11:45 p.m. Manually scheduled the next SWTOR playthrough chapter on YouTube to post at midnight. Since I use the same video for Early Access on Patreon, they are unlisted for the first two weeks, meaning I cannot schedule them for YT drops since they’d be marked private until their YT release—but I made a judgment call that a 15-minute Patreon interruption is acceptable.   

DAY 4: Thursday: Edit Day.

8 a.m. Woke up, exercised, got a smoothie, and got ready for the day.

9 a.m. Edited the next section of raw footage from the ongoing TTRPG series we recorded two years ago, scanning through the session to improve the pacing, layering sound effects, and a visual overlay (3 hours).   

12 p.m. Took a break to feed Murderpaws and browse Twitter.

12:30 p.m. Continued working on the TTRPG footage (another 2 hours). 

2:40 p.m. Ate lunch and went for a walk to stretch my legs—there’s a LOT of sitting happening on an edit day! (20 minutes). 

3 p.m. Exported the TTRPG session once it was done editing—The export locks up my computer for around an hour, so I use this time to do dishes and general household stuff.   

4 p.m. Responded to Patreon, Discord, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram correspondences—in that order of priority (45 minutes). 

5 p.m. Scanned through Tuesday’s podcast footage and made clips of any worthy moments to use on other social media like Instagram and Twitter (30 minutes).

5:30 p.m. Had dinner and relaxed!  

DAY 5: Friday: Grizzled Wizard Day.

8 a.m. Woke, got a smoothie, and exercised while rewatching the last episode of Legend Of Korra I watched (it’s been several weeks since my last reaction session for this show). 

9 a.m. Set up the studio for greenscreen capture and ran audio and visual tests (1 hour).  

10:05 a.m. Reacted to three episodes of The Legend Of Korra (1.5 hours). 

12:45 p.m. Edited the footage and exported two versions of each episode, a full-length version with a timer for Patreon, and a raw video with an edited intro/outro to be sent off for editing by the master himself, Nerd Chronic (2 hours).

2:40 p.m. Ate lunch (30 minutes). 

3:10 p.m. Uploaded the full-length versions of the reactions to Patreon and made thumbnails (20 minutes).   

3:40 p.m. Responded to Patreon correspondence (30 minutes).

5:30 p.m. Had dinner and relaxed!

DAY 6: Saturday: My Day Off!

10 a.m. Woke up, got a smoothie, and rewatched an episode of Star Wars Rebels on the couch with Murderpaws. 

12 p.m. Responded to any Patreon, Discord, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram correspondences—again, in that order of priority. I typically try to take the day off to recharge my batteries, but I still make myself available on social media.

5 p.m. Checked in with Discord to go over the plan for tomorrow’s SWTOR Sunday stream and made a list of who is available to participate (35 minutes).

5:40 p.m. Had dinner, (tried to) take a screen break for the rest of the evening, and unwound with a good book! Still snuck in a few Tweets, though.

DAY 7: Sunday: SWTOR Sunday!

9 a.m. Woke up, grabbed a smoothie, and posted an Instagram story promoting the upcoming livestream. 

11:30 a.m. Began setting up for the SWTOR stream, ran sound and video checks and made contact with the guild via Discord. 

12 p.m. Livestream SWTOR with the guild (3.5 hours) 

3:45 p.m. Took a break for lunch (25 minutes). 

4 p.m. Scanned through the stream and made clips of any worthy moments to use on other platforms like Instagram and YouTube (40 minutes).

5 p.m. Had dinner and watched some TV (2 hours).

7:30 p.m. Took an early night!  

Exit Questions: 

  1. The most surprising thing I learned about my Creator Schedule was: how much time I spent on editing versus actually reacting and recording.
  2. I could definitely stand to do less prep and setup and more time actually in front of the camera, making the raw content. This is something I’m working to improve by streamlining my pre-production process and having things on standby ready to go. 
  3. The tool that helped me save the most time: My enormous folder of assets from previous reactions/thumbnails/posts that allow me to load in templates of any style of video I’m trying to edit so that I have a basic framework to start from rather than from scratch! It’s something I’ve built slowly through years of making videos.

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