We’re reaching out to some popular creators to get their best tips and tricks for success and better understand the ups and downs of life as a trailblazer on the internet.
This week, we spoke with Brandon Baum, aka Brandon B (@brandonb), a visual effects artist and content creator with over 7.7 million cumulative followers across TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.
Baum makes short and long-form videos showcasing striking and intricate visual effects—like greenscreening himself walking the plank off a skyscraper, editing his friend to look like he’s flying through the clouds, or making an illusion of the “world’s largest tape measure.” He also creates behind-the-scenes videos breaking down the production and video editing process for some of the effects he created.
Baum initially got his start as a production runner, camera assistant, and camera operator in the film world. He then jumped into the creator world working as a producer and director for popular comedy YouTubers Woody and Kleiny (@woodyandkleiny), who have over 10 million subscribers. Like many creators, Baum then launched his own channel in 2020 during the pandemic and migrated to other apps like TikTok. Now, alongside a large production team, Baum creates videos full-time, and he has partnered with huge brands like Lightricks, Netflix, Disney, and Meta.
In an interview with Passionfruit, Baum discussed how he got started creating content, explained the importance of sound design, shared what he’s learned about video editing tools, gave tips on how to create a unique video style, and more.
The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
How did you get your start in video editing and visual effects?
I started off creating VFX videos on my brother’s old iPod when I was 12. It was through an app that automated the entire process but allowed you to create an awesome output. I think it was my family’s amazement and disbelief that got me excited about content creation, from there on out it’s all I can think about. From there I spent all my weekends and evenings teaching myself new software so that I could keep entertaining my friends and family.
When did you decide to start posting content about your video skills?
I kicked off during the pandemic when I had to stop working with the content creators I had been working with for the past 5 years. I didn’t want to stop creating content during the pandemic, so instead of creating it for other people, I decided to create it for myself. After 3 months of creating content online, I had amassed over 1 million followers.
What kinds of video hooks do you find work best for capturing an audience’s attention?
I’ve been creating content for several years now, both long-form for clients as well as short-form for brands, and to post across multiple platforms. Though maintaining a continuous flow of ideas and projects requires daily thought and effort, I believe that now I have a repeatable formula to generate content that utilizes anticipation, expectation, and surprise tied together with effects that are increasingly accessible across a variety of editing tools.
Recently, I have found that my followers have become even more interested not just in the content, but how I created it—so much so that often if I add “tutorials” they often generate even more engagement than the original content.
How do you use sound to enhance your videos?
Sound design is one of my favorite tricks in the arsenal. A lot of the time people think impressive VFX tricks are created with extremely technical solutions, but sometimes the most effective way to complete a big effect is with great sound design.
Are you a full-time content creator? How do you monetize your content?
I create content full-time with an incredible team of twelve. We are a social media production company that specializes in creating viral content. A lot of the time, that means getting to partner with some of the biggest and most exciting brands in the world such as Lightricks, Netflix, Disney, and Meta. Other times, revenue comes in from the individual platforms through their direct advertising platforms.
What trends have you noticed in social media video editing styles recently?
More creators are leaning into content that shows their inspiration as well as editing skills to build short, engaging stories. This allows their followers to realize their own big creative ideas that they thought were impossible until they see how others do it.
Every day, there are more and more powerful editing tools right at their fingertips. With these tools, my team has found new and fun ways to use a simple greenscreen to really stretch how far the imagination can go to create content that makes people smile. We’re seeing the industry move away from editing to simply “show off” effects, and more towards editing to make good, engaging content. The news around the world is a bit intense right now, so being able to create a small escape, like turning a famous monument into an ice cream cone, is a welcome distraction.
Are there any trends in the wider social media or creator economy landscape you’re paying attention to?
Definitely the gradual shift back towards longer-form videos. With the increase in TikTok’s video time and the popularity of “storytimes,” it’s clear that people’s attention spans are beginning to accept this longer storytelling. I think the shift back to YouTube-style content, longer-form videos, and more intense/creative/fun editing styles is coming to stay, and is going to majorly impact the creator economy landscape. Creators who want to stay relevant are going to have to learn to allow their content to make this shift slowly, doing it at once can shock an audience but a gradual shift will allow them to build up this new skill and take their audience with them. On this note, companies are beginning to reward more creators for their creativity in editing, providing more opportunities for them.
Do you have any advice for creators who are looking to carve out a unique video editing style?
Take it slow. You can’t go from knowing very little about video editing to knowing everything in a night. Also, take a look at creators whose style you like and learn how to do it and make it your own. You can stand out by using what already exists, but your audience follows you for your style, make sure you keep that authenticity there.
What advice would you give to your younger self just getting started as a creator?
Don’t create what you think people want, create what you love creating the most. The number 1 factor for people’s shortcomings in the creator space is giving up before reaching their viral goal. Create content because you love it, and eventually success will come with it.
Thank you, Brandon, for chatting with us!
Are you a niche creator? Reach out to [email protected] for a chance to be featured in an upcoming newsletter.