Content creator Jessica Gullash (aka The Jess Lyfe) was inducted into YouTube NextUp‘s class of 2018 during its London stop this past September. The program selects a diverse group of YouTubers worldwide and empowers them through education, collaboration and more during a week-long creator camp. Jessica, a professional photographer, skilled videographer and graphic artist, and co-founder of Multifacetedacg Productions LLC (MACG Productions), honestly did not expect to be selected to participate in the program.
“I wasn’t very optimistic when I applied — hopeful, but not too convinced that [YouTube] were even going to see my application,” she reveals. “When I got accepted [into NextUp], I couldn’t believe it! The email told me I should sitting but I literally ran around my apartment screaming!” One of the stipulations of being selected was not announcing the information ahead of formal announcements. With a following of over 92,000 YouTube subscribers at the time of this article’s publication, it was a moment of excitement that could not be immediately shared with her fans, Jess Lyfers. “It was such a good feeling to be recognized for doing the thing I love, which is making funny videos and short films. And by YouTube, no less.”
Given the fact that NextUp brings together content creators of various skill levels and creative backgrounds, the creator camp touched on many topics. Some of the topics crossed over into Jessica’s career as a photographer. “We learned the basic (for me at least), which were lighting, field audio, and what lenses to use. We also talked about the pros and cons of digital cameras. Honestly, I didn’t think there were any cons. Even after seeing what the cons were (expensive price, complexity, cumbersome pieces), I still didn’t think there were any cons!” She laughs, likely realizing that her love for and collection of cameras makes for a hard argument against the equipment.
A particularly unforgettable moment for Jessica was listening to the panel of speakers. YouTube’s Christina Wire, Vice-President, Global Operations and Women and Equalities Committee member Jess Phillips, Labour Member of Parliment (MP) were two notable speakers present during the London schedules. Phillips was candid with the group as she spoke about surviving sexual assault, the importance of women speaking out about injustices and breaking the barriers around mistreatment. Jessica boldly shares, “[Phillips] inspired me to share my own rape survival story, which shocked the entire room. I felt like the air was sucked out when I said it, but she was understanding and helped me to understand what sharing my story could mean for others; and the negativity that I would also receive from those on the Internet. It’s never an easy thing to talk about but if it helps someone, I can handle [the negative reactions].”
Wire stressed the importance of time management to the content creators in attendance. “We are always so focused on putting out content consistently and coming up with something new, that we hardly ever take time for ourselves,” states Jessica. “[Wire] also told us to be generously compassionate and lead with kindness.”
Generous compassion is a skill that many YouTubers have to develop, as it is not common to start on the media platform with a team supporting your every move. “It was a bit of a challenge for me when we worked in groups because I work better alone,” Jessica acknowledges. “We were split into groups and had to create a short film in less than three days with a group of women all with different ideas. It was kind of a nightmare but we managed to put something pretty awesome together. I was proud of what we manged to do with the time that we had.”
Jessica is actively working on short films and says that the creator camp left her “bursting with ideas.” She goes on to say, “I’m so ready to create something visual for all to enjoy. I’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker and tap into people’s emotions. It’s just kind of hard to do alone. I’m so isolated in Germany.” Be on the look out for her gaming videos and more on her official YouTube channel.