YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: November 2008
Pages: 304

Want to make a splash on YouTube? Even go viral? You've come to the right place. This book is written by two veteran 'Tubers who live their art and know what they're talking about -- especially Alan Lastufka, a.k.a. "fallofautumndistro," who has over 13,000 YouTube subscribers and over 4 million views. Alan and co-author Michael W. Dean show you how to make a quality video, and how to optimize, encode, upload, and promote it. This book can't promise you'll be rich and famous, but it can tell you how to make great video art, and what you need to do to get your work seen. You'll learn about:

  • Storytelling and directing
  • Shooting, editing, and rendering
  • Creating your very own channel
  • Broadcasting user-generated content
  • Re-broadcasting commercial content
  • Cultivating a devoted audience
  • Fitting into the YouTube community
  • Becoming a success story

Join Alan, who makes part of his living from YouTube, and Michael, a successful filmmaker, author, and D.I.Y. art pioneer. They'll take you from the basics of gear to making it big on YouTube, with a focus on networking and interaction. You'll also sit in on informative interviews with YouTube stars LisaNova, Hank Green (vlogbrothers), WhatTheBuckShow, nalts, and liamkylesullivan.

Alan and Michael understand viral marketing -- and they know what it takes to get your work on everyone's YouTube radar. And, once you read this book, so will you.

Table of Contents
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Recommended for You
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Tell a compelling story...

By Main Street Solutions

from Aurora, CO

About Me Developer

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    • Novice

    Comments about oreilly YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts:

    O'Reilly was kind enough to send me this book quite some time ago, so it's about time I got a review posted for it.

    Having a BA from Temple University's School of Communication & Theater, I have some experience with learning how to communicate via film & video. Ok, so most of my experience was 16mm film, but that's another story.

    What I liked about this book was that it didn't start with any technology advice or how to shoot video. After a quick overview of YouTube it dives into storytelling. Storytelling is one of the most important tools you need to be aware of (and potentially master) to not only make great videos, but to thrive in our current economy. Don't skip that chapter.... Read it 3-4 times. It is the foundation of all that you will be doing going forward.

    The rest of the book is solid information, guidance and/or advice on how to best utilize YouTube for your needs. The 99 cent film school chapter covers the technical aspects of filming. Theres really not enough room to get all of the details you'll need to shoot high quality footage... Experience will teach you that (and right quick too). But at least in these days of digital recording you don't have to suffer the same loss as a flashed can of film, you just tape over the bad stuff with better stuff.

    So pickup this title, get the basics going & start shooting.


    YouTube: An Insider's Guide

    By Anonymous

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts:

    An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts

    by Dave Roman, GCPCUG Member

    This O'Reilly Press book was written by authors Alan Lastufka and Michael W. Dean.

    Everybody's talking about UTUBE on the internet even though it was launched in 2005. It's an amazing phenomenon and this book tells you all about it in 15 chapters. One of the opening statements tells you what you're in for. "If you're smart (and you are smart because you picked this book), talented (and you are talented because this book attracted you and this book is about talent and vision), and have some good ideas, you'll have a really good chance of getting your work seen."

    Chapter 1 - What is This YouTube of Which You Speak?

    This chapter is basically a history of YouTube. You also get information about navigating YouTube and what it means to go viral. A viral video is one that is so funny, so outrageous that it is immediately shared from one viewer to the next and on and only goes like the flu.

    The first viral video, which has been viewed 700 million times, is the "Star Wars Kid". Go to: (URL 1.4).

    Chapter 2 - Storytelling and Directing and Chapter 3 _ 99 Cent Film School: Shooting, Editing and Rendering

    This chapter tells you about making quality videos that people will watch and pass on to friends. You will also learn how to edit and render videos to upload them to YouTube. The secret is in "story telling" and conflict. You only have two minutes to create a likeable character and a plot.

    The 3rd chapter helps you with editing your film. They talk about what not to shoot and why, as well as location, lighting and props. There are good examples of how to edit the film, almost taking you step by step.

    Chapter 4 - Creating Your Very Own Channel

    This chapter takes you through the step by step process of registering your channel and then "Pimping Your Profile". What other social networking sites call your profile, YouTube calls your channel, just like a TV channel.

    In order to load videos to YouTube, you must register. You can watch videos without registering, but in order to get "into the act", you must be a registered user. This chapter also covers privacy issues and terms of use.

    Chapter 5. Broadcasting Yourself: User-Generated Content

    This chapter is about uploading your video to YouTube so everyone can see your production. Make sure your video is appropriate. (Not pornographic or violent), anyone can FLAG a video they deem as inappropriate and they must also click on a reason why they think it is inappropriate. This must be a common happening because there is even a page about "contacting YouTube while upset."

    Chapter 6. Rebroadcasting: Commercial Content

    Here he teaches you about using other people's work in your videos. Why would you worry about using other people's work? This leads to talking about copyrights, fair use and parody and public domain. Public Domain is material where the copyright has expired. It can be a song, a book or even a work of art. You can find out about public domain and lists of available "stuff" by typing in public domain in your search engine.

    This chapter even shows you where to get FREE material for your YouTube project. Go to

    One of the tricks for copying YouTube videos is as follows:

    1) Copy the video URL as it begins to play.

    2) Go to:

    3) Paste in the URL and click GO

    4) When the download button appears, click on it

    5) After downloading, use rename to change the file type to FLV

    6) Then go to

    7) Select the file in browse

    8) Use the "NO VIDEO RESET" and Windows Bitmap settings

    9) Accept

    10) Then DOWNLOAD when the button appears

    I've used this procedure a number of times.

    Chapter 7. Building Your Audience

    This is like creating "traffic" on your web site. They give you ways of building your audience legally.

    Chapter 8. The Community: Where Do You Fit In?

    This chapter is all about networking and collaborating. It's just like it sounds. You may like someone's video and leave a comment. You may even work out a deal to make a video with this person. A cute video recommended in this chapter is (URL 8.6).

    Chapter 9. Hacking the System: How to Cheat (and Why You Shouldn't)

    In this chapter, one of the authors shares what he's learned about nefarious dealings on YouTube. They define acceptable behavior and what can get you kicked out for good.

    One interesting way of cheating is "autorefreshing". If you have a video on YouTube, you can continue hitting the refresh button every 5 seconds which is 12 views a minute and 720 views per hour. They say this will rocket your video to the Most Viewed list. That's a No-No. You'll learn a few more ways of hacking in this chapter.

    Chapter 10. Reaching the World

    Here they talk about the social networking world of YouTube, blogging, vlogging, signatures and social bookmarking.

    Chapter 11. Money Money Money!

    This is the money chapter. They tell you how to monetize your work.

    Chapter 12. Beyond The Tube

    Learn how to create your own identity, independent of YouTube, and tricks of time budgeting which allows more time away from your computer.

    Chapter 13. Becoming a Success Story

    This sounds interesting. They tell you how to become featured on YouTube's front page and maybe even on the evening news. You might even turn up first in Google searches. How's that for publicity?

    Chapter 14. Closing Arguments

    This chapter is just a little philosophy by the authors.

    Chapter 15. Interviews with Other YouTube Rock Stars

    This one is obvious. The authors interview some of the huge stars of YouTube. This is almost like "American Idol". They interview 5 interesting YouTube people. Lisa Nova is the 24th most subscribed channel of all time on YouTube. She eventually became a MADtv cast member as a result of her YouTube videos. She was also featured in the New York Times, AdWeek, and Wired magazine. You can see her on: (URL 15.2) (URL 15.3)

    This is a great YouTube book. If you know nothing about YouTube, this book will make you an expert, especially if you're over 30. Do you want to learn from an expert? Ask any kid in High School!

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


    Don't watch the media, be the media

    By Allen Stenger

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts:

    This is a thorough introduction to creating videos for YouTube, aimed at the absolute beginner. It is especially strong on explaining how to tell a story and on how to behave yourself as part of the YouTube community. The emphasis is on making art, not on making money.

    It is not a techie book. There's a long chapter called "99-Cent Film School" that covers the mechanics of creating a video, but it's very basic and deals mostly with the selection of equipment, with some discussion of editing. The book is unusual in that it is not Macintosh-centric: the authors use Windows and claim there's no need to consider Macintosh because Windows is cheaper and has more software.

    The authors summarize their position on p. 248 as "Don't watch the media, be the media." This is a good sound bite and gives the flavor of the book, although it is not really accurate since they encourage watching and commenting on the videos of other YouTubers. (Besides, if no one watched the media, would there be any media left?) The authors detest traditional media, especially television, and they detest much of the new media too. This doesn't have much impact on the book, except to cause occasional outbursts of gratuitous nastiness. For example, on p. 244 we read, "Social networking provides websites to people who shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a computer." Although there's some truth in this, it is unnecessary to state it here. The isolation from other media also gives the impression that YouTube is its own universe, with no connection to anything else.

    The nastiness comes out in concentrated form in the Preface, which attempts to explain "Why You Should Buy This Book" by trashing the competition. Be sure to skip this section of the book! It's not representative of the rest and reading it will turn you off from an otherwise-good book.

    There are a number of rough spots that could have been improved by better copy-editing. The book is somewhat rambling. Although it does explain all the YouTube and computer jargon, it may use a term many times before defining it. For example, the term "partner" is used throughout the book but is not explained until Chapter 11. The index is often no help; "partner" is not in the index as such (you have to look under YouTube Partners), and acronyms such as RSS and NLE are not indexed at all.

    YouTube URLs are cryptic pseudo-random character strings, and a Very Good Feature of the book is that the authors have placed every URL as a hyperlink on one page on their web site, so you just have to click it. This is not quite as good as feature as it could be, because the cryptic URLs on that page are not annotated other than with a cross-reference number such as "URL 9.3"; if each had a short description or title the page would be easier to navigate and would also be great for browsing.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


    To be famous on Youtube, this book may be just the ticket

    By Edmonton Linux Users Group

    from Edmonton

    Comments about oreilly YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts:

    The book's title points directly to the intended audience - those who want

    to create a large subscriber audience to their video creations on the

    social networking site, Youtube. But I guess I'm not part of that

    audience. I actually think social networking wastes a lot of time that

    could be more productive socializing directly with people (or doing

    anything else, for that matter). Nevertheless, that's a lifestyle

    judgment, and my purpose is to review a book, not get on a soap box.

    So, you may ask, just why did I elect to read this book? Two reasons. One

    was to better understand the commercial possibilities of the social

    networking medium, and the other was to learn something I can apply to

    doing my own web videos. Normally, I would get professionals to do what

    they do best, but this time there's little budget, and they still need to

    get done. My only fear is that my results will be similar to those of all

    the people who suddenly flooded my environment with home made newsletters

    when such software became available. Let me tell you, it takes more than a

    program to make newsletters and videos - creativity, knowledge, and

    experience come to mind.

    And the authors seem to have these things in fair measure. There is a good

    amount of useful information made available, and there are links to much

    more, even for my more narrow interests. However, I still felt that, for

    what I wanted, it was still lacking. There seems to be more weight given

    to the less technical information, such as how the community works,

    building an audience following, cheating the system, and other, related

    social networking sites.

    The book is quite readable, and I found that I have more in common with

    the authors than I expected, especially given our differing opinions on

    Youtube, itself. My main critique, as usual, has to do with the editing.

    The one thing that pops out are the diagrams indicating time proportions

    for storylines, and they are obviously not proportional at all.

    Bottom line: If it is your goal to be famous on Youtube, this book may be

    just the ticket to help you get there, or show you why you won't.

    Also reviewed at (

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


    You Tube reviewed

    By Ellis Brayham

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts:

    "YouTube- an insiders guide", reviewed by Ellis Brayham, ApplesBC Computer Society.

    O'Reilly kindly sent us this new book, "YouTube, an insiders guide", by Michael W. Dean. Its claim to fame is the self described, "This is the only YouTube book worth getting". Well, that's a pretty lofty claim to make, and because of my limited working knowledge of YouTube I will limit my review of this book to the things I do know.

    YouTube is a barely 3 year old program, developed by Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, and aided by another PayPal pioneer Jawed Karim, who together designed this video sharing program. It proved to be instantly popular, and after only a year, was bought by Google for $1.6 billion!

    YouTube has become the top video site, hosting every thing from homemade videos to millions of commercial sites, plus political, educational, social sites, and everything in between. With the Google inspired search capability, it is increasingly being used as a sales medium, and this is the direction this book encourages you to explore.

    Some of the things I liked about this book are the hands on approach, so that even a novice gets a quick understanding of the medium, its potential, the legal side implications, site promotion, examples of what you can get and do for free, as well as quite a detailed explanation of the costs of building a larger site. I confess I didn't realize the commercial possibilities, and opportunities of YouTube. It has become a huge business opportunity and with this book its possible for just about anyone to seize the opportunity to promote their pet project - whether selling something, promoting a political party, or just showing off.

    On the other hand, an aspect of the book I didn't like was the self importance of the author, but if you can ignore that, the information in the book is worth every penny.

    Here's a 21st century marvel - a unique idea that has made the web a birthing place for unlimited business opportunities, just like Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, iTunes etc. etc. each of which have created multi millionaires, who took the boundless possibilities of the web, and found within it, a need that they could fill. That's the very essence of this book - here is YouTube, here are the tools - now get out there and make it your own.

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