Every year, RU Student Life has attended Buffer Festival, an annual showcase of YouTube video premieres, bringing the most acclaimed digital creators and their audiences together in Toronto. This year, we were on the red carpet again, chatting with creators; what’s more, some of us were at Buffer Festival in other capacities: for internships, as behind-the-scenes organizers, as moderators and reporters, and as featured creators. Here’s what it was like for Mikael, Jillian, Brittany, Janine, Kelly, and Julianna at Buffer Festival 2016.
Mikael: Moderating the “Collaborating Without Using Cinnamon” Panel
This year at Buffer Festival I was a Moderator for the “Collaborating Without Using Cinnamon” Panel which featured Michael Buckley, Mike Falzone, Alayna Fender and Sammy Paul. My career goal is to be a media personality, whether it be through generating content, interviewing people or speaking out about topics I feel passionate about, and this experience at Buffer Festival fits in perfectly with these career goals. I got to meet so many inspiring content creators who gave me insight into the industry and what it meant to truly be an on-screen broadcaster. My biggest takeaway for the week is to continue to work hard and stay motivated; working in media really is a 24/7 job, but if you love what you do, it will feel like you’re not working a day in your life.
Kelly: Featured Creator
This year I was both a Featured Creator at Buffer Festival where I got to premiere my work alongside creators like Tim H, Alexis G Zoll and Sammy Paul, AND I was a curator of the Creator Hall Education Panels—where Featured Creators were invited to bring their unique insights about online video to general attendees.
Walking the red carpet was probably the weirdest experience of my life, second to being escorted around this year’s VidCon as if people were going to mob me (they weren’t). I got to bring my whole awkward-as-hell self to pose for pictures with my classmates and chat to Brittany, Jillian and Julianna who fake interviewed me (and then cut me out of the video 🙁 ). I even had my super sexy date—THE Mikael M. Melo to get a cute picture with.
The weekend was really the perfect culmination of everything I do, regarding YouTube, my degree, my student leadership experience and my job at RU Student Life. I love watching things come together, because I often feel really divided with all the things I’m doing, but the reality is that everything I do overlaps quite a lot.
Buffer Festival helped me remember why I work really hard to share these opportunities and experiences with other students and it’s why I am so grateful to be part of such a vibrant community at FCAD and at Ryerson. I never want to give up on a community that is bursting with potential because I hope to see every single one of my friends, colleagues and communities reach their full potential. Julianna was as charming as ever as an interviewer. Jillian was hilariously insightful with her questions. Brittany brought her camera talent to an unpredictable environment like a boss. Mikael walked the red carpet with me and was an awesome moderator. And Janine was absolutely killing it as a Content Manager and Social Media Lead. I hope to watch these amazing people I call my friends and colleagues take over the world, because they truly are incredible.
Buffer Festival was a testament to Canadian talent, and I hope to see it get bigger and better every year, with Ryerson as a big collaborator.
Janine: Behind The Scenes
As I attend Buffer Festival year after year, it keeps getting better and better. There’s something special about the weekend that just makes me so happy. But what made this year that much more meaningful was that I was part of the staff team.
After attending Buffer Festival as a fan and as media, it was a dream come true to work the behind-the-scenes. My role on the team was lead for writing and editing the Buffer Festival magazine and lead social media community manager. Being in this position merged my favourite past-time – watching YouTube creators – with my academic and professional passions – journalism, social media, and storytelling.
Reflecting back on the weekend and my experience leading up to the festival, I connected with so many incredible and skilled individuals in the industry. Working with the rest of the staff and volunteer team, I learned so much, from a simple conversation to working with other members.
When I attended the festival in its first year, I never expected to be in the position I am now. So, my main takeaway from this year’s festival is that anyone’s dreams really can come true, you just have to invest your time, work hard, and let things play out for themselves.
Julianna: Reporting for YSBnow
This year, I attended Buffer Festival as a reporter. At the event’s press day on the morning of October 21, I got to interview Ricky Dillon, Louis Cole, Hey Nadine and Bryan Lanning. On the red carpet that night, I chatted with Arden Rose, Alexis G. Zall and some other really talented creators! (If you’d like to watch the interviews, they’re viewable at YSBnow.com.)
Though I’m not yet sure of my exact desired job within the entertainment industry, Buffer Festival – being such an elaborate, educational conference – shed light on various potential opportunities. I thoroughly enjoyed attending a celebration that encouraged me to think critically about media. (I also LOVED seeing my friends Kelly Kitagawa and Janine Maral walk the carpet as a featured creator and Buffer staff member. I was so happy and proud to see them be acknowledged for their hard work!)
From the weekend, I took away the lesson that not everything pans out as expected – even during precisely planned large-scale events like Buffer. For instance, during the press day, three of my scheduled interviewees cancelled their appearances last minute. Similarly, times were frequently changed significantly, sometimes hours later than expected. In this business, I’ve learned, agendas are never set in stone. Despite any stress I may have endured those days, I am grateful for the learning experience.
Brittany: Shooting The Red Carpet
This year at Buffer Festival, I was on the red-carpet shooting interviews for RU Student Life. What I want to pursue for my future career is still under the works but what I love is content creation. Anything that has to do with making videos – whether it is directing, producing, shooting or editing. What I love about Youtube especially is that it’s just a bunch of people making videos on their personal lives and self-interests. People are making inspiring content they want to make. They don’t have a big corporate boss telling them how they should make their videos – the Youtuber has complete creative control. My biggest takeaway from Buffer Festival was to ignore any haters. We asked Youtubers the question “What is the funniest hate comment you’ve received?” and a lot of them didn’t care. They shrugged it off or just laughed at why someone would take the time and the effort to hate on them or their work. It’s funny because haters actually contribute to the Youtuber’s viewership, therefore making the Youtuber slightly more popular. At the end of the day, if you really love what you do, your passion and hard work is what matters, not what anyone else has to say.
Jillian: Interviews on the Red Carpet
This year I attended Buffer Festival as a red-carpet interview host for RU Student Life. What I want to pursue as a future career is still premature and kind of hazy, but I do enjoy content creation and social media. The cool part about YouTube (or any social media platform) is that you are able to put a face to a name and potentially create a brand/career revolving around your own personal life and interests. That’s similar to what I intend to do; with my personal interests and passions, I want to create content that is meaningful and relatable.
My greatest take-away from this entire experience is how all the YouTubers responded to the question: “What is the funniest hate comment you received?” Being in the eye of the internet, they are so often scrutinized by trolls. All of them said they shrug off the comments, because at the end of the day the one hate comment never outweighs the thousands of positive comments. In a real-life context that’s relatable to even us non-YouTubers: it’s easy to be bothered by negative comments or attitudes, but it’s important to stay above it and remind yourself of all the great things that you know are true about yourself. There’s no way to control what people say, but there is complete control in how you react to it.
Were you at Buffer Festival? Share your experiences with us @RUStudentLife.