Meet Erica Sager: FSU’s YouTuber on the Rise

If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite ways to unwind after a long day spent running back and forth from classes and Strozier is watching YouTube. I am always on the hunt for new YouTuber girl bosses who I can relate to. I came across Erica Sager last spring and discovered she also attended Florida State, and I have been obsessed with her videos ever since! I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her YouTube career, and she is just as genuine and fun as she is in her videos. If you haven’t heard of her yet, be sure to check her channel out here when you’re done reading.

Her Campus (HC): What year are you? What are you studying? Where are you from?

Erica Sager (ES): I am a Junior this year and I’m studying Marketing and Digital Media Production, which is just fancy for Video Production. I’m St. Petersburg, Florida.

HC: What made you decide to start a YouTube channel and how did you start?

ES: I had been making silly videos of dancing, made-up scenes, and dramatics with my siblings and neighbors for a long time. In particular, my friend Zoie and I were fascinated by the platform and would hang out to discuss and watch various YouTubers together. We both had a passion for video and weren’t scared to put ourselves out there. We made a few different channels to which we forgot the password to. Eventually, it was time to make a new account as I had forgotten the log-on and it just so happened to coincide with a video competition I wanted to enter, so I used this competition as an excuse to start a new channel. I started by making makeup and fashion videos for a very small audience.

HC: What kind of videos do you make and what goes into the process of filming and editing?

ES: I currently enjoy making videos on a variety of topics, but I would say my “niche” is the college lifestyle and anything related to it, but I’m not hesitant to venture out of my typical content to make something different. Quite a bit goes into the production of these videos. Most of the time, the video idea comes first. Any time an idea comes into my head I type it out in my notes app because if I don’t I will forget; my memory is not great. Most of my ideas are generated on the cusp of sleep at night, which of course wakes me up to write them down, but it’s always worth it. Then I plan how I want to film. If it’s a sit-down video I will use my DSLR camera and if it’s a more casual vlog or I’m in a pinch, I’ll just use my phone to film. After the video is filmed I import footage into Final Cut Pro, where I currently edit – though I want to switch to Adobe Premiere. Editing takes me anywhere from 10-24 hours depending on the piece. I like to break this up over a few days if I have the time. Lastly comes the final touches, where I type out what I want the description to say and create an eye-catching thumbnail to lure viewers in.

HC: You have over 17K subscribers on YouTube. How have you grown your channel? Have most people been supportive?

ES: I have grown my channel through patience and consistency. I've had a YouTube channel since I was 13 and I'm 20 now. It's been a waiting game for the most part as the YouTube algorithm is hard to understand. Through the years the platform has and will continue to become an increasingly saturated platform, so it makes it a bit difficult to create content that is different and stands out. This is why I think the thumbnail is one of the most vital aspects of a video as it's what initially brings viewers in. I've tried to study YouTube as a subject, which has helped, but at the end of the day sometimes success is overnight and sometimes it never comes, so it's entirely a mixed bag. As you can imagine, 13-year-olds aren't the nicest individuals. I was mocked and bullied about it at school and some kids used the comment section on my videos to do so. In addition, I get hate comments on the regular in the present day. It's not easy to put yourself out there and let the world respond, but I've grown a thicker skin and most of the time I laugh at them. Presently I feel I do have a great deal of support and it's now something people think is cool and not embarrassing, which is a nice change.

HC: Besides YouTube, are you involved with anything else on or off campus? What do you like to do in your free time?

ES: Besides YouTube, I am involved in various aspects of life. I feel the following may read like a resume, but school is genuinely a large part of my life. I have 4 classes per day, 3 days a week and the other 2 weekdays are occupied by an internship I have as a Digital Media Producer for Seminoles.com. In addition, with double majoring a lot of my free time is occupied by homework in various subjects. I am an active member of Alpha Kappa Psi, a co-ed business fraternity, and this is where a lot of my friends are. Outside of my own YouTube, I like to use my free time to watch other YouTubers, hang out with friends, cook, hike, listen to music, and dance, alone and with groups of people.

HC: How do you balance YouTube, school, a social life, and any other activities you do?

ES: There is no good answer for how to maintain a balance because it's nearly unattainable. I prioritize school and my social life over other things, but it doesn't typically get in the way of YouTube. For better or worse a lot of my YouTube videos are created, edited and uploaded in under 48 hours. I don't like to do this because it stresses me out, but sometimes it just happens and it happens to work with my life. Currently, I upload a video once a week around lunchtime on Wednesdays. Most Wednesday mornings I will wake up 2-3 hours early to make sure all loose ends are tied and everything is scheduled. This allows me peace of mind, even though I lose a couple of hours of sleep. I'd say my success in balancing these things is just working around my sleep schedule.

HC: What do you plan on doing after college?

ES: After college, I would like to have a job, first and foremost. I am very interested in sports media in terms of social media and video production. My "dream job," aside from doing YouTube full time, would be to work for an NFL or NBA team in their creative media department.

HC: What do you see in the future for your channel?

ES: For the future of my channel, I see growth and investment on my part. I like to set goals for my channel and my current goal is to have 20,000 subscribers by winter break! I hope to achieve this by posting consistently and upping the editing quality of my videos by starting earlier than 48 hours prior to posting. I'd also really like to reinvest the money I make from ads and use it to purchase better equipment like an external microphone, ring light, a Sony camera body, and a variety of lenses.

HC: What has been the best part so far of doing YouTube?

ES: The best part of my YouTube career so far has been seeing it come to life. What I mean by this is meeting subscribers! It always catches me slightly off guard because it's not something I'm used to, but it always, always, always makes my day. On the first day of school this year a group of freshman girls stopped me to tell me that my videos really helped them adjust to college life at FSU and it made my entire week. 

HC: What is your favorite part about attending FSU?

ES: It's hard to pick one favorite thing about attending FSU. I love the access to opportunities in the sports media field that are provided to me by going to such an athletically talented school. I love the campus. I love the large size of the school because there are always new people to meet. I never thought I'd end up at Florida State, but I'm so glad I did because I genuinely cannot imagine my life any other way.

HC: Do you have any advice for anyone looking to start a YouTube channel?

ES: If I were to give advice to someone who wants to start a YouTube channel I would say just do it and do what you want. What I mean by this is you don't have to take it super seriously in the beginning, you don't have to find a niche or buy a really expensive camera. You're welcome to, of course, but YouTube should be entirely enjoyable in the beginning anyway because you can't really make money from Google AdSense until you have a certain amount of subscribers and views. Watch videos about how to grow your channel as those are really helpful. Once you're "serious" about YouTube I would suggest really studying the platform and being engaged with your subscribers.

All Images Courtesy of Erica Sager.

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