I left my job and only have 8 months to make it as a YouTube magician (Part 3)

Jack Rhodes' final update for magicians

I left my job and only have 8 months to make it as a YouTube magician (Part 3)
This edition of One Ahead is supported by a 10% discount today on this new trick we recommend buying.

I've taken an 8-month career break to turn my passion as a YouTube magician into a living. One Ahead invited me to document the highs and lows of my pursuit every few months. I recommend reading parts 1 + 2, in which my follower growth exploded, and I started making money online.

I left my job and only have 8 months to make it as a YouTube magician (Part 1)
Magic on social media can be hard work. We asked Jack Rhodes to document his attempt to turn his passion into a career.
I left my job and only have 8 months to make it as a YouTube magician (Part 2)
A candid look at one magician’s big leap.

2023 was the ‘year of change’. The year I decided to take a career break to pursue a life as a ‘creative’. Well, that must make 2024 the ‘year of commitment' – The year in which I'll need to decide whether or not this is what I actually wanted. 

March 25th is the official day my career break finishes and the day I return to my job as a Nuclear Engineer. Unless I decide that my life is better suited as a magician online. Time will tell.

January 3rd

At the start of this journey, I paid $ 4,000 for an online course on YouTube video creation (more on that in the first article if you’re interested).

Paying that sort of money felt like a gamble at the time, but I’ve just woken up to a message from someone on the course saying one of my videos has been shared by another ‘YouTube expert’ as a shining example of how to write an engaging script.

Gil Hildebrand tweet highlughting Jack Rhode's Outlier video

Naturally, I liked and commented so he’d send me the full script analysis (I wanted to see what I’d done right!)…. but he never replied. Thanks, mate.

It's nice to know I’m doing something right, though, even if I still can’t quite put my finger on it.

January 10th

Just spoke to a fellow magician today and they said ‘oh I thought you had some sort of film school background’. This isn’t the first time I’ve had this, and I’d like to think this is a testament to the production quality of my videos. 

The truth is I’m completely self taught in almost everything to do with magic and content creation. 

As a kid, I had various hobbies, including music, magic, and art. I also spent a couple of years obsessively making stop-motion animation videos and editing them in Windows Movie Maker—perhaps this is where my interest in video production first began. The one thing I found key to all these different hobbies was the importance of maintaining attention to detail.

Details bring life to a project. And it’s very easy over time to think ‘ah, that’s good enough, that’ll do’.

January 26th

One of the biggest surprises throughout this journey has been the number of unexpected opportunities that pop up. Last year, I was invited to attend a creator workshop in the Meta HQ in London, selected as YouTube’s ‘Creator on the Rise,’ and even found myself on a FaceTime call with David Blaine—all as a by-product of putting my face out there on videos.

Well, today, I’m filming a marketing campaign for Jacamo in partnership with LadBible (for any non-UK readers, Jacamo is a big clothing brand in the UK). It turns out that Jacamo was on the hunt for creators called Jack, and it just so happened that my stuff was blowing up online whilst they were doing their research. Anyways, I do a couple of days filming some content with LadBible, and then I get paid a lot more than I should. That’s nice, isn’t it?

What surprises me, though, is their filming setup—it’s super low-budget. They intentionally film everything on an iPhone to make it feel more ‘authentic.'

I never wrote about this in the previous article, but in October last year, after a conversation with Kevin Parry, I experimented with more authentic-looking content.

Kevin is an incredible content creator known for his magic-based VFX videos like this one: ‘The 10 Types of Magic’

Kevin explained that he purposely tries to make it look like his videos are filmed on a phone (even though they are filmed on a fancy DSLR camera). The intention here is (at least for short-form) to come across as ‘home-made’ with the reasoning that over-produced content can sometimes actually put people off. 

I have mixed feelings towards this approach; I pride myself on production quality, but at the same time, I can see the logic. I decided it was worth experimenting with, so I made a short-form video shot entirely on my phone:

Hoping that the video would die on its arse and I could continue to hold my head high with ridiculous production quality, the video went viral and hit 7 million views in a few days. Of course, it did.

Guess what, though? I didn’t enjoy making it as much. I like making nice-looking stuff too much. 

Your content output is a Venn diagram of what you want to make and what your audience wants to watch. The little slither in the middle is what you should make, and that slither has just got slitherier* cos I ain’t filming my videos on an iPhone.

*is ’slitherier’ a word? Gut feel says not.

February 9th

Whilst we’re on the topic of ‘unexpected opportunities’ - I’ve just done an audition for Britain’s Got Talent, and it went as well as it could have really. All going well, Jacky boy’s going to be on the Telly! Look at me getting my mug on both digital and legacy media.

I’ve been quiet about this one across all socials due to the strict NDA’s you have to sign – in fact the only reason you’re reading this now is because my audition will have aired by the time this article comes out and it’ll be public knowledge that I’m on the show.

The wheels have been in motion on this since late last year after I got noticed for my Got Talent parodies where I green-screen myself to make it look like I’m on the show:

It’s crazy to think how a silly video I made in my garage has actually led me to go on the thing I was taking the mick out of - for real. Do you know what this whole process has made me realise though? That I really miss performing live.

I’ve been sitting in my garage making videos for so long now, I’ve forgotten how amazing the buzz of live performance (in front of actual people) feels! Genuinely, today’s BGT audition marks the first proper gig I’ve done in four years…

This post is for subscribers only

Already have an account? Sign in.