Karl Watson is a British YouTuber who creates TV-style travel documentaries about his backpacking adventures around the world.
Breaking the mold of travel vlogs, these feature length films give an honest, inspiring, fun and entertaining depiction of what it’s actually like to be a backpacker, allowing the audience to experience the highs and lows of life on the road.
Karl has worked as a freelance video editor in London for 12 years and as his YouTube channel gradually took off, his hobby and professional videos have started to meet in the middle.
Find out a little more about Karl below.
How did you get into film and photography?
I actually studied music for my undergraduate course at the University of Liverpool. But of course, there’s no jobs in music and I’ve always been a big movie fan, so I started looking at transitioning into video. Ended up doing a post-grad course in video editing at Bournemouth University and it all went from there.
What is one of your proudest YouTube moments?
My first proper series of films was “HK2NY: Hong Kong to New York”, a nine-month round-the-world trip. I uploaded it to YouTube with no expectations of anyone watching it – other than some of the friends we made along the way. However, a couple of weeks after I posted the first episode, STA Travel got in touch saying they’d seen the episode and wanted to work together. I ended up freelancing with them on and off for a few years, but it was that initial moment when they contacted me that I realized that making these travel videos could become more than just a side hobby.
How do you get into the creative flow?
I think you have to rid yourself of distractions. Put your phone away, don’t have any friends around you and don’t have your web browser open on your laptop. It’s a lot easier to get lost in an edit, if there’s nothing else to do but edit.
Which YouTuber would you like to switch places with for a day?
Can I just cheat at switch with something like the YouTube channel for Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Fallon? The Tonight Show has 21 million subscribers, I’d give my channel a good plug for a day.
What is one thing you wish you had had or known when you first started out?
When I did the HK2NY trip, it was hard to stay motivated filming for nine months. There were points where I barely filmed a thing, nearly gave up at one point, because I just thought no one would ever watch it and it was a lot of effort just to have a video souvenir for myself. If I’d known how big it would become, it would’ve given me the confidence and motivation to capture way more of our experience. So I guess the moral is just keep going, keep trying, because you never know where you might end up.
Why should people buy a ticket to BorderlessLive?
After every Traverse and WTM event, you leave feeling completely exhilarated, buzzing with new ideas about how to take your channel forward. Plus you make so many incredible new friends and are welcomed into this amazing and passionate community.
BorderlessLive is going to be bigger than anything done before and it promises to be something really, really special.
Click here to buy your ticket and hear more from Karl on 6-7th September at Tobacco Dock.