Jared Reeves
Creator, writer and host of Meeple Mentor

Jared is the host and head honcho at Meeple Mentor. HE creates board game content to educate and entertain, find him on his website and Youtube channel.

Jared took the time to chat to DoodleMeeple about how he has crafted a growing channel, by working hard, making time and being self-disciplined. Read on for his top tips for board game career success!

Perseverance is Key!

Becoming a board game content creator isn’t hard, but it’s also not particularly easy.  What I mean by that is being a creator is a constant pursuit that brings challenges.  Just as with any project or entrepreneurial venture, challenges are expected and must be overcome.  To succumb to a difficult challenge is to give up on your goals and dreams.  The real question to those creating or wanting to create is “what motivates you to overcome?”

'To have time, you must MAKE time..'

In life, we have both personal and professional challenges.  Finding the time to read, write, film, edit, create, and promote is a big challenge for any new YouTuber.  Being organized and setting goals will improve your ability to “find the time” to create your content.  To have time, you must MAKE time.  You must schedule creation time and be persistent and dedicated to doing it.  No one else will hold you accountable- you must be accountable to yourself.  Remember why you create and where you want this to take you. 

When I talk about scheduling, I’m not only talking about scheduling time to create, but also very literally scheduling your YouTube video releases.  Be consistent with your publish times and frequency.  Let viewers know when to expect your content.  I’ve put up my schedule at the end of each video, and on the homepage banner of my channel.  Through practice and trials, I’ve found that my limitations of frequency prevent me from uploading more than 2 tutorial videos a month.  Tutorial videos are my main “product,” if you will.

How did I get started?  In January, 2018, I decided to make a tutorial video on Archipelago as a way for my friends to come to game night ready to play.  I figured if they watched a video before coming, we wouldn’t have to take extra time going over the rules.  It was rough around the edges, but still thorough.  I realized that if I tried harder on it, I might actually be able to pull off a decent tutorial video.  Though the video was poor quality, I gained a lot valuable feedback, experience, and positive comments.  Turns out there are LOTS of people who absolutely need video explanations of things in order to understand them.  I knew there was something to this, and there were lots of fairly complex games most people would never get to play if left to figure it out on their own.

'I had a million reasons to give up and stop working towards this YouTube channel goal.  I didn’t know how to make a quality video or design logos, or anything!  It was still just a dream.'

This realization gave me a spark of motivation and inspiration to create my own YouTube channel dedicated to teaching board games.  Too many great games get unplayed or sit on shelves because they are deemed “too complicated.”  My goal now is to create thorough teaching videos focused on medium to heavy weight games so everyone can be able to enjoy the amazing variety of games being published.  I set small goals like coming up with a list of games to teach, and finding a partner to help me get started.  At this point I had NO idea how to film or make a good video.  I was still at the inspiration step!

I had a million reasons to give up and stop working towards this YouTube channel goal.  I didn’t know how to make a quality video or design logos, or anything!  It was still just a dream.  I’d like to share first some of the personal challenges I face in my life, in hopes that it could be encouraging to you.  I’m a family man: wife, 2 young daughters.  My youngest daughter received a life-saving heart transplant at 4 months old, and my oldest is autistic.  They are currently 5 and 8 years old.  Both have anxiety disorders on top of it, with Naomi (5) also diagnosed with ADHD.  Naomi didn’t come home from the hospital until 6 months of age- so working and managing going to the hospital each day was challenging!  Since she had to get a transplant, she’s on tons of medications, including immunosuppressants.   Worrying about her getting sick is always serious- at one point she was in the hospital on and off for 3 months due to pneumonia.  Our worry hit a high point when the COVID pandemic hit the US!
Our family faces medical, behavioral, emotional, and mental challenges every single day.  My wife and I both developed anxiety, depression, and even PTSD during the most difficult times of facing life and death each day waiting for a heart to come.  I learned the only way to deal with hardship is to not ignore it, but to deal with it.  Process it and live each day the best you can, never dwelling on the difficult past.  Dream of the future, and live in the moment.  Take stock of the good things to be thankful for each day.

Planning is key

From 2018 to 2019, I spent time just thinking about and planning the channel out, including logos, design, theme, format, style, and the biggest: finding someone to help me who knew what they were doing!  That person finally came in the form of our worship music leader at church.  He had the expertise to record, edit, and graphic design, including using green screen effectively.  He and I spent over 3 months preparing and recording the first 3 tutorials for the channel.  I read the rulebooks and wrote the scripts.  We recorded at the church and I watched him as much as possible while he edited the footage.

We released the first videos on May 13, 2019.  A few weeks later my friend quit on me quite suddenly.  My wife said maybe this was a sign I should quit too, but I was determined.  I persevered.  With him gone, I had to find a new recording space, camera, editor, lights, microphone, and more.  Then, my kids dropped my laptop and broke it beyond repair.  I couldn’t find anyone else who was able to offer help of any kind for what I needed to continue.  So, my parents got me an early birthday and Christmas gift in the form of a new laptop, and my wife said I could try using her digital camera to record.  A friend of mine was working at a music store and was able to help me get a discount on a mountable microphone.  For lighting, I got the advice to buy cheap clip-on lights and diffuse the light with white shower caps!  It worked!  I cleared out the kid’s playroom since they weren’t really using it, and started setting up my own studio there.
Through perseverance and lots of trial and error, I continued making videos for the channel, even with all the rough starts.  I learned as I went, and found someone local who gave me some pointers at using Adobe Premiere.  Additionally, Google was my best friend at troubleshooting using premiere on my own.

Don't let you stop yourself

Why did I persevere?  Why didn’t I give up?  I had made the firm decision in my mind that this was going to happen!  Nothing was going to stop me- I would find a way.  I heard a very important piece of advice early on that I’ve taken to heart, which I will now impart to you.  Nobody gives a crap about you or your videos (content).  The only one who would make it happen was me.  The only one who would push me to succeed at it was me.  I can’t rely on other people’s opinions to guide my direction.  I had to have the resolve to do what I wanted to do, the way I wanted to do it.  Perseverance is key!So I leave you with this thought; Are you willing to do what is necessary to achieve your dream?  

Are you able to shrug off the negativity, naysayers, and unexpected failures?  If so, you may just succeed!  Perseverance breeds endurance to withstand.  Endurance leads to developing skills. Developing skills leads to more opportunities.  Opportunities leads to what most people call “luck,” or what I call success.  Luck is where opportunity meets preparation!  Be prepared, and good luck! : )

Are you a game designer yourself?

Or are you one of the supporting industry figures like… The artist who gives games their iconic visuals? A story writer who provides deep, immersive narrative? Or maybe a play-tester providing key feedback to make the game a success?

You can find more clients, network and fast track your progress with us.

Jamie Noble Frier co-founder of doodlemeeple

I hope you enjoyed reading! I’ll keep you all posted with news from us and from around the industry. If you’ve got news, why not share it with me?

Drop me a line at jamie@doodlemeeple.com and we might be able to feature you in our news.

Keep making great games!

Jamie, DoodleMeeple

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