HomeInterviewMaking TikTok’s short video clips is not easy

Making TikTok’s short video clips is not easy

Creativity the key to making a living on the platform

TikTok, the short-form video platform that is growing in popularity in Thailand, is aiming for a greater variety of content, including the addition of creative educational videos. To help achieve this, it has launched the #TikTokUni campaign. For its so-called “creators” – the people who produce its content – the campaign offers a unique challenge: squeezing serious subjects into an entertaining 15, 30, or 60 seconds.

One such creator, Aki Yamaguchi, has produced clips that teach the Japanese language. Not only have her clips imparted knowledge to her followers in an entertaining way, but they have also been so popular that Aki – a former office worker who dabbled in show-biz “on the side” – has now made TikTok her occupation. 

TikTok Thailand’s Content Development Manager, Laksamee Jong, told The Story Thailand that TikTok creators across the world have one thing in common – sufficient creativity to work within the discipline of completing a video presentation in one minute. She had more to say for Thai creators, regarding them as “funnier and friendlier” than most others. When making advertisements, Thai creators are very creative, and stay clear of hard-selling. 

Generally, video producers are used to being “long-winded”, so producing an interesting clip that is as short as one minute is quite a challenge. However, TikTok has successfully nudged many producers into editing their content down to a concise and worth-watching one-minute. 

“Many people think that there cannot be anything much in a one-minute clip. But when we spend one minute watching a piece of news, we actually know what has happened. And if you are learning English, you may feel that one minute is too long to teach just one word. In advertising, presentation of a product’s key message must not be long. One minute should be enough to send the message across,” Laksamee said. 

Producing great short video clips is not easy 

In her former life as an office worker, Aki Yamaguchi was also an emcee and had show-biz experience both in front of and behind the camera. She also had extensive experience as a user of social media. Now, as a TikTok creator, she has 650,000 followers. 

Aki said she decided to join TikTok first because the app was hugely popular in Japan. But before she met Laksamee, she had not given it serious thought. Laksamee suggested that she should try producing language-teaching clips that were short yet easy-to-understand. Aki took up the challenge, and soon found that such clips attracted more interest than she expected. Thereafter, she became a serious TikTok creator. 

“Every day, I post at least one clip before noon. In this way, I try to ensure that my followers have many hours later in the day to check it out,” she explained. 

Aki began producing language-teaching clips on 1 October 2019, to see whether they could boost the number of her followers. At first, her clips were very plain, and the format was like teaching one Japanese word per day. But over time, her productions evolved, to integrate popular quotes from anime – popular Japanese animation – or from TV series, comparisons between Thai, Western and Japanese speakers’ choices of words, and stories about ghosts. Recently, many Japanese ghost stories have made their way into Aki’s teaching of Japanese words. 

“Video production for TikTok is challenging with regard to video length,” Aki said. “How can we present a fun summary in just 15, 30 or 60 seconds? When we make long clips, we have time to give explanations. But when we create short clips, we have to do a lot of preparation; we need to put a lot of thought into the production.” 

Making a living as a TikTok creator

Aki said it was possible to make a living out of being a creator on TikTok. But to do so, a person must have ideas, determination, consistency and willingness to work hard. It is also essential to have clear goals, good planning and discipline. She emphasized the need to understand that no occupation offers comfort, and nothing else. 

“No creator becomes successful just because he or she keeps producing clips. To be successful, we must first find out what we like, what goals our content development seeks to achieve, and what we expect our audience to get from it,” she explained.

She said TikTok – and especially Laksamee – had helped her a lot. She had received the original idea of teaching Japanese from Laksamee, who also gave her updates on overseas trends. Aki said she always applied useful suggestions and information in her production style.

As if to emphasize the seriousness of the video-clip production business, Laksamee told The Story Thailand that, first and foremost, creators had to do a lot of soul-searching. Those who were worried that they might not be able to produce clips every day should try to find “the right balance”, as clip production should not completely drain them of energy. Importantly, creators should treat their content production as a business, and prepare to accept advertisements. It should be possible for them to adjust their content to suit advertisers’ target groups, she said. 

Laksamee also pointed out that creators should understand that their number of followers was not everything. If they were obsessed with maintaining or boosting the number, they might not be able to produce better content. She explained that when a creator adjusted his or her content style, it might take some time to see the actual response, and creators should not give up a new style after testing it for just a little while.

“Content production is a new culture,” she said. “When you go out, you may notice people dancing with friends in front of a camera. While at home, people shoot videos of fun times together. It has really become a part of our lives.”

Building an ecosystem for creators

Laksamee said TikTok users are changing and gaining greater maturity. People aged between 18 and 24 are now the biggest group of users. The second-biggest group is composed of secondary students and adults. In response to these changes, TikTok’s educational content has been growing. 

She explained what she called a “tripartite collaboration” for ad-related content on TikTok. The platform provides support to creators in the form of technologies, content and opportunities to connect with brands and media. Alongside them are advertisers who are interested in working with either creators or TikTok. 

Creators can earn income from sponsors by producing short-video reviews. In this regard, TikTok plays a role in monitoring results and making recommendations. In addition, there is also TikTok Creator Marketplace (TCM). Any creator with at least 10,000 followers can join the marketplace and deal directly with brands. There is no need to share income with TikTok from these transactions. At present, TikTok is working with more than 1,000 creators. 



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