I was so excited to find a Caribbean YouTuber who took his content and video quality seriously that when I contacted Devon Ramdass in December for this interview, I (the dumbass) assumed that he was only influenced by Casey Neistat.
Devon told me, “Casey has definitely stapled the “drone shot followed by handheld” sort of look for vlogs. I look up to him in terms of content quality of course, but I am definitely more influenced by people like Sawyer Hartman and Peter McKinnon.” Huh.
You see, all of Devon’s vlogs open with flawless drone shots overlayed with instrumentals then he cuts to a hand-held. Neistat does a lot of that but I’ve come to realize that intro isn’t special/rare. Devon is less interested in the aesthetics of Neistat’s mini movies and more in the style of Sawyer and McKinnon. “Their style and color grading makes you feel a certain way when watching their videos and that’s what I hope to achieve.” Huh. I need to do more research.
Devon is a Trinidadian tech-entrepreneur and a speed-talker. The two combinations make some words fly over my head when I watch his vlogs, but the organic interactions between he and his friends (#smashlife!) gives me a peek into this whole other culture and that’s worth it. It’s unfair that his vlog channel does not have more than 1,100+ subs. but he is still appreciative of it all,“Everything I do at the moment is all thanks to YouTube. Before starting my main channel where I do tech reviews, I didn’t have the simplest idea of what shooting editing and producing a video in general entailed.”
His main channel, Devon X Scott, has been up for about three years and the moment he decided to take it seriously and the moment things started to turn around were simultaneous. “If I had to pinpoint one specific moment it would honestly be the day I got my first Adsense cheque (Devon made a video on making money from YouTube, watch it, here). To experience doing something with your computer and a website and then seeing a physical cheque come in your mail is a pretty amazing feeling!”
Devon does technology reviews and content production for local Trinidadian dealerships and gigantic companies like LG and Samsung. “Since starting [YouTube], I now do videography and photography professionally and I own a relatively successful graphic design company. All of which birthed due to having to learn those skills to further my YouTube channel.”
Yea, you read that right. YouTube gave him the opportunity to create the beginnings of an enterprise.
I believe the beauty and ultimate success of of YouTube is it’s intimacy, it’s an intimacy that T.V. and movies can’t give us. It has this great ability to connect the most random group of everyday people with a range of talents to create a YouTube culture and anybody can add to it.
I told Devon that we have social media stars here in Jamaica who are making a living from using their personality to add to this culture but that I think they don’t have the true professional mindframe that even the youngest of American Youtubers have. The biggest problems we face in Jamaica are that generally: video quality and editing are not taken seriously, vlogs are boringly long and plotless and video releases are inconsistent and uncreative because everybody wants to be a comedian.
Devon agreed that Caribbean YouTubers’ video quality is poor, the same thing happens in Trinidad. He basically told me the same thing that Romario Lynch did: we have very low standards in the Caribbean when it comes to art. Devon said, “If you look at most widely known productions locally especially TV ads and segments, they set the bar pretty low in my opinion.” Romario said, “I notice, across all fields of work [in Jamaica], much attention isn’t paid to detail or quality of work. I see it in ‘fancy restaurants’ where they just use the cheapest ingredients. I see it in construction and even carpentry where work is decent but not perfect. There are people can cook and there are people who create dishes. There are people who can work a camera and there are people who capture moments… Creativity isn’t as valued out here as it is overseas.”
And this is sad because YouTube not only helps an individual, but a country. “My YouTube work has resulted in monetary gain locally here in Trinidad and Tobago due to companies contacting me for video production purposes,” Devon said. “Being noticed by those large companies really showed me the sheer power that platforms like YouTube and its international reach can offer to creators, even if you’re in the Caribbean.”
However, both Devon and Romario believe that the creative fields are growing so rapidly that in time things will change. “Truly I believe that the next generation will raise the standards in terms of video quality for sure,” Devon said. And I believe him too because the funniest part of all this is that we have everything we need to start a Caribbean YouTube revolution: content and culture… Devon said, “Being a “good YouTuber” isn’t just about the gear you use, but the content you produce. If your content is on point, that’s the most important thing.” …we just need to work on the rest. Especially since it’s so easy to start too, a modern smartphone is all you need. That’s how most Youtubers started out and most importantly, that’s exactly how Devon Ramdass– one of The Caribbean’s rising YouTube stars in my eyes– started out. –Bless.
[cover image by: Devon Ramdass]