Why I Love… Mr Ben Brown
In this series, I’ll examine some of my favourite pieces of culture, and tell you why you might love them too.
There are too many YouTubers. Everywhere you look these days there’s another one making mediocre challenge and haul videos. Anyone can put videos on YouTube, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anyone should. That’s what makes finding someone who’s really good such an exciting experience. The experience of finding someone like Ben Brown.
Ben Brown is a daily vlogger, former world champion kayaker and all round source of inspiration to every one of his 500,000 or so subscribers. He lives half his life in London, and the other half in Cape Town, but really he spends a lot of time in neither of those places, travelling with his friends and making amazing videos all around the world. He is also a super talented photographer, and even is in the process of selling a TV show with his friend and possible future feature on this blog Steve Booker about going around the world searching for the perfect shot. The show is called Mission Selfie, which is a really lame name for such a cool idea (especially one that doesn’t involve selfies), but he’s out there doing it, making his dreams happen.
You can watch Ben’s latest vlog at time of writing here, and I think that it captures so many of the things that make him great, and the reasons that I watch his videos without fail every day.
- Firstly, he’s having fun. Everywhere he looks, he seems to be having a great time. He’ll go and find somewhere new to eat, and it’s delicious. He’ll go to the beach and everything will be great. I don’t know if there’s some issues that he’s hiding from us, but the joy that he feels on the vlog about the world in general is exciting to watch, and helps me be optimistic too. He gets to professionally hang out with his friends, and if he can do that, then I can probably do something exciting with my life too. Seeing someone pop up, every morning almost without fail, with such unbridled joy about life and all its opportunities, makes me happy too. He and his mates just have a great time all the time, and depending on the week he could be snowboarding in Canada, taking a scenic plane flight in Dubai, surfing in Cape Town or doing archery at a Game of Thrones set in Northern Ireland. He’s not taking this life for granted, he is taking every opportunity given to him and grasping it, and he has FUN. We as the viewers get to vicariously live through him, we get hope that one day we might get out of the day-to-day drudgery that we have been told is the only way to go in life, and do what we love instead. Ben has fun and that gives me hope.
- He’s making something, in this case a 360 degree video for a showcase at Vidcon, on top of making and editing a vlog every day. This is bonkers to me. I do a little bit of video stuff at university, and the process of making even one video a week isn’t easy, and he’s making one every day, as well as doing other projects. In the past, he’s made videos about rhino poaching and Costa Rican farmers for Great Big Story, as well as his own ‘Visual Vibes’ series, and he does this all while consistently uploading a video a day, no matter where he is or how bad the internet is. That’s crazy, and he realised that a while ago, so he hired his best friend, SP, to help out with the edits occasionally. Most of the time, though, Ben is, all at once, vlogging his life, editing those vlogs daily, planning upcoming projects, shooting current projects, and making time to be with his friends and family whenever he can. That’s really efficient in a way that not many YouTubers are, and that’s a real shot of inspiration. If Ben Brown can do all of that at the same time, I can probably get off my butt and write a blog post, or do that assignment I’ve been putting off. Ben teaches me that not only do I not have to do the thing that everyone expects me to do when I grow up, but I can do whatever I want, I can follow my dreams and even enjoy my job. That won’t be easy, though, it’ll take a lot of work. That’s what makes getting to that point so sweet.
- He’s excited about gear. I’m a huge gear and tech nerd, and Ben is a kindred spirit in that way. Every other week he’s in a camera shop buying some new piece of gear, and while some people in the comments are all like “you should have more respect for how expensive all that gear is”, I’m enthralled. Ben’s always switching it up between different cameras and camera systems, buying upgrades for his drones, and just plain being excited about the new possibilities brought to him by gear. However, he doesn’t let this excitement get in the way, he uses it as motivation; if he buys a certain piece of gear then that unlocks new things he can do, it’s the means, not the goal. He epitomises what I think is the best way to think about gear, he respects it but also sees it for what it is: a way to make stuff, not a thing to aspire to having lots of. He sits somewhere between the brutalist view of gear of Casey Neistat and 12 year old me, who just found out about fancy cameras and whose goal is to get the most fancy one. Gear isn’t everything, but that doesn’t mean that new gear isn’t exciting, and Ben teaches the right way to think about it.
Ben Brown is living the dream, and we as his viewers get to watch that. He’s a constant source of inspiration for me, maybe not specifically inspiration to make daily vlogs, but inspiration to at least make something, and do what I enjoy doing, to remember to “Work Hard, Be Nice to People, and Try Not to Get Lost or Killed.”
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