Interview

Refinery29’s Lucie Fink Shares What It Means to be a Video Producer

On the surface, Youtubers may seem like they have a dream job filled with picking out trendy outfits, eating at top-rated restaurants, sipping iced coffees, talking into a camera for a few hours – and getting paid for all of it. And while for some internet personalities that may be the case, that’s not the reality for most creatives.

For Lucie Fink, a video producer and lifestyle host for Refinery29, there’s a considerable amount of time and effort that goes into making even a single video.

One of Fink’s most popular videos, as part of the series “Try Living with Lucie”

Fink works for Refinery29 and creates lifestyle and “how to” videos. She has become well known for her “Try Living with Lucie” videos in which she tries something out of the ordinary or challenges suggested by her fans.

However, while Fink’s videos may appear whimsical and lighthearted on the surface, there’s more work that goes into creating each video than imaginable. Fink described her process of creating a video, sharing that it involves choosing a topic, researching, fact-checking, picking a location, filming and then finally editing.

Another one of Fink’s popular videos from her series “Lucie for Hire”

And with each video comes certain expectations. “I think there’s always the pressure of trying to make each video a little bit better than your last piece of content,” said Fink. “I guess there’s also the pressure of trying to read your audience ahead of time and figure out how they’re going to respond to it.”

Another challenge that creators across all platforms are starting to face is the challenge of branding and ad sponsorships. While the intention is to both benefit the brand and the promoter by giving the former media attention and the other latter type of compensation, respectively, correctly including a sponsorship has become a difficult task.

When filming a branded video, Fink tries to “make sure the video doesn’t come out looking too much like an ad.” “I want to make sure it’s still organic to my audience and organic to my channel so that people can still trust me,” she explains.

Most creators like Fink are faced with the additional challenge of not crossing the line to being labeled as an “influencer.”

“I think I could be labeled as an influencer because of my social media following and because of  the fact that I do some classic influencer-style posts where I’m doing sponsorships,” said Fink, “but over time, my biggest thing has been I don’t want to call myself an influencer because I know I’m more than that.”

Recently, many Youtubers have been faced with that same issue. The job they’ve been doing for years is now being rebranded by young, L.A. based teens with vlog cameras calling themselves influencers. For creators like Fink that tend to care more about the content than the view count, this can be a challenge to the integrity of their job, as well as the title they recieve.

“In my mind, I’m a video producer, I’m a creative, I’m a lifestyle host, I’m a personality. I’m an influencer as well, but I think that comes second to my primary job, which is being a video producer,” said Fink.  

However, one way for industry professionals to combat the new standard being set by influencers is simply to redefine it. When the title influencer is used, many immediately get the image of a young vlogger sipping their Starbucks and complaining about their lives. But when asked what she defines as an influencer, Fink said, “Somebody who’s influencing other people’s sense of style, or other people’s products that they want to buy, or in my case, ideally, inspiring people to try new things and get out there. But I think an influencer can really be classified as anyone who’s influential, inspirational or aspirational.”

And the other way for producers to avoid being influencers? Keep working. The more producers and creators can distinguish themselves from the influencer brand, the longer the industry can survive.

“I think you really need to have a skill besides being cute and taking cute photos,” said Fink. “For me, I’m really hoping that my video production skills and my ability to be on camera and host and be a personality is really what’s going to build my long-term career.”

Featured image via @luciebfink on Instagram

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