On this week’s Friday Follow, we look into infotainment creator and YouTuber Vedant Kaushik and his journey in the world of content creation.

Literature and stories will always be part of us. No matter what we do or where we go, we find ourselves surrounded by things that are a part of or inspired by literature in some form. With our way of consuming them changing, it’s only fair to look for people who are using every possible platform to talk about it. Content creation happens to have creators sharing their interests with their audience and Vedant Kaushik’s page belongs to one such niche. Giving every geek the satisfaction to enjoy well-researched content about anything and everything, Vedant Kaushik is making infotainment fun.

Better known by his internet pseudonym ‘Rusty’; Vedant Kaushik is born and brought up in the cantonment area of Meerut. He was someone who grew up reading a lot of fiction and participating in debates and theatre throughout his school and college days. After completing his undergrad in English Literature, he spent the next few years leading content and marketing for a Fintech startup only for him to eventually leave it to pursue his MA from King’s College London. His passion for content creation stemmed from his love for fiction and the art of public speaking. Beyond content, he spends the majority of his time playing video games, cooking, and working out with the occasional vacation to fuel the traveler in him.

Vedant has always been an avid reader and writer. The passion to put his thoughts, interests, and ideas out in a way that other people can consume them has always been part of him. And it began with him publishing short stories and eventually evolved into him creating sporadic posters, copywriting, and basic video editing for his school and college societies. “When I was heading content and marketing post-college for a Gurgaon-based Fintech startup, I realized that whatever amateur skills I had in video editing, graphic design, and writing needed to be honed and improved to meet the requirements of a professional workspace.” He was already spending his free time watching YouTube which led to him creating videos for YT to help him improve those skills. “That is when I started making weekly videos on my YouTube channel about pop culture, movies, and TV shows. It took me over two years and 500+ videos to reach my first 1000 YouTube subscribers. However, the process of creating those 500+ videos helped me immensely in my profession, and helped me improve the skills necessary for being a YouTuber.”

Considering his content dwells on the aspect of sharing his thoughts on some of the most renowned works that he came across or even trends within pop culture that has people talking, his content is all research-based. It was something that he evolved into after creating content for YT over the years. He decided to shift from his opinion-driven pop-culture commentary to research-based infotainment only recently. Although there are still aspects of his previous style in his videos, most of his recent works are research-based. However, he says that most of this research doesn’t happen when he decides to make a video. “I believe that our mind works best when we’re able to connect two different ideas into a new one.” That is also a reason why he prefers to spend the majority of his time-consuming content reading books and trying to find new things that interest him. He adds, “That way, when there does come a topic that I find interesting enough to talk about in a research-driven YouTube video, my mind automatically has enough touch points to tangentially connect and breed new ideas.” According to him, the key is experimenting with the kind of information that he wants to consume. He makes sure to go beyond just the topics that interest him the most and find ways to learn more about them.

Infotainment is a form of content that has managed to fill our little brains with incredible details about issues and works that we would have otherwise ignored. Making for the perfect visual and audio combo, these videos have become our digital teachers entertaining us with information that we may have otherwise found quite boring. Vedant agrees that short-form content has shortened our collective attention span but that audiences in general are also interested in sensationalism and topics that result in extreme emotions. When asked if it is the new way to help get the audience’s attention on any issue he said, “In the midst of this, I believe infotainment has the best possibility of being educational as well as giving the audience entertainment that makes them feel those extreme emotions.” He knows that infotainment does come with added challenges since as creators the responsibility is to ensure that we deliver on both aspects – information and entertainment.

It wasn’t a tough decision for him as to what kind of content he wanted to create. When he started creating content it was more about convenience. He began creating videos for entertainment as most of his time post office hours were spent watching TV and OTT movies. But once he left his job to pursue his master’s and had more time at hand. “Studying in one the world’s best universities meant I had at my access to some incredible ideas and resources. The evolution to creating infotainment content was then natural, as I spent more time researching and exploring new ideas for university, the process also helped me create more in-depth and research-driven videos for my YouTube.” After creating 1000+ videos, he found it happening naturally, “the only thing being constant is the content is always driven by what is most interesting to me at the point in time in my life. I think it’s a way that works for me to find new ideas, and share them with my audience.”

Talking about his content and how short-form platforms have impacted him, he mentioned how difficult it was for him to understand them initially. But he saw people doing a better job at it and that encouraged him to try it. “It was actually helpful in realizing that some of my ideas were executable within the span of a minute, and I’d previously been trying to stretch them for the long-form content that works best on YouTube. So, I began experimenting with delivery styles, editing styles, music, and more. to find the voice I’m most comfortable with in the short-video platform. It was essentially the same process that helped me in my YouTube, just re-done.” He took a 100-day challenge to create one short video daily, over the course of 2021, and it helped him find his own style and voice.

Vedant also follows other creators and makes sure to keep up with their work. He talked about his roommate and fellow creator, Jay Kapoor. He says that he has been a fan since he met Jay during his time working in the Fintech startup where they wanted to explore influencer marketing. “We became great friends and happen to now share creative ideas, and processes. Other than that, all the people I follow on my public social media platforms are the ones whose content I enjoy absolutely. I’m really cautious about how I spend my time, hence my time on social media should only be spent consuming content from creators I enjoy.”

Among all the videos that you have put out, which one are you proud of?

“It’s a video I made over four years ago, it’s about a poem I studied in my school in grade nine. I’d always enjoyed video essays on YouTube and my style in the initial days really borrowed from creators like Nerdwriter and Every Frame a Painting. When I made this video essay on John Keats’ La Belle Dame Sans Merci, it took me more than a month. I’m really proud of the video not because of how well it turned out, but because of the process. One week of scripting, three of editing, and then the final product. I feel this is the video where I found my voice as a creator. It gave me the confidence that I carry to this day.”

Since you started creating videos, what are the best and worst parts of content creation?

I think this might be one that you’ve heard of but the entire process is well worth it, from scripting to watching the final product, the process is always enjoyable. Disappointment is when you’ve put your heart and soul into a product but it doesn’t perform as well as you’d hoped, but it’s always balanced when a product that you didn’t put as much into does wonder.

Who do you look up to for inspiration?

My parents and the creators whose content I consume. I also believe inspiration and motivation are fleeting, so I rely on discipline.

A quote that always motivates you.

There’s one in Hindi, ‘Na Samman ka moh, na apmaan ka bhay’; which means neither do I crave appreciation and fame nor do I fear notoriety.

Have you received any DM from your followers that stayed with you?

Several. I always try to reply to the messages I receive, but my favorite ones are when other creators reach out to me and tell me how my style, videos, topics, or presentation inspired them to start creating videos. I’ve been doing this for close to 5 years now, you’ll be surprised how many of these creators who’ve told me I’ve inspired them are now doing great in the space. They’ve become peers and colleagues, and that will always keep me motivated.

If you had to describe your hopes for 2022?

The same motto I’ve always had. Chase curiosity, experiment, optimize and repeat. The end goal for this year, and every year is to be a more humble, disciplined, inspired, and curious person than last year.

If pop culture and literature are something that excites you, then you should follow Vedant’s work!

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