Listen to Yourself, not Your Audience – Interview with Reznick Boxing

20 Nov, 2019

In our interview series, we talked with YouTube artist Reznick, about his boxing mixtapes channel. The editor explains how to find great ideas for your videos and why you shouldn’t always take your audience’s requests.

By Karlo Krznaric

Who is Reznick, and how did he fall in love with boxing?

I’m a businessman from Chicago who dabbles in creative content. 

My interest in boxing started with a Muhammad Ali Youtube binge. I loved watching his interviews and highlights. His videos lead me to people like Jack Johnson, Rocky Marciano, and countless other great fighters in the rich history of boxing. I always found it cool how they all had their own styles and stories. One thing I really like is how the sport hasn’t changed much for a very long time, and you can sort of compare athletes from 100 years ago to the ones today. It carries this contemporary relevance in its history, and I’m drawn to that. Most things in the past are worse than their modern counterparts, but not in boxing. It gives it a sense of legendary reverence you don’t often find. 

Reznick himself!

How did you start making videos? 

I started for a very simple reason: I had videos in my mind that I desperately wanted to see. And nobody else would make them (no matter how much I begged in the comments section). Frustrated, I decided to make the videos myself. With no editing experience, I made my first video. I uploaded it to YouTube, didn’t tell anyone about it, and earned 3,000 views in the first week. But even better than the views, is that I finally had that video I saw in my mind. And I could watch it whenever I wanted. We all have vivid ideas in our minds that never materialize, but in this case it did. 

How long did it take you to get good at video editing?

Honestly, I don’t consider myself a good editor, and I don’t think I ever will be. The truth is, I lack mechanics and precision. I make countless mistakes. I’m good at finding the essence of an idea, and conveying it accurately. It could trick you into thinking it’s good editing, but it’s really just staying true to the vision. And I think that overshadows the imprecision. The idea to me is more important than the craftsmanship. I hardly use effects and fancy techniques. Editing to me is a means to an end. You gotta do it to get that video you want. 

What would be the mission of Reznick Boxing?

There’s always this temptation to have some grand goal when making things. But the only goal should be to make a good product. At the end of the day, no matter how noble your cause is, people have to enjoy it. 

Where do you find inspiration and what does your creative process look like? 

I really try not to force video ideas. The nice thing about doing this as a hobby is that there is no pressure.  Which means I never have to make something I never really wanted to make.

My process usually starts with hearing a song. It could be at a restaurant, on my headphones, or wherever. Sometimes a certain song evokes an image of a certain boxer. Which is typically the spark.  Then it’s a lot of grokking. I’ll imagine specific images to go with certain parts of the song. Sometimes I don’t even know if the exact footage I have in mind exists, but I always find something that fits. And of course there’s a lot of refining.  Just constantly carving away until it feels right. 

How long does it take you to make a video?

Every video is different and takes on its own story. Sometimes I’ll have to spend hours looking for the right 2 second clip to fit a certain part of the video. Other times everything works in harmony, and I just fly through it in days. 

For every video I’ve uploaded, there is one or two that have been shelved. 

Do you monetize your content? 

I do not monetize my channel and my videos. I often use third party music, which is necessary to make the best video possible. I don’t want to sacrifice that. I’m blessed with other opportunities in life to make an income with. Which allows me to create the best product possible on youtube. 

The views, subscriber milestones, the numbers, never mattered much to me.  This is an artistic hobby, it’s not my work. The moment I try to growth hack my channel, it’ll tamper with the quality. It won’t be true to itself. And at that point, why do it?

The work on my channel has led to some really exciting opportunities, and hopefully I can share more details soon. 

What advice would you have for YouTubers at the beginning of their careers?

Only make videos you’re truly dying to see. There’s a good chance others want to see it too.

Check out more of Reznick’s brilliant videos:

Karlo Krznaric

Karlo is a public speaking and communication coach and author of the book "Joy of Public Speaking". He is also the master of ceremony at Smartlike