- Hayden Hillier-Smith is a YouTube video editor who has worked for creators like Logan Paul.
- Hillier-Smith opened up about how he landed his job and what it’s like to work for the top creators on YouTube.
- He also broke down his top editing tips for aspiring video creators.
A top creator is rarely a one-stop-shop, and many have a number of staff who help them create videos and run their business behind the scenes. These teams often include a video editor who will film and edit the content for the creator.
Hayden Hillier-Smith, who has 187,000 YouTube subscribers himself, is a trusted editor. He is best known for his work with YouTuber Logan Paul (23 million subscribers), but also acts as a publishing consultant to other creators including Sam and Colby (5 million subscribers), Alex Wassabi (11 million subscribers) and Airrack (2.6 million subscribers).
Hillier-Smith is from the UK and studied video editing at university. After graduating in 2015, he worked for a company that edited videos for Facebook.
In 2016, a member of Paul’s team contacted Hillier-Smith directly, offering him a gig. He quit his full-time job that year and has worked closely with the designer ever since.
“We were pretty much polar opposites,” Hillier-Smith said of Paul, noting his formal training as an editor. “But because of that, we actually filled in what was missing between the two of us.”
Editing should be a collaborative experience, Hillier-Smith said.
“A lot of it comes down to the creator’s responsibility to communicate their vision to the publisher,” he added.
One of his goals as an editor for a YouTuber like Paul is to make the content feel authentic and like one person did it, rather than a whole team.
“There’s a reason MrBeast doesn’t film with movie cameras even though he can afford it,” Hillier-Smith said. “He always shoots with industry-standard YouTube cameras because he always feels like he’s creating the content.”
Working for Paul – who is one of YouTube’s most controversial personalities – has brought its challenges. Hillier-Smith was part of Paul’s team in 2017 when they posted a video of Paul and his friends discovering a body in the “suicide forest” in Japan.
“This video is a powerful reminder of the potential dangers lurking when the job is exhausting, with long hours and pressure it’s easy to lose a sense of self and, frankly, reality,” Hillier-Smith said. in an email. “It’s a benchmark lesson for me to be actively mindful when creating content, to have a healthy work-life balance, and to be aware of what’s outside of your world and bubble. Although one of the most painful memories I hold, I am grateful for the lessons learned on a daily basis, and will always be mindful of mental health, empathy, and staying present as a creator and human.”
“Viewers are looking for the number one reason to click, so keep that in mind”
As a consultant, Hillier-Smith provides editing advice and feedback to her clients.
YouTube creators, he said, should spend time training their editor on how to match the creator’s aesthetic and vibe and continually give feedback.
“Most creators skip those steps and then get frustrated and go through a few editors in a year and can’t figure out what’s wrong,” Hillier-Smith said, adding that some creators, like Emma Chamberlain, edit their own. contents.
He added that editors and creators shouldn’t be afraid to cut, in part because the rise of TikTok has accustomed audiences to shorter videos. Editors should start by watching a video, and as soon as they consider looking at their phone or looking away, they should cut something or make that section more appealing.
“Viewers are looking for the first reason to click,” Hillier-Smith said. “Analysis and retention is part of the process, but it’s also about the storytelling and the emotion that you can express by telling this story.”