Kirk Smith: Pilates Youtuber

Here is a short interview with one of my favourite Pilates Youtubers: Kirk Smith. Kirk is down to earth, inspiring and has incredible Pilates technique. Here are some of his answers to my questions and some of his awesome moves:

Who are the people that watch your channel?

I am not sure. Many are teachers. Many are students of the method, some of them are even students of teachers who study with me.

Who do you aspire to on YouTube?

I aspire to be myself.

I really love in this clip how you hear your voice. It makes me feel like I know you even more. More of yourself.

What advice would you give to others starting a YouTube channel?

Gosh! I think I would benefit from your editing know-how. (blush! thanks!) I simply don’t edit. At first, I took way too much time just to cut the boring part where I would walk on or off screen. Then I thought, well, I am walking on and walking off. I do not have a crew, an editor, etc, and being clearly an amateur video person is somehow better than trying to look professional. If I could take the time to get good at editing, perhaps I would actually do it.

What I love about your clips is the rawness and honesty. You don’t need flashy titles, edits, filters, effects or anything else. Just the body moving in space. Although I do really love the clip you do in slow motion with the sound in slow motion too. This is awesome!

What are your goals with YouTube?

You know, I have not figured it out yet. Meanwhile, I started making videos of different workouts or exercises for different reasons. I want to show classical repertoire. I want to show both the big beautiful exercises, as well as the underpinnings, such as toe corrector, bean bag, foot corrector. I want the world to know that for every Star on the reformer, there are countless basics: roll ups, bean bag, and yes, neck stretcher. I am a big believer that we have to tend to the particulars in order to put it all together.

Where do you film?

So far I film only in my studio in Bollington, a village in Cheshire, near Manchester, England. I am open to other venues, but I really love my studio.

I really love how you film in your studio. You can feel your security here and as an audience we almost feel like a voyeur into someone’s private practice.

Where is your audience based?

All over the world. Biggest numbers in North and South America, very few in the UK.

Interesting.

Do you use music? If so, where do you source your music from?

I have used music. I sourced it from a couple of websites that offer royalty free permission. Most require referencing the source, but a couple– even some really good ones– don’t even require being mentioned. I thought it was important to maintain some tension or suspense, especially for long videos. Now I am more interested in very short videos, and so don’t care if there is any music. I don’t give the audience enough time to get bored.

Why did you start your YouTube channel?

What I originally wanted to do, and still want to do is to film mat classes for my students, so when they miss class, they have no excuse but to follow along at home.

When did you start your YouTube channel?

One year ago.

How often do you post on YouTube?

That varies a lot. I want to post more regularly. Weekly would be an easy target to reach. Daily would be a stretch, unless it was monetised in a way that compensated me for all that time.

How has having a presence on YouTube helped you with your business?

Mainly it’s been fun. It’s also a place to express my passion and capacity for the work.

How would you describe your youtube aesthetic?

Spare.

How do you set up for a shoot?

I usually move extraneous things out of the frame, so it’s just the piece of equipment I am working with and me. If it’s late afternoon, and there is time before an evening class, I like to open the blinds and see if the light is doing anything interesting. Otherwise, I just set up my tripod, and do my thing.

I really love the use of natural light in your films. Although they fall naturally the shadows are just so effective – really beautiful. Sometimes creating mystery and sometimes highlighting a part of the body, or throwing focus to a muscles. You could not replicate this with artificial light. I think this is one reason why your work comes across as authentic. There is nothing artificial over the top.

How do you get your videos to be viewed?

I do very little. I have linked Facebook posts to my YouTube channel, but that has become increasingly awkward somehow. So I just post things to both places more often than not. 

Kirk, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and thank you for your inspiring videos.

Please check out Kirk’s website here: http://www.classicalpilatescentre.co.uk/

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