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sábado, 5 de março de 2016

YouTube Fragrance Vloggers: The Face of our Fragrance Community, Part II of II, An Interview with Chris Formosa

by: Gabriela Cortés

How and when did fragrance video reviewing really begin on YouTube? Let's go back a few years and consider Youtube vlogging from 2006-2014....
It all started out on 2006 in the mind of a 17-year-old guy named Chris Formosa, (akacformosa4) whose perfume passion and a wish to reach for others, inspired him to do YouTube video reviews. Also known as “Cubby”, Chris rocked our fragrance community when he launched his YouTube channel FragranceTalk on September of 2006.  He also writes a blog called Fragrance Talk and has published articles  about personality and perfumes and about holiday fragances on The Huffington Post. For the last 10 years, Cubby has been doing fragrance reviews for over 9,457 followers. In the beginning, he inspired other perfume lovers like Tim (aka tswetcoff), Marc (akarobes08), and John (aka Kerosenetrewthe), a few of the very first reviewers who added their unique style and personality to video blogging. Cubby's legacy continues to inspire many perfume enthusiasts who have followed the footsteps of this brilliant 27 year old Canadian, whose passion for social media and music complement his video reviewing style. Since then, many more video reviewers have joined the YouTube fragrance community and it keeps on growing.
In the following interview, Chris Formosa shares with us what inspired him to do video reviews and how he has managed to support the YouTube fragrance community.
Gaby: You started it all, Cubby! You inspired the huge video reviewing movement on YouTube that changed our fragrance community. We want to know what makes you tick and how old are you? In your recent videos, you look as young as when you started posting video reviews on YouTube.
Cubby: (Laughing) I'm 27 years old, I started fragrance reviews I think when I was 17. I really love social media, so my love for fragrance and my love for social media kind of went together when I started making YouTube videos and reviews, so that's how that started. And what makes me tick? Absolutely fragrance, everything fragrance related is just extremely interesting to me, I love to read about it and I love to watch other reviewers’ videos. I spend a lot of time watching their videos. That's me!
Gaby: Are you a Fragrantica member?
Cubby: I am a Fragrantica member. Yes, I love Fragrantica!
Gaby: Who is your favorite nose?
Cubby: Jean-Claude Ellena.
Gaby: If you had to choose a fragrance from each category, what would be your favorite celebrity fragrance, favorite designer fragrance, favorite niche fragrance and favorite indie fragrance?
Cubby: My favorite celebrity fragrance would be Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker, my favorite designer fragrance would be L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent, my favorite niche fragrance it's pretty mainstream so I wouldn't necessarily say it is niche per se,Aventus by Creed, don't shoot me! (Laughing) I really, really like it I know it's very mainstream and everyone loves it and then for indie I would say Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs, they are my favorite indie house. Also Kerosene, I really love Kerosene I think that he is so talented, he was actually my favorite reviewer back then, when he did reviews, so I'm not surprised at all that he came up with such amazing fragrances because he has a really good nose.I was very excited to see that he is doing so well and that he was featured in GQ magazine. It was extremely exciting to see, I was like: "Wow! I know that guy, like I've have talked to him and we've sent something to each other in the mail" and that was really cool to see. I'm really proud of him for sure!
Gaby: What do you think about today's fragrance community on YouTube?
Cubby: I think it is awesome and it should keep growing. It is a great resource for young reviewers to learn, it is more casual than a written review on Fragrantica and Basenotes  and a young guy or girl can hop on there and not necessarily know everything about fragrance, but through the process of reviewing fragrances they get to learn them and then hopefully turn into more perfumers and more consultants in the industry, like for example Kerosene. I think that it's extremely courageous of all of them to put themselves out there on camera and talk about fragrance which can be considered a pretentious hobby, so it's kind of nice to see them put their faces out there and be comfortable with making mistakes in public, because it is very easy to write a review and no one really knows or sees you. But I think putting your face out there is very courageous. So, I'm really proud and happy to see everyone who is posting videos! (Laughing) I love them all! I wish I had time to watch all of them, though.
Gaby: If you had the chance to work in collaboration with a nose like Jean-Claude Ellena to create a fragrance, what would you do?
Cubby: Oh, yes! If Jean-Claude Ellena called me and asked me to work with him on a fragrance, I would drop everything I was doing. He is amazing! It's been said time and time again, but his fragrances are so light, transparent and gorgeous!  It's unbelievable what he is able to do with his nose.

Jean-Claude Elena
Gaby: When you started vlogging, did you imagine you would inspire hundreds of fragrance lovers to do the same?
Cubby: I had no idea that that would happen, but I would have to say that the one guy who has really inspired the most people is Marc (aka robes08). He deserves all the credit for inspiring so many reviewers to show up, because he did a lot of Top Reviewers videos and chose winners for that. Marc has done a really amazing job at really inspiring a larger community, more so than I have. I would say that yes, I was a part of Marc's beginnings which was a lot of fun, I unfortunately don't talk to Marc as much anymore, but he has definitely inspired a lot of people. I would never have imagined what it would become what it is today and I'm extremely happy to see that it has become this really amazing community.
Gaby: What did you feel the first time you posted a video review and received the first feedback from your subscribers?
Cubby: The first moment that I uploaded a video I felt nervous and kind of stupid. I was worried that my family and friends were going to see the video and make fun of me for it. But I still posted it anyway. Then when I saw the first comment, I specifically remember what I was doing when I saw the first comment and how happy I was, I definitely remember it. The more comments I got, more people asked me for more fragrances and it was a very exciting day. That is why I continued, it was because of the commenters.
Gaby:  A while ago Daver and Jer, the Fragrance Bros, when they still posted videos together asked you what inspired you to do video reviews, can you share with us how that happened?
Cubby: I think I was trying to reach out and see if there was anyone else like me that liked fragrances as much as I did and was so obsessed with them. I didn't know that Fragrantica, Basenotes, and Osmoz existed, I should have done research, but I just posted the video thinking maybe there are other people who like this. Happy Slip is definitely the reason why I posted my first video. She posted a video asking people what made them happy and so I posted a response saying that fragrances made me happy. I wouldn't say it's what inspired me to keep posting reviews, but it definitely inspired my first video.
Gaby: Life can get really busy, when you have had to stop posting videos for a while what do you miss the most from making video reviews? What do you miss the least?
Cubby: I feel guilty all the time that I haven't posted a video and almost every week I promise myself, "ok this week I'm going to make a video, this week I'm going to make a video" and then I get just really busy and life gets in the way. When I post a video I feel like I'm sending that video out to everyone in the community so that is what I miss the most, not contributing and not having that feedback that I'm so used to. What I do not miss the most is the trolls, the bad comments but I just brush those over my shoulder, I don't even think about them. And then probably the amount of time it takes to prepare a video, it is very time consuming. I don't think people realize how much time goes into a proper fragrance review. It's just not the time it takes to film and have the proper lighting and camera, and then editing and making sure the right music is there. I like to pair up music with my fragrance, I absolutely love music and it's a big hobby of mine! But what actually takes even more time than that is reviewing it, wearing the scent, seeing how it develops, and seeing how it is different each day that you wear it. That is one thing that I definitely not miss, I wish I could do it a lot faster.
Gaby: Cubby, you also write a blog in FragranceTalk.com, would you say it is more difficult to do video reviews than writing a blog?
Cubby: It may be different for each person, but for me doing a video blog it's much more work and much more difficult than a written review, because I actually pre-write my video reviews so they are actually written notes, sometimes they are bullet points. I think that is why I keep my videos so short, I pre-write them. I understand that a lot of people don't have a lot of time, so how can I make this as concise as possible for other people? It may be a bit more preparation, more work for me but as long as the viewers are able to watch a lot quicker and I'm not repeating myself, then I think that is better.
Gaby: Now that you are explaining everything that goes into making a video review, all the process from filming to editing, I think we should appreciate more often what you guys are doing. What is your opinion about the argument made by some who say YouTube reviewers are narcissists who love getting attention more than perfume reviewing?  This is your opportunity to vent!
Cubby: Yes, thank you! Thank you! (Laughing) I've seen a lot of those comments that you are speaking of, the haters, where they think that video reviewers are just narcissistic and obsessed with themselves. I would say that if someone were narcissistic and obsessed with themselves they wouldn't be posting videos about something other than themselves. They wouldn't be posting fragrance reviews, they would be posting videos about their day, if they were truly narcissistic. I would say that the intrinsic value for posting a fragrance review as a written review and a video blog are exactly the same. You are writing about your passion or something that you love, and the same goes with making a video, you are talking about what you love or what you are passionate about. Some people aren't very good writers and some people are better at speaking than they are at writing, and that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be allowed to love fragrance and be a part of the fragrance community. They shouldn't be hated because of that, because we all have the same passion. So, the people who think that they are better than the video reviewers because they think we are narcissistic, I would say they are just kind of uneducated in their views and should consider going to school in the liberal arts (laughing). That's my vent!
Gaby: What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of writing a blog and making video reviews?
Cubby: That is a really good question. I would definitely say the advantages of writing the reviews are that it takes less time and you can be much more artistic with words if they are written, you can be a lot more creative than you can at speaking. You can do a lot more puns and make more sense. You can use very "flowery" language; you can be more creative and poetic. And the advantages of a video is you can put your personality in there, people feel like they know you a little bit better and I feel like people who watch the videos I connect with them more and I feel like I'm more understanding where they are coming from. The disadvantage of the videos is time, and the disadvantages of the written reviews are spelling mistakes and bad punctuality. However, I think that bloggers and video reviewers should work together to come up with some cool collaborations.
Gaby: Browsing through your YouTube channel, something stuck to my mind, something you mentioned about how much you enjoyed the company of people who don't take life too seriously, how do you think that philosophy can benefit the fragrance community? Do you think we may be taking ourselves too seriously when it comes to our perfume passion?
Cubby: (Laughing) Sometimes we take ourselves a little too seriously, yes. It's comparable to wine reviewers, in that wine reviewers can be a little bit pretentious and I think the same goes with fragrance reviewers. Even fragrance reviewers that are at YouTube can be a little bit pretentious and I'm not a professional or anything, but I personally think that the pretentiousness comes from an underlying lack of confidence in their own opinion, so they are a bit pretentious about it. I think we take ourselves way too seriously, especially some of the written reviewers. I feel like it's just fragrance and if you like the smell of it, who cares? If it's some crappy $20 cologne and someone really likes the smell of it, get over it.
Gaby: Cubby, what do you think about the niche trend going on right now on YouTube video reviews? There are members in the fragrance community who also want to watch reviews about celebrity, designer, and indie fragrances. It seems like most reviewers prefer to make videos about niche fragrances…
Cubby: I know. I wish we would get out of this rut. I consider it a rut. It's because of that pretentiousness that exists right now. People take it too seriously and they automatically assume that niche means it's so much better. Sure, some of the brands have better quality ingredients, but a lot of them just brand themselves as niche and the ingredients are just the same. I've had some inside view into some of the companies and some of the perfumers have done some wonderful designer scents and they also made really amazing niche scents, but they don't get as much recognition for the designer and celebrity ones. Some designers have a limited budget on the ingredients that they can use, so sometimes the scents aren't as high quality, but the level of skill required from a perfumer when designing a scent when they have a strict budget is incomparable to that of someone designing a niche fragrance when their budget is practically unlimited. I have a huge amount of respect for designer fragrances and celebrity fragrances when they are working with very cost-effective ingredients.
Gaby: Do you think video blogs are the future of perfume reviewing?
Cubby: No. I would say it is going to be alongside blogging and written reviews.
Gaby: There are fewer women than men making video reviews, do you have any idea why that is and what is your advice to women who are considering making video reviews?
Cubby: Yeah, it's definitely become a boy's club. I don't know why. I would absolutely love to see more women posting reviews. I think we need more female fragrances on there. I've tried to post a few to see if I could spark some more discussion around female fragrances and maybe have women in there. I think Katie Puckrik is setting a very good example for more women to post video reviews. I don't know why there haven't been more women posting. There are only a few, but it could be because it's harder sometimes for women to be on YouTube when there is objectifying comments, I don't know. I would love to get more women involved if I could, I don't know how.
Gaby: What advice would you give to newbies who want to know how to get into making video reviews?
Cubby: It takes a really long time to get known on YouTube, because there is a lot of noise. When I first started, it was a lonely time on YouTube. Trust me it took so long to even get the first hundred. It took months and it probably took me a year and a half to have a solid number of viewers that would actually comment, it took me a very long time. I would say to anyone who is planning to start out, to be very patient, post your videos anywhere you can, post it on YouTube but also share it on blogs, share it on Fragrantica, video response to other reviewers, to fragrance community groups on Facebook and try to get it out that way because it's really, really hard right now to get noticed, it's very noisy.
Gaby: What practical advice would you give video reviewers to achieve consistency and avoid being "burn out" from perfume reviews?
Cubby: Do you have any advice for me? (Laughing) My advice: try and stick to that schedule and try your best to promise yourself that you will stick to that schedule. If it means that you have to film ten videos in one day and then post them once a week, then do it. If it's something that you truly love and you are truly passionate about, you won't get bored. Figure out if you are really, really passionate about it. I know that you could still be very passionate about it, but you might not be really passionate about writing reviews so feel free to take a break until you are ready. But make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Don't make a video blog because you want to be famous, because it's not going to make you famous. Do it for the right reasons.
Gaby: Lately we have enjoyed many interesting collaborations and thematic series on YouTube channels, what do you think will be the new trend among perfume video reviewers?
Cubby: That depends on what I do next! (Laughing) I'm just kidding! You'll just have to wait and see.I have more time now and I'm planning something new. I don't know if the rest of the fragrance community will want to do it too. It will be a new kind of collaboration.
Gaby: That's great! I'm really excited to hear that! The epic collaborations where a whole bunch of reviewers say what is the best perfume for a particular season, do you think these will still be a trend?
Cubby: Yes, and it’s good because it gets all of the reviewers together and they are all talking about the same thing. One of the inspirations for me to originally do that was because I wanted to help convince the fragrance reviewers to be more succinct. So I said: "Hey you've got 30 seconds!" Another reason was to get everyone together and help promote each other and the main reason was to help people who want to buy a new fragrance and see what the most common highest rated fragrances were.
Gaby: You mentioned that you are into social media and you are obviously very well versed on technology, 20 years ago nobody would have imagined perfume enthusiasts would share their passion on the world wide scale that internet is allowing us today, what do you think will happen next technologically wise, for the fragrance community?
Cubby: That's a very good question. In the future a lot of fragrance advertising and marketing will happen a lot more subtly and through reviewers. I think that companies will stop spending as much money on advertisements and they will start spending more money on the bloggers and video reviewers.  If companies want to get good reviews, they'll really have to make a nice fragrance and that should be their motivation. As less and less emphasis is spent on advertising and more people start watching reviews it's going to be a lot more important for the companies to make really nice fragrances, because people are going to be looking more for reviews.

Written blogs and video blogs are two sides of the same coin, two faces of the same passion. That is why some video reviewers write a blog too.  Both of them stimulate our minds and our noses and also challenge ourselves to be better reviewers, connoisseurs, and in the process meet new people with whom we share our passion for perfumes.
It takes personality, charisma and a strong dose of courage to do fragrance video reviews and a thick skin to handle criticism, but it also takes consistency and real passion to achieve and maintain success. When a new reviewer enters the YouTube community, the rest of the reviewers show their support and post "shout out" videos in which they welcome and recommend a new vlogger to the rest of the fragrance community. This article is intended to be a huge shout out to Fragranticans and everyone else in the fragrance community, who are also into the vlogging trend like our very own Ouch!KillerColours,  and LANIER. You can follow Tom (AKA Ouch!) on his vlog ouch110, Lanier Smith on his vlog Scents Memory, and Viola Holmgren on her vlog KillerColours. You can also follow Tom’s journey as a perfumery student on his blog, you can read Lanier’s amazing blog here, and you can check out Viola’s incredible talent on her blog here.
So here it is, the perfect opportunity to shake off your shyness and enjoy some of the spotlight!

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