PokerStars Festival London: Cody-Vision™
Unless you've been hibernating for the last couple of months - and if you have who can blame you - you'll be aware that Jake Cody has entered the vlogosphere in a big way. The Team PokerStars Pro uploaded his pilot to YouTube on November 13th and since then he's dropped another eight episodes and racked up over 300,000 views. Not bad at all. However, it's been three weeks since Cody's last upload, his longest barren spell since he started vlogging. But, fear not Cody's not hung up the camera, real life has just taken precedence.
"This year I've barely had a minute to breathe. I was straight to the Bahamas, then back to London for one night and then the Isle of Man for a few nights then back to London yesterday," he tells the PokerStars Blog during a break in play at the PokerStars Festival London. While he's not managed to get any content online in 2017 he's filmed a lot of usable material. "I've been working on the Bahamas vlog, I've got the Isle of Man one coming and I'll be filming one here. I'm a bit backlogged with footage to upload."
While Cody has made the vlogging game look easy, just like with poker a lot of unseen work goes into making the footage seamless and look effortless. Cody tells me that the filming is the easy work, it's when that stops that the hard work begins. "It's just finding all the footage and making sure it tells the right story so what you're saying relates to the images. And then there's all the editing, making sure it's all timed well."
And that doesn't happen by magic.
The Triple Crown winner will spool through as much as nine hours of footage and delete most of it as he shortens each episode to between 10 and 20 minutes. "I think the shortest time of producing one after I've got the footage is seven hours," he says. "The very first one took three or four days."
The acorn that grew into an oak tree happened quite by chance. "I've always been really big into YouTube," Cody says. "These days I watch more YouTube than TV. I'll watch a lot of random stuff on YouTube. Lots of football, lots of non-poker vlogs and then I saw this guy do a poker one."
That guy was Andrew Neeme. "He just came up in my suggested feeds and it was one of his first videos. He'd only started a few days ago and I was like 'whoa', this guy is onto something here and I'd like to do my own take on it. I bought a camera that day and I was super motivated. Let's go."
Over the next few weeks, Cody devoted his time to studying and training himself on how to use the camera he'd bought and edit the footage he'd shot. Finally, he was ready to share what he'd produced. However, like many pilots, the Cody Vlog show was almost cancelled before it had begun. "When I uploaded the first one I almost cancelled it midway through because I felt a bit exposed but the feedback's been really good."
You sense that's just Jake being modest. His pilot has now had over 55,000 views and around 97% of the people who've viewed his vlogs have hit the thumbs up button on YouTube. "There've been a lot of user comments on YouTube. I've also had a lot of people come up to me and say they've enjoyed it. A lot of pros too as well as poker fans," he says.
And that feedback has, he admits, led to improvements as he's found his feet. "A lot of people have had good ideas and I like feedback. Little things like syncing the music, I had an issue with that at first. I'm still learning my own style. It's early days really."
One of the biggest draws of Cody's pilot and subsequent vlogs was that he was filming the action at the table using his camera phone. Then in post-production, he'd run us through a hand history or two from the cash game or tournament session he'd been playing while telling us his thoughts. It was compelling viewing; it really was an inside look at how a pro thinks about situations. It was just one part of the vlog though and none ever felt like poker strategy vlogs. Some were very personal, like his ode to Rochdale.
Jake isn't always allowed to film at the table, due to casino rules, but he can here at The Hippodrome Casino. When he does film at the table he takes great care just to film his own chips, cards and action. "I make a really big effort to make sure there's no faces or likeness that can be seen, just my cards and chips that can be seen on film. I don't use people's names if I play a pot against them, although I sometimes give some description on how they play," he says.
The good news for Cody vlog fans is that new footage is coming soon. "I'm going to be in London for a couple of weeks so I'm hoping to get the ones from January up during that time." As for February, Cody drops a teaser about what we can expect. "I've got a secret poker trip lined up which I think people are going to be excited about, but I can't say what it is yet. I'll be doing a vlog from there for sure."