I wrote recently about resolutions. I always give myself an heir and a spare as, inevitably, one of them will fall by the wayside pretty much as soon as I've gone public with my intentions.

I have witnessed this phenomenon recently: I went to the gym on January 2 and it was absolutely rammed to the rafters, although it looked like a fat friends extras convention. Over the past week or so, large numbers of the well intentioned have decided it’s not for them: either that or they have lost so much weight I don’t recognise them.

Either way, my two New Year's resolutions were to a) participate in this year’s Megavalanche mountain bike race in Val-d'Isère and b) get down with the kids and open a YouTube channel.

Now, in theory b) should be easy. Watching reality shows with the heiress and the sparess, I generally have to ask who a supposed celebrity is. They respond with "they are a famous YouTuber, Dad". I then start asking questions, which culminate in eyes being rolled and a wall of silence as they give out signals that they no longer wish to be associated with my lack of cool and uninspired line of enquiry.

The most famous YouTuber of them all, apparently, is Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie. He films himself playing video games (yes, really) and, during 2014 alone, notched up 4.1 billion video views. He is worth in the ‘tens of millions’ yet, despite managing to construct a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, is claiming to suffer from ‘creator burnout’ as he heads toward an extended break at the start of the decade. The rest of the top ten is made up predominantly of musicians (Sheeran, Eminem, Grande), gamers and ­— flying the flag for that hotbed of global comedy Brazil ­— Whinderson Nunes Batista.

And so, I got to thinking: it can’t be that difficult to make a YouTube video every week, which will then be watched by billions of people as you kick back in your palatial mansion and watch the big bucks come a-rolling in, can it?

Fancying a piece of the action: I thought long and hard about what ‘talents’ I have. Gaming? It’s true, I was once a demon on Daley Thompson’s Decathlon and loved a bit of Jet Set Willy, but where I have remained stagnant, the industry has moved on somewhat since the 48K ZX Spectrum.

I can’t sing and, although I find myself funny, it seems that summation is not shared by anyone else. I am very time-pressured with the job, family and writing constraints, but that’s when it hit me: use what you have to avoid reinventing the wheel and become a ‘video columnist’, so that my friends, is what I did.

Even at the most basic level, it’s a techie minefield. For me, setting up a YouTube channel was like running an ultra-marathon. There were video and audio packages to buy, microphones to install and self-training to give me some semblance of a skillset in a vain attempt to not come across as a monotone dullaton (I failed).

I thought I would start the first one with a bang and so hired a professional voiceover artist, who had been on a carpet advert no less. And so, my Brett Ellis: newspapercolumn.blog channel was born: expecting a crescendo of fanfare which would result in me being lauded through the streets of Shoreditch as techie types threw rose pedals upon my bald head, I was sorely disappointed: it got 47 views.

I followed up my Benny Hill topic attempt with ‘present buying’, which got even fewer views. I was about to give in: to admit that guys like PewDiePie are better than me, but then a glimmer of hope, my 1980s video column ‘achieved’ a stonking 103 views, which betters the total of the other two combined.

And so, a small start but I keep the faith, for now. Maybe it’s another failed resolution, but then I questioned my motives and surmised that actually I rather enjoy the creative process. The videos aren’t great, but are getting better, and to sit with a blank screen and then, a few hours later, have a fully complete video to share with a very small subset of the world is quite a thing. Although not at PewDiePie’s level yet, I can but aim to earn enough wedge to afford a night at an Airbnb on the slopes of Val-d'Isère this August when I attempt to complete Megavalanche.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher