American / Indian expat, Preeti Gill moved to Paris 11 years ago, and until recently worked as coordinator of the student services and Restaurant Management Program at the renowned culinary school le Cordon Bleu. Her career was going well, but Preeti had an itching desire to do something else. A keen foodie, she had amassed a following on Instagram, and when the itch got too much to bear, she decided to take the leap and become a video content producer.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST BECOME SO INTERESTED IN FOOD?
My food culture started early in New Delhi, India, where I was born and raised. My mother would host dinner parties and I was her little cheerleader watching her cook saffron rice, butter paneer, roti and sabzi. Being in the kitchen made me feel safe because I was so close to her.
WHAT MADE YOU LEAVE YOUR STEADY JOB AT LE CORDON BLEU?
I have always been intrigued by the flavors and cuisines of the world. Food is my language. I had a job and team I really cared for, I had been working at one of the best culinary institutions in the world for 4 years, but something started to change in me. I was waking up feeling unsatisfied and wanted to invest my hours in a different project related to my dreams of food and travel. Something bigger than me pushed to not be scared and I got curious about setting up my own YouTube channel, Little Life Table.
HOW HAS THE TRANSITION FROM EMPLOYEE TO ENTREPRENEUR BEEN SO FAR?
The transition has been a roller coaster actually. I can have good news followed by bad news: my new camera breaking down on me, my friend canceling on the day of filming… Every time something doesn’t go as planned I have had to get back up again. A big part of creating content for others involves others, and on many occasions it has been difficult to rely on others, so I’ve had to start to do most of the tasks on my own. I am a one woman show for the moment. Other than that I am constantly learning how to edit. It’s also a challenge because I’ve never used Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro before, so it’s a learning curve. But the moment I start filming and the moment I upload a video, it all becomes worth it and I feel OK.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE LITTLE LIFE TABLE’S SERVICES?
A delicious video content creation company to make your taste buds a little jealous. I make videos about different places I love to eat and if Little Life Table can also assist in promoting the value of the cuisine then I’m ready to create a storyline around it!
VIDEO IS CERTAINLY THE MEDIUM OF THE MOMENT. WHY DO YOU THINK IT HAS TAKEN OVER AND HOW DO YOU SEE IT EVOLVING IN THE FUTURE?
I really believe in the digital space. Video content has taken over for good reason and is not going anywhere. Everyone wants instant gratification and video makes it so easy to feel connected. It’s visually and emotionally driven in a short amount of time.
CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH YOUR PROCESS OF VIDEO CREATION?
I first eat at the establishment independently, to taste the menu. Once I feel it’s a special place, I want to share that feeling with my audience and so I start the collaboration process. I reach out to the establishment’s team and chef and generally have a face to face consultation. Then I create a story line and write the script. The next step is to pick a day to film, which is followed by the hard part: editing, finding music…respecting all the laws that social media has now imposed on video content. Editing takes me a long time since I’m still learning. Once my video is done, then it’s on to marketing it across all platforms. I’ve created a pipeline to structure my videos. From beginning to end, each video takes about 1 month to complete. My main point is not to just show the food but also the soul of the place through a storyline.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT CREATING VIDEO CONTENT?
The filming, learning new techniques to film the actual shot. I can spend hours on YouTube learning about different cinematic forms and styles of filming. During editing the artistic direction can change. The best part is adding the music because it brings out the soul and gives meaning to the movement in the video. It makes it alive and adds value where words can’t.
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE THE STYLE, TONE AND VOICE OF A VIDEO?
This is going to sound weird, but I watch as many movies and series as I can before any new shoot. I go the movies at least twice a week. I always find something that really resonates with my next project and I build on the emotions I feel while watching the film. I’m truly intrigued by video and cinema and their ability to enhance emotions.
WHAT IS THE END GOAL FOR YOUR CLIENTS’ VIDEOS?
No one has time anymore. Everyone is busy right? So if I create content, I want it to be meaningful to the person watching. I don’t want to waste your time. I will never promote or be a part of something that does not educate or nourish me and my audience. My intention with Little Life Table is to create a stimulating and emotionally nourishing video that is going to make you want to try that food or walk into that place because I gave you a good reason to do so, and because my client deserves the visibility.
WHAT MAKES A VIDEO SUCCESSFUL?
Using my editing skills wisely to be impactful in a 2 minute video. Being honest. Showcasing quality, ‘made with love’ kind of cuisine. A successful video is one that you want to watch again and share. The highest form of success for me will always be the idea that one day Little Life Table could work for the United Nations’ Share The Meal program, which provides food for families to overall global hunger. This would be true success for me and my clients.
CAN YOU MEASURE THE SUCCESS OF A CLIENT VIDEO?
I try to identity this variable in my initial meeting with the client. What is the intention of this video? For each person it’s different. I would say that the success of a video is really based on two components: 1. I have brought honest visibility to the client’s product and this will increase revenue or social awareness for them. 2. The My Little Life Table audience feels like they are a part of a new adventure with me. I might feel alone when I am in the process of creating these videos, but the moment I share them I see the community response and that’s the moment I know all the writing, filming, editing was worth it.
WHAT BENEFITS ARE CLIENTS SEEING FROM THE VIDEOS?
Social media growth. increased awareness of their cuisine in the community. I think organic social media awareness now is a currency in itself.
DO YOU PROMOTE THE VIDEOS? IF SO HOW?
Yes. But I want meaningful promotions, not simply because social media marketing norms tell me to post to each platform. I know the Instagram, Facebook, YouTube platforms and I know that posting on each one requires a different voice, so I need to invest time on each one individually. I need to get personal with my audience, understand what they like and what they want to see. It’s a like a game, and I’ve started to play.
WHAT KEY TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE OTHERS LOOKING TO CREATE VIDEOS?
Start. Now. If it has been on your mind, find that little piece of courage and let the fear follow. Let people say what they will. Everything is going to be OK. Invest time in learning new editing skills, learn Adobe Premier Pro, watch as many online tutorials as you can. Find a way to get that camera you want. The whole world is ready to help you once you are ready too.
Follow Preeti on YouTube as she shares her culinary experiences in the city of light www.youtube.com/user/remyrims