Jake Laser '20 finds success in producing engineering-based videos on YouTube
“I’ve always been into engineering and building. When I was young, I played with LEGOS and every building toy you could imagine,” explains Jake Laser ’20. “I love movies and any aspect of creating special effects and making videos.”
Laser, a Vermont native, is a physics major with a math minor, and has been producing engineering-based videos and distributing them through the massive media-sharing platform YouTube since his sophomore year of high school. By fall 2019, Laser was awarded YouTube’s Golden Play Button after reaching 1 million subscribers and became one of only 17,000 of YouTube’s 1.8 billion users to have achieved this milestone. As for his success, Laser explains, “I knew what I liked, what people wanted, and what was going to be popular.”
“The project I’m most proud of,” says Laser, “is my human helicopter …basically a personalized flying drone.” Laser adds, “I have yet to fly in it, but have succeeded in flying the unit using remote control.”
The human helicopter is made from an aluminum frame along with four electric motors and is controlled remotely. Other examples of Laser’s inventions include a Spiderman Web Shooter, a wrist device that projects a web-like spray adhesive; a jet-powered Booster Board, which utilizes two electronic ducted fans to boost a skateboard to speeds of over 40 miles per hour; and Super Vision HUD Smart Glasses which allow the user to see in the dark with a thermal camera and 20 times magnification.
Laser’s specialty in building elaborate gadgets such as a flame-throwing sword has attracted attention from more than just his subscribers. In 2017, Laser traveled to Los Angeles to film a segment for a Logan Paul video. Paul is a YouTube personality with roughly 25 million subscribers.
Like other successful YouTubers, Laser capitalizes on brand deals such as the Logan Paul appearance sponsored by third party vendors, which helps turn his hobby into big business. Laser works with potential corporate sponsors through product endorsements and integration, and by allowing businesses to advertise their brand through the JLaservideo YouTube channel.
“Sometimes I reach out to a company and ask if they would be interested in collaborating with me,” says Laser. Companies such as Flex Seal, Vuzix, Exway, and GlassesUSA.com have sent products for Laser to use in his inventions and feature in his videos. “I really enjoy that side of the process,” says Laser, “including connecting with networks that could be helpful down the road.”
Although being a full-time college student in a location as remote as Canton, New York, can provide difficulties for a YouTuber trying to entertain a global audience, Laser has been able to find a balance. “Some weeks are much more school heavy; some weeks are video heavy,” says Laser. “Honestly, making videos is a nice break because YouTube uses a different part of your brain than schoolwork.”
According to Laser, some classes have helped further his channel, such as learning to be a more effective storyteller through writing courses. “You need a good storyline. It needs to be entertaining, and it needs to be well shot. I’ve also found that longer videos do better and have higher engagement on YouTube than short videos,” says Laser. Other important elements in the process include developing a solid concept, script creation, building the project, filming, editing, and preparing the files for YouTube.
What is next for Jake Laser? “I think more consistent and higher quality videos are the two things that I want to focus on after college,” says Laser, who hopes to move to the Los Angeles area to take JLaservideo to the next level. “I want to bring more people in and put more of a team together to make it a full-time business.”
“A good deal of people try their luck at YouTube,” says Laser, “but what benefits me is that there are not many people producing videos like mine. It makes what I’m doing pretty unique.”