Q & A with Buzzfeed's Lindsay Webster
Where are you from, what year did you graduate from OU, and what was your major?
Hello fellow Sooners! I'm from Keller, Texas. I graduated OU in 2015 with a broadcast & electronic media degree and a minor in enterprise studies.
What is your current title at BuzzFeed, and what does that role entail?
I'm a video producer at BuzzFeed, which means I get to make viral videos for YouTube! My focus is on our Boldly YouTube channel which posts content in the realm of beauty, fashion, and body positivity. What's special about BuzzFeed (and nontraditional media) is that I get to write, produce, shoot, and edit my own videos. My days are either spent in brainstorms, on set, or editing. That's a big reason why I love my job — I could never choose just one of those roles because I love them seeing my vision through from start to finish.
What path did you follow to your current role at BuzzFeed?
I've been making YouTube videos since seventh grade. From then until mid-way through college, I thought my passion for short-form content and the Internet community was just a hobby and my future career would be a more traditional job like making movies, commercials, or even music videos. I studied journalism, advertising, and broadcast at Gaylord but kept making YouTube videos in my spare time. Although there wasn't a degree in "YouTube," my classes in journalism were so incredibly beneficial to growing as a professional in the media industry (Let it be known — Your major doesn't always have to define your future career!). One day I saw a job posting for a video intern in Los Angeles at BuzzFeed. I remember thinking, "This is it. This can actually be my job now."
How has your OU experience impacted you in your career?
I remember when I had class assignments that involved interviewing a professional on campus or reaching out to people in the community in order to shape a documentary I was making. This was my worst nightmare. Guys, I had the worst interview and talking to strangers on the phone anxiety, like... ever. Assignments like these forced me to break out of my comfort zone and trained me to be the confident producer I am today. I hear a lot of people talk about how they don't need to go to college in order to know how to make videos, and that may be true for some people, but college taught me skills like these, made me more well-rounded, and prepared me for the world ahead.
What have been some of your most memorable moments at BuzzFeed so far?
This is such a tough question because every day at work is special to me. This wasn't even my video, but one of my coworkers, Jazzmyne, last year had an incredible idea to re-create the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show but instead of models, include women of all shapes and sizes. I helped her film that day and watching this empowering movement of women own their confidence and rewrite the standard of what "beauty" actually looks like, was one of the most impactful moments for me. BuzzFeed has a massive platform, and using that to inspire others and make them feel less alone is so important to me.
Who is the coolest person you have met through working at BuzzFeed?
BuzzFeed alone is literally just a company full of the coolest, most talented, Internet nerd millennials. But besides my cool coworkers, I've made videos with Daniel Radcliffe, Kylie Jenner, Hannah Hart, Patrick Starrr, and Mariah Carey, just to name a few! I'm also a huge One Direction fan so when Liam Payne came to the office I felt my world was complete.
What are some neat projects you have done in the past or are currently doing?
I love making bigger, show-like videos. Some of my faves are "Women Try Modeling With Their Worst Fear" and "People Try Modeling in an Actual Haunted Mansion." My all-time favorite video I've ever made (and want it to become a series) is "We Tried Outrunning a T-Rex in Heels Like in Jurassic World." It's like MythBusters meets beauty where we try to debunk crazy beauty or fashion moments in movies.
What advice would you give to current OU students interested in video production or similar media careers?
My biggest advice is to always be true to yourself and keep doing what you love. Growing up, no one around me understood YouTube but I knew it was special. Now it's my career! I believe I was successful in getting a job at BuzzFeed because I created things outside of my school assignments. While in college, I created a pop culture website and made YouTube videos regularly. My resume showed a true passion and innovation in my field. I even turned my class assignments into YouTube-worthy videos! One time I had an interview lighting assignment, which could have been very boring, but I made it into a parody of "Mean Girls" where students would gossip about our professor. A common misconception is people feeling like they have to get a degree in order to start making content. That's so untrue! Start now. Make a bunch of videos, blog posts, whatever, and just post it. It won't be good at first, but you can't get good at anything until you mess up a bunch of times.
What is your favorite memory from your time at OU?
As simple as it sounds, my fondest memories were getting boba at Tea Café and then editing videos until super late in the Gaylord creative lab. I lived in the creative lab.