I’m taking a break in January — but rather than abandon my channel for a while, I'm inviting some guests over. You could be one of them!

I'm looking for anyone who'd want to make an original video to sit on my channel, standing in for me. Think of it like a guest blog post, or guest webcomic artist. Previous batches of guest videos have sent tens of thousands of new subscribers to small channels, and maybe even kickstarted a couple of careers!

Here’s the playlist of previous guest videos, so you can see how it works.

If you'd like to pitch a guest video, you'll need to read the help and advice here carefully, because the details are different to previous years.

📅 Deadlines and details

The deadline for pitches is October 15th. If your idea gets the go-ahead, you'll need to have the video ready by December 4th. There is no advantage to pitching early; please don't rush!

You’ll retain full copyright on your video; I’ll ask for a license for my YouTube channel only. And I’ll split the advertising revenue with you, of course!

💡 How to pitch an idea

This year, you pitch an idea by sending me an email. You need to read all this page first; if you don't, your idea will be rejected out of hand.

It may take until the end of October for me to reply to you; I normally get a lot of pitches, and I’m going to be on the road through a lot of October. I do intend to email everyone back, though, whether their idea is chosen or not!

Here are the big questions you need to answer. Make sure you include all this information in your email. It's a lot, I know! But hopefully, even if it's not picked, you'll end up with a video idea that'd be really great on your own channel anyway.

📺 In a few words, describe your channel.

Your subscriber count doesn’t matter. Who you know doesn’t matter. Seriously. You could have 100 subscribers or 1,000,000 subscribers. What does matter is that you’ve been uploading consistent videos to your channel for a while. (“For a while” is deliberately vague there!)

Remember that your channel will be your portfolio: if your idea’s good, then the very next thing I’m going to look for is whether you can create the sort of video you’ve pitched. If you want to make a guest video on location in a science lab, but your channel is entirely gaming videos, then I’m not going to be able to pick you — and there’s no point sending my audience over to you!

Please note that if your style is voiceover-and-animation, or green-screen with stock photography, you have a very high bar to clear: there are a huge number of channels doing that, and it's almost-impossible to distinguish them all!

Remember to include a link to your channel.

I'm also going to ask that your email include a secret word, just to check you’ve read all this: it’s the word ‘morsel’.

🗣️ What would be your video title?

This is the most important question. Spend time on this. Your title should make someone want to click on your video; it's also what'll first catch my eye!

❌️ Clickbait titles (“10 Secrets of Science You'll Never Believe”) are bad.

✔️ Curiosity-gap titles that deliver (“The Battery That's Lasted 176 Years”, “Why Song Translations Usually Suck”) are great!

Look at all the previous guest videos, and at my videos, to see what to aim for.

📝 In a few words, give a bit more detail about the video.

The best pitch I've ever received started with “Hi Tom, I've got two of my sister's teeth dissolving in cola”. That's the sort of thing I’m looking for!

A normal guest video is between two and five minutes long, fitting into one of the series I already have: Things You Might Not Know, Amazing Places, or Built for Science. Your video doesn't need to fit into one of those categories, though — it's possible that other ideas could be picked, and if you have a format that you want to bring over, you may want to pitch that if the idea is spectacular!

I strongly recommend you only pitch one idea, and unless you've got a new angle on it, it shouldn't be something you've already covered on your own channel.

This time, I'm particularly interested in stories that I couldn't tell, and possibly in videos that work like mashups, combining my style with another channel's. Those are definitely not requirements, though!

📊 An important word of warning

Your idea will almost certainly be rejected. Last year, 97% of guest video pitches were rejected. Please do not get your hopes up. There are four available slots and triple-digit numbers of pitches.

If you've sent in a guest video pitch in previous years, please remind me about it. I'm also going to apologise in advance, because there are going to be people that I'm rejecting for a fourth time here, and that's going to suck for everyone involved. There are going to be more four-time pitchers than available slots, probably by a factor of 4 or 5.

📋 Email checklist

Before you hit send and pitch your idea, make sure you've:

  • Described and linked to your channel
  • Included a good video title
  • Added a bit of detail about your idea
  • Mentioned the secret word
  • Not got your hopes up

👍 That's it!

If all of that hasn't put you off, email tom@tomscott.com before October 15th. Good luck!