The Essay Library

Currently accepting submissions for the following collaboration:

These Video Essays Do Not Exist
until March 23, 2024.

The Essay Library is a Discord server for video essay creators and viewers to chat about all things video essays. It's also the official server of r/videoessay. Click here to join The Essay Library on Discord. Links:
The Essay Library YouTube Channel
Beginner's Guide to Discord (from Discord Support)
r/videoessay subreddit
Accolades:
The Exquisite Relay: An Essay Library Co-Construction was praised as a "fascinating experiment in essay structure" in "The best video essays of 2022" (Sight and Sound).
The Essay Library Anthology Vols. 2 + 3 received a special mention from the curators of "The best video essays of 2021" (Sight and Sound).The Essay Library Anthology
Compilations of 60-second micro-essays around a given theme.
Volume 1 | "Beginnings" (2021)
Volume 2 | "Time" (2021)
Volume 3 | "Death" (2021)
Volume 4 | "We Asked A Bot To Name 18 Video Essays" (2022)
Volume 5 | "Secrets" (2023)
Volume 6 | "Becoming Someone Else" (2023)
Other Collaborations
"When Essay Met Library: A Rom-Com Collaboration" - creating video essays based on each other's romantic comedy film recommendations.
"The Exquisite Relay: An Essay Library Co-Construction" - a videographic twist on the exquisite corpse featuring two video essays made one minute at a time. The first video was made forward, the second backward. Each creator had four days to do their part before passing it on to the next person. Mentioned in Sight and Sound."Tales from the Essay Library: Horror" - eight video essayists created work based on each other's horror movie recommendations. This essay chain had a time constraint of 5 minutes per essay.The best way to get in touch with the Essay Library moderation team is by joining the Discord server, but you can also contact us using the form below.

Every week, one member of the server is chosen at random to choose a video essay for others to watch. In doing this, we can learn how to improve our own videos. With its wide range of selections, this has prompted us to interrogate what defines a video essay. Are all of these works even video essays? The #essay-of-the-week channel is home to these discussions.Essays are chosen by different members in order to get a diversity of ideas. The videos below do not necessarily reflect the views of the mod team.

Taskmaster: A Masterpiece Of Existentialist Philosophy: Sartre, Kierkegaard, Camus & Horne
Hermit Banana Monster

The Complex Problems with Mental Illness in Fiction
Hello Future Me

Control, Anatomy, and the Legacy of the Haunted House
Jacob Geller

Dead Doesn't Mean Gone - A Haunting of Bly Manor Video Essay
Ladyknightthebrave

What Makes a Video Game Sublime? Kant's Philosophy in Video Games
Gamedenker

Liminal Spaces (Exploring an Altered Reality)
Solar Sands

Monsters University and Disability
The Sin Squad

Scambaiting and the Robot of Global Capitalism
Big Joel

In Praise of Chairs
Every Frame a Painting

Why Generation 5 isn't as Bad as People Think
NateWantsToBattle

Overthinking It: Calvin & Hobbes | Separating Consumption From Identity
RomanBear Productions

How To Be Creative: How an Artist Turns Pro
Storytellers

Hayao Miyazaki - How Animation Comes To Life
kaptainkristian

Inextinguishable Fire
Harun Farocki

Ocean Waves - Studio Ghibli's (Accidental) Queer Film
eliquorice

Sonic Adventure 2 - A Postmodern Analysis
Jonas Čeika - CCK Philosophy

Sofia Coppola: The Politics of Pretty
Broey Deschanel

What Makes Satisfying Videos Satisfying? Capitalism.
Jordan Schonig

This Movie Offends You? Good.
Foundation for Economic Education

Monster Men: The Bureau
Curio

The History of Tomorrowland 1955
Defunctland

My Mulholland
Jessica McGoff

No Face is an Incel
CJ The X

What to Do If You Run Out of Hope
Pursuit of Wonder

The Essay Library

The Essay Library Anthology Vol. 6

The Essay Library is putting together another collaborative video essay project!Each volume of the Essay Library Anthology is a collection of sixty-second micro-essays based on a shared theme. This project has been mentioned in Sight and Sound’s roundup of the best video essays of 2021. Our previous prompts were Beginnings, Time, Death, bot-generated titles, and Secrets.For Vol. 6, the theme is "Becoming Someone Else".For this project, anyone can participate, even those who have never made a video essay before. It's also great for seasoned video essayists looking to break up their routine and try something new.Submissions are open now until Sunday, December 2 at 11:59 PM ET. Keep reading for more details about how this all works.

TL;DR

Prompt: Becoming Someone Else
Constraint: 60 seconds (55-65 second range allowed)
Deadline: December 2, 2023 at 11:59 PM ET - Extended from Nov. 26.
Click here to submit.
Click here to share ideas (optional).
Click here to join The Essay Library on Discord.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to sign up?

Nope! Just submit your video by the deadline. As long as it follows all the rules/guidelines outlined below, it will be included.If you would like to chat with other participants, you can join The Essay Library Discord server with this invite link.


How do I submit my micro-essay?

Video essays should be submitted here. We'll need two things from you:

  1. A .mp4 file of your video via Google Drive, Dropbox, WeTransfer, etc. (remember to edit the permissions so anyone with the link can access and download it) – this goes in the final compilation, so leave out any channel branding.

  2. A YouTube link to your video on your own channel (keep it unlisted until the launch day) – this goes in the playlist and can include channel branding.

Both of these must be done.”Channel branding” refers to YouTube intros/logos, end screens, Patreon/ko-fi promotions, and anything else that is not part of the essay itself.


When is my entry due?

Submissions are due December 2, 2023 at 11:59 PM ET. The essays will then be edited together and Vol. 6 will be published shortly after (a week or so later).


Do I have to make the video on my own channel public?

No, you can keep your part unlisted after launch. We just need to be able to make a playlist of everyone’s videos, so please do not set it to private.


What if I don't have a YouTube channel?

We welcome submissions from non-YouTubers! If you cannot/do not want to make a YouTube account, we can upload your micro-essay to The Essay Library YouTube channel as an unlisted video.Please be sure to indicate this on your submission form instead of providing a link. Your submission still has to follow all the guidelines regarding suitability for YouTube publication (basically, don't trigger copyright strikes on our channel).


Who will post the final compilation?

The big compilation featuring every essay in one video will be posted on The Essay Library YouTube channel.


How do I know what topics other people are doing for their submissions?

You can use this spreadsheet to list your name and your intended topic, as well as take a look at what other people are doing for their topics. Doing this is not mandatory, but can perhaps help prevent repetition.


Are there any rules for what I can and cannot include in my micro-essay?

  • Your submission should be appropriate for YouTube publication. It should not trigger any Content ID/copyright claims. Please avoid any NSFW images/content that would result in the video being blocked.

  • Voiceover narration is not required.

  • Essays with sped-up voiceovers will not be accepted.

  • All languages are welcome, but please provide English subtitles if your submission is not in English.

  • Your submission should stand on its own. It should be produced specifically for this collaboration -- don’t submit a clip from an existing video essay.


Can my submission be vertical and/or a YouTube Short?

Yes! You can even do a horizontal submission for the big compilation and a vertical version for your own channel. In the past, we’ve had a mix of formats.


How firm is the time limit on my submission?

We would like you to do your best to keep your submission around 60 seconds. We will allow a range of 5 seconds shorter or longer (55-65 seconds).While the body of your essay should remain the same in both versions, you can add channel branding that exceeds 60 seconds for the version on your own YouTube channel. Leave this out of the .mp4 submission. An example of channel branding is adding a logo at the start or listing the names of your Patreon supporters at the end.


What specifications should I make my entry to?

Feel free to create your entry in any dimension or framerate you desire. The final compilation will be 1080p/60fps, and submissions will be upscaled/downscaled to fit those dimensions. Aspect ratios will be preserved.


Will I be credited?

All participants will be credited in a title card before their segment appears in the final compilation and in the video's description with their name and a channel link. Each segment will be delineated using YouTube's "chapter" feature so that the creator can be easily located.




That's it! If you have any other questions, you can discuss the project in the The Essay Library Discord.

The Essay Library

These Video Essays Do Not Exist

The Essay Library is hosting a collaborative project for April Fools' Day where participants are invited to create video essays based on subject matter that does not exist. Submissions should be kept to five minutes or less.Submissions are open now until March 23, 2024 by 11:59 PM ET. Keep reading for more details about how this all works.

TL;DR

Prompt: Video essays about subject matter that does not exist (open interpretation)
Constraint: 5 minutes maximum (no minimum)
Deadline: March 23, 2024 by 11:59 PM ET.
Click here to submit.
Click here to share ideas (optional).
Click here to join The Essay Library on Discord.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the prompt mean?

The full prompt, which was submitted and voted on by Discord members, is “video essays but made up (the subject matter does not exist).” You can interpret this however you’d like. It’s intentionally open-ended; the goal is to collect as many perspectives and approaches as possible.Potential topics include:

  • Lost media.

  • What the next season of a canceled TV show would look like.

  • Work(s) published under a pseudonym.

  • How a certain work of art (film, song, etc) would be different if another artist made it.

  • 100% fiction: for example, make up a fake country and discuss its history.


Do I have to sign up?

Nope! Just submit your video by the deadline. As long as it follows all the rules/guidelines outlined below, it will be included.If you would like to chat with other participants, you can join The Essay Library Discord server with this invite link.


How do I submit my video essay?

Video essays should be submitted here. We'll need two things from you:

  1. A .mp4 file of your video via Google Drive, Dropbox, WeTransfer, etc. (remember to edit the permissions so anyone with the link can access and download it) – this goes in the final compilation, so leave out any channel branding.

  2. A YouTube link to your video on your own channel (keep it unlisted until the launch day) – this goes in the playlist and can include channel branding.

Both of these must be done.”Channel branding” refers to YouTube intros/logos, end screens, Patreon/ko-fi promotions, and anything else that is not part of the essay itself.


When is my entry due?

Submissions are due March 23, 2024 by 11:59 PM ET. The essays will then be edited together and the full collab will be posted on April Fools' Day (April 1 2024).


Do I have to make the video on my own channel public?

No, you can keep your part unlisted after launch. We just need to be able to make a playlist of everyone’s videos, so please do not set it to private.


What if I don't have a YouTube channel?

We welcome submissions from non-YouTubers! If you cannot/do not want to make a YouTube account, we can upload your submission to The Essay Library YouTube channel as an unlisted video.Please be sure to indicate this on your submission form instead of providing a link. Your submission still has to follow all the guidelines regarding suitability for YouTube publication (basically, don't trigger copyright strikes on our channel).


Who will post the final compilation?

The big compilation featuring every essay in one video will be posted on The Essay Library YouTube channel.


How do I know what topics other people are doing for their submissions?

You can use this spreadsheet to list your name and your intended topic, as well as take a look at what other people are doing for their topics. Doing this is not mandatory, but can perhaps help prevent repetition.


Are there any rules for what I can and cannot include in my video essay?

  • Your submission should be appropriate for YouTube publication. It should not trigger any Content ID/copyright claims. Please avoid any NSFW images/content that would result in the video being blocked.

  • Voiceover narration is not required.

  • Essays with sped-up voiceovers will not be accepted.

  • All languages are welcome, but please provide English subtitles if your submission is not in English.

  • Your submission should stand on its own. It should be produced specifically for this collaboration -- don’t submit a clip from an existing video essay.


How firm is the time limit on my submission?

There is a firm 5 minute maximum video length. There is no minimum length.While the body of your essay should remain the same in both versions, you can add channel branding that exceeds 5 minutes for the version on your own YouTube channel. An example of channel branding is adding a logo at the start or listing the names of your Patreon supporters at the end.


What specifications should I make my entry to?

Feel free to create your entry in any dimension or framerate you desire. The final compilation will be 1080p/60fps, and submissions will be upscaled/downscaled to fit those dimensions. Aspect ratios will be preserved.


Will I be credited?

All participants will be credited in a title card before their segment appears in the final compilation and in the video's description with their name and a channel link. Each segment will be delineated using YouTube's "chapter" feature so that the creator can be easily located.




That's it! If you have any other questions, you can discuss the project in the The Essay Library Discord.