Category Archives: Caribbean Content Creators

Life in Grande

It’ sweet too bad.

I finally met the content creator behind Life in Grande. Her name is Crystal. A brilliant photographer who focuses on the people of Sangre Grande. I have been following her TikTok since 2023, admiring the quality of her work and the stories (captions) that accompany her pictures. Real stories about real people. The focus on the town and the people is rich, compelling and captivating. To quickly put things into perspective Sangre Grande is a town in northeastern Trinidad and Tobago, east of Arima and southwest of Toco, a coastal village. When we meet Crystal is wearing a branded Life in Grande jersey. As we walked through the town here are the content creator lessons I learned.

Lyndon: I admire your ability to approach strangers. I’m amazed at how easily you engage with them and how well they respond. Tell me about your process.

Life in Grande. I just find random people to talk to. If someone is chatty it’s easy. While I’m taking the pictures to get them comfortable they’ll start telling me about themselves. Normally I’d walk up to people I’d like to photograph and say, “Hi, my name is Crystal and I manage a page called Life in Grande. If they ask what the page is about I’d say, “I walk around taking interesting pictures and videos of interesting people.” And they’d either tell me yes or no. If they agree, they’d share their backstory, challenges, anything they’re comfortable sharing really. Often when you stick a camera in someone’s face, walls go up but when you start talking to them about themselves and their lives automatically you can see the walls coming down and that’s when you get interesting photos.

Lyndon: Do people ever refuse to take pictures?

Life in Grande: Definitely. And they usually politely tell me why. It might have to do with their jobs, safety reasons especially if they own a business. Some people say no. For the most part my “awkwardness” works in my favour. I have a nervous laugh. It works in my favour. I feel like my awkwardness is a blessing and a curse.

Lyndon: When does it feel like a curse?

Life in Grande: Everyday. When does it feel like a blessing? Everyday. I don’t try to suppress it anymore. I don’t try to suppress it anymore. I find when I try to suppress it, I become anxious. Oh, I’m super-confident. That is when it’s worse. When I embrace that I’m awkward and anxious but I’m also this and it works out.

A fish vendor asked Crystal from Life in Grande about her aim. “Was it to promote business in Sangre Grande or everywhere?”

Life in Grande: It’s not specifically about business. It’s about people. Everyday people. It was easier to approach street vendors. A lot of people have the idea that Life in Grande is to promote business. No. It’s to promote people. My first camera was a 1300D. I started walking and taking pictures. That’s how Life in Grande started.

Lyndon: Tell me about your gear.

Life in Grande: I started with an iPhone 6s Plus. All the videos you see are from that phone. Recently I upgraded to an iPhone XR. Life in Grande started with a Canon 1300D. It’s only a month now I’ve started using a Sony nex6 but it won’t be used much longer.

Walking along Paul Street, imposter syndrome came up.

Imposter syndrome is the internal psychological experience of feeling like a phony in some area of your life, despite any success that you have achieved in that area.

verywell mind

Life in Grande: I think it’s very important to say that I am not a journalist, I am not a history buff, I am not a culture vulture, none of that stuff. In 2023 I reached out to a guy called Richard Munroe from RGM Pictures. Right here in Grande. I asked him if I could be his water carrier, anything so that I could learn from him because I wanted to improve my photography. He took me to events so I could observe the ins and outs.

Lyndon: What’s your daily routine like?

Life in Grande: I do a lot of walking. When I walk I find the most interesting stuff. I like to leave the main road and walk along the side streets. You find rare gems that you wouldn’t necessarily find on the main street. As of 2024, Life in Grande is my full-time job. The idea is to come out a couple of times a week. I’m committed to visiting different villages. There’s more that needs to be seen.

Lyndon: Is it that Grande has gotten too small for you based on the volume of work you’ve produced?

Life in Grande: No. I haven’t even scratched the surface with Grande. Geographically Toco and Matura aren’t part of Grande but people from these places come to Grande daily to shop and commute. They are a huge part of life in Grande. Life in Grande doesn’t mean you reside in Grande. As long as you’re touching Grande in some shape or form you are part of Life in Grande, and I want to take your picture.

10 Things about reading

When I read, I’m amazed at how many ideas come to me. I’ve noticed that reading triggers dormant memories, forgotten memories, and further fuels my creativity. I grew up in a house without a television and radio. This is in the 1980s. I know it sounds weird, but around the same time people were buying a television my parents sold theirs. To entertain myself I read: books, encyclopedias, and comic books. Sure there was lots of television and video games but those activities were limited to when I visited other homes. I read a lot, and I wrote a lot. Then I started publishing videos and my reading slowed then halted somewhere in 2022. In 2022 I probably read about 2 books. I could feel a lack.

In 2023 I made a bet with a friend to see who could read more books. He read 60. I read more than 40. Let’s say 40 because I can only account for 40. I suspect the actual number is around 53 to 55. When I compare 2022 to 2023 I realise how much I’ve grown. I know more; with every book the ideas keep coming; with a daily commitment social media and television consumption have dived.

Read. Whenever and wherever you can. Sure, things get in the way. Life. Academics. Television. Your phone. Video games. Your spouse. In 2023 I read more than 30 books. When it comes to reading here are 10 things I bear in mind.

1. You should always be involved with a book. If someone asks you, “What are you reading?” you should have an answer for them.

2. Commit to at least 5 pages a day.

3. Read 1 of those 5 pages aloud.

4. Ditch books you aren’t enjoying. Time is precious. If a book or movie isn’t for you, bail.

5. At least once a year finish a book by an author you’ve never heard about.

5. Storage space is precious; buy books you’ve read and can’t live without. Otherwise, join the library and borrow books.

6. Don’t lend out books you can’t live without.

7. Don’t borrow books from friends. Stick to the library or buy your own damn’ book.

8. Download audiobooks. They help kill time. You can listen to an entire book in as little as 2 to 4 hours. The Alchemist is a good place to start.

10. If you’re a parent and you want your kid to be a reader, you need to pick up books and read. The Little One needs to see you reading. Even if it’s pretend reading.

Stephon Felmine: the road to 150,000 TikTok followers

Today we’re talking to Stephon Felmine, a content creator from Trinidad. He’s an Economics teacher at Morvant Secondary School. His Facebook page describes him as the TikTok Trini Alphabet Guy. On the 11th of April 2020, he posted his first TikTok video. Since then he’s amassed almost 150,000 followers and 2.8 million likes, an extraordinary accomplishment.

On 11 April 2020, he posted his first TikTok video. One year later he turned his attention to Facebook and started uploading videos. Then on October 26th, 2021 he started uploading videos on YouTube. Then there’s Instagram. We talk about where he’s getting the best results. And how he selects the brands he works with. Is it just based on money?

There’s a video podcast, or if you prefer the audio version below there’s a link to the episode on Spotify.

A little bit every day

As a content creator who wants to achieve success, you have a responsibility to do a little bit every day. I was writing an article for Caribbean Content Creators when my four-year-old daughter walked in and picked up a novella I wrote in 2007. Her name is Anna. She’s a little taller than the table, with plump cheeks and two ponytails. Flipping through the pages, Anna remarked that the book had no pictures. Then she asked me if I wrote all “these words”. I stopped typing and looked at Anna. Smiled. Said yes. Her next sentence stunned me.

“Did you get tired?”

“No, I didn’t get tired.”

She wasn’t satisfied. “But how did you write all these words?”

I thought about it for a moment then said, “I did a little bit every day.”

She wasn’t done. “Why is your name at the top of every page?”

“Because that’s the way books are usually formatted.” It felt like a dumb uninspiring answer.

She left the book on the table and disappeared.

Listen to this episode on Spotify

Since 2008, I’ve published 12 books and published almost 700 YouTube videos. How did I do it? By doing a little bit every single day. It took about 6 months to write Boy Days: Short Stories about Trini Men; and another two years to edit the book.

Later, in the cool of the afternoon, Anna appeared with a plush journal. On the cover is a rainbow-coloured unicorn.

“I’m working on a story called The Explosion,” she said.

I was editing a video. I stopped, turned my chair, and looked at her.

“What’s it about?”

“It’s a story about a girl walking on the beach and a bomb falls right next to her.”

“What if the bomb falls on top of her?”

Anna laughed tee-hee. “She’ll die. I don’t want her to die.”

“Can I help you write the story?” I asked.

“Yes.” Anna is precise with her words. “You can help spell words. But,” she warned, “there aren’t any pictures.”

Anna knows what she wants. We went outside. Surrounded by mountains we sat under the clear blue sky. She dictated the story, I wrote the words. It wasn’t smooth sailing. There was scratching, and some crying, I wasn’t doing it the way she wanted it. We had to start over. But we did it. After the last sentence, she pointed and told me to write “The End”. Then she signed her name at the top of the page; because that’s how books are formatted.

“We’ll write another story tomorrow,” she said.

A little bit every day. It goes a long way.

As a content creator, what does your daily schedule look like? Let me know in the comments.

How to be a professional content creator

Happy New Year.

It’s 9:00 AM. I committed to publishing two articles per week; one at 8:00 AM on a Monday and another at 8:00 AM Thursday. I’m late. Why? Because although I wrote an article I forgot to schedule it for release. Automation is wonderful if you remember to automate. I’m sorry. Please forgive me for being late. I can’t believe I put myself in a position where I’m starting the year with an apology. Very unprofessional.

I’ve learned a lot since setting 11 content creator goals for 2024. And it’s only been two days since I’ve set those goals. Another ambitious goal is to publish one YouTube Shorts every single day. Publish one podcast episode every Tuesday at 8:00 AM. I haven’t edited the episode yet. By setting “concrete goals” I already have a clear picture of what I need to do and where I’m falling short or, to put it bluntly, failing. Along with the goals I’ve established time management is a top priority. And better systems. I can’t be writing an article the night before it’s due. As a content creator, how can I become a professional?

  1. Time: I need a schedule. Besides content creation, I have a job. I have a young family. Ideally, I want to spend time with my wife and children on weekends. if I have to work on Saturdays I will, but I nah work on a Sunday. There. I know my boundaries. It’s important to know your boundaries. I need a schedule. One that involves writing, batch recording and editing every week; despite the “monotony”. Do what I need to do without complaining. Repeating tasks. Google Calendar will help.
  2. Focus: My focus is writing. As I write ideas spring up. I’ve chosen to focus on YouTube because it’s the only platform where I earn revenue as a Caribbean Content Creator. I’ve uninstalled Tik Tok, Facebook Pages and Instagram from my phone, and I’m already reaping the benefits. I’m a solo creator. To maintain focus I’m going to have to back off
  3. Understand what drives you. As a content creator I work fluidly when I share grassroots stories. Stories of hardworking people who are easily overlooked. Stories of people who are quietly working, quietly doing what they do without recognition. Recognition is important. When we recognise people and their work we lift something inside them that may not have moved in years. This drives me, and

There’s so much more to being a professional. As a content creator, what does being a professional mean to you? Let me know in the comments.