TikTok is not a vlogging platform (not yet, at least). It’s generally best suited for quick riffs on wolves and Ratatouille. But a new trend suggests some vlogs can be even better when boiled down to 15 or 60 seconds: the #dayinmylife and #dayinthelife TikTok videos squeeze hours of an NYU student’s routine or a social media manager sitting at her aesthetically-pleasing desk into highly entertaining single minutes of content. And like all the best TikToks, the fun isn’t just in the watching—it’s in making, too. In this new column, I’ll be hopping on internet trends and taking you behind the scenes of my process. You’ll then get to see the final product, whether it’s a huge success or a total disaster (but whatever it is, please pretend it was a huge success). 

As soon as I decided to make a day in my life TikTok, I realized that even in non-pandemic times my days are usually just spent … at a desk. Working out, eating a proper lunch, going on a walk to get coffee, and leaving my apartment at night are things I do, but never all on the same day. Not in the year 2020! But for you, I decided I’d give it a try. 

But first, I had to learn some new TikTok editing tricks.

There are several typical elements in a TikTok day-in-my-life video. Here’s how mine came together.

The Sound

You can pick any sound for the background of your day-in-the-life. To make it more tolerable for the viewer, though, you’ll want something instrumental, with little or no vocals, since you’ll likely be talking over it. The day-in-my-life genre is now common enough to have a few go-to sounds.

“She Share Story (for Vlog)” — 夕依 

“Up Beat (Married Life)” — Kenyi

“Dog Days Are Over” — Florence & The Machine

“Ice Dance (From ‘Edward Scissorhands’)” — Ashton Gleckman

I went with “She Share Story (for Vlog).”

The Video Clips

I have yet to film a video inside the TikTok app itself. I find I have a lot more control over the footage if I take it on my phone or camera and then put it together in the app, reordering and shortening things as I see fit. In this case, it meant I filmed my entire day on my phone, sometimes taking long time-lapse clips or just short snippets of my day. To prepare the clips for TikTok, I shortened each clip to its essential moment using the iPhone Photos app, then imported it all into VSCO to use its filters. 

I landed on the “KC25” filter for all of my clips, but used the “VHS” effect under the “FX” tab for the intro clip. 

Then I uploaded it all to TikTok with my chosen sound and put everything in the right order before making…

The Title Card

TikTok’s font selection is pretty limited, so resourceful people have made use of the app’s sticker feature. My favorite is the newspaper lettering effect (it makes me think of the Mean Girls burn book). It’s a bit tedious, but you select each letter one by one by searching for it in the sticker section. When you type “a,” you’ll be served a bunch of “a” stickers. I picked the one that’s an animation of newspaper fonts, and placed it in the best spot on the video. I repeated these steps for every letter in my title. YouTuber Lorena Luque devoted one of her helpful social media tutorials to this process, if you want to learn more.

The Voiceover 

The last step of a day-in-the-life video is optional—some people just stick with a montage. But I’ve come to enjoy the fast-talking recaps that some add to their videos, so I decided to do my own. I suppose you could write a script, but I know what my voice sounds like when I’m doing something rehearsed and that’s not the vibe I wanted. Instead, I used the in-app voiceover feature to talk along with the video in real time (I had to start over a few times when I fumbled my words or fell behind.) Once you process the fact that, yes, your voice really sounds like that, the video is ready to go live. 

Did you get all that? Make any necessary notes? I won’t keep you anxiously waiting any longer. You can watch my day in the life now. Hype House, DM my invite whenever you’re ready.