Mathew Thomas, who goes by Mathew Rhyze online, is a 19-year-old full-time YouTube video editor.
This is Rhyze’s story, as told to reporter Marta Biino.This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Mathew Rhyze, a 19-year-old YouTube video editor. It has been edited for length and clarity. Insider verified Rhyze’s earnings with documentation he provided.
I started my first YouTube channel when I was just 10, in 2013.
Growing up with frontalnasal dysplasia, I have learned to live with “what’s wrong with him” comments, and although I was bullied in school, I always did what I wanted — which was being on YouTube.
I kept posting throughout school, but as I grew up, I realized that making content wasn’t for me. I find it more enjoyable to help other creators get better analytics, and it motivates me to look at the final product after editing.
At the start of the pandemic, in 2020, I slowly transitioned to becoming an editor.
One of my first editing gigs was with athlete Crissa Jackson. I edited videos for her every day for three months, and it was just very intense. I’d be in classes and editing videos at the same time, which was bad.
I kept a high pace for about a year, working for a few different creators while studying. I was pulling all nighters, my grades started slipping, and that’s when I knew I had to make a change.
In early 2021, I decided to dedicate my time to working for one person — my friend Jeremy Hutchins, whose channel has grown to over 4 million YouTube subscribers.
In June, I finally graduated from high school, and now I’m out in LA with Jeremy, editing with him in person and even taking part in some of his challenge videos.
Short-form content is having a moment, but editing long-form is more rewarding
Now that TikTok is a thing, it’s a lot harder to keep people’s attention on longer videos, because audiences are so used to watching 10-second clips, then scrolling past.
But editing long-form content gives you more of a challenge, and it’s rewarding when you see a 70% or 80% watch time.
There are tricks that help with retention, like fast cuts and avoiding static moments. I try to make sure that there is always something going on. I also think a lot about music, which is important to set the correct mood.
I don’t really plan my edits too much — I just go with the flow and do what feels right in the moment.
I think many associate YouTube videos with movies, which is a mistake. YouTube users have way less tolerance for slow pacing.
Keeping my rates high allows me to do this full time
When I first started editing videos for others, I was charging very low rates.
One of the first jobs I took in early 2020 was for my friend Nathaniel, who has a gaming channel. I edited a 7-minute video for $15.
As I networked with professionals in the industry, I started getting more and more messages from people asking to work together, and that’s when I saw the value of my work increasing.
I slowly built up to my current rates — charging about $350 for a TikTok-style video, and between $850 and $1,250 for a YouTube video.
I work almost exclusively with Jeremy Hutchins now, on both YouTube Shorts and long-form videos. This allows me to earn around $6,400 a month.
I think video editing can be a sustainable career, if you don’t undervalue your work.
In the day-to-day, it’s important to find focus
I used to procrastinate everything in school, but once I started working as an editor for other creators, I was put on deadline, and I realized I needed to manage my time better.
These days, I pretty much do all my work from 7pm to 4am.
I have to drink a lot of Red Bulls, but I like it because nobody’s really awake. There are no distractions; it’s just myself, locked in and working.
With Jeremy, we usually shoot footage on Wednesdays, then I edit on Thursdays and Fridays. Saturdays are for revisions, and on Sundays we publish videos.
Eventually, however, I’d love to start teaching others how to be YouTube editors, from using software to finding clients to setting rates.
I look up to Hayden Hillier-Smith, an editor who’s worked with MrBeast and Logan Paul. Not only is he a great storyteller, but he also films tutorials and breaks down the behind-the-scenes of editing.
I’d like to keep helping the community and teach others that if you’re persistent in doing what you love, you’ll get somewhere.