Behind the Scenes of a YouTube Collaboration: YouTube in 1985

Below is “YouTube in 1985,” a video collaboration Matt Kobal. I had never heard of Matt before he asked if I’d play the role of a YouTube billing agent.  The video depicts an imaginary 1985-version of YouTube. For the record, I had that much hair and more but spent my time drinking at the New Orleans World Fair, not working in billing.

Since I advocate that people pursue YouTube collaboration videos to boost their views, I thought I’d point out a few of Matt’s techniques that worked well. I haven’t been doing many collaborations lately, and it feels selfish to pursue popular YouTubers for collaborations while ignoring those with smaller numbers… but generally collaboration videos help the individual with fewer subscribers most.

The exception is that if two popular YouTubers collaborate, both of their audiences tend to grow. So while I’ll probably pick up a fair number of new subscribers on Friday’s “Retarded Policeman” appearance, Mediocre Films also benefits.

Let’s look at what Matt did well:

  • Matt communicated with me via Jill Hanner (xgobobeanx). So he seemed more credible. If I was more organized I might have looked at his videos to see if he’s talented. But that usually turns me off of a collab as opposed to getting me excited.
  • He sent a script- he knew where he was going and had an idea. You wouldn’t believe how many “would you like to do a collab” requests I get even after writing a free eBook urging people not to do that.
  • His idea was actually funny to me. And fairly simple.
  • He was persistent but patient. It took me a while to get it done, but I never felt badgered. He also didn’t give up, and I’m glad he didn’t. He started e-mailing in July, and sent his logo (which I failed to use) August 1. So this is not an overnight project.

Some additional  tips:

  • Try to close the deal quickly since the intrigue of being in a collaboration fades quickly. If I don’t do it immediately, I often lose energy. In this case, I was relieved that he worked around my lousy timing (back pains) and Jill’s timing (she lost her dog in the middle of it).
  • Don’t forget to tell people your username if you ask them to be in a collab. People usually forget to do that. And send them a video that shows you can edit and produce well. It credentializes you. I remember being weary about doing a collaboration with Alan (fallofautumndistro) and later laughing at that hesitation.
  • If I were to try to get a cewebrity like LisaNova in my video, I’d try all of these techniques and might mention a lesser known video of hers to give her a sense of what I was after. People rarely mention your videos beyond the obvious ones.

Sometimes you groan when you see the results, but I like this one. It’s well produced, and Matt showed a lot of discipline in editing out parts that I had given him, but would have dragged the concept out. He apologized for that, but I respect it. It turns out he’s actually a good actor/director, so I’m glad I wasn’t looking at his YouTube subscriber number to effect my decision (it’s lower than it will be in due time).

Hopefully it travels. It’s sort of a one-joke concept, but it’s pulled through fairly cleverly. And some of the people, with me as an exception, can actually act (I was in back pain, okay?).

P.S. Don’t try these on me because I’m too lazy to do my own videos right now- much less collaborations.

24 Replies to “Behind the Scenes of a YouTube Collaboration: YouTube in 1985”

  1. This is definitely one of my favorite colabs I’ve ever seen.

    Why oh why can’t I be in good ones like this??? I only ever get 1 liners in crap colabs, and they usually end up being conjunctions, or verbs…

  2. The best thing about this video – he must have edited the hell out of it because there wasn’t one second of wasted time. So often people take a great idea like this and ruin it by having it run too long.

    By the way, maybe I’m too feeble minded to remember, but I don’t think people were using the term “awesome” back in 1985. I know I sure wasn’t. In fact I didn’t start using it til I got on youtube. Which was the beginning of my cultural decline.

  3. No more false modesty about your lack of acting talent, dude. I watched almost to the end before I recognized Kevin in that billing guy.

    Will you do a collab with me? PLEEEEZE?

    I’ll send you a script about a man and a woman who both have spine “issues” and as a consequence all but stop making videos. It’s a real tearjerker.

  4. Oh, I see now how it is. Last week you gals were practically calling Kevin a boring douchebag, but one collab with Matt and suddenly you’re falling all over yourselves kissing Kevin’s bohunkus. You’re trying to smooze an intro to that beefsteak Matt, are you?


  5. lol @ marquis

    The video was well written and the editing is great. Actors played their parts well, how could you ask for more???

  6. ^ I think he was hoping for somebody to watch it, Matt. 12,000 views is chump change to Kevin. He doesn’t feel validated until his views hit 100,000.

    Am I right, Kevin?

Comments are closed.