More Advice from YouTube “Stars”

This is part two of a series featuring direct advice from YouTube “stars” about what keeps them going. In part one (click to read), we heard from Brittani Louise Taylor, Rhett and Link, and Charles Trippy.

Now let’s thank four more of the most prolific and prominent YouTube creators: Michael Buckley, Venetian Princess, MysteryGuitarman and Happyslip. They’ve shared — in their own words — what keeps the “fire burning in their bellies.” I believe they’re all profiled in Beyond Viral (I frankly haven’t read it), but this is new perspective on how they’ve continued to stay fresh. We can learn a lot from these people who aren’t just early sprinters, but marathon runners of this medium.

1. Michael Buckley

He’s the host of “WhatTheBuck,” and one of the most participatory YouTubers around. You might have read about him last fall in Advertising Age. What keeps him spankin‘ and rolling?

Michael Buckley hosts "What The Buck" on YouTube

a. JOY:
First and foremost, JOY. I know that is a gay answer! HA! But I still LOVE YouTube as much as I did when I became a “YouTube Star” back in 2007. Obviously, YouTube is very different now but I still love it so much and take great JOY in making videos and engaging the community. I am grateful every day that this is the life I am fortunate enough to lead. I LOVE MAKING VIDEOS! I LOVE YOUTUBE! This is the greatest career you could ever have!

b. MY SCHEDULE AND FORMAT:
YES! This is a big one that keeps me going! I think being on a SCHEDULE and having a set FORMAT has made it easier for me to stay on track. I never stop and think “Oh what should I make a video about?” – which I imagine would be stressful if I didn’t have a set format. Some people might tire of this but for me I thrive with the structure and consistency of it. My format is not ideal in 2011 YouTube and maybe someday I will tweak it but I enjoy it.

So yeah- that is a big part of what keeps me going. Having a schedule but then being able to flexible with it when I need to be is a luxury that I do not take for granted.

c. I LIKE MY VIDEOS AND FIND ME FUNNY! HA!
This is going to sound like a strange answer and it’s a personal one- that maybe I shouldn’t share- and may sound dumb – but – I think I am very funny. So when I think “What keeps me going?” – I think about how much I enjoy writing What the Buck. I love love love writing and making jokes and filming it and when I watch it back- I think it is very funny. (Which reminds me of 2006 when I would have a video up with 60 views and 4 comments – I didn’t care if anyone was watching –I watched it 60 times and thought it was hilarious!) So I am very motivated to come up with funny jokes and see if I can deliver them in a humorous way. I think you have to like your own videos or you are screwed.

d. LOOKING FORWARD:
I don’t look back. I don’t sit around and think “Oh I wish YouTube was small like it was in 2007” or “I wish I was the big fish I was back in 2008” which I find a lot of YouTubers who lose their motivation find themselves reflecting back to “when they were popular”. I just look forward and remained focused on creating my content. I am never threatened by other people becoming successful on YouTube. I am happy if my success inspired anyone and I am inspired daily by so many people on the site!

e. THE MONEY:
Getting paid to do something you love is the cherry on top!

2. HappySlip

Happyslip parodies her family and has more than 700K subscribers

 

She’s one of the first YouTubers with whom I “collabed” and she’s been at it before YouTube was on the map.

“For the videos, I try to focus on what entertains me, what entertains my family and friends around me.  That is what I started with and I suppose it is a niche that will always have a loyal following.  The audience definitely varies in demographics and most are not tweenies who live on their computers ready to devour their new subscriptions.  Without that first huge burst of viewers that descend upon a new upload, the videos don’t make the homepage and therefore the snowball that used to accumulate so fast and large just accumulates at a slower pace.

So some of the reasons that keep me going:

  • I would make videos or entertain people even if I weren’t paid.
  • I remind myself constantly that my value doesn’t come from YouTube #s or income that is coming in.
  • I try to focus on what makes my content unique rather than try to make similar videos to other popular creators. (at the same time, I try to throw in some non-filipino vids which are just subjects that inspire me or make me laugh)
  • I only pay so much attention to comments on the videos, and definitely don’t read them if I’m in a bad or fragile mood haha.”

3. MysteryGuitarMan

MGM is one of the most-subscribed YouTubers and has gone from living in the back of a van to living in the front of one. How?

Joe Penna has been making videos since the dawn of YouTube (he wrote my theme song when he was living on Ramon Noodles), but he vanished for a while and returned with a parade of hits. How has he endured as one of the most-subscribed YouTubers?

“It’s tough to keep going. Back in 2010, when my channel was growing rapidly, I went through various phases. I had a phase where I played music with random objects, where I did a bunch of different music looping videos, a bunch of crowd-sourced videos, etc.
Nowadays, for example, if I post a stop motion videos there will be at least one comment with dozens of thumbs up saying “you’re boring! stop making stop motion videos!” If I post something different, I’ll get at least one comment with dozens of thumbs up saying, “you’ve changed! the reason I subscribed is for the stop motion video!
The same goes for any of the little phases I went through. I responded about 4 months ago by posting this video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=SMJhcn0t8kI (check it out at 2:19).
I think what keeps me going is that the feedback I get is almost always overwhelmingly positive. I just chalk it up to me having a channel where it’s not the same format every single time. There have always been and there will always be the vocal minority who won’t think my latest video is up to par with whichever video they found me, or who won’t agree with something new I’ve started.
That’s why I’m on YouTube. To experiment. To create something new. You can come along for the ride, if you so wish. If not, good riddance.

4. VenetianPrincess

She's picked herself up several times, but has continued making videos since she was 8.

Her song parodies have been seen more than 330 million times, and she’s one of the most-subscribed female YouTube musicians. But she took a break and rebounded.  

“Last year I took a hiatus from YouTube, and pretty much all other internet platforms.  I was dealing with family medical issues, I bought a house that ended up being a nightmare, and then I got hit with those copyright claims on my videos which really took the fun out of making videos for me.  I was so upset about it, because now I would have to totally rethink all my material and a lot of the video content I had already shot for parodies were now useless.  So I took a long time off.  From June 2010 – February 2011, I didn’t make any big videos. I’d do a small crappy video here and there, but my full-on productions were now out the door.  I was too bummed out which made me lose my creative spark and I needed to step away.  Because of my viewers, I managed to stay up there on the charts as top female for about two years.

It took 4 months of no videos to finally push me down the charts, which I knew was inevitable.  In all honesty, numbers never really meant that much to me.  Sure, it was exciting to get a lot of views.  But all I really cared about was a) having fun and b) having people that would watch my videos.  The whole “beating Miley Cyrus” thing was a campaign I did for fun because I knew my viewer demographic was into her. When I got hit last year with all of the difficult stuff on YouTube and in real life, I lost all of my drive.  I needed to take time away from YouTube and rethink everything.  Coming back to it this year, I have a completely different view of it.  Of course, YouTube changed ALOT since I left too.  The most viewed and subscribed lists are not as significant as they used to be.  The lists are now all buried and very hard to find while navigating the site.

Another thing I noticed is that everyone and his brother does parodies now.  I think I was one of the first YouTubers doing music video spoofs.  Now it’s like 3 hours after a new music video comes out, there are already 20 parodies on YouTube.  It wasn’t like that before, which played to my advantage.  Now I’m just another spoof channel, and the one-woman-show thing that used to appeal to people is now not as cool as full-on casts with production crews.  I’m a big fan of Key of Awsome myself, so I can totally understand.  It just goes to show how YouTube keeps evolving.
I now approach the site with a new perspective.  Youtube has become almost too big to think of it as a community anymore. I see it now like each channel has it’s own viewer base and I just focus on creating content for my audience.  I have learned that if I am enjoying what I am creating, the majority of my viewers will pick up on that and enjoy watching it.  If I push something out just for the sake of putting a video up, it’s going to show.  Again, numbers never motivated me to create.  But at the same time, my pay is dependent on those numbers.  So I try not to think about that.  I find that if I just do the videos that make me happy, they will do well enough to continue paying the bills.  And I’ll still be able to say I love my job.
Here are some things I do differently now that keep me going:
  • I only allow myself to read the first page of comments.  Usually they are from subscribers and are positive, so they leave me feeling positive about the video when I close out & leave the computer.
  • I post videos that I know I would enjoy watching.  I’m not going to post something just because it tends to my demographic.
  • I don’t watch as many YouTube videos as I used to.  It’s inspiring to watch other tubers do their thing, but watching too much YouTube can be unhealthy.  (And talking about it too much can annoy friends and family lol).
  • I’ve discovered vlogging.  I have a different channel (Skydiamondz) where I post vlogs a few times a week of my real life.  It’s a nice way for me to make videos that don’t take a hundred hours to make.  I shoot it on my iphone, edit for like 10 minutes, and poof it’s uploaded and viewers get a glance into my life without the all the lights and glitter they see in my parodies.  It’s a different kind of experience for me.
  • I’m active on twitter and facebook, it’s a great way to connect with my viewers in a different environment.  I can post video-related topics on my facebook page and get instant feedback from them.
The other thing that is important to mention is that I’ve been making videos since I was 8 years old.  Making the costumes, experimenting with special effects, the whole shebang.  So with or without YouTube- I’d still be doing this on some level.  I’m just blessed to now actually have a lot more than 4 people to watch.  🙂
Big thanks to these four… if it’s one thing more impressive than enduring new-age talent it’s the folks willing to share their tips.

 

 

Viral Social Rule #249: Be Careful How You Treat People on Your Way Up

One day during one of the west-coast YouTube events I got a call from one of my YouTube friends Eddie. He hates when I call him Eddie because he goes by TheMightyThor1212, and using the name Eddie might compromise  national friggin’ security.

Eddie knows I’m boo-hooing that I was missing the SanVegasFranAngelosDiegowhatever YouTube meetup and puts me on the phone with a number of YouTube peeps (including a somewhat perplexed LisaNova who kinda pretends she knows who I am, but is really thinking “I hope this bearded dude doesn’t grab my boobies… Nothing tastes as good as thin”).

Then Eddie puts a guy on the phone who has a spark to his voice- yeah a spark like the one that graced Joe Pesci’s tooth on Home Alone. The guy says he’s Shaycarl and I make him repeat the name about 5 times because I honestly wanted to see his videos after hearing this odd sincerity of his voice. I wrote it down and subscribed, but then (and this is unusual for me) I started eating his videos like cereal at midnight. Shay says something about Sxephil having mentioned him, and it got him a bunch of subscribers. I later find this video response to “YouTube is My Wife,” and my nuts still hurt from laughing.

Shay and I have spoken, collabed, and met a few times, and he’s punked me good. But now he’s eclipsed me and is in the YouTube Popular crowd, but not anymore affected by it than Buckley or HappySlip. He’s the rare YouTuber you’d take home to your mama. He’s deeply faithful and not nearly as annoying as I thought he’d be. I thought I’d have to fake laugh in his presence like I was meeting Robin Williams. But it turns out he’s as delicious in person (mind you this was pre-ZZ Top beard).

So this Shay turns out to be a mega star on planet YouTube (find him and his cult-like following at ShayCarl or Shaytards and he steals the show on TheStation). But he still has the sweet heart to reference Uncle Nalts and that book about YouTube Popularity I wrote and published for free on the Internets. Like, Scoob, it’d be worth my time writing that dated eBook if it had .05 percent of a role in taking Shay from a disk jockey gig in some state none of us have heard of (Nevada or Oklahoma or something) to 300 plus subscribers and WWF Dominator of YouTube’s most-popular page.

Of course I can’t take credit, because then I’d have to take responsibility if he ends up getting sucked into the wild life of Venice Beach, and we find his bloated corpse all coked out on a beach like Belushi or Farley, his TV equivalents.

Oh shit I have to write a real book in about 20 days. WTF am I blogging for? Oh yeah- my car’s still warming up. So a long way of saying… be careful how you treat people when you’re hawt because they might eclipse you, and make you proud as an Irish mama.

P.S. Buckley said he saw me at the YouTube 777 gathering but thank God he didn’t approach me. Because I might have been all, like, “yipes! An unpopular gay guy!!! Zipster protect me!!!!” And then he’d never return my e-mails.

An Unviral “Viral Video” for a Cause

Thousands of apples roll out of an NYC subway car. Drives message home with authentic/amateur feel. Big stunt, simple concept. Visually unforgettable.

The only thing it ‘aint (as of this writing) is viral. Under 20K views. Posted in 2006 this would be at a million views by now. Show me someone who claims to understand what goes viral and I’ll show you a liar. I did try to send the folks some tips (click more if you want to read them).

Want to know the bad-ass part of this? You’re watching f’ing CGI. No kidding. This entire thing was simulated. I watched it 4 times and had absolutely no clue. I was SURE it was real. See the “making of.”

For what it’s worth, CityHarvest.org (CityHarvest YouTube channel) I totally dig it. Maybe next time see if a popular web star like Happyslip (a former New Yorker) will be in it… and post it on her channel. Then it would be at 2 million and counting by now.

P.S. Found this on Vidque.com, where I also found this unviral video “Facebook Status Update During Ceremony.” I like curators now. Even old musty ones.


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Eminem’s We Make You Parody: “We Make YouTube”

YouTube community parody based on Eminem song.

From Asathecomic it’s the “We Make YouTube” song parody.

And yes, Bo Burnham is my grandson. Here’s a clip of me with him just two years ago, before he reached puberty. Cute little kid, made his father Charlie proud.

Credits:

 

Lyrics

When u uploaded ur video you tube. You were on the rotator in jiffy lube
You’re a Tube star and everybody Subs ya
You can Hate Fred but do you have a Million?

Youre a big deal on Youtube

Youtubes taken over tv like hulk took over superman you tube.. face book im addicted man..
what would you tube be without chris crocker no one can yell leave brit alone like this man/// girl
And where would YT be without Dave days even though he wears his hat wierd he can sang
And tell me bru who can really flop each one of their ears with perfection Just KevJumba!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What would it be without lisa novas boob or 100 vids of her in a sarah palin wig oooh
Heres a good question whos stranger Mac or Shane Dawson?
And sxephil with his hair spiky nobody can rant like that boy you see
And how could do with out.Ooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwww! hoo hooo Charlie Bit me.

When u uploaded ur video you tube
You were on the rotator in jiffy lube
Youre a Tube star and everybody Subs ya
You can Hate Buck but are u on eonline.
Im a big deal on Youtube

And tay zonday only has one hit Chad Vaders bout ready to choke a Wait.. What
Venetian princess is prettier than Miley um.. and whos hotter Happy slip or her mom uh.
theres Nword higa Solja and lil wayne SMP films is a quite loaded man! (Its mean but its soooo cute) word?!?!?
Smosh those dudes are really models right and Asa the comic thats the bald brother tite
Alpha cat makes obama shake his booty booty yo Oh oh oh oh!!!!
And Hotforwords, makes me hot word!!! Let me chill cuz im a married nerd~
iJustinewants steve jobs apples and bo burnun thats nalts grandson? right.. yeah?!?!

When u uploaded ur video you tube
You were on the rotator in jiffy lube
Im a Tube star and everybody Subs bru
You can Hate me but were you on Kimmel Show
Tazys (point to yourself) a big deal on Youtube
Chocolate rain. My sexiness will make u insane
So take my chocolate rain.
And no im not t pain.
Cuz I can sing homeslice. Yeah

YouTube Documentary: I Want My 3 Minutes Back

 

yeah I\'m not as popular as happyslip but I\'m hotAustin Powers called. He wants his vest back.I Want My 3 Minutes BackHere’s a teaser for Chuck Potter’s documentary about YouTube. It’s called “I Want My 3 Minutes Back.” The original name was “YouTube Nation,” but the lawyers weren’t crazy about the first word of that title. And “Nation” just didn’t quite test well.

The release will be this fall, and I’m excited to see the interviews with fellow creators. It’s fun watching them when they’re not “on stage.” Just sitting there with Chuck Potter, who’s demeaner is so laid back you forget he’s holding a camera.

Phil DeFranco (SxePhil) conducted his interview with Potter weeks before getting scalped, but on the set of his next film (see trailer). I love that I’m sticking my photo next to the immensely more popular HappySlip and SxePhil (above).

P.S. That’s happyslip in the photo behind me. It only made Jo and Lemonette slightly jealous.

Buy “Best of Nalts” Video Shorts on High Definition DVD

Best of Nalts DVD SleevePer my post in December, I finally received and approved my proof of the “Best of Nalts: Volume 1” DVD. So now you can buy 71 minutes of Nalts videos (with 29 videos) on CreateSpace.com by clicking here.

I have nearly “comedic” 600 videos online for free, but I think these are the best ones (although a few of you pointed out a few that need to be high on the list for volume two). I avoided videos that were too YouTube centric like Renetto shaving my head, or other inside jokes. So most of these are family-friendly and don’t require any context to appreciate.

So buy your copy now for the low, low price of $19.94. Yey. My kids and their friends just gathered around to watch the proof DVD tonight, and it’s frightening how clear the quality is since most of them are high definition… especially when you’re used to seeing them in horribly compressed format on YouTube. You can actually read little things in the background, so I’m sure I’ve inadvertently left a credit card number visible. But unless I sell about 30,000 of these DVDs (and something tells me I’m lucky if I sell 50), those credit card numbers won’t be much worth to you.

To see the full list of videos, click “more” below. To see the sleeve in higher resolution, click the image on the right.

Click here to buy one for $19.94. Click here to watch ’em for free in low resolution and with annoying ads. 🙂

P.S. I priced mine exactly one penny below HappySlip‘s, and I make big $6.02 per copy sold.

Continue reading “Buy “Best of Nalts” Video Shorts on High Definition DVD”

Coming Soon: Best of Nalts DVD

Best of Nalts DVD sleeve

HappySlip is selling “best of” DVDs, so I had to do it too. I may not be as hot, but at least I’m not as funny.

I’m using CreateSpace because it looks easy, and a couple others have used it. Anyone use ’em? I didn’t realize, until I’d started my account this morning, that it’s an Amazon company. Of course, you give away about 40% of your profits (after the fixed cost per DVD) when it’s sold through Amazon, so I’m kinda hoping people buy it at CreateSpace.com. I get proceeds beyond the fixed cost of production and their cut of the sale.

It’s not live yet because I’m mailing the master to CreateSpace, and then they send me a proof. I’ve listed the videos below. I’m sure I unintentionally missed some good ones, but it took most of yesterday just to locate the best versions of these (and some were destroyed by a dead Seagate external hard drive).

Will I sell a lot? Nope. There’s not a huge market to purchase amateur video content — especially when you can see it free online. Maybe some people will be compelled by the notion of seeing the videos in high resolution and without ads.

I was impressed with how good some of them look on an HDTV (after I’ve been used to seeing them on YouTube all grainy and compressed). You notice little things- like the name of a book on a bookshelf that was otherwise obscure. And you can why my face was made for low-resolution video.

Price point is $19.99, but most of the revenue goes to CreateSpace and Amazon. Well- if I make $100 on total sales, it’s worth being called a sellout.

The videos:
Farting in Public
Airport Crawling
Computer Falls
Cash to Buzz
Drunk Interviews
Garbageman
America’s Bloopers
Fast Food Outsourcing
Candy Swiper
Google Head
Crackberry
Google Earth
GPS with PMS
Mall Pranks
Killer Weed
Gum Tree
Coffee Baby
Banana Man
Garage Sale
Pencils
Kids Steal Van
Lay Me Off
CubeBreak
Mad Turkey
Viral Video Genius
iPhone
Chicken Prank
Stupid Computer
HappySlip’s Pad