YouTube Star (ShayCarl) Proves Fat Drives Subscriptions

Shaycarl (on left with author) ate cheesecake for 3 weeks to gain 12 pounds for his new roll on DailyFiberFilms. The result? Better acting range and comedy.

What happened when an obscure comedy troupe was given a “shout out” from one of YouTube’s “overnight successes” (TheStation)?

TheStation2 — a secondary channel by the Venice Beach, California consortium of popular YouTubers — brought attention to DailyFiberFilms. The channel exploded from 120 subscribers to nearly 4000 instantly. (source: comment from rdidri on a video ReelSEO did about “viral video.”).

In the video below, YouTube comedian Shaycarl/Shaytards (seen in various characters and apparently with an additional 10-12 extra pounds) shows the positive impact of fat on comedy. Notice his acting range has expanded as much as his stretch pants? The subtly of his character portrayal is driven by his adipocytes.

It’s a comedy lesson proven by Belushi, Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy, Curly, Candy, Dangerfield, Spade & Farley and now Butler. And to that we say, “bring on the fiber.”

Of course I’m kidding. It’s not Shay, but check out the Daily Fiber Films to dislodge your humor colon and make your laughter “regular.”

Gentle Promo in Daily Videos

One of the benefits of having a daily vlog channel (see definition below), is you can drop in subtle product placements or promotions for friends — but still do proper sponsored videos on the core channel. See as an example today’s Unclenalts video (a 356-day vlog channel, dubbed “YouTube Orbit.”

I wanted to plug Daisy Whitney’s new book Mockingbirds, but make something marginally entertaining. So we focused on our little party tricks, and Daisy got a book plug in. Rhett and Link did the same thing (they also mentioned Beyond Viral, my book).

Many top YouTubers have secondary channels for daily video blogs (vlogs), mostly for their core audience who want to see more “behind the scenes” and enrich their parasocial relationships. Some (like shaytards) become bigger than the YouTuber’s primary account.

Go buy Daisy’s book here. She clearly has a better shot as a novelist than doing party tricks for children parties (which is my backup plan).

Thanks for the Book Plug, Rhett & Link, Shaycarl and Others

While I’m blogging about people who read my Beyond Viral book, I’d like to thank Rhett & Link for the product placement. Aren’t they cute? They called it an “insightful tome,” and not just because they’re in this fancy hardback book. They also mentioned Daisy Whitney’s “Mockingbirds.”

Rhett and Link With "Beyond Viral," by Kevin Nalts Nalty

So did the SweetestVegan (see video on Dailymotion). And Shaycarl showed himself purchasing the book at Barnes & Noble, although I can’t find the video. Oh and here’s one by Kiddsock. And BuddhaCharlie. Oh and here’s one of me with a cheesy mustache.

I made a YouTube playlist for all books discussing Beyond Viral… even negative reviews are welcome! 🙂

Shaycarly

We watch iCarly nonstop. Me an the four kids. And we watch Shaycarl, and Shaycarl watches us. Even babytard, see?

Now Freddy (Nathan Kress) from iCarly met Shay this week. That’s so weird, huh?

We’re like two-degrees of separation from someone on one of our favorite shows. If you’re reading this, you’re three degrees of separation.

So, yeah, congratulations Shaytards. And Nathan… next time you’re on this coast, come by and visit another YouTuber. You’ve had Fred on your show, and I’m his real dad.

Gibby or Nevel would be cool too.

Actually (shhhh) my son Patrick kinda has a crush on Jennette McCurdy (Sam).

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.

ShayCarl Missing From YouTube’s Most-Popular Page. Fans Terrified.

In news that shocked regular YouTube viewers, creator “Shaycarl” is not on today’s “most-popular” page.

Shaycarl, a radio disk jockey turned full-time YouTube star, has been on a rapid rise in subscribers and views (evidenced by Google trends data below), propelled exponentially an assload in recent months due to his affiliation with “TheStation,” a popular collaboration channel of YouTube’s largest stars.

shaycarlshaytard

But Shay has not posted in 19 hours. His “Baby Can Slam Dunk” video was posted more than 19 hours ago, and his “Giant Dog” was dated 9/31 and posted more than a day ago.

Shay was not available via phone or e-mail, and has largely secluded himself into a DannyJames Arthur DayDiamond sweat lodge tent in recent months.

thestation sweat lodge

Shaycarl’s last Twitter post was 11 hours ago, and his fans have become alarmed that his biggest hater gentle hater has abducted him. The hater (known as MisterDoodyHead) is presumably based in Venice Beach, California… based on his referring to “out here” as Shay’s current location. Reports of Shay being beaten by a car-seat have not been verified by local authority.

Fortunately ShayCarl’s YouTube account shows activity as of four hours ago, and he will presumably return to most-popular by midnight… unless Sxephil and CharlesTrippy upload more than 100 videos today.

Top YouTube Stars Convene “The Station”: A Modern Brat Pack & YouTube YouTopia?

YouTube Stars form a Brat Pack Collective

The Station

It’s the hottest thing on YouTube since Susan Boyle did the “Evolution of Dance.” But you won’t find it covered on television, there’s no press release, and virtually no online or print articles written about it.

A collection of YouTube “stars” have joined forces on a single channel (thestation), and it was almost instantly propelled it to one of YouTube’s most-subscribed channels… even before it had a single video posted. TheStation, now one of the 25 most-subscribed channels, was  parked in June, 2006. But the activity began in mid July 2009 (see TheStation’s Twitter account), when the individual stars began to promote the TheStation on their own channels.

TheStation’s debut video was posted July 21, 2009 (a zombie teaser). Here’s the Zombie debut (see on YouTube), and above (see video box) is a cleaner version with synched audio). Zombie’s sell, of course….

That tells us TheStation isn’t just a creative consortium but a potential online-video marketing machine. In fact, TheStation is shaping up to be an online-video version of the “brat pack.”

“Stars” include Shane Dawson (ShaneDawsonTV), PhillyD (sxephil), and DaveDays — three of the most-subscribed YouTubers. ShayCarl, one of the fastest-rising YouTube creators, moved his family to Venice Beach, California earlier in 2009… living just blocks from Donovan.

LisaNova (Lisa Donovan) and “Danny Diamond” (thediamondfactory, aka “Dan Zappin”) are the hubs at the center of the spokes (see “Zappin Productions“). The long-time duo are romantic partners or business colleagues depending on your source (although LisaNova is to DaveDays as Demi Moore to Ashton Kutcher).

Girls2Watch reports that the business behind TheStation is “Maker Studios,” with a goal to make “create quality consistent programming with their core talent which will attract both a huge online audience as well as advertisers who want to get into the Youtube space.” (via BuckNews). No sign of a Maker Studios, LLC., but Donovan’s listed as the agent for Zappin (California Secretary of State).

TheStation YouTube StarsDonovan and Diamond have loaned their apartments to various online-video weblerities, assembling what I like to call a “YouTube YouTopia” in Venice Beach. Davedays moved from Pennsylvania to California (despite my parental-like caution), and has been offering his musical talent to the motley crew. DaveDays is best known for his Barbie video, and collection of Miley Cyrus homages). Sxephil, also known as Philip DeFranco, moved from Atlanta this summer to join the gang in Venice Beach (with help from friend ShayCarl).

The channel has been getting positive reactions to its first 9 videos, and maintains a better view-per-subscriber ratio than the stars themselves. This ratio (recent view-counts divided by total subscribers to the channel) is a YouTube sign of health. Of course there’s a recency bias, where new channels have healthier rankings because its subscribers are active or new… as opposed to those subscribers from abandoned accounts. TubeMogul reports that the group surpassed Michael Jackson’s collection. Initial videos were designed to appeal to existing fans of the individuals (see NewTeeVee article), packed with inside jokes. iJustine’s death is a rofler… click this link to watch her get eaten by Zombies.

Where’s this going? Now we’re in speculation mode. For starters, it’s clearly a smart creative and professional move for the individuals… especially the lesser known stars who now win by association. The “combo-pack” performance model has proven to work in comedy, music and film (Oceans 11)… so why not web?

I asked Diamond/Zappin his vision for TheStation while visiting Venice Beach this summer, and he was somewhat vague or abstract. Initially, it’s about pooling creative talent and gaing efficiencies from production… a web studio approach (ala Next New Network or Revision3) but with already popular stars and shows. We’ll see TheStation lure brands (hungry for its eyeballs) to finance the operations (Diamond has helped LisaNova and others secure marketing sponsorships), which means it’s more than a creative collaboration.

The station, however, will face four non-trivial challenges:

  1. Collective YouTube channels are difficult to maintain. Shane Dawson is reportedly already backing off. When the initial honeymoon period passes,  collective efforts (from 5awesomegirls, guys and gays to 7awesomekids) struggle to keep the channels vibrant. The geographic proximity of TheStation will help, but many of its stars owe their success to being a “one-man band,” and may have difficulty adapting to an ensemble. Bambamkaboosh, a collaboration between Sxephil and Shaycarl, rocketed to most-subscribed, but has languished. Donovan lasted just four weeks on MadTV. (thought I thought she was pretty darn funny in this Ellen Degeneres MadTv skit).
  2. Some YouTube “stars” lack acting chops. Some are successful at “vlogging” to their audiences, some can sing, but not all YouTube stars can act in a sketch comedy. Sxephil had mixed reviews on his performance on HBOLab’s “Hooking Up,” but certainly carried his weight in “Porn Star.”  We’ll let you be the judge of who can act in this TheStation debut video. I’ll just say it ranges from awesome funny to awkward. Likewise, LisaNova is probably one of the best sketch comedians on YouTube (this is one of my all-time favorite video here with her as “Ashley Moorehouse” in Orange County — co-stared by Jenna Elfman, of “Accidentally on Purpose”)… but Donovan didn’t last long as a vlogger. They’re different art forms, if you don’t mind me calling them that. Check out this chair-fall by YouTube’s Daxflame (once a most-subscribed channel, but somewhat dormant of late).
  3. Money introduces conflict. As the YouTube advertising revenue and other marketing sponsorships draw potential profit to TheStation, the individuals will struggle to ensure revenue is shared appropriately (which is arbitrary at best). The bigger stars may have difficulty balancing the full-time job of maintaining their own channels (with some enjoying 6-figure incomes) and the time they contribute to TheStation, which will provide them with less direct financial return for their time. What the group lacks in business-management experience, however, it makes up for in creative talent, new-marketing prowess and energy.
  4. Holier than tho? The stars run the risk of being perceived by the community as “elitist” (see this whining vlog as example). Although to be fair, members of this team have a history of brilliantly satirizing elitist behavior on YouTube (see this satire of AsOne, where Diamond spoof Sxephil’s appearance in an SMPFilms promotion of Philadelphia “AsOne” event that never occurred). And hey- it’s all “water under the bridge,” because TheStation folks all hit SMPFilm’s wedding last week. Congratulations, Cory. This post counts as my wedding gift.

Cautions aside, the people involved with TheStation have rare knowledge on how to grow and keep an online audience. They’ll benefit by sharing each other’s audiences, and from the creative chemistry that may develop in their YouTube YouTopia. And it’s a guilty pleasure, but I’ll admit I really like some of the writing and acting in this debut video. And check out this funny DaveDays music-video with a cameo by CharlesTrippy. Good stuff. Even better: the out takes and behind the scenes… available on TheStation2.

Even with some inevitable creative and financial feuding ahead, The Station ensemble is proving that the whole is indeed bigger than the sum of (most of) its parts.

No seriously. Click here to watch iJustine get killed again. How can you not crack up at that. Hey- no bashing from iJustine fans. I’m among you.

The Davids vs Goliaths of Online Video

Okay. I gave myself a 15-minute “time out” to reflect on why I have a difficult time wishing success upon the Hulu.com and Strike.tv. models — and a new one I found this morning called Heavy.com. And it comes down to a “David vs. Goliath” perspective.

Online video, to me and many others, represents the opportunity for talented individuals to garner an audience (and profit) without experience, connections or specific talent in one entertainment discipline — writing, directing, acting. I’m hard on Strike.tv, when in fact the initiative is, in fact, its own David against the Goliath of the Hollywood machine.

I’d like to retain a large audience online as Nalts, but I’m quite happy when shows like “The Retarded Policeman” blast past me in views and subscribers (and I take great honor when writer/director Greg Benson refers to me as Geriatric man). I look forward to the day that “Clip Critics” garners an audience well beyond mine. Even shows like PopTub and HBO Labs “Hooking Up” take care to ingratiate themselves to the core online viewers and “stars.” The shows’ motive may be to tap into the vibrant YouTube community, but it still feels polite.

There’s another problem with the format of many online shows on Strike.tv and other sites. They are unrelated “shows” with different target audiences — trying to create another destination site. Success to date via online video is primarily driven by an individual (not a “show”) posting on an already popular video site… not by trying to invent a new network or destination. I can’t fault these guys for trying, because they want to monetize their content, and maintain control. But unless something changes, the creators of these shows will find greater profit by building a larger YouTube audience with a smaller revenue percentage — instead of trying to siphon an audience to an unknown website in hopes that the higher “CPM” advertising revenue will create profit.

This has no precedence of working, even if Hulu enjoys greater revenue (and growing audience) because all of the content is “advertising friendly.” How often does someone return to “Funny or Die” to see if anything as big as “Landlord” is worth checking out? This Stavenhagen’s Food Pawn Shop with Steve Buscemi and Will Ferrell” looks promising, but the site isn’t streaming for me to tell… did someone forget to pay the server bill?

I will continue to root for the “little guys,” like ShayCarl, who has no connections to mainstream media but still has a delicious portfolio and rabid fans. Check out Rhett and Link’s theme song for ShayCarl (due to his victory of the SuperNotes contest). Shay is a family guy who rallies his “ShayTard” viewers like the Pied Piper of YouTube, and his horrible editing and clunky branding (see his homepage banner) makes him “one of us.”

Finally, I hope that new entrants to online video appreciate is that what makes a “show” popular is the lack of a show.

The majority of top YouTube “stars” are in not shows, but individuals doing their own writing, editing, acting and promotion. Sure this may change, but it remains mostly true today. And that’s what fascinates me about online video. It’s also why many of these people — without a proficiency in one creative discipline, but rather a “mix” of many — may not “cross over” to mainstream media. But they are undeniably building a new medium that I quite like — and I’m not alone.