A few months ago, I started creating Youtube videos. Previously, I only used my account as a viewer, or to upload little animations. However, I’ve been researching how some people have used their channels as their own private TV station in order to make video as their full time jobs. Curiously, I figured that I would give it a go, though I wasn’t sure what kind of videos I should make.
In my research, I learnt that there is a Youtube Animation Community. However, the irony is, not all of them can actually animate, at least not in the same capacity that I can. So what makes them so trendy online?
The way people are able to generate an income on Youtube, is often by ads. Every time you’re forced to watch another annoying ad on a video, the channel earns a percentage (a few cents). Therefore, with more views and subscribers, one is able to turn cents into dollars, to potentially thousands or millions.
I remember in 2009 when the kids at school watched “Charlie the Unicorn“. The story was ridiculous, however you could really see the time and work put in by the creator, Jason Steele. Yet, what happened between then and now to cause the qualities of videos produced online to change from animations to moving comic book style?
Footofaferret‘s explain the reason very clearly in his video about the History of Youtube Animators. It turns out that the Youtube algorithm greatly affects the materials people make, and the ways that they do it. When the Rick Roll meme was popular, a lot people started creating misleading Click-bait videos, causing Youtube to change their rules. The website started to reward the creators who produced more longer videos with a greater view retention. In other words, viewers who watch the whole video as opposed to clicking and leaving.
This affected the animation community greatly. From my own experience, an animated project can take months or longer to create off screen, such as the planning to the laborious task of production. Meaning that one could no longer upload an incredible 3 minute animation every few months and expect to earn.
These new earning regulations caused the Youtube animation community to adapt and change their mode of production. In order to create more videos, the quality of animation was sacrificed with more emphasis on storytelling and anecdotes. sWooZie is probably the most notable ‘Youtube Animator’ (I’m using the term Youtube Animator to refer to this particular style of youtube videos as opposed to animators in general.) In this early video that he produced, sWooZie uses DeviantArt Muro (a free drawing software), and a video editing program, which I think is incredible seeing that Muro isn’t suited for animation at all. He then uses his expressive personality and storytelling to bring the piece to life.
Since then, many other people have jumped on board creating their own ‘storytelling animations’ for youtube. There are some mixed opinions about it. Some people really enjoy these types of videos, while others feel that it’s unfair that these people to get more recognition than more skilled animators.
For me, I don’t grudge these people for their online success. However, it does perplex me, since I am a traditional animator who likes to create quality hand drawn works. It’s hard for me to judge what will work or not, since I am new to the Youtube scene… as a creator, as opposed to a viewer. So I figured that I’d just give things a go and see where it takes me.
As a way to learn how to produce quality videos faster, without disrupting my usual work flow, I’ve been creating Speed Drawing videos and Tutorials showing my work process.
As well as a drawn series about how I walked the Camino de Santiago while handling type 1 diabetes. The production for this is slower, since I’m hoping to find funding and support from relevant medical parties to help produce it. That being said, I have already heard feed back from some people saying that the discussed topics have been helpful and interesting. I really hope to continue creating more videos.
The benefits of using Youtube is that it is the 2nd biggest search engine in the world, meaning that as long as some one uses a search term relevant to your content, they can find your video, as oppose to Facebook or Instagram, which are formatted as feeds based on time relevance. (Meaning that your posts will get buried and lost.)
That being said, I don’t know anyone personally who is an experienced Youtube creator to ask for advice. The Youtube website itself doesn’t have an online forum neither, (that I know of), to ask for advice on how to expand my brand awareness and connect to more people. If anyone has any advice on growing an authentic audience, without paid promotions, I would greatly appreciate it.
For you, the reader; do you have a youtube channel or know someone who does? Let me know your thoughts below in the comment box.