The You Tube Stars
There was so much good discussion in this panel that I didn’t want it to end. They started off talking about everyone’s first videos. iJustines’s first video was born out of quitting her job by making a dvd as a parting gift for her boss. Brookers’ first video was just a introduction for her mySpace page. This was, back before either mySpace or you tube were big. I hadn’t realized exactly how far back she was involved.
Brookers was, apparently, the first break out star of you tube. She realized this when she moved from getting constructive criticism to hateful comments. She has not made any money due to not selling out. I randomly clicked on some of her recent videos after ROFLCOn and discovered that I really don’t like her videos. However, wth Brookers unable to list the video she was proud of Mike steped in to suggest Cell Block Tango, which – I must say – is somewhat enjoyable.
In person she is very cute in the perpetually embarrassed shy kind of way. It is very strange for someone who is a performer. I guess that’s what you get from the internet. This was just what I picked up from watching her movements and expressions on the video and in person at the event. She later corroborated this story saying:
“In my town where I’m from in Holden. When I was in High School I didn’t exist, like I was so quiet I remember when half way through the year like sophomore year I raised my hand to goto the bathroom and everyone turned around, their like ‘who is that?’ like it was crazy so its really funny cause I have a few friends still from holden and everyone and everyone talks about, ‘hey did you hear some girl is like famous but nobody knows who I am.”
In the first few minutes Michael Buckley of the What the Buck show really sold himself. He described two different scenarios in the course of the development of his show where he received some positive feedback and just ran with things in that direction. This is how he moved from cable access to you tube and arrived at his one take, fast spoken format. I have actually seen his stuff, and enjoyed it, without knowing about him, or following him. That’s not true of any of the other panelists, what that’s worth.
Of course there was the necessary discussion about making money. Rhett & Link are all about selling out in order to do their work full time and support their families. Somehow I can respect them for this while holding it against Jib Jab. I suppose that I am familiar with the low level of quality coming out of Jib Jab, but I’m not familiar with Rhett and Link and as such I can’t actually compare. They are, however, still interested in managing user expectations, something Mike spoke to. Myabe this also plays a part in respecting their decision to sell out. The big revelation is that all the people who complain you’ve sold out still watch.
There were three things that I learned that surprised me. First, You Tube has a live component called YouStream? What? Apparently people don’t believe that it is actually live. I know I wouldn’t. Of course they make silly requests to prove it is live. Second, there is not much loyalty to You Tube with respect to other internet video sites. iJustine and Mike use other sites regularly. Rhett & Link have their own site. Brookers remains the most true to you tube, but not exclusive. Everyone was very adamantly opposed to leaving the internet for mainstream media, which was one of the first things Mike’s former agent suggested. Although, they are not very keen on all the random cat video’s that get all the attention on you tube. Finally, Both Mike and Rhett & Link cited recent videos they made about Hannah Montana. Is she really that big?! I mean this isn’t mainstream this is you tube personalities. I guess people are searching for it, so if you want people to find you, talk about what they are searching for, but it seems like pandering.
Some Quote Highlights:
“A lot of people enjoy it so I can’t really worry about the people who don’t.” – Mike
“Our family members don’t really understand how to watch you tube videos.” – Rhett and Link
“If you truly, like really, absolutely love what you made it doesn’t matter what anybody else says because you like it and that’s, you know.” – Brookers
“My family likes it because sometimes I forget to call home, so they can always just check my twitter to see if I am alive or check my rss feed.” – iJustine
“So they get to talk to you less” – Moderator
“I don’t think they [the mainstream media] know what to do with us.” – iJustine
You may think, that as I have done before whenever possible, that I’m going to go with a girl, Brookers or iJustine, for the standout panelist. Despite their great contributions I am not. Mike Buckley of What the Buck was by far and away the panelist who contributed the most. I may even start watching his stuff. I really enjoyed this panel. It was driven by the unique and interesting personalities of the performers.