YouTube Fears

The big topic this week that’s swept the YouTube communities I follow is fear. This British dude named Ali, who vlogs under the username RogueBluejay, made a short vlog called I’m Scared, in which he listed a whole bunch of his fears and then asked the commenters to say what they were afraid of. A day or two later, the most subscribed to dude in all of the UK, Charlie McDonnell, goes by the handle CharlieIsSoCoolLike, also made a video called I’m Scared. Charlie didn’t say anything about Ali’s video, so he probably hadn’t seen it–the YouTube community is very good about mentioning if they’re riffing off someone else’s video. So the fact that these two British guys made “I’m Scared” videos within a couple days of each other seems pretty indicative of a larger problem, but I’m not here to talk about that. Ali’s video was about fear in general. Charlie’s video was about his YouTube fears, specifically, that he had gotten to a point where he was so afraid of what his 1,690,000 subscribers–you read that right, very subbed dude–would think of his next short film that he was completely incapacitated and unable to do any work on the script whatsoever. So he vlogged about it. He said that he hoped by vlogging about it he could get passed it and I guess time will tell. The thesis statement of the whole video came down to the very basic human desire to be liked. The outpouring of support was substantial. People talked about their own fears and desire for acceptance, the told him what an inspiration he was to them, and that they always looked forward to his videos. Gagillions of comments and video responses. It was great.

The whole thing made me think about my own concerns about YouTube. I follow one of the very basic rules of YouTube. Upload regularly. Every Sunday I have something on my channel. Usually they’re the updates, which are the most YouTube’y thing on my channel. The webseries is what I pour my care and attention into, but every week I throw something together to let people know we’re still around during the months that pass between episodes. My YouTube fear has nothing to do with output. I’m not incapacitated by people’s expectations. I like the episodes enough that I’m confident that there will be others who enjoy them too. I was convinced that the updates were a necessary evil to keep the show alive while the episodes brewed, and I put them up no matter how many people tell me they hate them and that they’re stupid. 2,000’ish people still show up for them every week and it doesn’t seem to be hurting my subscribership too badly, so I keep doing it. Content hits my channel regardless, not scared of putting anything out there. My YouTube fear is that I’m not positioning the show correctly. That the format I have turning the episodes into playlists and listing them on my main page is too confusing to maneuver. I worry that many people don’t want to check out another superhero web show, no matter how different our approach is. I’m nervous that while I dedicate myself to finishing the remaining four episodes, my window of opportunity for making an industry calling card of a short film is dissipating. That no one wants to dive into such a long viewing experience when the first couple episodes are such poor quality. That me and my cast and crew could make a much bigger splash with a independent 15-minute long story that you didn’t need to sit through a 7-minute long previously-on to understand without feeling lost. But I love PoPS. I love what it’s brought us, I love that people love it, and I want to do it justice before I move on to the next thing.

Anyway. Those are my personal YouTube fears. Here’s something awesome from Vimeo for fans of the flick Rear Window:

Thanks for reading.

–Jarvi

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