We launched Episode 8 on Sunday. We’re implementing the same release model as last time. Viewers who want to watch the full 61-minute episode all at once can just click through to the next part on the endscreen, where the rest of the parts are already uploaded, just set to unlisted. That way, people who like the old model can still just watch one segment per day. More importantly, but clicking them over to public a day at a time, the episode shows up in subscription boxes every day for a week.
The viewing numbers are pretty low, comparatively (this is to be expected, no YouTubers are pulling the numbers they’re used to), but the responses we’ve been getting are phenomenal. Everyone is so excited about the story and the characters. Story events are taking them by surprise and the comments are filled with really emotional, really visceral reactions. It’s the greatest thing ever.
Backing it up, the day before release Eliza mentioned I should do a quick Previously On. I hadn’t planned on doing one because I was under the gun to get everything uploaded and annotated for the next day. But I got an idea of how to do one really quickly and how to make it cool, so I whipped it up in a couple hours:
It ended up being one of my favorite PoPS promos I’ve ever made. 24 seconds and I think it’s just SO COOL.
The next day we set the first part of the episode to live. In the hours leading up to it, as I was verifying that all the annotations worked, people started commenting that they were getting ready for the launch. I was getting countdown tweets. One person set up a countdown timer at timeanddate.com. I was hearing from a guy who was throwing a little PoPS release gathering. It just felt kind of anticipated. It was nice. As the countdown ticked over, I set the first part to public and walked away.
Eliza and I made breakfast and I just sat at the table, feeling weird. I’d just spent the last 10 months making this thing and I knew people were out there watching it. I felt a little nervous, but it was also just weird to know that it was being experienced out there, away from me. While I was eating eggs. It felt really strange.
When I stepped back to the computer later in the day to check comments, it just blew my mind. People were so worked up over what happens in the episode. Comment after comment coming from people who were emotionally invested in what we’d made. Not only was it funny, it was serious, scary, and shocking. All of the beats were landing. It was the greatest day. It’s been a few days now and the comments are still coming in.
A YouTuber named TheThirdPew, who I first learned of a while ago when he used PoPS footage in his YouTubers Sing compilation videos, made a video encouraging his audience—which has grown substantially over the last year—to watch the show. It was just nice to hear him talking about how much he enjoyed the show, but then he also cut together a quick PoPS sizzle reel to lead by example that ends the video.
That video has ended up raising our subscriber number by about 1500 over the last couple days. How unbelievably nice of him.
Then this guy Thomas, who we met at Vidcon last year, and his girlfriend Jenna uploaded an episode 8 response video. Of course, it’s filled with every spoiler in the episode, but getting to watch them react to a bunch of different story turns and lines of dialogue was such an absolute joy for me. Especially at about 9 minutes and 50 seconds in.
I am so using that clip in the video update this week.
It’s just been an incredibly validating release week and I feel a little worn out and emotionally drained from taken it all in. So wonderful. Just a wall of good. I never thought people would react so intensely. It’s like everything I’ve ever wanted in a response to something I’ve created.
Thanks for reading.