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> Freddie Wong, Cowboys vs. Wong
post Jul 23 2011, 08:11 PM
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Anybody familiar with Freddie Wong? He's awesome. I've been following him for a while. Check out his older videos too.

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post Jul 23 2011, 08:32 PM
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I haven't seen him, but I like that kind of videos smile.gif Check out these guys (link)

This post has been edited by K1R: Jul 23 2011, 08:33 PM


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post Jul 23 2011, 08:40 PM
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QUOTE (K1R @ Jul 23 2011, 02:32 PM) *
I haven't seen him, but I like that kind of videos smile.gif Check out these guys (link)

Cool! I also follow CorridorDigital; however, I had not seen this one before. I need to see more of their older videos.

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post Jul 23 2011, 08:57 PM
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Is that a spoof of that wierd movie about to come out...

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 23 2011, 09:08 PM
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I have a photo taken in 2002 with a truck very similar to that one, in France biggrin.gif

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The Uncreator
post Jul 23 2011, 09:17 PM
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Freddie is the man, straight up epicness mixed with deep fried awesome-sauce.
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post Jul 23 2011, 09:24 PM
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QUOTE (Azzaboi @ Jul 23 2011, 02:57 PM) *
Is that a spoof of that wierd movie about to come out...

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Yes. Check out the behind the scenes.

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dark dude
post Jul 23 2011, 11:19 PM
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Aye, def a fan, too. I remember his bike GH vid!

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Todd Simpson
post Jul 24 2011, 03:16 AM
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QUOTE (thefireball @ Jul 23 2011, 03:11 PM) *
Anybody familiar with Freddie Wong? He's awesome. I've been following him for a while. Check out his older videos too.

Freddie Wong RAWKS! All of his videos are just killer. Makes really good, short, funny, cool, vids. His FX are all pretty impressive. He's a youtube partner, of course, and has a great blog about how he does what he does and gives some great tips on promoting your youtube vids. His blog is so popular it regularly exceeds it's bandwidth limit. Like now. Here is a great post on getting some youtube success.
The secrets of YouTube success

Posted by admin in YouTube Mar 12th, 2011 | 30 Comments
One of the most common questions we receive from our viewers is something along the lines of “How do I become successful on YouTube?”

I thought it was a topic deserving of a much longer answer. Here’s our advice to aspiring YouTube content creators who are clawing at recognition and success, based on our own experiences as well as numerous conversations with other YouTube partners.

Define what “successful” means to you. Expect to work for it.

First things first – success is different for different people.

So before you start, you need to define what “success” is for yourself. Do you want your YouTube channel to become partnered and earn you pizza money? Maybe you want to support your band, and you don’t really care about the money and it’s more about promotion? Maybe you want to turn it into a full-time job? Or maybe you just want to get views, and don’t really care about partnership.

Whatever you choose, know that your potential success is determined entirely by what you put into it. Right now partners are spending more time and effort than ever before on their videos. If everyone else is working full-time, you can’t expect to match their success if you’re not putting in the same effort Don’t expect to pull in a livable wage on part-time hours – if there was a time that was possible, it’s no longer the case.

On the other hand, don’t expect that, just because you put in the hours, that you’ll be successful. You need hard work as well implement a good strategy.

You might be thinking, ”But there are tons of partners who seem like they’re doing no work, and they’re doing great! They don’t deserve their success!

First, I can guarantee you any successful YouTube personality does more work than you give them credit for. Heck, I was getting paid a very good salary when I worked at a major film studio, and my day consisted of checking the lunch menu, eating said lunch, goofing off on gaming blogs, and answering emails. So on a sheer “time spent” basis, these guys have me beat in every conceivable way, and they aren’t getting healthcare and 401ks like I was.

Nobody got to where they are by lazing around.

Getting partnership is relatively easy, but it takes time.

A lot of people ask whether there’s some sort of magic number of subscribers or views you need to make partner. We’ve found the answer is “not really” – from what I’ve seen, it’s more about following some general guidelines.

Here’s the easiest way to guess what those guidelines are – look at the Partnership application form. Look at all the dropdown options. You want to be answering near the top for as many of those questions as humanly possible.

Approach it from Google’s point of view. Now, I don’t know how Google is run or what their internal policies are, but I do know they’re a publically traded company, which means like every other publically traded company, their decisions are centered on minimizing risk and maximizing profit.

Since, partnership is about sharing ad revenue with content creators, that means, logically, they’re looking for three things:

Users that won’t get them sued.
Content they can actually serve ads on.
An audience they can serve those ads to.
That means no illegal, risky, content, and no copyrighted material in any of your videos. And furthermore, if you do have videos with copyrighted material in them, you can bet that it will hurt your chances – they don’t see “random vacation video for my friends with copyrighted music in the background,” they see “person willing to violate copyrights.” So if you have any videos with any copyrighted music or content in them, delete them or reupload them with that material removed.

Game footage, too, is risky. Yes, you can argue fair use on gaming commentary, but the point isn’t how well you know your 1st Amendment rights – it’s how risky is it for YouTube to serve ads on, and like it or not – if the only videos you have is gameplay, you’re going to have a hard time getting partnered.

(Note: Channels like Machinima and The Game Station are currently monetizing game footage channels – for the purposes of this article, I’m talking about just vanilla YouTube Partnership)

I know this because we found this out the hard way – one of the most viewed videos on our channel is me playing Guitar Hero, which features a copyrighted music track as well as game footage. You’ll also note that it’s one of the few videos we have that’s ad free, and I believe it’s one of biggest reasons that it took us so long to become partner. In fact, we were denied twice before we finally got through. Its existence was something that we had to fight against, and was significantly detrimental in our path to partnership.

As for an audience, understand that it doesn’t need to be massive – because for Google, the only cost they have for serving up your content is electricity, hard drive space, and bandwidth, which nowadays is exceedingly cheap.

But that audience needs to be consistent. I don’t have exact numbers, but if I had to guess, I’d say aiming for at least a few thousand views per video is a good place to start from, with at least a thousand subscribers.

As for building that audience…

A consistent audience requires consistent content.

For this, I always look at an older Internet example of a group of people self-employed and working from home in a creative endeavor – webcomics. And if you’ve ever gotten into webcomics, you know that you can divide them up into two categories:

Webcomics that consistently update
Webcomics that don’t consistently update.
And if you look at the cream of the crop, the most financially successful webcomics, the Penny Arcades and xkcds, you find one thing – they all fall under the first category. And comics under the second category have a high probability of pissing you off, and you won’t be so inclined to visit them regularly.

And likewise, the top YouTube channels by-and-large all keep some kind of consistent schedule. Look at it this way – you pay for the loyalty of your viewers by keeping a consistent stream of content headed their way.

Imagine a potential new viewer – they see a video of yours, like it, and maybe start poking around your channel. If there’s only one video, I guarantee you they won’t subscribe because what’s the point? But if they see there’s consistency – the chance of further entertainment in the future, the chances of them subscribing just went up.

Take a look at any mega-viral video and see how many subscribers that account has. David After Dentist’s account has, at the time of this writing, almost 100 million views, but only 40,000 subscribers. Compare that to BFvsGF, who have 100 times fewer total views, but more subscribers. David After Dentist went mega viral, but it didn’t grab a consistent audience.

Simply put, you cannot expect someone to become a consistent member of your audience, let alone remember you, if you are not giving them consistent content in return.

Set a schedule, and stick to that schedule, no matter what. If you run out of time and put out a mediocre video, make up for it next video. The beauty is by forcing yourself to maintain a schedule, you’ll force yourself to come up with something.

Before you start going, while the pressure is off, why not bank some videos? Shoot stuff that’s ready to and hang on to it. That way, if you have an off week or if you get sick, you at least have a backup video you can throw up there.

Focus on content, not on viewers.

How do I get views? How do I get good ratings? What do people want to see? The answer to all these questions is good content.

“Good” is entirely subjective, I might add. Look at Fred’s success – he didn’t get that successful from people hating those videos. At one point, the majority his audience loved them and were passing them around. But his audience was young and fickle, and if there’s one thing I know about being 11 years old, it’s that when I was 13, I hated everything I liked at 11.

The biggest mistake I see in a lot of channels is putting all their effort into grabbing viewers. They’ll spam other videos, they’ll send mass messages, and pay for shady promotion schemes in the hopes of gaining an audience that way.

But think about it – if you trick somebody into watching one of your videos, what are the odds they’ll ever come back? What are the chances they’ll actually pass that video along to a friend? If your content isn’t appealing, a viewer won’t even finish your video before they close the window.

That’s why all these schemes are destined to fail – you might get a few hundred views from people checking out a related video by copying Shay Carl’s tags, but those people will watch once and never return. Their views are meaningless.

In short, don’t take a viewer-centric approach, i.e. “How do I get people to watch my video?” This doesn’t work.

The answer is to take a content-centric approach – “How do I make a video that people want to watch?”

This means facing a potentially uncomfortable fact – while you and your parents and friends might think your video is a work of unbridled genius, the public at large might think it sucks (remember, we’re talking about YouTube success, and any amount of success requires an audience to support your content).

And worse – people are anonymous on the Internet, which means they can be mean. If they think something sucks, they won’t hesitate to tell you in no uncertain terms. This can be discomforting to a lot of people. Once, I charted the statistical frequency of keywords in the first 10,000 comments of the Guitar Hero video. Fully 60% of all comments featured a racial or sexual epithet (and, my favorite statistic, the most “g’s” somebody put in the word “fag” was something like 28).

It’s very easy to get discouraged quickly, but as a creative person, you should be ecstatic when somebody insults you and your work. Why? Because YouTube comments are the only place you will ever get an honest opinion. Your family will always love you. Your friends will be supportive. Even people who hate you will be tied by the pressure of social decency to not unleash on you. Some stranger on the Internet, hidden behind a username, has no stake in you whatsoever, so their opinions are truly their own and unclouded.

Granted, you can safely filter out a great deal of this vitriol – there are people that believe the earth is 6000 years old, so you can conclude there’s opinions out there you can safely ignore.

But if you see criticism, don’t shut it out, and don’t let it discourage you either. Take it for what it is – a random stranger spent ten seconds insulting you. That insult is worth exactly ten seconds of your time. Be open minded and see if there’s a nugget of truth in there somewhere.

After all, you’re still improving, and these people are giving you a piece of their mind. Take the criticism in stride, and continually work to improve.

But what to do? And how long to make it?

There is only one rule for content…

…and that is “What do you genuinely enjoy making?”

It’s stupid to worry about what the rest of the internet wants to see, because just about anything can find an audience. There was a YouTube account with over 6000 videos of a man smoking pipes to different music (it might have been a sexual thing, to be fair). EpicMealTime has had incredible success with, of all things, extreme cooking. You, as a human being, have tastes, and I guarantee you those tastes are shared by other human beings. Whether or not there are enough other human beings for you to be happy with the viewership of your channel is another matter entirely.

So ask yourself “What kind of video do I want to see?” and make it.

As a side note, I think too many people get hung up on ideas. From my experience, ideas are worthless. Execution is more important than anything else. Future First Person Shooter has been done hundreds of times by people with camera in one hand and airsoft pistol in another – the idea is completely unoriginal, but I believe our execution is what set that video apart. Nobody cares how many ideas you have – you won’t get subscribers from ideas alone. It’s about making those ideas into a reality.

That being said, if an idea is genuinely truly entertaining to you, it’s probably not a bad idea. If your video is received poorly, I’d bet that means you need to work on the execution – improve your technical skills offline by reading books, working on tutorials, shooting test videos, etc. (That’s another post for another day).

But most importantly, it doesn’t matter what other people want to see – it matters what you enjoy making. Because YouTube takes so much time and energy, if you make things only for an audience, you’re doomed to failure because you’ll hate doing this, and you won’t put in the amount of necessary time.

You can do everything just to get as big an audience as you can, but at the end of the day, if you really don’t like doing song parodies or cat videos or whatever, you’re not going to be having any fun, and as Matt always says – if you’re not having fun, then what’s the point? Life’s too short.

You have to strike a balance – you have to make videos you genuinely enjoy making, and that an audience can get behind. It’s only in this way that you’ll be able to stomach the amount of work needed to achieve any measurable amount of success.

There is only one rule for length…

…and it’s not “Shorter is better” or “Don’t go above two minutes.” It’s this: the material of your videos must match the runtime.

If your videos have 15 seconds of material, it should be 15 seconds long. An idea, expressed to its full extent in fifteen seconds, placed in a one-minute video is a boring video. If your video has five minutes of entertaining content, guess what? It can be five minutes long and people won’t get bored.

I’ll prove it to you – TubeMogul put out data from fifty web series as to what the audience drop off numbers are between the first episode and the second. They found that across these webseries, there was a 64% drop off. So if you had 100k views on the first episode, you could expect 36k on episode two. These first episodes ran the gamut of lengths, from 2 to 12+ minutes.

So let’s look at RedLetterMedia’s Star Wars reviews – each of the nine parts clocks in at almost ten minutes – definitely on the longer end of things. Conventional “shorter is better” thinking would dictate that, surely, people would get bored watching these, and would not click ahead to part two. If the conventional thinking were true, then logically the audience drop off would be greater than the average of webseries – i.e. greater than 64%.

But looking at the other parts, this is not the case. In fact, RedLetterMedia’s Attack of the Clones review outperforms the average – part 2 only has a 48% drop. And by part 8, it’s performing on the average with a 62% drop. The stickiness of these videos I attribute to the fact that, frankly, they’re incredibly entertaining, and keep people interested for the entire length of the review. The whole thing is an hour long, but he had an hour of content.

The online viewing experience is the most distraction filled viewing experience known to man. When I get an IM notification or a Twitter update or a Facebook message notification, it takes quite an engrossing video for me to not simply click over to see what my friends are saying. So as a video maker, it’s up to you to create engrossing content at an appropriate length.

But in general, when in doubt, try and trim. You need to develop your “sense of boredom” – that’s why our videos rarely go above two minutes. Not because we don’t want them longer, but that the single ideas we have for them can’t support a much longer length.

Here’s a good way to tell – get a friend or parent to sit down and watch one of your videos right before they have to do something – get to an appointment, cook dinner, etc. Play it for them and watch them. The moment they start to fidget a little, or dart their eyes around the room towards the clock is the exact moment they get bored. Do this a few times, and you’ll start to understand when things are beginning to drag.

So let’s say you have a video you’re proud of, that your parents can sit through, and looks pretty good – where do you promote it?

YouTube is big. The internet is much bigger.

Too many people make the mistake of playing solely to the YouTube subscriber crowd. The fact is, the most popular channels get views far in excess of their subscriber numbers. What does that mean?

The Annoying Orange has 1.7 million subscribers, but he gets more than twice that many views on average per video. And if you drill down his stats, he only gets a few hundred thousand views from subscribers. What’s this mean? Do those few hundred thousand subscribers watch each of his videos ten times each? Not likely – those views are coming from other places.

One of the first things we think about when we put out a new video is “Who else might be interested in this video?” When we made Light Warfare, I made a list of all the photography blogs I thought would be interested in it, and emailed all those blogs with a link to the video off their submission lines. Blogs are always looking for content – if you present an interesting video, they’ll be more than happy to put it up and expose you to their audience.

Don’t forget online communities. Are you a part of any discussion groups or forums? What about your Facebook friends? What about submitting it to link aggregator sites like Reddit? I have an account on a popular Price is Right forum just because of our Price is Right video. When entering an online community, pay attention to their internal rules – figure out the right forum to post in, follow their guidelines, and be courteous, and stick around for some discussion. You shouldn’t be ashamed of promoting your video assuming your video is the kind of thing that forum would want to see, after all. The Internet is the world’s greatest time waster, and there’s always room for another diversion.

So the next step after you finish a video is to make a list of places outside YouTube that the video might be a good fit for. That means expanding your browsing palette – start reading more blogs, hit up more sites, and start getting a sense as to what kind of videos fit well and where.

Take a look once again at our initial spate of videos. Here’s our thinking for them:

OK Go Commentary – The video had just come out and I noticed there was a lot of debate about it. I checked first to see if anyone else had done this, and seeing none, made a video with some evidence pointing out different takes, and ended it in a self-deprecating way because nobody likes the armchair critic, and make it stand out from other “lol I found a mistake” videos out there. It became fuel for those debates, as people would link to the video to back up their arguments.

Real Life Portal Gun – Checked if there were any real-life Portal gun vids (there were some, but not executed that well). We emailed it to numerous popular gaming blogs, where it was featured.

Jammin’ with my Three Best Friends – This one actually was just an idea we had for a while and wanted to do. At the time, it was easily the worst performing of all these videos because there were no outside sources that picked up on it.

Final Fantasy XIII – Final Fantasy just came out. There’s a lot of people who love and hate this game series. Brandon and I happen to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, so hence this video. Posted it to discussion forums, and the comments section itself became a place for debate about the games itself. Debate in comments is great, because that means people keep coming back to defend themselves.

Twilight Eclipse Parody – Destorm called and told us the teaser just came out. Greenscreened myself in there (which again, has been done, but often not done well). The idea was for the video to be fuel for the fire of Twilight haters, and hopefully also be entertaining to people familiar with the series. Sent it to various Twilight blogs, but the director tweeting about the video is what got this the most views.

Network with your peers

Find friends, find other channels in your city, and of equivalent subscriber count and viewership, and work with them.

Realistically, you’re going to have one hell of a time working with any of the more high-end YouTube guys, simply because I know for a fact that everybody’s incredibly busy with side projects, and getting their own videos out. Your request probably is one of thousands from other like-minded people.

A good way to look around you is the tracking site VidStatsX, which is independent of YouTube, but culls data off Google’s APIs. You can find your subscriber rank as well as channels with similar numbers as you. More important than just raw sub numbers are people with comparable 30 day averages, simply because that’s an indicator that it’s somebody who’s working on their channel, rather than letting it stagnate.

If you can, go where the people aren’t

I have a philosophy about life I call the fire escape philosophy. You know how you’ve heard horrific stories about fires and how everyone tried to rush through a single door, and as a result, people get stampeded and trapped. Such stories always like to point out how, less than ten feet away, there was another door that led to safety or something.

Morbid, yes, but the idea is basically this – if there’s something that a lot of people are fighting to do, you can join the fray, but it’s often easier for you to go somewhere else.

In terms of YouTube, it means this – while you can certainly try daily vlogging or doing makeup tutorials, there are a lot of other people doing that very thing. So that means it’s much harder for you to stand out. It’s not that you can’t stand out – if you started a makeup channel that was genuinely hilarious and totally amazing, you’ll find an audience for sure – it’s that it’s much harder to. If you don’t want to fight that battle, try to do content that’s different than what’s out there.

I’m not saying “don’t vlog” or “don’t do makeup tutorials” – in fact, if that’s what you love doing, then by all means you should do it. But if you go down that road, don’t be blind to the fact that you’re fighting two battles – one to get a dedicated viewership, and another to differentiate yourself from other people with similar content.

For us, our “big idea” was pretty simple – we noticed there was a lack of well-produced nerdy/video game videos online (the kind of videos we would want to watch). And since we love watching what we make, that’s the kind of videos we tried to create.


Figure out what you want from your channel, and dedicate the necessary time to achieve that goal. Find content that you personally love making or love watching, and experiment to see where that overlaps with what people want to see. Be consistent with your videos. Find your peers and collaborate with them. And make videos for the Internet as a whole, not just for YouTube.

As you can tell, it’s not revolutionary information I’m imparting here. And unfortunately there’s no quick easy path to success. It’s a lot of work, and you have to honestly ask yourself how much you’re willing to put in.

But if you can find that magic overlap of videos you love to make and videos people love to watch, YouTube can be one of the most creatively rewarding experiences of your life. For Brandon and myself, having come from the world of freelance visual effects and direct-to-DVD/TV feature films, it certainly has been.

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Bogdan Radovic
post Jul 24 2011, 05:19 PM
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I love his videos - stumbled upon quite a few in the past. I'm very impressed with the visual effects smile.gif

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