Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Diary of a YouTube Gaming Channel, or Screw All These Call of Duty Videos!

Never did I imagine that I'd learn and take an interest in rudimentary video editing. But this tale recounts my initial stance on YouTube, how I've seen channels like Machinima rise and games like Call of Duty swell, and my amateur breakthrough as a YouTube gaming channel and my growth in video editing.

Perhaps 5 or 10 years ago, I was satisfied with just searching for random videos off of YouTube's search bar. But sooner or later, you register for an account in order to keep track of your favorite channels. And thus was the first step to my strange journey through YouTube: subscribing to xcalizors' channel.

If you don't know xcal, he's most known for being particularly good at Call of Duty and being pretty entertaining while he records his gameplay. If you've ever played a CoD game, you would appreciate his shenanigans as he poked fun at bad spawns, clusterfuck maps, and spouted some catchy one-liners like, "Surprise bitch!" while mowing down noobs and reacting to bullshit moments from players and lag.

If I've piqued your interest on xcal, I recommend the video that got me onto his channel: I Hate My Team 4

My taste in subscriptions grew thanks to the boom of Call of Duty videos and commentary, thanks in no part by Machinima exposed me to channels and directors like Blametruth, SeaNanners, CaptainSparklez (formerly Pros Don't Talk Shit), Behrudy, TheSandyRavage, and AllShamNoWow. Many of these names have posted Call of Duty videos at some point. Lots of them went on to post a larger variety of things to their channels. Many Minecrafters should probably owe their discovery of 2010's indie darling to SeaNanners while Behrudy regularly stays on top of fighting games on his channel.

Sometime late in 2009, I wanted to get into the racket of posting videos of gameplay online and earning some internet fame. But alas, I lacked the equipment to do so. But I still started a channel thanks to many fighting games that year showing off the ability to save replays of your matches. My earliest uploads were off-screen recordings of replays from Super Street Fighter IV and Blazblue: Calamity Trigger with my MinoHD Flip camera, which was something I was inspired to buy after going through a day of video editing in my online media class in college. I also ocassionally uploaded junk food reviews to break the monotony of off-screen fighting games. But eventually I stopped feeling that the quality I was putting out was not worth the time it took to upload on a traditional home DSL connection.
During 2010, much of the regular videos I saw uploaded onto my subscriptions slowly veered away CoD and into more diverse titles. SeaNanners turned me onto Minecraft around this time while I also discovered a plentiful number of channels devoted to competitive fighting games like Frame Advantage Dot Com (cleverly shortened to FADC, which was focus attack dash cancel for Street Fighter IV) Option-Select, Level Up, and iPlaywinner. I also discovered many video game media sites like RoosterTeeth, InecomCompany, and IGNentertainment. I should probably also mentioned DTOID and I'd never forget EpicMealTime.

But with all this great content I'm consuming, I was getting antsy. Writing is my passion but I need another outlet besides words. Words can only get you so far when you want to be creative with your favorite medium in the world. Fortunately, Christmas was closing in and my family always honors Christmas wishes. So in December of 2010, I set my sights on what is probably game recording easy mode: a PVR, or a personal video recorder. And Hauppauge was pretty much the only way to go; a $150 piece of technology meant to make recording off a TV easy.

So near the end of December, I took the plunge and decided to celebrate my re-entrance to YouTube with a fun little indie game, Tempura of the Dead.

And thus my journey into YouTube begins proper.

By January and February, my videos are amateur works of just my voice layered over gameplay.

By the beginning of April, I've made uploads a regular part of my schedule and have at least one Let's Play and commentaries going up every week. I also developed relationships with fellow YouTubers from the Monday Night Combat community.

And by May, I stepped up to actually edit my videos for a bit of flair. Post-video select screens for YouTube annotations, sound effects, watermarks, background music, montages, and vlogs along with the occasional one off special called A Day With.

So far, I have 130 subscribers. Definitely more then my original 22 back in the day but a drop in the bucket compared to channels that have a partnership. In their first week, I'd be lucky to get 50 hits, but is it all worth it? I feel that everything I've taught myself isn't just for a comparatively small channel. All these videos are definitely worth something on a resume on top of all the writing and experience I've gathered.

If I can get a partnership, it'd be the coolest thing in the world. But that's not a sure thing. What is a sure thing is that the videos I've uploaded definitely show that I have a love of gaming and that I'm willing to work in order to create a quality piece of creative expression.

If there's one thing I've always described about my relationship towards my channel, it's that it is a 100% labor of love. And I hope to play and record and share more in the future much in the same way I do with my writing.

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