June 2015 was the last month of a lack-of-money-induced exile in Istanbul. I couldn’t afford to fly anywhere, so I spent a lot of time sitting in a very small room, thinking about how to make better YouTube videos. I prefer the more mobile lifestyle I live now, but I did get a lot done during this pre-exodus period. From this month through January of 2016, I didn’t live anywhere for more than a month, and very few places for more than a week. That got pretty old too.
I didn’t start travelling until the end of the month, so I managed to get a fair amount done, doing a lot of freelancing and producing seven videos. We started off with “FIFA, FATCA and the New World Order“. It may seem like a bit of a stretch to use the FIFA prosecutions to talk about FATCA, but I think it’s valid. We have to be careful about cheering the prosecution of bad guys, both internationally and in the US. When you give a government the jurisdiction to prosecute someone who needs prosecuting, no matter how bad that actor is, that grant of jurisdiction can bite you in the ass. The production of this video looks a bit silly to me most of a year later. The sound is terrible, and I was obviously watching a lot of After Effects tutorials that week. The animations are a bit rough and over-used. Learning: It’s a process.
The next vid,”Rand Paul Vs. Bernie Sanders in 2016 Would Be Awesome“, illustrates nicely how unpredictable and unjust YouTube success can be. I typically put between 15 to 20 hours into the writing, performance and production of each video, over the course of at least a week. Some of my videos marinate in the back of my head, or in half-written states for months. This video took about 6 hours from idea to publication, and that includes two hours of upload time. It’s rambling, repetitive, semi-coherent, and is basically just me riffing on a theme. It had one of my biggest opens ever, almost 300 views the first day, and it remains the channel’s sixth most watched video almost a year later. Its success has something to do with the public’s thirst for news about Bernie Sanders, but it’s mostly just a title that people want to click on, and a message that people agree with, no matter how poorly executed it is. Improving my craft is important to me. I like the more complex videos I make, and I want to get better at them. But if I want this YouTube channel to be successful, I need to throw more shit at the wall to see what sticks. I should be producing at least one improvised video a week to accompany my more produced videos.
“Egypt And A Plea For Mohammed Morsi” is a video that took awhile. It involved actual research on the history of Egypt, Turkey, and Russia, as well as some less jarring After Effects animations. I think it does a good job of making its central point, that killing old leaders is always a mistake. “Jeb Bush Is Not Electable in 2016” Is another quickly produced riff on a good idea, inspired by the success of The Paul-Sanders video discussed above. It closes with a farewell to the big pink wall that served as the back drop to my videos for most of a year. God that room was small.
“Rachel Dolezal, White Envy, and White Guilt“, is not a video I wanted to make, but it’s since become one of my favorites. The Channel’s first Patron outside of my gene pool requested it, so I did it. It allowed me to do some truly horrific rapping, and get a number of other thoughts off my chest. It’s a fitting 100th video, and has a lot of elements I should use more often. I’ve found that going after specific politicians who make me angry is not such a great strategy, and it didn’t work very well for “Santorum and Huckabee: Attack of the Hate Zombies“. The vid took forever to cross 200 views. But man, I hate those guys. It was a delight to watch them get exactly what they deserved this election cycle: total obscurity. BTW, I published this video a week before the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage nation-wide, so my estimate in the video of how long that would take is obviously a bit off.
Ah, now this is how you use Adobe After Effects! “The 3 European Myths That Brought Us The Greece Crisis” is a pleasantly surprising video to view most of a year later. I like it a lot. The animations are unobtrusive but effective, it covers a lot of history, and it explains current events in unique way. If only the sound wasn’t so terrible. I am generally pretty critical of my videos, so it’s nice to see one, especially from this far back, that I can uncritically enjoy.
Views made a small recovery in June 2015, going up to 13,142 from 12,434 in May. None of the top five videos was produced in the month of June. Four of the 7 videos produced broke 100 views in the first day, 11 months later, they have all broken 200 views, and 4 of 7 have broken 600. At the end of June 2015 we had 102 videos, all but two of which were viewed in June, 64 of which have been viewed more than 10 times, 18 of which were viewed more than 100 times and a very impressive six videos were viewed more than 1,000 times( FATCA, John Oliver, Hillary Clinton, China, Black On Black, and Paul-Sanders ). This month was great, and it was a fitting end to my Istanbul exile. My skills with After Effects made great progress, and I learned a lot about YouTube. It was exciting to be getting out of my small room in Tophane, though I would come to miss it in the coming months.