August initially found me back in Istanbul doing some serious couch-surfing. I’m extremely grateful to the folks who were kind enough to put me up. Istanbul is a bit miserable in August. Washington, DC, where I spent much of my 20s, is worse, but they have air conditioning absolutely everywhere. Istanbul does not. About halfway through August I gave up and fled the country, not making it back until October. Homelessness has its perks. First I went to Budapest, Hungary, where I found myself in the middle of the migration crisis that the world was about to notice. Budapest is strikingly beautiful and shockingly affordable. Over the course of a full week I spent less than 300 dollars total, including airfare. Budapest has also got some troubling nationalist undertones, that I really need to get around to making a video about. After Hungary I proceeded to Berlin to take advantage of the city’s YouTube Space. More on that in next month’s report.
Despite all the travelling I managed to have a fairly productive month, producing six videos. I don’t do much of what you’d really call “film-making” but I’m really pleased with how “America is Old – A Conservative Manifesto” came out. It’s kind of a Vlogbrothers style “Thoughts From Places” video, that uses the aging infrastructure of New York City’s commuter rail to talk about the advanced age of US institutions and why that age is a good thing. I really like the video, and as is traditional with such videos, very few people have seen it. “Trump Free Republican Debate Highlights” took a loooot of work for not all that much reward. It’s a bit dated now, but I think it provides a nice introduction to the clown car that Trump eventually demolished.
“What Is The Military Industrial Complex“, the first of two installments in the MIC series this month, has done very well. It hit that sweet spot of answering a very search-able question in a satisfying way. Viewed over 3,500 times and counting 9 months later. Vids like the next MIC video, “The Last Ship Is US Military Propaganda” are fun to make. Crafting commentary about TV shows or movies using available footage is fun, not too challenging, and visually interesting. Unfortunately they are also a good way to get into copyright trouble with YouTube, so I don’t think I’ll be doing too many more of them going forward.
“You Won’t Believe Who Has An Ashley Madison Account!!!” is exactly the quick grab for views in the wake of the infidelity facilitation site hack that it looks like. But I think it also makes a valid point about privacy, and the way we overlook its erosion whenever it impacts someone we don’t see as worthy of protection. “Donald Trump Is A Democrat” gets a few of the details wrong. It turns out he can, in fact get the Republican nomination. 9 months later though, I find the central argument more compelling rather than less compelling. Has anybody done any investigative work on his Old Post Office contract? They really, really should.
As I’ve covered earlier on this blog, I had a theory about a “summer slump”. Turns out I was wrong, because August 2015 views were great, shooting up to 16,485 from 11,745 in July. None of the top five, though four of the top ten August videos were produced in August. Four of six videos broke 100 views on the first day. 9 months later, all six videos have topped 200 views, and three have topped 1,000 views. At the end of August 2016 we had 113 videos, all but three of which were viewed in August, 75 of which were viewed 10 or more times, 17 of which were viewed 100 or more times, and 5 of which were viewed more than 1,000 times (FATCA, John Oliver, Hillary Clinton, China, Sanders-Paul).