Thought Outpours. Read this if you watch my content, Zeldathon or are a FFF Community Member, as you may encounter things relevant to you.
Usually, when I take to the TwitLongers, I am usually sad, or angry, but today, I come to you with a great outlook on the future. However, before we get to the future, I want to talk about the present.
Currently, I essentially manage four projects.
My YouTube - A channel I have worked for several years to get to a point where ad revenue can support me. My vision in creating on this channel has always been to have fun making videos, make the best videos and to put the same energy and love into the videos whether I have one viewer, or a million.
My Twitch - A livestreaming channel that I both speedrun games on, as well as do scheduled shows, such as The Temporary Podcast and Mindcrack@Dusk. I have always loved livestreaming, even longer than making videos. Live events allow me to put time, planning and energy into something that people see and react to all together. I love to stream so much.
Zeldathon - With the exception of the original show "MC Gamer", Zeldathon has been my longest running project. For four years, my friends have come together twice (or more) a year to raise money for charity. We have raised over $170,000 for charities. Together, in a worldwide celebration of friendship, fun and The Legend of Zelda, we change the world for the better. This project takes hours upon hours for myself, as I primarily do everything to make these marathons happen. However, the joy and change it brings to the world is the greatest gift imaginable. This is my favorite project, and in an ideal world, I could dedicate 100% of my time into it.
Fun For Freedom - The community that surrounded Zeldathon for several years had grown too large. We needed to expand, and give us a name. We are Fun For Freedom. A group of gamers that also happen to do stuff for charity while gaming. For almost two years, we have existed, with the community taking the reigns of their own events, streams all while we build new infrastructures to make our community bigger.
I now wish to speak on the current status of these projects. While I maintain that this TwitLonger shall be a happy one, I do want to be honest with where these projects suffer and my personal thoughts and involvement with them, before I lay out a plan, and ask for your help to make all these projects survive.
I also want to make sure it is known: I cannot run all four of these projects anymore. They have all grown too large, and my time is being stretched thin. There have been many days here in 2013 where I have woke up, got on my computer, and aside from food and restroom breaks, not stopped working for a good 18 hours, and this is unhealthy and I need to find a way to let these projects thrive. Now, let's look at them individually.
My YouTube - I have built an audience around Minecraft, this is an issue, as I currently have over 110,000 subscribers, but less than 7,000 of them watch my videos on average... Even my Minecraft videos are suffering. However, do you remember my motto I gave at the start of this post? I shouldn't care about the numbers. I should be making great content that I have fun with, and not stressing to meet deadlines, schedules and the sort.
Other YouTubers stick to schedules where every day they have 3 different series videos release, and they have thousands of subscribers and viewers every single day. I do not think this is who I want to be... but my channel has built up with the thought that I will be like that. The Mindcrack community has been what has allowed me to move out on my own, pay my bills every month, meet hundreds of devoted and caring fans, as well as have access to opportunities I would have never encountered. The issue is I have reached a point where it feels I am no longer known for being MC Gamer, for making the videos I want, but for making Minecraft videos, and getting them out every day regardless of my other projects.
I am not saying I don't like Minecraft or Mindcrack, quite the contrary. Despite a brief burn-out, I love playing the game casually and making recordings of the game! However, I am not other YouTubers, and I cannot do it daily, or make bulk recordings. I like to play whatever games I want, for as long as I want, when I want. This may sound selfish, but it CONSISTENTLY makes for more entertaining videos. I feel like I am in a place where I want to not rely on being "every other YouTuber" and being MC Gamer again.
To wrap this project up in a summary: I have a large, ready audience, but they have the wrong vision of what my channel is. I want to make my channel more geared towards my vision.
My Twitch Channel - This project has been going great. With my speedruns doing well, new projects and ideas, and a dedicated audience of viewers and followers, Twitch has changed my life in 2013 to the degree that YouTube did in 2012. I am at the point thanks to the wonderful donors and subscribers who prove that giving back to content creators you love can truly change things. Without the help of my Twitch audience, I would have never been able to meet my fans at Minecon, I would have missed rent, bills and gone without proper food for extended periods of time. It is at the point where Twitch has overtaken YouTube as my primary source of income... but it isn't a consistent thing, and I cannot take generosity for granted.
I am excited to continue doing new projects, new live shows and more speedrun attempts daily. I would love to see my Twitch grow and thrive, and eventually become the main source of my best content.
Summary: Amazing and fun, with lots of support, but a scary system.
Zeldathon - Coming this December 27th is our 10th major marathon, and I am very excited. This summer, we tore Zeldathon down to bare bones and renewed our focus on what matters: the charity. It was an amazing success, raising over $50,000 for the National Foundation for Transplants. This winter, we are expanding our focus, we are introducing more organization in the way of a game schedule, more gameplay in the form of Second Quest stream and more fun in the manner of better challenge rewards and better prize giveaways.
I have so many things I want to do for this marathon, and less than 25 days to do so. I need to focus on this more than ever. I want to let the St. Jude Children's Hospital feel the love of over $100,000 of Zeldathon donations. It is a challenge that needs a lot of dedication. Silver (@TheSillySwede) is arriving tomorrow, and I will hopefully be getting him to get a ton of work done for the marathon. It will be the first time I am handing over this much "power" behind Zeldathon... and I am scared. I will be there watching, and helping, but for the next two weeks, Silver will have the power, wisdom and courage to take on Zeldathon planning hopefully. I will take over as always for the last week, and go crazy... But I am ready.
Summary: A huge project that will soon have a second helping hand who will help bring our 10th marathon to new heights.
Fun For Freedom - This year we introduced Community Charity Months, and the community has worked towards supporting them. With a couple community ran marathons, gaming nights and other events, we have started to see a spark that we did not have in the first year of FFF. We also put into place a way for all the major work of FFF to be done by individual teams... and not by myself, as I made the decision to step back from this project, and help with larger projects for the site, such as the new website, and helping make sure things kept moving.
The honest truth is that the teams have not worked great. There are indeed things happening, and the teams do work, but it is not a thing that happens daily. Most teams only have a few messages in their chats a week, and it is disappointing. The truth is I feel like I am letting this project down, but I just truly don't have the time to pour into it like I want to. I hope the community can forgive me, and I hope you all can still stick around and help make this community flourish in 2014 and truly become one of a kind.
That's our current status. Now let's talk about the future, and how I hope to ensure I have a happier life, and make better, more interesting content.
YouTube is a tricky area. This is the area I have the hardest time coming to a conclusion about. With upcoming changes to how copyrights are enforced on YouTube, I want to ensure my channel, which has a ton of Nintendo content, can continue to make money. Just being honest here, while I would make videos regardless of how much it makes me, I am now living in a house with a lease, and I really don't want to move back in with my mother. I also want to have more liberty to create better videos. If I want to not release anything for a week to create this wonderfully edited, tear-jerking episode of Mother 3... I want to be able to do that. I do not want to have to release 5 videos a day, each getting a tiny amount of views to scrape a hundred bucks to pay the landlord. I want to make things that make people happy.
To this, I feel there is a solution. In a July video on the Vlogbrothers channel, Hank Green talked about the ability to have the viewers support a creator. To let all content be free, and those who WANT to pay for content, CAN pay for content. You can view the video here, it is less than four minutes, so you should watch it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dYlbz77uzI)
I have applied to Subbable, and it has been over a month since my application went in. The issue is that gaming videos are viewed differently. However, I don't want to be the same, I want to be different, and I want to allow the best experience for my viewers. So, to that effect, I would love to be a part of Subbable, or alternatively, create my own personal site with a similar focus to allow people to help me reach the goal to have the FREEDOM to create better videos, and not worry about spamming inboxes with hastily recorded and edited shovel for the purpose of gaining a couple dollars.
So, my plan as it stands is to create what I want, and kind of be in the middleground currently between the traditional Gaming YouTuber, and a more polished, video experience. See what my audience thinks (PLEASE SEND ME @REPLYS ABOUT THIS AND YOUR THOUGHTS) and possibly put forward a system, where people can get postcards, posters, mentions in videos and become truly engaged in making amazing content in return for throwing a few bucks my way every month. Oh, did I mention we could get rid of pre/post roll ads as well?
Let's stop letting ad revenue dictate what type of videos I should make.
My Twitch channel is great. I don't have any thoughts other than those people who watch my streams are too awesome. Thanks guys, <3
With Zeldathon, I already spoke about where we are going. Silver will do his best, and we will see how it goes come December 27th, hope to see you there!
Fun For Freedom needs some attention. I have no idea what to do with this project at this point. I want to see a future where the community grows, events are happening every day, and that my teams are working together to create something awesome. At this point though, people have lives, people have real jobs and we can't force people to make things happen, especially if they are not sure on how to make it happen.
I hope the FFF community will forgive me as we can hopefully get this project back on track following the new year. Thank you to everyone in the community for working on creating new events, streams and friendships every day. I hope I can reconnect with you all soon.
Those are my thoughts tonight, please @reply me with anything you have on your mind. Retweet my main tweet if you so choose as well.
Much love to everyone, hopefully, these four projects can all thrive in 2014, as they have grown in 2013. Thank you <3