You really cannot write about one influential UK YouTuber without mentioning the other one. Charlie McDonnell or “charlieissocoollike” is a 20 year old YouTuber from Bath, England. He created his channel a bit later than most of the “old timers” in April 2007 but he still came out on top. Currently on YouTube he is the #1 Most Subscribed YouTube user of all time in the UK coming in with currently 388,087 subscribers and 41,026,532 upload views.
Like Day, McDonnell also creates a various assortment of videos though most of them are all either music related or “Challenge Charlie.” Challenge Charlie episodes is where he takes a suggestion from a tweet or a previous comment challenging him to do something and he does it. So far Charlie has eaten baby food, dyed his hair red, painted himself purple, drank ketchup, and learned the Hannah Montana “Hoedown Throwdown” dance. His music videos consist of him either singing or playing his ukulele to original songs, those songs also vary from “A Song About Acne,” “Chemical Love” which is actual when he sings about the chemicals in your body that make you love hence the name, and “Duet With Myself” where yes, he does in fact sing to himself but not to a mirror or anything with the other Charlie. He also does create video blogs about random stuff that’s on his mind or asking questions from his subscribers.
Day is actually best friends with McDonnell, so their YouTube channels definitely aren’t competitors: “I have had the privilege of knowing Charlie before his time on YouTube really began,” says Day, “so I’ve been able to watch him grow into a sharp, witty, insightful and all-round charming human being and can verify 100% that he doesn’t just put it on for the cameras.”
Like Day, McDonnell also uses his channel for the greater good. He actually shaved his hair off on his channel to raise money for Cancer Research UK – he raised £5,000. He also co-Presented the TV show “ChartJackers” with Day raising £10,000 for Children In Need.
But there’s something else that’s special about McDonnell maybe it’s because he is friends with famous British comedian Stephen Fry who even says the outro to his videos (“You’ve just had the almost imponderable joy of watching Charlie is so cool like which makes you, like, cool.”), maybe because he can actually play ukulele on YouTube and aren’t one of those people that strum it and use guitar chords, or maybe it’s because still even after three years of being on the Tube he is still super creative and doesn’t stop surprising his viewers.
“Charlie is internet royalty–but the good kind of royalty that excels in all pursuits, does nice things for charity, and looks good on a stamp,” says young adult author and coollike subscriber Maureen Johnson, “Charlie is the Internet’s second-most important development. The first, of course, is the LOLcat.”
Game shows, though not talked about much, are a big part of our culture. They are our guilty pleasures when we have a sick day or when there’s nothing else on television, one can even argue that reality competition shows steal a big chunk of their ideas from game shows: there’s always a winner and they just stretch out all the challenges into 14 episodes instead of a short half an hour show. All other shows and aspects of life are changing and becoming more advanced in technology. For example, now you can watch those reality shows online and even participate in choosing the winner. So why can’t game shows evolve too?
Well now they are…sort of. Our favorite online video sharing community, YouTube, now has its very own game show. It’s name? Truth or FAIL. It’s premise is simple: an episode will revolve around one major topic — this could be Easter or Celebrity body abnormalities — then the host — which is sometimes a guest but most times, creator, Hank Green – will give you two “facts” but one fact is actually false, all you have to do is click on the correct fact and if you don’t you FAIL. The entire show is consisted of short videos connected to each other by linking the fact to truth video and the fake fact to the fail video. The whole show goes on for about five or so rounds.
While there is no prize aside from knowledge that you now know that in Sweden Easter is celebrated much like our Halloween: children dress up as witches and ask their neighbors for candy or that Andy Garcia was born with a dead conjoined twin attached to him it is still a fairly entertaining game show that everyone can easily play if they have a computer.
Truth or FAIL was created in the summer of 2009 by vlogbrother Hank Green.
“It’s fun, educational, and a fantastic way to waste some time when you’re bored,” says Green.” And he is right, there is already more than 20 episodes up, all of which can keep you entertained as well as educated for hours.
“It’s such a fun game and so addicting! If you’re looking for a good game to make you procrastinate your work even more — check this out!” says Aly, a 22 year old Truth or Fail addict from California.
So the next time you have dying conversation between someone you can be the conversation saver by saying, “Hey, did you know Marky Mark has three nipples?”
[To find out more information about Truth or Fail check out it’s YouTube Channel. To find out more information about Hank Green check out his YouTube Channel vlogbrothers, co-owned by his brother John Green.]
We sometimes forget YouTube is an international community but you wouldn’t forget that if you’re subscribed to the fairly popular UK YouTuber Alex Day.
Alex Day is a 21 year old from London but to those on YouTube he is known as “nerimon.” On his channel Day does everything — from reading chapters of Twilight aloud and mocking it (because, let’s be honest, Twilight is an easily mockable book) to dissecting current billboard chart songs to see how kind of ridiculous they are to normal vlogs about his life to even music videos. Yes, Alex Day performs music too.
Alex Day joined YouTube in the beginning of it all, in August 2006, when it was just becoming popular and it was much easier to generate an audience. He now has nearly 12 million views, 132,928 subscribers and is the 10th Most Subscribed (All-Time) YouTuber in the UK as well as the 10th Most Subscribed (All-Time) YouTube Partner.
“Alex is one of the stars of the UK’s YouTube community and over the past few years his wit and musical prowess have built up quite a following. The internet makes it easier than ever for new talent to be discovered – and everyone should discover Alex,” says Ollie Rickman the Google communications UK manager.
Alex Day also uses his channel for the greater good. Just this past September he embarked on a ten-week project to promote song using the online community to help create it and enter it into the charts. All the proceeds from the song were given to Children In Need. Alex also directed the music video for the finished release of the song called “I’ve Got Nothing” which was played on MTV. According to his site, the song peaked at #36 in the UK Singles Chartand landed straight at #1 on the UK Indie Chart, with no radio airplay, physical distribution or major label support. The BBC aired a documentary on BBC2 chronicling the project, which was titled “Chartjackers”.
“People don’t realize what you can accomplish with just a YouTube channel and an audience, Alex Day is not one of those people. He does everything,” says Brandon, a nerimon fan from Chicago.
Though Day does dabble in a little bit of everything on YouTube his main focus nowadays is his music. Just last year he released an album with his band Chameleon Circuit. It was their first, self-titled album, and their music is kind of a twist off of wizard rock, but instead of being songs based on Harry Potter it’s songs based on the popular UK television show “Doctor Who” and thus they call it “Trock” which is the abbreviated/catchier way of saying Time-Lord Rock.
Also last year Day came out with his first solo album entitled Parrot Stories and earlier this year he came out with a special EP called 117% Complete. It’s a small, three song EP, and the songs are based on video game characters like Pokemon, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Mario. Both of his albums are available for download and purchase from DFTBA Record’s official site.
Alex Day is proof that you can do so much as long as you have talent and an audience and his fans think so, one of those fans is accomplished young adult author, Maureen Johnson: “Alex Day is so talented that I think they should name a day after him. It should be called Alexday. It would come between Friday and Saturday. That’s how great he is.”
Although YouTube may be the number internet source for online video it is pretty tough to create a following on YouTube nowadays now that everyone is on it. Back in the early days if you were funny or talented, you were featured and you gained an enormous of subscribers. Nowadays, they mainly feature companies and advertisers not real YouTubers. It’s even tough to be famous on YouTube nowadays.
Take for instance, Raven Zoe, she is a pretty talented 18 year old singer/songwriter from Seattle who would’ve if she had joined in 2006 probably had over 10,000 subscribers by now. But since she hopped on the bandwagon a little later than her friends she only has mere 1,160. “I have friends who average half a million views per video, but that’s because they started making videos before Youtube went haywire and got featured a few times,” says Raven, “They started during the golden age of Youtube, whereas I didn’t, so I basically got screwed…I don’t want to be a huge pop star, I just want to get my music out there.” Well Raven, that’s what The Hidden Talents is here for right? To tell the public about the world of YouTube, including up and coming ‘tubers and Raven Zoe is one of them.
“I love Raven, it’s so sad that great artists like her don’t get that many followers and praise they deserve on YouTube anymore,” says Gladys, a 17 year old Raven Zoe fan from Kansas.
Raven kind of stumbled into music. She was a typical high school sophomore that was lonely and trying to find her place in the world by maybe starting out with a hobby. That hobby was a guitar which she learned a few simple chords to and immediately wrong a song and then another. Two months later she won 1st place in her high school talent show, “That was when I thought to myself “wow, maybe this is it? Maybe this is what I’m meant to be doing,” recalls Raven.
That was around February of 2008 and in a mere two years she created an EP, is now working on a full length album, and is slowly but steadily creating a solid fan following of her music. One of the tools she used to create a steady following was YouTube. She thinks YouTube is a fantastic tool for a musician mainly because it’s easier for the fans. Fans can contact her so much easier now just by commenting on a video, they feel more connected to people they admire.
Julia, a 21 year old YouTube fan agrees, “YouTube just makes it more personable. Sometimes they [musicians] post video blogs or new music videos, you don’t just see them from their like professional side…if that makes sense.”
Well with YouTube making it easier to connect with our favorite up and coming artists it’s becoming easier and easier for anyone who has a voice and an instrument to do it, all you have to do is try.
For Raven Zoe, she keeps up with her music because of the connection. Not connecting on YouTube, but through the music: “I suppose what it comes down to is that I’ve always loved music. And more importantly, the connection that you can make through music,” states Raven, ”I mean, a song can make you cry, if you really connect with it on a certain level. It can make you laugh, it can give you hope. And I’ve always found that fascinating; you can listen to a three-minute song and feel so connected with whoever is singing it. Like, listen a song and go “exactly. That’s exactly what I feel like.” I think that’s why I write songs: the connection. I want to connect with people. I want people to know that whatever they are going through, at least someone understands, and they aren’t alone.”
Their songs are so catchy, they get you so happy you almost want to start typing in ALL CAPS. Maybe that’s because that’s the name of their band, ALL CAPS.
Kristina Horner (most widely known from being apart of the Parselmouths and the Five Awesome Girls) and Luke Conard (most widely known for being apart of the Ministry of Magic) have teamed up again to bring you a second ALL CAPS album. The album Bmin/E is the sequel album to their debut Songs in the Key of E-Mail.
ALL CAPS a real band that actually originated from just keeping in contact via email. Living in different states, their first album was actually created through e-mail. Though for this second album they did decide to switch it up and record together in person with some songs, but that also could be because a relationship blossomed from their musical friendship.
There may be some silly bands that are created on YouTube, but ALL CAPS is not one of them. They combine their musical talents as well as the electronic synth style that seems to be popular with current “indie” bands now like Owl City and MGMT, add a nerdy twist by singing about robots and zombies, and you have a legitimately talented YouTube band. They even made a parody version of Owl City’s “Fireflies” named “Lumos Flies” which is a boy Ron and Hermione’s relationship in the Harry Potter books.
Originally Kristina was apart of a wizard rock group called The Parselmouths and when one of her band members, Brittany, left the band in January of 2009, Luke Conard of the another wizard rock group offered to help the two still standing members of the Parselmouths produce their album. “In the meantime we [Luke Conard and I] kept tossing back and forth all these ideas for non-Harry Potter related songs, just nerdy stuff. And then we just had this crazy idea to just write and record them and then just freaking made an album,” says Kristina Horner.
Songs in the Key Of E-Mail came out in April 2009 and now a year later they have a second album out and are just bigger and better than ever.
As for any tips for aspiring singers and musicians, Kristina had this to say: “Well, in my case, find a really cute boy who wants to be in a band with you. Haha. Okay, I’m joking. But seriously, if you have a passion for music or for making videos, allow yourself an adequate amount of time to dedicate to those passions to make it happen for yourself. That may mean cutting out watching TV or partying as much on the weekends, but I promise the end result is so worth it.”
YouTube is not only a place to post videos but also a place to connect with other groups of people with common interests and do awesome things like participate in charities and such. One of these groups are called Nerdfighters. Nerdfighters area a group of people that are fans of the vlogbrothers, basically. The name “nerdfighter” was coined by John Green after seeing a video arcade game called “Nerdfighters” and decided to take it upon himself and call a certain type of person Nerdfighter.
“A nerdfighter is like a regular person except instead of being composed of like tissues and cells and organs, they’re made out of awesome,” says John Green.
To sum it up, a nerdfighter is a nerdy, intelligent person who likes books like Harry Potter. They also fight to decrease “WorldSuck.” WorldSuck is the scale of quantity of bad in the world. Nerdfighters try and decrease WorldSuck by participating in charity events. One of those main events is the Project for Awesome that takes place once a year at the end of the year.
“Every year, Nerdfighters takes over YouTube for a day…and instead of being stupid or funny or informative…we promote charities,” says Hank Green.
Nerdfighters have also spawned DFTBA Records and VidCon. VidCon, which we recently discussed, is a huge video conference for YouTubers. DFTBA Records is a record company co-owned by Hank Green and fellow nerdfighter/YouTuber Alan Latstufka. They focus on signing popular artists on YouTube. DFTBA stands for “Don’t forget to be awesome,” which is the nerdfighter’s slogan.
So as you see one little name for a video game can spawn a large group of creative-minded thinkers that promote and do good. YouTube helped create this huge tight knit group of people because without the vlogbrothers they would all just be regular nerds, not nerdfighters.
[To find out more about Nerdfighters check out their ning. To find out about DFTBA records check out their website. To find out more about the Project for Awesome check out it’s website. And to find out more about Hank and John Green check out their YouTube Channel, vlogbrothers.]