Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Happy Anniversary Part 6: Comedy that Makes You Think

In the beginning of 2014, the big question on my mind was: "What am I doing"? The streak, which I had been on at the end of 2013, had taken aside to training a new puppy. Wanting to be back on that streak, I tried to upload videos as much as I could. I uploaded a video, featuring a character named, Professor Glenn Robbins, whom I felt was inspired by Carrie Brownstein of "Portlandia", which I had been watching on Netflix at the time.

But, after that, things were a bit downhill. I just didn't know what to do. I wanted to go full time with J-Dubb's Theatre. I wanted to eventually create an enterprise of some sort, like Phillip DeFranco had done. But I didn't know how to market J-Dubb's Theatre. I was getting next to no new subscribers, my audience wasn't growing at all, and it was very frustrating. I still had fewer subscribers than I had before the subscriber purge of 2012. I knew how to market things, and I was pretty good at coming up with marketing ideas for other people's product, but I just couldn't figure out how to market J-Dubb's Theatre. I thought about different niches that I could try. I wondered if I should do something other than comedy or if I should start a new channel and retire J-Dubb's Theatre. I wondered if I should continue YouTube at all, or focus on something else. I wanted to progress somehow at something.

Meanwhile, there was just so much I wanted to do. I had all this passion bottled up and about to explode. I wanted to do...  EVERYTHING!! I wanted to try every restaurant, travel everywhere, visit every house I drove by, meet the people who lived there and see what it was like inside, I wanted to landscape, I wanted to study everything and learn everything, and the list goes on.

In the Summer, I made a video in which I requested help for growing my audience, and voicied my frustration. It was the first time I had ever done such a thing, but I decided it was time to put it out there. Many people were surprised to learn that my audience wasn't growing. I decided to really have fun with this video, and I did. It was the first time, since the beginning of the year, that I really felt like I had put out a fun video. At the end, I stated a specific subscriber goal that I wanted to meet.

Later, as I was editing this video, I noticed Spenser chewing on something. He had been chewing for a while, and I hadn't really thought about it. But, at that moment, I looked over, and realized that he had gotten a hold of the J-Dubb's Theatre pipe. The iconic pipe, which had represented J-Dubb's Theatre for so many years, was now ragged with unfinished wood showing through the chew marks. I wasn't sure what to do: just leave it as is, go to a pipe-shop and look for a similar one, or maybe discontinue using it, as J-Dubb's Theatre was a changing thing, anyway. In the end, I decided to make a video about repairing it, in which I travel to Japan to recover the necessary items, and then sand and stain it. Now, the pipe is a little shinier, and the patterns on it are a little different. Some of the chew marks were worked into the preexisting pattern.

VidCon was coming up. I had decided on two things. Number one: the previous year, I had regretted not being social enough, and felt I had missed out on some things, such as meals with other YouTubers. Number two: I was gonna promote the hell out of J-Dubb's Theatre.  I filmed a video about how to bring back the dinosaurs. Much like "The Network Series", years previously, this was another failed promotional attempt. I had planned to set this as the featured video on my channel, and then print up fliers about, "how you may see dinosaurs in your lifetime" which I would leave around VidCon, directing people to my channel.

I didn't get any of these fliers printed out on time. Goal number two was a bust, but number one was not. As soon as I got there, I ran into LaneVids, and met some new people including BusVlogger and TheWackyChels. We met up with a group of people, and had lunch together. I had barely gotten there, hadn't even checked into my hotel yet, and I was already having the social experience that I wanted. I then proceeded to make the best VidCon video ever made, in which I am on a wildlife safari, documenting YouTubers. I also spent time exploring Annaheim and the Downtown Disney area, and taking Instagram pics.

Towards the end of the year, something began to...  click. It began when I posted a video lamenting about the end of Summer, in which I declare war on the Fall. I had done a similar video the previous year, while I was on my streak. Revisiting this seemed to put me back into that same mindset. I was back on that streak, cranking out videos, and having a lot of fun with it. I was once again making videos that I felt good about. I began to hone in on a sort of formula, which allowed me to make simple videos, but still put in the effort and creativity which I enjoyed.

This streak continued into the next year, and that's when things started to come together. One thing I considered was: did it really matter if I did J-Dubb's Theatre full time? I wanted to continue making videos for the same reason  in which I had began in the first place. I enjoyed being a part of the YouTube community. I didn't have to be a full time vlogger to do this. I already was this, and had been for quite some time. It would still be nice, but it doesn't have to be my only option.

At that time, I began to find my niche. One thing I've often seen in the comments of my videos, is: "that made me think." I'm in my head a lot. Sometime's in the past, I had found it difficult to concentrate on a comedy idea, because I was working something in my mind that I just couldn't veer away from.

I didn't have any desire to "be a comedian" or to "do comedy." There were other things I wanted to focus on. I wanted to inspire. I wanted to provoke thought. I liked studying psychology, philosophy, science, and history. I wanted to explore things such as conceptualization, and human consciousness. But I enjoyed using comedy. It's not me, if I don't involve comedy, and a bit of snark. I realized that this is my niche.

Almost as soon as I had this realization, I started gaining subscribers again. Finally, after three years, I made my way back up to my subscriber count from the beginning of 2012, and it's continued rising. As I write this, I'm only 15 away from the goal I stated in 2014. Soon, I will need a loftier goal.

I finally printed out business cards for VidCon. I decided to include the tagline, "comedy that makes you think". As I began to formulate this idea, I began describing J-Dubb's Theatre as "educational", but I decided to veer away from that. There are some channels which focus purely on teaching facts. My videos include educational facts, but they are more about interpretation. My channel is more about exploring ideas.

Looking at my videos from the end of 2014, through 2015, there have been times when I've been on a streak, and times when I had to, well... take some time. But, every video I've posted during this time period makes me think , "that was a fun one." I did not jump the shark. I grew to the next level. I just needed to take the time to figure out what that meant.

In 2005, I was a student studying Psychology, because I wanted to explore the things which create what we experience. I started a blog. I dropped my psych major. My blog became a YouTube channel. In 2015, I make YouTube videos about exploring the things which create what we experience.

See you next time. J-Dubb out.

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