I probably should have done this a month ago when Blip shut down but it wasn’t until this page came up that I remembered this (I write the scripts way in advance and sometimes forget them).
Back in early February 2009 I was linked to a top 10 list of dirty jokes in Animaniacs by a guy calling himself the Nostalgia Critic. I decided to check out his website, That Guy With The Glasses, and found a host of other critics like the Nostalgia Chick, the Spoony One, Linkara, Marzgurl and plenty others. The idea of reviewing didn’t really appeal to me since I felt all potential topics were taken but I couldn’t help but wonder just how they made their money since most of them were doing their shows full time. Eventually I learned that they had ads that sometimes didn’t play on my PC for some reason.
In 2010 I noticed a lot of the comments had obviously watched the whole video but were commenting as soon as it went up. I was trying to get myself known as a fan in hopes of spreading LWI to a larger crowd, though mostly failed at that. Trying to get in an edge, I went to blip.tv in search of early episodes and found that you could do more than reviews. You could do original programming (I knew of Red vs Blue’s existence but was not aware of how big it was).
Because I had just finished a course to enter a field that was not hiring, I felt bad about asking my parents for money to learn film, so I figured much like photoshop and writing I could teach myself the basics. My sister had a digital camera that could film so I reckoned I could borrow that when needed. And I assumed I could find actors for free since most of the shows I watched had a volunteer cast. And I was unemployed at the time so there was no need to worry about a schedule. But, with all this, I never filmed a second aside from some vlogs floating around Youtube.
The problem? I couldn’t work out a premise to write that I could feasibly shoot.
I suffered from an overly grand imagination back then. Every comic had to be an epic long runner. Every novel had to span eight hundred pages. And every idea for a show had to require a budget beyond what a Sydney kid living on Centrelink could afford. Elves, vampires, zombies, ghosts, magic. Nothing sounded good to me unless they had one of those elements and I could not reign in my ambition.
Eventually I came up with an idea that could work, but it was years later so I was too little too late. The window had closed and Blip was reportedly paying much less than it had been. I made a go of reviewing comics to get on TGWTG but they closed submissions and my new PC could not handle rendering the files. A few folks on the Misfile forums and I got it in our heads that we should do an animated fan series. I wrote the first two episodes, we were getting ready to record some voices for it, but then we discovered no quality animator was going to give us the time of day on the meager budget we had scraped together.
When I look back, I feel like I screwed up the perfect chance. It was the heyday of ad supported video content and I should have grabbed it while I had the opportunity to get in on the ground floor. Even though I know I would have sucked as a director and had no clue how to edit a video together, I sometimes look at these people earning their living by creating reviews or original shows and I kick myself a little. Even though I stopped going to That Guy With the Glasses after so many people I liked left and I know many of them had to give up the shows and get day jobs. Even though I know so many people are now screwed because they relied on Blip because their videos get content ID strikes on Youtube.