Sunday, 8 January 2012

Who are The Yogscast?

When it comes to making a successful web series that entertains millions of people on a weekly basis, which isn’t porn related, sometimes you really have to step back and think what are these people doing right and how on earth did they become so popular? If for some reason you haven’t been on YouTube in the last year and seen their videos, which have been quite consistently in the most viewed section, The Yogscast are a variety gaming channel that entertains people with their humorous takes on modern games and general banter.

Before I get into the depths of The Yogscast, writing an informed piece on them does seem quite a daunting task since a vast majority of their fans seem like a pack of wolves feasting on a freshly killed deer ready to pounce on anyone who dares to go near. Hopefully I won’t regret poking this deer that has been rotting for so long some swarms of fans have started to form nests.

The Yogscast started their online media empire by uploading how to kill boss videos in the game World of Warcraft in 2008. What set them apart was the funny stunts they were pulling off which became mildly famous among the Warcraft audience. They then moved on to their podcast The YogPod, starting in early 2009, which can be best described as two people talking about a huge range of topics with no real structure or format (unless that in itself is a format which I guess it is). They range from playing dungeons and dragons to doing fake interviews with enough memorable quotes and funny lines to keep people entertained and coming back for more. If you go to iTunes now you may notice that a lot of their older podcasts have quite a low popularity compared to the most recent one. Popularity on iTunes is worked out relatively to the other content uploaded so it shows how many people are listening in comparison to their other podcasts. The fact that the latest upload does have full popularity shows how much more traffic they are getting since their success.

After dabbling in a few other games such as Star Trek Online and Final Fantasy 14, but mainly staying around Warcraft related content, their first big hit was a video about how to survive your first night in Minecraft in late 2010 to which they applied their well rehearsed style. They then went on to create more and more Minecraft videos alongside their famous web series "The Shadow of Israphel". As a result of their success I believe it was around this point they would have been contacted by Marker Studios, who if you’re not aware of are a huge YouTube network that are built up of Ray William Johnson, Shay Carl, Kassem G and a few other very well known YouTube channels. This would gain them YouTube partnership which would then allow them to benefit from all the usual extra perks and actually make them some money. Since then they have now grown into one of the most successful channels worldwide and as of writing are the most subscribed channel in the UK.

Even though the full Yogscast team is now huge and to produce all their content takes dedication and effort from a lot of different people there are still four main people at the heart of it all. In definite order of significance Lewis Brindley is the Managing Director who appears in the vast majority of videos usually as the one filming the content; Simon Lane is the trusty politically incorrect lovable friend who is to thank for a lot of the great jokes and plays a vital role in providing a light heartedness to all the fun; Hannah Rutherford who as well as producing her own videos for the channel supports a huge amount of the social media while also officially being their Operations Manager and Dave !Yognaut who helps aid them in almost all their videos and content.

Why are the Yogscast so Successful?

This seems to be quite a difficult question to answer because surely there are too many hands at work to pin it down to one person or method but from how I’ve seen them develop and grow I think the answer is quite simple. The main point of sharing content online is it allows more interaction from the viewers and by letting people upload and use The Yogscast image to create content it puts them in a very comfortable position. Last year I interviewed Danial Yount who is currently the composer for the music you hear in their hit series “The Shadow of Israphel”. When I asked him how he got the job at the Yogscast he responded:

“I noticed they were lacking music which is not something that you want to forget when doing any kind of video production. The next day I emailed them some links to my music and much to my surprise about a week later I got a reply from Lewis himself saying how much he liked my stuff and how he would try to incorporate my music into the series”
Logic Haze – Read the full Interview here

After watching their videos you tend to notice there is a lot of user generated content and there are a lot of people wanting to become a part of their organisation. Their main Minecraft server they film on is maintained by a certain amount of people who are volunteers that work on their projects because they want to. The Yogscast utilise their community very well and by letting people take part other parties, like Daniel, benefit. They have recently donated huge amounts of money to charity through their community and a lot of their successes I believe is down to making themselves seem approachable and amateur. In no way do I think that the Yogscast are amateur any more based on the scale of the people they currently control but by keeping their roots and by allowing certain quality people to take part they can keep on producing higher standard content without the need for more staff. This again isn’t to say they rip off the people that help them and I’m almost certain they compensate the people who create the content based on how much income the Yogscast receive from certain projects or may just people people for their contributions.

Overall the general success of the Yogscast has to be down to those four main people who work on it and through their great content and the utilisation of their community they have become one of the major players in the entertainment industry on YouTube. All we need now is some more British greats...

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A Dream I had…

I don't really write deep stories with underlying meanings because I'm not a deep person however being an Atheist I found this dream weird enough it was worth documenting...

I believe I was visiting Egypt sat down by a pool surrounded by friends and people I knew. The air was warm, sun high in the sky and my parents were silently sat beside me. My mother was sitting upright wearing sunglasses however she was very still and not acknowledging anyone. A young innocent looking girl ran beside me, who I didn’t recognise, and said we should go and climb the nearby mountain overlooking the ocean…

Dinner was served. I was sat next to my friend that I had seen recently over the weekend. Then instantly we were stood up at the other side of the room. An older gentleman, taller than the rest of us, started talking to him. “Why don’t you go and sort out your acne ridden face you stupid boy?” he criticised. I felt upset and stood up for my friend by arguing back. We sat back down…

The girl and I got to the top of the mountain just as the sun was setting over the ocean. From where we stood I couldn’t see the beach and the only thing at the top was an ancient looking temple. The girl told me about God and how he had her trust and respect. This made me angry. I started shouting and telling her how none of it is real and she shouldn’t believe in it. The young girl started to cry. I went up to her, knelt down and took her in my arms. At that point her eyes gazed into mine and she touched my face with her hand. The instant she did it felt like there was only good in the world and I was happy. I remembered how important my friends are and how it’s important that they are happy to. I felt at peace, like I was on a natural buzz, just happy to float through the world…

I sat back down next to my parents where they were discussing whether it would be worth buying a calendar which you could get made at the front of the room. The white backdrop was set up just where I argued with the old gentleman before who was now no longer to be seen. “May as well.” I said. It seemed worth it for the price of £16. They got up and left.

The sky had now gone dark and all my friends were floating in the distance as I rose towards them. Blackness and stars surrounded me. A space station gleamed in the distance and I noticed its tiny flashing lights glowing red and white. I saw my friends talking to me as I floated towards them but I could not here them. I was in my own world. The first person I went up to looked like someone I fancied from the past weekend. I moved closer and one by one I looked into their eyes and touched their faces like that small girl did to me. When I did so they saw the same that I did. All was at peace and it was like I had been given this gift to make people feel at ease. We started to slowly floated back to earth together. I woke up.


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