It has been over ten years since the creation of Youtube and in that time we’ve seen the rise of a new celebrity. Youtubers are quickly becoming a hot commodity in the entertainment field yet they’re still looked down upon as low rent performers. In spite of that we’re slowly seeing Youtubers get a chance at more lucrative opportunities. So today we’re going to go over a few thoughts on the pros, cons, and hurdles Youtubers face in heading forward.
-Subscriber Numbers Don’t Equal Ticket Sales-
This is the biggest roadblock facing Youtubers. We’ve seen films get made by them, but none of them have been hits. Shane Dawson was a contestant on the Starz reality series The Chair. Going up against another filmmaker he directed and starred in Not Cool. This was his take on a script written by Dan Schoffer. He won the competition based on polls of people who saw both films. Sadly the movie made around $36,000 against an $800,ooo budget. The film more than likely went on to make a profit through DVD rentals and sales Dawson’s over ten million fans didn’t turn out during the theatrical run. While it was a limited opening it’s still worrisome that maybe fans won’t pay top dollar for a Youtuber’s projects.
-Comedy Flourishes More Than Drama in Short Form-
Looking through the most subscribed channels we see a major pattern. Discarding the VEVO channels most of the larger channels are comedy based. It’s hard for an actor to utilize ten minutes to convey emotion. There have been a handful of non-comedy series that have found success, but they’re few. In spite of the fact that you’re no longer constrained to short videos most people do not have the attention to watch anything over twenty minutes.
-Musicians Are Having Success, So Why Not Actors-
Like it or not, this is an important aspect to talk about. In 2007 Justin Bieber was just a normal child who had a handful of videos performing posted on Youtube. As luck may have it Scooter Braun stumbled upon these videos and the rest is history. Bieber went on to become a huge sensation that sold millions of albums and toured the world. Back in 2010 Lindsey Stirling was a contestant on America’s Got Talent and became a quarter finalist on the show. After getting some rather harsh criticism from the judges she paired up with cinematographer Devin Graham to produce a music video. As of now that music video (Spontaneous Me) has nearly 25 million views on Youtube. Stirling went on to tour the world and have two hit albums. If this success can come to musicians it’s valid to assume that actors could find similar success. As we know the movie industry always seems to trail the music industry in understanding how technology changes their business model.
-There Have Already Been Small Successes-
It’s true, you can already see things begin to bleed over. As talked about earlier Shane Dawson has made a film. Lucas Cruikshank has taken his Fred character and made three movies with that character while branching out into acting and voice roles. Harley Morenstein, co-creator of the popular Epic Meal Time has already made a cameo appearance in Kevin Smith’s film Tusk and will again be working with him in the upcoming film Yoga Hosers. Last (but certainly not least) is last year’s release of Smosh: The Movie. Directed by Alex Winter (the Bill of Bill and Ted) and distributed by 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate not only did the movie star Smosh (Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox) but included cameos by fellow Youtubers. It’s no small feat that this film got made and had the trust of a studio backing them.
While we’re still possibly years away from Youtube spawning a major actor I do believe it’s only a matter for time. Who knows, we may even hear the words “Youtube sensation and Academy Award winner” used to describe the same person. Until then, let’s hope we see more talented people get the chances they deserve. What are your thoughts? Do you think Youtube and Hollywood will slowly merge or are they meant to be separate entities? Would you pay to see your favorite Youtuber on the big screen?