What To Do About VidCon?

Dearest Rachel –

So, the news has come down the pike… they’re actually holding VidCon this year. It’s going to be in October this year, rather than June or July, but it’s still happening. I wonder how that’s going to fly with its core audience, which seems to be kids who otherwise ought to be in school by then – will they be attending, and skipping school to do so?

Oh, wait… no, nevermind. Rather than a four- or five-day event through the better part of a week, this is going to be a weekend thing, not unlike the anime conventions we would generally attend here are in Iowa. So, apart from Friday, there shouldn’t be that much of an issue for that age of attendee.

And essentially, it’s probably going to be more geared towards fans than creators or industry. Less business, more pleasure. Which is all well and good, as YouTube is very much a fan supported thing, with regard to its bigger creators. Vidcon, by its nature, does and should celebrate creators and the people that love them. It’s appropriate that it’s focus should be on that, rather than the (relatively) crass nature of the business of YouTube, and how to make money off of it as opposed to entertaining the masses.

But that leaves the likes with someone such as myself a little bit out in the cold. I’m not so much a fan as you were and Daniel is – although I guess he’s more into Rumble and ButChute these days, to be honest. I keep telling him these alternatives will never truly get traction if they only have content that YouTube wouldn’t carry. Most of the stuff I watch is perfectly innocuous, and I imagine that holds true for most viewers. As a result, I’m not the target audience for those alternative platforms, and because of that, these platforms will never reach me or the average YouTube viewer. And that will restrict their growth considerably.

But I digress. I’ve been doing that a lot lately, haven’t I?

The point is, this year is it gone looks like it’s going to be more for the fans, and I am considerably less of a fan than a creator. Although, of course, I’m hardly a creator at all at this point, since I’ve a.) never been able to choose a direction for the channel I dreamed of putting together, and b.) gotten preoccupied with reaching out to you in your absence.

For what it’s worth, it’s not like I had no idea what I wanted to do with the channel. Rather, it was more a case of not being able to decide on one of several possibilities. One of the first themes – and in fact, the name under which I registered the ‘work’ computers – was that of Happy Childhood Productions, in that “you’re never too old to have a happy childhood.”

I learned that from you, you know.

The idea was to feature avatars of each of us – you, Ellen, Daniel, Erin, and myself – telling stories a la James, Jaiden or Rebecca, and imparting wisdom from our our own learned experiences. It was to be our way of letting the younger set know that “hey, we made it this far, and you can too! Here’s how…”

This was supposed to be the channels logo. The colors were meant to represent each of us: you, Ellen, Daniel, Erin and myself. I don’t know what to do with the purple stripe now.

It was supposed to kick off with me going chapter by chapter through the novel Generation X with Daniel, complete with reactions and questions from him: “Did you really want to live like this, Dad?” “Yeah, son, I really considered dropping out of the rat race with Dave and Cheryl if things didn’t pan out, career-wise.”

But just like that long ago dream of dropping out of society and living in some remote exurb, real life intervened. I found myself doing the books for the camp as well as church, and it took up a lot more time than I thought it might. I’m not complaining – I was being useful for God’s work, and doing some thing I knew I was good at (as opposed to creating videos, where I didn’t know what I was doing at all), but it meant setting this aside, perhaps indefinitely. It was, after all, one of the more elaborate concepts I had come up with.

On a slightly more basic note – and this one you never saw, as I had uncovered the book during the cleaning process – was the idea I’m reading some more modern fairytales taken from the works of Walt Kelly. I had actually read these when I was back in college: first, as a fundraiser wherein members of our dorm would be enlisted to read bedtime stories (for a small donation) to others on campus as assigned; and later, as part of the radio show I did with several other members of the Sextet, when I was caught flat-footed without the other members of the show (and without music) and I decided to read to whatever audience there might be a listening. This time around, I would include some kind of generic background music, but especially the original illustrations:

I had hoped to recruit Erin to at least give these drawings color – I figured there needed to be some modification to the art as presented.

Of course, there were also the more biblical-based storylines. Ideas such as Pascha the Lamb and THEO-Ed (the latter a clear takeoff of the TED-Ed animated series), neither of which have even any concept art to display (Although at one time, Erin did have some drafts of what Pascha might look like). I did draft a few THEO-Ed scripts, but nothing ever came of those. Again, I was distracted by real life assignments and obligations.

The final concept, which came to me as a confluence of my appreciation for Proverbs 30, our visit to New Orleans, and an online game of Drawsaurus with our friends during the pandemic. One of us was trying to draw a crown, and somehow it wound up looking very much like a fool’s cap: the only difference was that the latter had bells on the end of each point. I came up with the idea of having a city of wise fools – like Gotham or Chelm – where all the inhabitants wore fool’s caps that jingled as they walked in a never-ending party that was the entire city. In it, the central character, Agur, just wanted some peace and quiet in order to study, and cut the bills off of his cap. Over time, he would be recognized as the wisest man in town, and through certain adventures – including fending off on locust invasion – was placed in a leader ship role in the town, essentially making him king, with his cap serving as a crown.

I had dictated the first few stanzas of the Ballad of King Agur to you late last year, but this is about as far as I’d gotten. The key to the whole story, of course, was the final line how about there being “a very small difference ‘twixt a fool and a king”

I had considered having him become a recurring character on the channel, as his main schtick (courtesy of Proverbs 30) was that he knew how little he knew. And in a way, he is still very much representative of me. Because I don’t have all the answers, and I wish I did. I don’t know where to go from here, either in life, or on his channel.

This is the closest I could come to concept art of him. Yes the style is based off of the Order of the Stick – that way I might have a chance of drawing him myself, rather than having to rely on some other artist to do this for me.

And so there you are, all the various thoughts and plans I had that never came to fruition. And it’s probably a long way off before I can make any progress on these going forward. So is it really worth it to register as a creator, when I don’t have a good handle on what I intend to create, and why?

I may yet consider going, but if it’s anything like the anime conventions we used to frequent (and admittedly, it will be interesting to see how things go with Anime Iowa next week as a kind of benchmark), I imagine my chances of getting hotel space at this point are well and truly out the window by now. Best to wait it out for yet another year at least. Maybe I can actually start to focus on a direction for the channel. Maybe I’ll be able to recruit some artistic talent to make these things visually appealing.

And maybe I’ll sprout wings and fly.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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