I recently had a wonderful discussion with my friend and former CBP cohort, Steve Giuliano, about the nature of art and "getting yourself out there". This discussion came on the heels of a larger chat about careers while we were both standing in the snow, as a crane picked up oil tanks. The circular nature of life is funny, because I could swear we were having the same discussion eight years ago when we were both sweeping up sandwich leavings on the closing shift at Salvador Deli*. I told him what I've been able to glean in my recent return to YouTube, after almost two years away from it**. These are things that he was mostly already aware of. To be honest, I'm not sure I'm the right person to dole out advice about getting noticed. My artistic report card is littered with notes like:
"Really don't know why these videos haven't been getting more viewers. Clever, clever stuff." - dhog41
"This is waaaaaaaaay ahead of the curve funny.......UCB funny. Often overlooked and relegated to the corner. One day one these will go viral.....and I too can say, I was ahead of the curve." - FreedumbFighter29
"these guys are seriously under audienced" - Toren Tank
The fact is Victorian Cut-out Theatre has a small but loyal fans base and I am very lucky for this.*** I'm also very lucky that Cinevore Studios saw something in my show, found it entertaining and wanted to promote it.
I don't know what makes a video "go viral", I only know what interests me and what interests me is yellowed illustrations telling absurd stories about vampires, robots and men who marry coconuts…among other things. Apparently there are a few folks who like this same stuff too. The best advice I could give is to accept constructive criticism****, stretch yourself a little each time you do a project and interact with your audience and hope they bring friends. That last one is perhaps the most important. You can't just make stuff and hope people find you, you have to make them notice you, which is the most uncomfortable part of the process for me.
I go through the same feelings other creators do. I get excited and discouraged. Most of the time I think my stuff is crap and I spend a great deal of fruitless energy promoting it to strangers*****. But I like what I'm doing, I want to get better at doing it, and I also want to use these current experiences to move on to different projects.
I can't remember what brought on the conversation, but I'm glad we had it. It helps to talk to other artists about art, it refuels you. It certainly made me feel better.
*Salvador Deli was the single best sandwich shop I've ever been to in my life.
**What I mean to say is that I went from doing two videos a month (Animated Monologue and Movie Review) as well as four blogs a month to generating videos entirely to post elsewhere. So I was still on YouTube, but haven't been active in posting stuff to my own channel in almost two years.
***THANK YOU! to everyone who likes, shares and leaves positive comments on my videos. I am truly grateful.
****I've gotten a lot of helpful feedback from friends as well as the online community. I've also gotten some really snarky, venomous criticism.
*****People who, I'm sure, get a lot of unwanted promotional crap in their mailbox already.