Monday, April 05, 2010

Why I am not going to VidCon

So, Vidcon.

Vidcon is the 777 for 2010. I'm not going. I'm friends with a few people who are but I really have no desire to go.

I've been thinking about why I have so little wish to go. It feels the same as how I have no desire at all to go to a school or university reunion. I feel like everyone graduated the youtube highschool and I'm still there being a cleaner or something. The people who I feel are/were my genuine friends whom I met via youtube have 90% moved on to other things and barely communicate online anymore. I feel like those friends would happily hang out if we were ever in the same landmass, but as for day to day e-hanging, it's gone.

And that's fine. They moved out of town when they graduated YT High. I'm still in this crappy town.

I've been to 3 of the main youtube meetups- 'As One' (remember that?) in San Francisco in 2007, 777 in New York the same year and 888 in Toronto in 2008. The first one was a revelation- these people who I had never talked to face to face were exactly as they were on screen, and so was I- it was like we already knew each other. It was amazing to talk to people who knew exactly what I was talking about and had the same shared experiences as me, at a time when other people still weren't sure what Youtube even was.

777 is probably my favourite memory connected with youtube. I stayed in an amazing Manhattan apartment sublet from some hipster fashion student, with Calli (TheSlyestFox), Mark (DentonUSA) and Paul (PabloKickasso417). It was Summer, we went up to the roof, we drank beer, we talked a bunch, we hung out and had fun. Then we went to the 'gathering' in Washington Square Park, and for one bizzarro day, I was a celebrity. People filmed me chatting to other people who were also filming me. People had me sign things. People were all shy and humble to talk to me. Photos were taken. I met people I'd not met before. It was awesome. It was sunny! It was overwhelming. It was stressful yet amazing. And very very strange. This all was at a time when I happily made new friends via the internet. Something that I've found harder and harder to do since 777.

888 Happened. Calli, and other awesome people I'd long hoped to meet (Frezned, for one) came, and I had a good time with them in the apartment we rented, but the love was gone for me. I didn't really watch videos anymore, aside from a rare few here and there. I didn't so much care about making videos anymore. I was in the middle of filming the incredibly stressful 'Bryony Makes A Zombie Movie'. Mark and Paul weren't there this time, their interest in youtube had waned as had mine. I was there mostly to hang out with my friends, and I had a nice time, but compared to the happy memories I had from New York, Toronto was boring, depressing and lonely. The actual gathering was cold and depressing (to me atleast). It rained, as if the weather had grown as bored of youtube as I had. The one moment that sums up the experience for me was when Cory (who the fuck was Cory, btw?) who'd organised the whole thing, had all the 'big names' up 'on stage' (around a microphone that was on the same floor we were all standing on). I wasn't called upon to go, I was all 'LOL WHATEVERZ!' but it rather summed up how my e-star had waned, atleast in the face of the uber stars like SXEphil and whoever else was there (honestly I can't remember who was there).

So in one year, one month and one day, youtube had gone from happiest day on earth to 'fuck this lets just go home in the rain'. I am overstating the case, 888 was a part of a month long trip that was fraught with stress and upsets of many kinds. My brother and I stayed in Montreal a very long 7 days, with nothing to do and nowhere to go (people say Montreal is great but honestly, outside of rural France, I have never been so bored and fed up with rude French people.) The rest of the trip had amazing moments and I don't want to disparage what was a fun (and expensive) time, but the Canadian part was disappointing for me, after 777's wonderment.

During this time between gatherings, I lost contact with Kim, who had up til then been my very best friend on the internet ever. Mark and Paul had less and less youtube interaction, and I talked to them less and less. I made videos with less frequency and with less interest in the response they garnered, and generally, we all went our separate ways. To conclude this overlong analogy, I think 777 was the graduation of youtube school, after which everyone went off to college (aka real life) and I stuck around like the loser older kid with nothing better to do.

And after Bryony Makes a Zombie Movie was nominated for a BAFTA, I thought I fucking had it made. I thought 'hey, I am a BAFTA NOMINEE (though in reality, the nomination was for the production team behind the project rather than me) the offers are gonna come ROLLING IN'. The offers did not come rolling in, and I spent most of 2009 living off of the £150-£400 youtube adsense money I got each month (more in months I made topical comedy skits that got lots of views), and the random sponsorship fees I got from companies to promote things on my channel.

That's amazing. Even though I basically didn't care about it anymore, I lived off of youtube for over a year. Sure, I have no savings for that entire year, and I didn't really advance myself in any useful way, but I had a lot of fun times doing whatever shit I felt like, and wearing pyjamas for 70% of the time. I'm the real version of one of those banner ads 'MAKE MONEY OFF OF THE INTERNET WORK FROM HOME ONE MILLIONTH VISITOR!!' I should write a book.

So what was I even writing this for? I guess just pondering over my reasons for feeling rather queasy at the idea of going to VidCon. Analysing what it is exactly that makes me feel so revolted at the thought of it. If I were to go, there would be a handful of people I actually know or am interested in, and a handful of people who might be interested in meeting me. It makes me feel ill the same way I used to feel when I was supposed to go out and meet my friends. Social Anxiety. Not being good enough for whatever imaginary reason I had. 777 was the first (and I think only) time I've ever really felt like a bigshot special person. 888 I felt like a has been. VidCon would just be like those ex minor soap stars that somehow turn up at fancy hollywood events, botoxed and old looking. Clinging on to whatever it was that they were once known for.

I don't want to feel like a washed up nobody, so I am not going to go.

*DISCLAIMER*
Before anyone gives me shit in the comments, I am very grateful for all the opportunities I have had because of youtube. I do still enjoy making videos, and seeing their reactions, and in some ways I now enjoy youtube a lot more than I did (atleast during 2008). I am incredibly lucky to have been afforded these amazing opportunities, and I am extremely thankful for them. Please do not comment to say something along the lines of 'how dare you be so ungrateful', because I am incredibly so. To have had (and to still have) the amazing friends I have made because of this crazy youtube train is very rare indeed. I am thankful to every person who has had even the slightest interaction with me online (good or bad). It has all added up to an unusual and amazing few years of my life. Thankyou.

22 comments:

Delidel said...

I love you Bryony, you know, because you are true to yourself, no matter what people think of you.

JC said...

To me you will always be a star and the first youtuber i ever subscribed to.

I use 'Stench' everyday. Even though it's a womans perfume... and it doesn't exist

Delidel said...

p.s. C'est La Vie: life sometimes treats us to monumental occasions where we wish the earth would stop spinning for one golden moment to bask in the euphoria, but then the mundane returns with the same hush and creeping grey tide of a cold shore.

I can empathize as a near thirty-year-old, 7 years out of university, having watched a few classmates go on to success, and even worse seeing youngsters climb the ladder of success while I toil away at a drab blue-collar job, straining to find time for "hobbies" I truly enjoy.

The youtube boom passed me by, as do all these conventions and meet-ups year after year, but every so often I cross my fingers that I'll get a chance to experience something amazing with childlike-exuberance again.

Cheers and hugs,
Del

Simon said...

This post does not surprise me (I have been a subscriber from way back) but it is a bit sad to read.

Like High School there seems to be a perceived class system but luckily it exists only in one's mind.

If you figure out how to ignore it, you could meet some pretty cool people again.

Jim B said...

Ahhh...well, you always have the prerogative of changing your mind.

BadAlbert said...

A funny way of looking at it, and to a certain extent I understand because things change and people move on etc but I don't see it as a high school 'everyone has graduated from'. What was captivating/engaging about the site remains, even if it has become dilluted, the simple fun of making a video and interacting with people all over the world makes it interesting still. But that's my take on it, although I went through a stage of seeing nothing worthwhile in it snd not enjoying it myself. You're hardly a has been, would you actually want to be like sxephil? The whole premise of Vidcon is bollocks anyway, it's all self importance and self congratulation it seems to me, something of an extention of youtube's upper echelon who largely suck. It all got very serious and equally riduculous in relation to that. Boo hiss etc. Anyway...

Danny Pettry said...

You have the right to feel anything you want to feel.

Want you, Bryony, to be happy.

I'm so glad to know you on here.
You're wonderful.

Let me know if there is anything I can do for you. I don't make youtube-videos.... but I love blogging. your friend,
Danny

The Independent Potato said...

Meeting you, and many other cool folks, in the early days of YouTube was one of the great attractions to the site for me. At first it was just a creative outlet. But then, after finding a community of like-minded people of all ages, and from all over the world, it became all about the relationships and the interactions.

But what I found, was that after I was hired to do a full-time job that filled the creative outlet, my desire to spend the additional time and energy to create a video, just so I could have the jumping-off point for more interaction, dwindled.

I still wanted to interact with my friends, but the effort it took to try to make new friends was just too much (within the YT environment).

All that said to say this: With ALL those great YT memories, the best ones will always be of when I got to see my friends in person. SouthTube, small gatherings at various times, and getting to hang with you along the Thames. Those are the times that I will never forget.

And you and I talked about the YTHS analogy then. I think that it is a good analogy in the sense that all things in life seem to have seasons. And HS is a great representation of that. Four years of a journey. You make friends that will last a lifetime. But then you go out in the real world and make $, etc.

Some of those 'lifelongs' you keep up with. Some move away. Some just drift from communication. But you know that one day down the line, you will want to reconnect with all those friends at given times to see were life has taken them.

They will always have a special place in your heart, because they were an integral part of a very special time in your life.

So I disagree with Simon thinking that it is about a perceived HS class system. I think that it is simply about a changing of the seasons.

An overly-long, rambling comment just to say, that I am glad that I got to know you. You are a special 'sister' to me. And I will always root for you in all you do!

If not for YT...but alas, we have moved on.
P<3

NusaCat said...

I won't be there either and I've missed all those other opportunities to meet you as well. I miss Kim and Calli too, although I haven't met them either.

But I still think you're special.

Monnett said...

It nice to read you blog rather than listening to it in video format because I really understand where you are coming from. Yes things change. The site that used to be the only site to upload videos is no more. Where do you think you will be in another 3 years. I have been on YT for about 4 years now. The whole thing was scary at fist, sharing yourself with the world, now everyone uploads videos, mostly 10 second clips from their cell phone. Another question, do you read all of your comments.

bfff said...

777 was such a surreal, peak moment. I feel much the same way as you do, having experienced YouTube almost at the same time and been at 2 of those 3 events. 777 was like the peak of all the positive energy and wonder of what YouTube was doing to the world and to the users who were finding fun and success on it.

It also coincided with the beginnings of the partner program, which really changed the YouTube landscape. The next year up to 888 was a time where most people were spending their time trying to figure out how to make money from their YouTube endeavours.

888 definitely had a deadness to it. Either you were a failure for not making it in the new YouTube or you were this bizarre e-celebrity making loads of money and had tons of fans.

I guess 777 was like the summer of '69 for us. Then everyone got out of high school and could either make a career out of what they used to do for fun and attention or leave to look for something else.

VidCon is really for business either for networking or connecting with e-fans but it's not so much for fun / friendship.

Thanks for your thoughts, Bryony.

I had lots of fun at your last painting day on Stickam.

Chris / ghostwise

Josh's Brain said...

Youtube has gotten so commercial and ridiculous and disgusting.. I HATE youtube now. The only reason I ever go on youtube is to watch bootlegs of shows and to watch you. Out of all the tubers I used to watch, you're are the only one that I have stuck watching. Congrats to you for that!! You didn't give into that "OMG I'm a youtuber I'm so famous and cool and only makes videos to be super cute and famous". Keep it up!

Scott DePalatis said...

You'll always be iconic in the world of online video fun. No worries. Do what you love! :)

AmandaTiffany said...

Hey bryony.
It`s been pretty fucking cool to hear your thoughts on the whole youtube thing you`ve been a part of.
To be honest, you were my very first subscription on youtube. I thought you were (and still do) clever and hilarious.
Don`t feel bad for not wanting to go, the youtube thing might have just run its course for you. Whether you continue to post or not, you`ve made alot of laugh over the years, and have definetly gained some fans.

I`d agree though, youtube is a pretty strange place. I began posting videos after I found yt celebs, trying to be `cool`` and make friends with them. I made 3 or 4 different channels and then deleted them, trying to find my `niche`` in the blogging community. Eventually I gave up and deleted all of the channels, but continued to troll my subbed youtubers like there was no tomorrow.

Nowadays I just have a written blog @ http://thehappyhealthygirl.com
(its a health & weightloss blog). yeah, kind of geeky and personal, but i`ve found it really awesome...I got chubbyyyyyy in the last few years. Spent too much time watching youtube videos, I guess? lol.

oh, one last thing.. I ordered postcards from you last month. i fucking love them! they're hanging on my kitchen wall. I was the girl from Montreal who ordered them. Don't worry, i fucking hate Montreal as well. Myself & my boyfriend are moving to England in 5 weeks! (He's a brit). We're fucking stoked. We've had it with all the rude french people as well. (you were here for 7 days...we've been here for 2 years! ugh!).

anyway bryony, it's been a pleasure watching you on youtube in the last few years. I often re-watch alot of your vids when i need a good chuckle.

good luck with whatver you're up to in life these days!
xx
Amanda

AmandaTiffany said...

Oh, p.s., the glitter in the postcards you sent was a really sweet touch! I attacked my boyfriend with all the sparkles.

Sean Bedlam said...

I helped organize a gathering in Melbourne a couple of years ago, aaaand....before it even happened I knew it was all bullshit and a waste of time. Which it was. Met some people, but really, it was an awkward dork fest with the likes of Blunty3000 and AngryAussie. Christ. Never again.

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angelshores2002 said...

BRYONY! You are awesome.. I don't buy art and I spent quite a bit of money on your giraffe painting :) You are a STAR! To me you are,, my boyfriend laughs at me because I LOVE watching your videos..lol I'm not a big YouTube user but you are by far the most down to earth fun youtuber Ive ever seen! And..I love your art.. (Dont get a big head now..lol ;)never stop youtubing!! Even when your old and wrinkly. :)

Quachie said...

Bryony, the stuff you've done is amazing, don't ever forget that!

lizzie said...

I know this post is a little old now, but I didn't know you had a blog, so I was just reading through old posts..so I guess your opinions might have changed since you wrote this?.. But anyway I just wanted to say that you are the first youtuber I got interested in, and much as you have happier memories of the community in 2007 than now, I have mayjah happy memories watching all you guys around that time - and you were a part of that! Youre right to be proud of yourself! :)

Thing is you clearly are still a very creative person who will find something youre a success at, and that fulfills you.. so whilst I totally know the feeling that everybody else has somehow moved on (for me it is that all the people in my life somehow know exactly what theyre going to do in the future whereas I have literally NO plan), life has a funny habit of working itself out. Thats what they tell me anyway..

Just reading through the lovely comments on here..wow, I wish I had a whole bunch of strangers to tell me it was all going to be ok.

hugs! :)
lizzie x

karmadee888 said...

Hey Bryony...like lizzie I stumbled up on this older post and wanted to respond. Not sure if it'll mean anything to you but you're one of the reasons why I even made an account on YouTube. I posted a fake vlog submission for World Wide Dead and much to my surprise my clip got selected. I got to be part of internet history. No one knew who I was, I was just some girl who couldn't deliver a joke very well, but nevertheless it meant a lot to me. I didn't hope to gain any possible YT fame, I was just happy to be part of a video collab. Thanks for the memories!~