Sometimes I hate my brain….

I get mad at the stupidest things and I recognize that, yet I cannot stop.

Just a bit ago, I basically sent a rant at a guy who was just trying to help me. He even went so far as to offer to teach me how to use Photoshop personally, so I could improve my video thumbnails on YouTube. He was being nice, and I of course, being me, went off and was an asshole. YAY ME.

Thing is, I have no “artistic vision”. I really don’t. Its not something I have the natural talent for. Now, yes, I could LEARN color theory, and composition, and all the other artistic tricks and tools but it would take years upon years to do it. People go to school for it, like one of my friends did. My wife has artistic talent honed and improved over years and years of practice. My buddies girlfriend went to school for it. Hell, even said friend has a natural skill at graphic design and has been drawing and doodling and designing for years.

I don’t have these skills.

I can look at something and think it looks cool, but that’s about as far as it goes. You ask me how I feel about their use of color or how I feel about the mix of shapes and tones and text and my response will be “Uhh…its neat!”

My talents lie in word, spoken and written. I admit, I am good at describing things, setting mood, scene, getting my points across and my thoughts out there. Not everyone can do what I can do with words. I am also exceptionally good at improv most of the time, and every video I record is done in one take, no script, completely improv. I just have a topic and some ideas in my head and I roll with it. Very few can do what I do naturally, and I have practiced for years with my jobs and my hobby of D&D to get here.

People are not all built the same way. Some can draw, some can paint, some can write fiction and prose. Some can sing. Some can dance. Some are really good at strategic thinking. Others are good at speaking.

And while practice and training over a long period of time CAN in fact help shore up the things you are not good at, a person who has a natural aptitude towards it will always be better if they do the same work.

For me, its sometimes an aggravation. When I tell someone that I just don’t really understand how to do something, its because I literally DON’T GET IT. I have been through mini painting classes for example, and could never get the concept of dry brushing and highlighting, while my buddy heard the term once and got it instantly.

I just DON’T GET ART STUFF. But people who do get it? People who do understand that stuff and have it come easily to them? A fair amount of them don’t understand how hard it is for others. Its like “Oh if I teach you the tools the rest will just come!”

No, it won’t. If I taught you the tools for how to run a D&D game, could you do it well? Right out the gate? No. I would have given you the technical skills but not the intangible ones. I wouldn’t have given you the years of experience in how to adapt to a situation, to deal with players who may not do what you expect. I would have given you the rule books and the worlds but none of the experience I have.

And if I had the time? Sure, I could sit down and study and read and learn how to do all these graphical design things. I could spend an hour with him learning Photoshop and maybe get the hang of the software, and then spend the next year trying to copy and learn how to do the same sorts of thumbnails everyone else does. But I don’t have that time. I am a working adult. YouTube is a hobby for me first and foremost, and what I lack in artistic skill with my thumbnail design, I make up for it in raw fucking entertainment.

Hell! My thumbnails, channel art, icon, and end cards? NONE OF IT WAS MADE BY ME. It was all made by the same guy I just got mad at! I just add text and pretty icons. That’s about it. He did the actual logo design and everything! I couldn’t replicate that if I tried for hours (and I actually have just to see if I could come up with new things).

I may not be good at much, but I am damn good at speaking and words. And if thats what I am gonna have to use to get by on YouTube and in life then that’s what I will use. Just don’t ask me to draw something.


I am giving up on Kickstarters and Crowdfunding

I am done with these bloody things. Sorry guys who have kickstarters going. I am not going to back you anymore. Sure, I might promote you if I like your project, and encourage folks who want to back you do so, but me, personally?

Not happening.

Why you might ask? Well, mostly due to issues involving over-promising and under-delivering. Recently, for example, a game called Heroes Song had an IndieGoGo launch which I backed. I trusted the team, they were all seasoned game devs lead by a big name in MMO development, John Smedly. I backed at the lowest level (I only do this now due to issues coming up) and promoted it. The game is coming along, there have been streams of it being playable, and the big reason I backed it was the promise that I would get “Alpha 3 Access” sometime “late October”.

Last week, a backer only update came out which detailed that they were most likely going to have Alpha 3 Access start on the 28th / 29th of October. Thats…really late October, but ok, I can dig it. It comes out right on a weekend and gives me some time to run around and enjoy myself, maybe stream it, before I have to start work.

Well last night Smedly popped up and crushed that notion by reveling that now Alpha 3 starts…on fucking Monday October 31st. Yea, he technically is delivering on the “Late October” start time but as far as I am concerned this is bullshit. 1 day in October. 1. With Early Access on Steam showing up Sometime in November? Well fuck why am I even going to bother playing it in Alpha now? Oh and its “looking like” its going to be Monday. IT STILL MIGHT NOT EVEN HAPPEN.

This is not the first time shit like this has happened. Almost 2 years ago I backed a Campaign Book for a setting called Karthun which was SUPPOSED to be released around 9/2015. Its now 10/2016. And its still not due to be finished till 2017 apparently. I backed this one to get a Hardcover Book. I regret this, honestly, but still want the damn book.  I am invested now.

Or how about Cryamore which was supposed to be released in 2014, and I backed it in 2013. HEY LOOK ITS 2016 AND ITS STILL IN DEV! At least this one is still alive, and is now being produced and distributed by Atlus.  They will hopefully deliver.  Maybe.

It could be Artizens which is playable on steam…barely. Its dead though, development is stopped and its no where near what was promised. In fact, the only Kickstarter I have personally backed that has actually delivered thus far, gaming wise, has been Wasteland 2 and that was STILL a year late, having been supposed to come out in 10/2013 and instead arrived 9/2014.

The only other kickstarters that have delivered what was promised, on time, have been a comic a friend of mine put out, and some albums by his bands. Thats it. Every time I see someone talking about a Kickstarter project or IndieGoGo or Crowdfunding its always about how its…well not on time. Its delayed. Its being worked on. Its been abandoned.

So thats it. Its over. NO more Kickstarters for me. Not even if they are friends of mine, or people I like. I cannot trust that something will happen to delay it.

I am still waiting for Crymore for fucks sake. Maybe in 2018 it will finally be done. 4 years later.

The Promotion Conundrum

Something that has occurred to me to discuss recently in my Youtubing endeavors is the concept of promotion, advertising, and spamming. For those who have somehow missed my nonsense here, I do in fact have a Youtube channel. No, I am not going to link it in this post. This is to save all of you who follow my blog and are sick of me promoting it hehe.

On top of that, I have a twitter as well. Somehow or another I have however become…popularish on Twitter. I hit 800+ followers recently. That’s pretty damn cool.

The problem I am facing is how to leverage that group of people in order to get the word out of my actual creative endeavors. Further, I have to decide how much is “too much” when it comes to self promotion.

Currently, I barely promote. I mention my youtube channel roughly once every few days, usually at specific times. I use a site called Twuffer to preload those tweets, along with loading comments and advertisements for youtube channels and things I find interesting that are in fact not mine.

I spend more time promoting other peoples work then my own.

Now I do have a twitter AutoDM, and while for the first week or two of having it I used it to promote my channel I have since stopped. I felt…dirty honestly. Now its used to try to talk to people and get to know them.

Weirdly, despite my lack of self promotion I seem to slowly grow no matter what. I have had my current channel active for roughly 2 months now and as of today I hit 109 subscribers, thats roughly 50 subs a month, roughly 1 and change a day average. Its bizarre.

I see people who advertise constantly, through DM on twitter, through twitter posts, facebook, reddit, and get nowhere. And lets not even get into the nonsense of Sub4Sub / Follow4Follow.

Promote too much, people hate you and you come off as a robot. Promote too little, you never grow.

There seems to be no good real way to do this. Could I grow faster somehow? SHOULD I? What is a good medium? Do I need a facebook fan page? Should I bother? Its driving me nuts. I want to share the things I make with the world but at the same time I don’t want to be an annoyance to others, and thus am left trying to puzzle out the perfect medium and method. I mean I have gone so far as to try to avoid posting here on my own blog so as to not annoy people. And I have friends who tell me that I need a facebook fan page, while others tell me to not bother. No one can ever agree on anything.

Sometimes I wish things were easier but life ain’t easy, is it? What do you guys think?

The Twitter Worldbuilding Experiment

Heya guys. So I am deep into the throes of Dungeons and Dragons stuff, and decided that its time to do something fun. Lots of my twitter folks have been doing similar things, using twitter polls to create new places and worlds for adventure, and I decided to do the same.

Granted, since its me, I am doing things a tad different.

In addition to running the polls, I will also be logging the results and lore of the world AS ITS CREATED on a page here on my blog.

The Page is Here

That page also has links to each poll which will run for 24 hours at a time. Its both to keep a full log of the experiment as well as also provide myself an easy way to find everything.

If you wanna participate, please check out the page and vote! The polls won’t be daily (might be every 2 days) but it should be a bit fun to see how I can craft a world based on twitter polls haha.

Musings on Youtube and Twitter

I think this will be the first time I have written a blog in a long while, and its about analytics, my Youtube channel, my Twitter, and thoughts about such things.

So its been about 6ish weeks since I relaunched my youtube channel. In that time I have gotten a total of:

432 Total Views, of which 140 are from Subs
2:23 Average Watch Time (Sub + Non Sub) / 18% Retention
4:17 Average Watch Time (Sub Only) / 42% Retention
86 Total Subscribers

This is across 7 videos. So I am doing pretty good all things considered.

Whats interesting to me is that if we take the total views of 140 from my subs, and spread that out, it means that each video has roughly 20 views from subs each. Now, I have been told (and I forget where) that 10% of your videos views should be subs, which means you should expect 10% of your subs to be active subs. For me, that would be about 8.6 / 9 views per vid. So I am WELL above that curve. Happy Days! Also, I am gaining subs at a rate of roughly 1 every day or two. Which is kinda nutty when I think about it.

Granted, several of these are folks who are all “Sub 4 Sub” which is pointless, and I will have no part of. I want people who will WATCH my content not just random numbers.

Now, my worry here is that most of these subscribers came because of my recent Tabletop RPG 101 Series. Granted, I intend to have more videos about Tabletop gaming as its a big thing in my life and I love it dearly, but honestly, not every video going forward is going to be about that. I mean, my next few vids are going to be (in order)

– The Rest of the Tabletop RPG Series, including a new special Part 6!
– A Comic Book Review (Liberty Deception)
– A Tale from the Tabletop (based on this Poll I ran on Twitter)
– Maybe a Top 5 of some sort.
– A game review or two (Shovel Knight tops this right now)
– 2 Book Reviews (by the same author in fact)

My focus is on nerdy stuff not just tabletop stuff you know. I got movies I wanna cover, games I wanna talk about, Top 5’s and things. I mean just look at the Topic List! I just updated it today by the way so its got all 7 videos I have done so far linked ;)

Whats fascinating is how big a role Twitter seems to be playing into my growth. I have never been one to really “get” twitter, and honestly I still don’t. 140 characters is very small, and its hard sometimes to get my point across, especially when you get more and more followers and follow more people. I am currently, as of today, at 670 followers. Thats NUTS. Granted, I am pretty sure the breakdown of them is:

– 300ish Bots / Advertisers / Business Accounts
– The rest are Real People

Thats amazing. The great majority are fellow Tabletop gamers like me. This worries me because, again, my videos and my tweets and myself are not all tabletop rpgs 100% of the time. I talk about wrestling, video games, music, movies, ect. Books. Nerdy stuff! Thankfully I have made a few friends it seems so far on twitter, and everyone has been super welcoming! I am actually enjoying it, and I like chatting to folks about cool Tabletop Plot ideas, and running games, and so on. Hell I even helped one lass via DM with creating an interesting backstory for her character which was fun :D

One thing I have noticed from a few folks, however, who are also youtubers is this obsession with getting all their twitter followers to sub to them on Youtube. Lets be real, if I had that I would be doing stupid good, but at the same time I am not going to ask my followers to do something I wouldn’t do. And frankly, I am not going to sub willy nilly to people who I have zero interest in listening to. Same with following em on twitter! I am just not going to do it.

I get it, people wanna be successful (for their definition of success) on Youtube. Some people want the fame, the recognition, the fans. Others want the money. But I am weird in that I don’t really care about any of that. I just like sharing what I love. And being me of course.

The attitude of folks online, like these other youtubers, makes me sad. They are so focused on advertising that they forget to be real people. I cannot count the number of small youtubers who followed me on twitter and when I go check out their tweets, its nothing but advertising of their own works, and maybe some “XXX liked this video” tweets that come from Youtube. And thats it. No engagement with the people who follow em, nothing. Its a giant circle jerk.

Yes, I advertise my channel on Twitter. I usually tweet at most once a day about one of my videos. Thats it. And I actually use Twuffer to set those up ahead of time. The rest of the times just me, chatting with folks, retweeting fun things, cool art, and such. I am a human, and god damnit I am gonna act human! Bout the only thing I still have on full automation is my Auto DM, which doesnt even mention youtube! It actually says, and I quote:

“Hey there and thanks for following me here on Twitter! Hope ya don’t mind the AutoDM. I am an old fart and honestly can barely keep up with this twitter thing but I am trying. Lets start chatting! Tell me something about yourself! Favorite game / gaming system / book / boardgame / video game? Any fun stories to share?”

Wanna know something funny? I have gotten the following responses recently:

“Sure I’ll check you out !! Could you also check me out here? *LINK* let me know when you’ve subbed so I can do the same!:) hope to see you round in my comment section!?  Also, heres a new video of mine if you wanna check it out! leave a like or whatever ?:)”

“Could you maybe check out my channel?”

And similar. It makes me laugh honestly. These were in response to my Auto DM above, where I don’t mention my channel, or anything. I swear people don’t read.

All in all so far I would have to say I am doing ok. I could always do better. But at this point its a forgone conclusion that I will hit the 100 sub mark and get a custom URL, which will be fun. Not in any rush though. Lets see what happens by the end of the year!

Oh and since I forgot to post it here is Part 3 of Tabletop RPG 101

Stay Nerdy folks :)