In a rapidly changing world, storytelling and narratives have not disappeared or gone away. Instead, they have moved into a new and easily accessible venue. Where can you find these awesome new narratives? Explore the unique channels on YouTube.
Storytelling has unfurled in many shapes and forms throughout human history. From the oral tradition to the written word, narratives are a means of sharing experiences. Everyone has a story to tell as a way to enlighten and to inspire. When telling a story, what’s important isn’t always the words but the overarching message itself and how one chooses to present it.
The human voice is just waiting to be heard and shared. However, people have different outlets to express themselves. Whether it’s through writing, photography, art or video, people have many options — but the one that is becoming widely accessible is the use of YouTube. Some of our most powerful storytellers are our filmmakers, and the birth of YouTube has allowed filmmakers to explore exciting new ways to fulfill a very ancient human need.
When YouTube was first introduced back in February of 2005, no one could foresee the power it would have on the world. What began as a place to watch funny cat videos has turned into a cultural phenomenon. According to YouTube statistics, there are over a billion users, which reflects one-third of all people on the internet. That’s one billion people who all have a story to share, and the reason behind the narratives is always the same: to inspire, educate or entertain.
YouTube has given people, predominantly young adults, a platform to share their story in a format that is familiar to them. Since many young people are driven by the validation of their peers, YouTube is the perfect venue. Internet natives have found themselves in an unique situation. Their whole lives take place in the public arena of the internet, so it follows that their stories would also be shared online. Their stories are told, not on the written page, but through a small screen bursting with life and vigor. They feel validated with every video posted, every comment liked and every picture shared. They feel like their intimate narratives are being heard and understood.
YouTube has given rise to unique storytellers, filmmakers who have used the form to tell their own stories in a way that makes sense to them. The videos posted vary in concept, but they all have one thing in common; they take storytelling to a new dimension. Aspiring filmmakers have taken to the YouTube stage with enthusiasm, starting their careers on the small format.
YouTube is an ideal place to gain audiences while building a portfolio. Since videos on YouTube tend to be short in length, filmmakers have the ability to upload multiple shorts that showcase their talents as filmmakers. Not only can aspiring filmmakers share their stories, they can unite with other filmmakers and share advice and tricks that will help each other succeed.
With one billion users striving to be seen on Youtube, there are a few channels that have made themselves unique. These channels showcase the very essence of what makes storytelling an art form. They push the boundaries of storytelling and narrative through film.
Video Views: 29,396,241
David Sandberg, better known as Ponysmasher, joined YouTube in 2006 and has approximately thirty videos to his name. His channel is a mix of animation, instructional videos and shorts. He uses his YouTube Channel to showcase his ability to scare people with his short films. David also helps out future filmmakers by revealing his production secrets with easy to follow tutorial videos.
Scrolling through his videos and reading the comments that his fans post, it’s easy to see how invested in his audience David is. Whenever someone asks a question about a certain film technique, he immediately answers. He may be a filmmaker, but David knows that his fans are important and that engaging with them is vital to his channel’s success.
His first short film, “Lights Out,” became a theatrical film of the same name and was released in 2016. David has taken his skill of frightening people into a successful career due, in part, to the short films that he has released to his fans on YouTube.
Video Views: 2,018,107
Another YouTube storyteller who illustrates a unique narrative arc is Tom Smith, an award winning filmmaker who started his channel back in 2013 with his inspiring short films. His powerful content showcases intimate portrayals of depression, mental illness, grief and domestic abuse, to name a few.
Videos like these are meant to educate viewers, to open our eyes to the inner demons that drive his characters. The narration is heartbreaking with his up-close camera work and music that drives audience emotion. It’s difficult to look away. Smith’s films start off slowly, but as the music rises, so does the drama. The audience is drawn into the tormented characters.
Dance Short Films
Video Views: 897,736
Imagine a story told, not with words, but through the art of dance. Dance Short Films is a unique channel because the videos reveal their stories with music and dance. Like music videos, these short films capture a narrative using dance to tell a story. The choreography is beautiful and mesmerizing.
With music, the narrative is enthralling and showcases what artful storytelling can accomplish. The channel uses dance to tell fascinating stories; each movement, each musical note brings viewers into a world they may have only imagined.
Video Views: 979,849,794
BuzzFeedViolet was created in August of 2014 as an offshoot of Buzzfeed proper. Like the site, BuzzFeedViolet is an entertaining channel that combines relatable content in short films. The engaging videos are stories that deal with commonplace issues, as well as issues regarding pop culture.
The characters that fill this channel are vibrant and have their own unique personalities that people can easily relate to. Without characters to relate with, stories are hard engage in. Therefore, it is these characters that makes this channel distinctive.
Video Views: 268,064,150
Hannah Hart is one of the internet’s most prolific vloggers on YouTube. She’s a comedian and writer who took her web series and made a career of it. Her channel is one that’s both inspiring and entertaining to watch. Hannah started her channel by doing a segment she calls “My Drunk Kitchen” and from there, her fame exploded. Her vibrant personality has brought fans from all over the world. What makes Hannah’s channel unlike the rest is her optimistic view of life and how relatable she is to her fans.
Early last year, YouTube offered up a new monthly subscription that allows its subscribers specific benefits such as no ads, offline viewing, as well as listening to videos while the screen is off. The subscription was once known as as YouTube Music Key. It’s since been renamed to Youtube Red.
What makes Youtube Red exciting is that it showcases some of what makes YouTube the place for storytellers and that is its original content. Certain YouTube stars who have found their niche on the platform have added their original style to series and movies for their fans by allowing them to expand stories and entertain subscribers.
One of the original series being offered with the subscription is a series called “Broke” starring one of the players in BuzzFeedViolet. From start to finish, “Broke” tells a story about three friends who move to Los Angeles trying to fulfill their dreams.
It could easily be interpreted as a coming of age story. The writing on the series is smart and entertaining. The dialogue between characters is millennial speak that brings in the target audience. With a short running time, “Broke” tells its story and draws viewer in.
More Stories, Please
YouTube has evolved from cat videos into a worldwide phenomenon that has altered the way we tell stories. What started out as a place to waste time has turned into a venue where people can create and share. Aspiring filmmakers have found a setting that engages their artistic need to tell narratives. They reach out with their life stories and find people with whom to connect — a connection that can sometimes be lacking elsewhere. We all have a voice and a story just waiting to be told. With YouTube in your hands, you only need to find your own story, your own narrative and your own voice.
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