Why We Have Failed As YouTubers...
We got an email this week from a YouTuber giving us a few hints and tips on how to do better on the platform and specifically how to maximise our income. (For the record we don’t consider ourselves YouTubers - never have been and never will. The term itself is pretty embarrassing right up there with ‘influencer’ but thats a story for another time)
Anyway he’d seen our latest film Turbos & Temples 2 and was surprised we had released it as a single 90 minute feature length film. (It actually goes for almost 3 hours and is going up in 2 parts) He explained that if we had broken it up into tiny parts and given each part it’s own thumbnail and description we could have “made heaps more cash”. He then gave us specific examples such as a thumbnail of the NSX with the title ‘DROVE A JDM NSX - (DREAM COME TRUE)’ and ‘GETTING MY CAR SERVICED IN JAPAN (ILLEGAL???!!!!!)’. He went on to explain that even the scene of us eating curry could be monetised and posted as its own video. Yeah… nah.
Here’s the thing: We knew from the beginning that this was not going to be a money making exercise. There’s no way that ad revenue alone is going to cover the costs of creating a three hour feature film in another country and all the associated costs, let alone the time in editing, making new music and mixing it, grading it and the 36 hours it takes to upload it from Australia. We never expected it to be a money maker and are totally fine with that. And this is the paradox of working so hard on something that on one hand has to have some kind of business platform to financially support making our film, but on the other hand being very comfortable knowing that we will “lose” money by doing it. It’s why we consider what we do mostly a “hobby” - even though there are obviously commercial aspects to running a business like rent, insurance and the like, we are just doing what we want to do and what excites us, and taking our viewers along for the ride. A lot of viewers have an insatiable appetite for content, and YouTube is a great platform for that. But it's also worth remembering a time where people really put extra effort into their craft and made something to be truly proud of. And that's what our motivating goal was here. Something that could float a little higher than the 10 minute click bait VLOGs that have proliferated the car section on the Youtube that are very obviously designed for the sole purpose of maximising income for the creator.
When you make or buy a product that costs more than what it will return, that’s not a viable business - it’s called a hobby. Nobody buys a dirt bike or modifies a car and realistically expects to make money from it once they sell it. And it’s why what we do straddles this strange world between having to earn some money to pay for things, but also not requiring every decision to be based around making as much money as possible.
We made the film as an experience for ourselves, and as gift to all the MCM fans who have supported us over the years, and particularly for those who are struggling around the Christmas period. A time where incidents of suicide increase and family tensions can lead to people suffering bouts of anxiety and depression. Christmas is not always this amazing time that we see on TV and the movies - for a lot of people it’s an incredibly sad and lonely time. It’s why we worked really hard to get it ready for Christmas Day - eventually getting it finished around 1am on Christmas Morning. When we released our Roadkill film in 2016 on Christmas Day we were inundated with messages from people saying it made their day and some people going as far to say that it got to them at a time where they felt like they had no hope left at all for the future. It was so incredible and felt like such a valuable use of our effort.
We’re not here to save the world, or expecting that Turbos & Temples 2 will have any major meaningful effect on people who are really struggling, but we do know that something to look forward to and a couple of hours of escapism is a worthy use of our time and money. And it’s sure as hell worth more to us than making 10 click bait videos of us eating curry just to try and cash in our viewers. This is exactly the reason why so many YouTubers have such a terrible reputation because it’s clear that their entire focus is monetisation. And this is exactly why we do other work outside of Youtube, because we are happy to self fund something and have a great time doing it without needing to make every decision based around how much money we can make. And if our viewers enjoy it and are OK watching a few ads, or buy some merch to help cover some of the cost, then that’s most definitely enough for us!
So thanks for your handy YouTube advice. Maybe you’re right and we have failed as YouTubers. I'm sure we could make more money by making daily click bait VLOG videos that are cheap and trash, but seems you’ve got that area covered already so we’ll leave you to it.
TURBOS & TEMPLES PART 2 is COMING OUT SOON...