Kickstarting a documentary featuring YouTube stars
Millions of people tune in to watch their favorite YouTube personalities every week, but does anybody really know anything about the people they’re watching?
Los Angeles native Dan Dobi wants to change that. The witty, sometimes outlandish YouTube star—whose personal channel has over 38,000 subscribers and 3,500,000 views—knows a thing or two about the true lives of some of YouTube’s biggest personalities, having befriended many in his five years on the YouTube scene.
He knows how hard they work as well as how much scripting, shooting, and editing work goes into each video. He knows that many treat YouTube like a full-time job—even if they’re also forced to work a second job to pay the bills.
Recently, Dobi announced plans to produce a documentary entitled Please Subscribe, a behind-the-scenes look at the real lives of YouTube celebrities, such as chefs Hannah Hart and EpicMealTime, gamer Toby Turner, and prankster Ed Bassmaster. He’s already begun production on the film, shooting day-in-the-life segments with Bassmaster and Hart, and he hopes to capture more—as many as funding for the film will provide.
Last month, Dobi launched a Kickstarter campaign he hopes will help him fund production of the film. Dobi wants to raise $9,500 for the project, money that will go towards equipment rental costs and travel expenses to go visit the homes of people he wants to shoot. With 17 days left, Dobi has already managed to raise more than $6,000, but he has no plans to quit fundraising when (and if) he reaches his goal. As he was quick to point out, the more money he has at the end of the campaign, the more people he’ll be able to profile.
"One of the reasons I'm making this film is to give the world a better understanding of what YouTube is," Dobi told the Daily Dot. “It's this community where people live, work, and entertain. For some of them, this is their full-time job."
Dobi hopes Please Subscribe can serve to celebrate the wildly diverse personalities one can find within the community. There's no blueprint for success on YouTube; hard work and a unique voice are both paramount. But the community immortalizes those who go about finding their own path.
"YouTube is a magical, fun place," Dobi said. "Everyone has an interesting story, and I've made some of my best friends through YouTube."
"I come from a traditional media background, but the YouTube stuff is really fun. It's almost like a make-believe place that, once you're involved in it, you just see it completely differently. But YouTube is just as powerful now as radio was when it first came out and TV was when it came out."
Dobi has focused most of the film's attention on the concept of what makes a YouTube personality. He said there's a common thread that exists among most YouTube stars: rarely does one enter into the community with plans to make it big.
Some "95% of the people who do YouTube full-time, it happened to them by mistake," he said. "Everybody who does this does it because they love it. It's like somebody who plays soccer: they don't do it because they want to make money playing soccer. They do it because they love it. That's half the reason why they're so successful."
Kickstarter: Please Subscribe - A YouTube Documentary
- Location: Los Angeles, California
- Summary: Popular YouTube personality Dan Dobi wants to produce a documentary film that offers a behind the scenes look at some of YouTube’s biggest stars.
- Goal: $9,500
- Amount raised as of press time: $6,230
- Days Left: 16
- Best Buy: For $100, backers can hop on an hour long Skype call with Dobi to talk about the film and YouTube community.