No More Vids

Throughout high school and college, I pursued animation as a film art form—cell, stop motion, whatever—and made many short films. My love of animation has never waned, and later in life I worked professionally (and all too briefly) as a computer animation artist.

Wishing to exploit what knowledge of animation I'd gained over the years, in May 2023 I began producing an animated series called Dicks Retirement Trailer Park. I had a budget of exactly zero, so I made use of those tools I had available to me, which included a computer illustration program (CorelDraw) and a video editing application (Sony Movie Studio). Given the limitations of these tools, I developed a singular visual style that gave the results a kind of crude, amateurish look (South Park, anyone?). No matter; my goal was to tell stories, not wow people with my animation prowess, or apparent lack thereof.

One hundred and forty episodes later, I finally realized I was beating my head against the wall, at least with respect to the general public. While this came as no surprise, it was nevertheless somewhat disappointing. The only comments the videos garnered were all along the lines of "WTF?", "The animation sucks," "You need to spend your spare time doing something else," and so forth.

I am well aware that the "golden rule" with respect to YouTube (or the Internet in general) is "Don't read the comments," but they're kind of hard to ignore when they're all derogatory.

Dicks followed right on the heels of another series I'd created to vent my frustrations about that infuriating waste of skin, Donald Trump. Max Dumproom was The Donald done in the style of Max Headroom, which I suppose was a bit too old for the bulk of the YouTube audience. But of course, regardless of age, the MAGAturds were out in full force to shit all over my videos. After making 120 of them, I got sick of looking at Trump's face, as well as reading the pure crap Trump's followers left for me. (Not to mention that I lost a bunch of hobby followers who I guess were right-leaning and disappointed to learn I was anti-Trump. Oh well, sucks to be them.)

Earlier still was a series called Thomas the Tanked Engine, a parody of the much-loved/much-parodied children's series. After roughly sixty episodes, the series failed to gain any traction, so I let it die.

And then there was my (very brief) cooking series, as well as two runs of silly kitty videos. I was a little surprised the kitty vids didn't find an audience, but then again, I guess the people who know me and enjoy my work aren't the sharing type (as in, posting links on Facebook or whatever for wider consumption).

I fully understand that producing something that "catches on" is equal parts skill (that I evidently lack) and luck, wherein just the right audience happens upon it. But I wasn't producing all of these vids in the hopes of becoming the next YouTube superstar; I was making them merely to amuse myself, to exercise a diverse set of skills to create videos that entertained me. Still, it would have been nice to see something I'd done "catch on," even briefly.

Ultimately, given that many of my four-plus-year-old videos had at most six or seven views, it all became rather disheartening and, combined with the hurtful insults leveled at Dicks (when in fact the viewers were being stupid, commenting on isolated episodes from a series they'd never taken the time to watch), I'd finally had enough. And on 23 October 23, down they all came.

Thin-skinned? Possibly. Possessed of unrealistic expectations? Probably. Tired of running laps and getting nowhere? Definitely.

I have some close friend who enjoy what I do, and I suppose that ought to be enough. And in the end, I think it is, for I felt no regret whatsoever deleting nearly 400 videos. I left my model railroading videos online because I know these are, for the most part, appreciated. The rest? TFB.

If I should return to making any more videos, they won't be published online. I will screen them for my friends, and that will be that. I am too old and too tired to give a fuck about the rest of the world.

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