About Me

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Joseph Scarbrough launched what he called "The Scarblog" as a way of cataloging his work over the years, as well as going into greater detail of things on his mind (known as "Unfinished Thoughts").

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Na Na Na Na Hey Hey-ey Good-bye

This is an official announcement, not an early April Fool's prank, but the real McCoy: I'm quitting. I'm giving up.

There's just nothing I can do. YouTube has done everything they can to continually kick the dog and keep the little people down . . . and I can't continue to try to fight a losing battle. It's gotten to a point now where even if you try to gain more exposure for yourself, YouTube will actually punish you for it! Just recently, I discovered a way to work around something that YouTube had done to continue to stunt the growth of smaller channels: in 2013, YouTube retired tags for small channels only (I know this for certain, because larger channels are completely unaffected by this, and continue to praise the use of tags), and as such, regardless of what specific tags you put on your uploads, they won't be picked up by the search algorithms; I can attest to this, because over time, I see more and more of my videos disappearing from search results altogether, despite what tags I've used. I discovered a way to work around this by adding tags to the description instead, and the results were phenomenal: my videos were showing up in search results again, and I know other people have tried it and gotten positive results for themselves as well.

Unfortunately, YouTube has caught onto this as well, and has decided to punish channels for doing this! They've recently updated their terms of service and community policies to including this as a no-no:
Ironically, they don't seem to be so strict with misleading or racy thumbnails

That's right: YouTube now considers this an act of spam and trying to "game" or "trick" the search algorithm to gain more views, and will actually terminate your channel for doing this!

This is just further proof that YouTube actually goes out of its way and goes to any lengths to oppress and stunt the growth of smaller channels any way it can. It seems like there should be some sort of a policy against this, but there isn't, it's just YouTube being YouTube (or, more apropos - ThemTube).

I just can't do this anymore. I've been producing content on YouTube since the tail-end of 2007, and that was back when YouTube really was YouTube, it served the exact purpose it was created for: offer a virtual platform for creators, producers, filmmakers, and other people to share their original work with the rest of the world in an easy way. Unfortunately, a majority of people used it to upload clips from already-existing TV shows, specials, movies, and as such, we pretty much abused YouTube for what it was. With that, the original creators of YouTube sold the site to Google to better maintain the control of copyrighted material being uploaded to the site . . . and since then, Google has continued to exploit YouTube for their own benefit, and the little people have suffered as a result. At the time, it seemed like YouTube was showing signs of the beginning of the end in 2009, but looking back, it's clear that 2013 was when it really took a turn for the worse: since then, they've made accessing our subscriptions as needlessly difficult as possible, they've retired tags for smaller channels (as mentioned above), they only count views from people who actually watch a video from beginning to end, and basically do everything they can to sweep smaller channels under the rug to posture bigger channels. Because of this, any kind of feedback I receive for my work and my art has taken a serious nosedive, and is now almost non-existent. Sure, in an ideal world, we all could just continue to indulge and immerse ourselves in our artistic endeavors just for the pleasure and joy of it . . . but art is also meant to be seen by other people, and it's their feedback that let's you know whether your did a good job or not. When your art is continually being hidden by higher-ups at a company that's larger than any of us, that's not only insulting to the artists, producers, filmmakers, animators, singers, and other YouTubers, but it basically makes your attempts at sharing your creativity with the rest of the world all for nought.

Yes, there are alternatives to YouTube out there, but they all have their own flaws that it's not even worth the trouble and hassle of migrating to them: Dailymotion is aware many people have migrated to them from YouTube, and have become just as bad about deleting and removing content; Veoh and Vimeo both have certain limitations in place, such as file-size and/or time limits - things YouTube has long done away with.

And this really blows, because I've improved so much since my "hey day" in the time period of 2007 through 2009: since then, I've upgraded from shooting on videotape and having limited ways of editing, to shooting full HD digital video and non-linear editing with Adobe Premiere: my work looks, sounds, and feels so much better than what how it used to back then, but unfortunately, not a lot of people know because they aren't aware of any of this, thanks to how YouTube has stunted my growth as a small channel. I just can't continue to deal with this, and I don't want to. It's especially sad knowing that there are some people out there who actually expected me to make something out of myself in this field of work, but when you lack resources, and now pretty much a platform or outlet to put your work out there, what else can be done? I really hate to disappoint people like this, because I do have more stories I want to tell, and more characters I want to bring to life, but when there's nothing I can do, there's nothing I can do.

As you may have seen on Facebook and/or Twitter, I recently announced that MORON LEAGUE 4 is happening: don't worry, it still is, it's pretty much in pre-production right now. That will be my swan song. I plan to release it closer to whenever the actual SPACE JAM sequel is released (still no release date confirmed, but some sources are saying 2019). I'll continue to post updates on Facebook and Twitter (and maybe more detailed information here on Scarblog), but once it's released, that'll be it from me.

For all of you who have been faithfully following the insane antics of Steve D'Monster, or other puppety oddball madness all of these years, and have gotten some level of enjoyment out of them, I thank you for sticking with me all this time and for your continued support. I hate to let you guys down, but in paraphrasing what I've already said, I can't continue to fight a battle that I know I'm losing - especially when the other side continue to up the ante to the point that it's out of my control.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Even Nick Park Gets It

Quite some time back, I wrote an entry about how sometimes the more flawless and pristine you can make puppets look, the more artificial they appear. As I mentioned, there's a certain warmth and edge in whatever imperfections you may see in puppets (seams, arm rods, pilly fleece, among others) that somehow makes them seem more real and believable; thoughts on the matter seem to differ among puppetry aficionados.

Interestingly enough, this doesn't just apply to puppetry, but also animation as well. Nick Park, the creator of the lovable plasticine duo Wallace & Gromit, and other animators at Aardman Animation, share the exact same mindset, that it's the imperfections that give the characters their warmth and realness - hence why whenever you watch any of the Wallace & Gromit films (or, really, any of Aardman's work), you often see the fingerprints and thumbprints on the characters. For Nick Park, it also goes beyond just a sense of warmth for the characters, but he also feels this is a way of showing a little bit of the artist themselves in their art. I don't even know if the layperson would even understand that, but I definitely think I do: as long as I've been watching and observing anything Muppets for almost all of my life, I can kind of see a little bit of Don Sahlin in the puppets he's built, or Kermit Love, or Caroly Wilcox, or Ed Christie.

To get a better understanding of what I mean, here's a collection of WALLACE & GROMIT'S CRACKING CONTRAPTIONS shorts, as well as a behind-the-scenes featurette, in which you can hear Nick Park and his fellow Aardman artists discuss this very thing (starting at the 20:14 mark):

Sunday, February 26, 2017

TECHNICOLOR DREAMS: Redux

February 22, 2015 saw the release of my most personal project to date: an experimental film that conveys how sometimes in the midst of unpleasant mental imagery, some of my most significant and better ideas are born. In a sense, TECHNICOLOR DREAMS is an alegory of one of my creative processes, in which many of my ideas come to me from strange, lucid, trippy dreams that seem to invade my sleep on a nightly basis.


So, what's this redux all about then? Well, as it turns out, the initial 2015 release of TECHNICOLOR DREAMS was met with mostly mixed reviews, and a common complaint that it received from viewers was that it felt too long, dragged out, and redundant (I've been told a former show-business professional even looked at it and didn't like it). I suppose even a personal, pet project has to be done in such a way that pleases everybody else.

With that said, I've been working on a recut of TECHNICOLOR DREAMS: shortening it and cutting out a lot of the so-called long, dragged out, and redudant moments that were apparently bogging down the special; the end results being a redux of the original special - what was once eighteen minutes has now been condensed down to thirteen. Hopefully, people might find that this is an improvement:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Oh, the Rage of the Upper Class. . . . **UPDATE**

This is something of a follow up to my previous post, because something similar is happening again, and as a result, much of the internet is all abuzz . . . again.

So, again, these huge YouTube channels whine and belly-ache about how YouTube keeps screwing them over and how they're losing subscribers . . . even though they have millions and millions of subscribers (which, for them, is hardly a dent), and it sets off a wave of reaction across the internet. So how come whenever I try to speak out about the real struggles of smaller channels, like mine, who have been screwed over by YouTube for years (at least since 2013 for some of us), I get attacked for it? It's bad enough that YouTube has been screwing over the smaller channels, but why must we also be shunned by much of the rest of the internet for it? For these idiots, their response is always the same: if your channel is small, it's automatically because "you suck," but what they don't realize is that our channels are small because YouTube isn't doing anything to help the smaller channels grow, because they keep posturing and pandering to the huge channels with millions of subscribers, like Casey Neistat, or PewDiePie. YouTube has restricted a number of basic features (namely tags) from small channels, and will only unlock these features unless you reach a certain number of subscribers (in some cases, the minimum requirement is 100,000). Case in point: now that I've recently passed 100 subscribers (wow, that only took five years), I'm now able to add watermarks to my content without having to add my own when editing prior to upload.

But again, it's so pathetic and cringeworthy that huge channels with millions of subscribers whine about losing views, losing subscribers, and losing traffic, when their losses are insignificant compared to smaller channels: from my own experiences, I went from getting about or over a hundred views and up to ten or so comments within the first twenty-four hours of uploading a new video, to barely up to twenty views and maybe a couple of generic comments within the first week of a new upload since about 2013 or so. Much like if the wealthy lose a little money, they still have a considerable amount to certainly keep them afloat, but when working class loses a little money, that puts a real cramp on their very livelihoods. So really, there's no reason for big channels to make such a spectable about their losses when there's smaller channels out there that are truly struggling.

I was recently rewatching James Rolfe's CINEMASSACRE 200 documentary, in which although he's been filmmaking since he was a kid, he had very little options of having his work be seen until he started sharing on the internet; in his own words, he says, "I proved that the internet is the best place to get stuff seen, and is the ultimate form of exposure." Well, that may have been true during the infancy of CineMassacre, and other similar channels and companies like Channel Awesome (both of which actually put work and effort into their content, and therefore, rightly deserve their millions of subscribers), but this isn't the case anymore for much of the internet. The internet seems to be very picky-choosy about what can be accepted and successful, and in the current state of YouTube, it's become clear that the only kinds of videos that are considered worthy of attention are trend videos - this is what YouTube has pretty much been reduced to: various challenges, vlogs, reviews, top 10s, trivia, etc. There's virtually no more room for originality on YouTube, or the internet in general  . . . I can certainly remember VAMPIRE GIRL going ignored during its initial run on SmackJeeves, because readers of SmackJeeves webcomics are apparently only interested in Westernized Manga, stolen video game sprites, and LGBT comics. If James wasn't already a major internet celebrity by way of Angry Video Game Nerd, do you think any of his horror-comedy films and shorts would merit any kind of reaction on the internet today if he were entirely an unknown newcomer? I don't think so.
(Watch CINEMASSACRE 200 - much of what James did to make his earliest films is basically what I had to do in my own early days.)

I know I'm paraphasing much of what I'm saying in my previous post, but this issue really needs more addressing, and more eyes should be open to the smaller channels out there, and all of this should be able to be addressed without being attacked for it. Let's see some sympathy and some support for the smaller channels who are really struggling for a change.

UPDATE December 19, 2016
So, here it is a week and a half after the fact, and PewDiePie has pretty much admitted that deleting his channel (or, evidently, one of his channels, which I'll get to in a bit) was all just a big publicity stunt, but he adds that, "that was the whole joke." I'm sorry, but, how, exactly, is this even a joke? I honestly can't comprehend this . . . it does not compute. He went on record saying, "if your channel is dying, just pull a P.R. stunt."

First of all, how is a channel with millions and millions of subscribers a dying channel? How? As someone with a struggling small channel, I honestly cannot comprehend, compute, nor fathom how a channel that already had roughly 40,000,000+ subscribers - with millions and millions of views and likes per video, is a dying channel. It makes absolutely no sense or logic whatsoever.

Secondly, it turns out that he did not delete his main channel, but apparently a second channel that he had (and evidently, a "less popular" one at that), which begs the question why does he need more than one channel? Come to think of it, why do any of these YouTube celebrities even need more than one channel anyway? Shane Dawson has like three different channels . . . why? I don't even really see why Adam the Woo (who I did, actually, used to be a fan of) needs two different channels, either - can't he post his daily vlogs on the same channel as he posts his other videos? I don't need another channel to upload non-puppetry related videos, nor do I need a separate channel just for Steve D'Monster . . . so, what do these people need multiple channels for anyway?

Thirdly . . . I'm sorry, you're calling this a "P.R. stunt"? Uh-huh. Well, here's the thing. Smaller channels are dying, they really are, you know why? Because we can't get millions and millions of subscribers like these people have . . . I really don't have to go into details again like I have already, do I? About how YouTube has been screwing over smaller channels for years, and just continues to do so more and more with each passing year? Yeah, I already covered that; no need to go over it again. But here's the thing: if smaller channels try something like this, the reaction is accusations of shamelessly and desperately crying for attention, and that just makes matters worse.

With all that being said, I can see that reaction from people regarding PewDiePie's so-called publicity stunt is mostly negative, and most people are annoyed and ticked off by it, so I guess that says something. But still, when you have millions and millions of subscribers, views, and likes, you are not a "dying" channel. If your viewcount goes from a hundred or so views within the first twenty-four hours of a new upload to up to twenty views within the first week of a new upload, then you're a dying channel.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

And This is Why I Never Advertise (and Other Stuff)

In the almost nine years I've been producing content on YouTube, not once have I ever asked anybody to subscribe to my channel. Never. In fact, I don't even go around procalating or advertising my channel in general, unless somebody expresses interest and asks about it - otherwise, I just stay quiet and let people find it on their own.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people talk to me about advertising and ask what I do about it. What people don't seem to realize is that advertising does nothing but make enemies for yourself: I learned that the hard way in the days before I even began creating original content for the web - when you advertise what you're working on, all it does is tick people off at you, because they see it as nothing more than shameless, desperate cries for attention, and thus are actually less likely to look at your work . . . and if they do, it's usually just to troll and tell you how much it sucks.

Unfortunately, when you don't advertise, you're really not getting much notice, and as a small channel on YouTube, that can be problematic - especially when YouTube itself just loves to hawk these bigger channels, and in the process, sweeps the smaller channels under the rug. In fact, YouTube has not-so-subtly been reserving more and more special features for bigger channels with thousands and millions of subscribers. Sure, small channels can access certain features like being able to upload videos longer than fifteen minutes, and using custom thumbnails - both of which are wonderful and helpful (even though it took me a year just to get YouTube to send me a verification code to unlock them) . . . but certain other features are unavailable to you unless you have an insane amount of subscribers (like a 100,000 minimum). For example: YouTube had formally announced that they were retiring tags a year or two ago, but apparently it was only for small channels, because apparently bigger channels have been unaffected by this (because in speaking with different owners of bigger channels, apparently tags still work for them) and don't even realize it. Also, notice how whenever you log into YouTube, the first thing you never see are the channels you're actually subscribed to, but rather, what trending videos YouTube wants you to watch. The bottom line is that if you have a small channel on YouTube, you're basically screwed.

So, when the opportunity arose to speak out about this issue, the end results were explosive. A big YouTube celebrity, Casey Neistat, had announced he was ending his daily vlog, and it apparently was such big, earth-shattering news that almost all of the internet exploded over it. It, apparently, was a really, really big deal. Why? Because Casey Neistat is a really, really big YouTube celebrity. How did he get to be a big, YouTube celebrity? Because all he does is just talk about his life. That's it. Come to think of it, this is apparently how a lot of YouTubers end up becoming big celebrities, by just sitting around and talking about random stuff. YouTube has become a sea of people just sitting around and talking about themselves. Who knew YouTube became NarcissismTube? But anyway, the main reason Casey Neistat's retirement was such an explosive news story was because he has a following of over 6,000,000 subscribers. That's all well and good, but what does this say about the smaller channels out there who are struggling to even be noticed? You think the earth would shatter if Tim Kelly announced he wasn't going to do anymore ZOOK & MAX? You think the world would end if Thomas Ferranti decided to give up any of his multi talents like voice acting, character acting, singing, and orchestrating? Julio Robles is planning on a SCRAPSTV reboot, and I don't see this trending on social media.

Since Casey Neistat's retirement was exploding all over social media, I decided to take an opportunity and address this very issue of the struggles of smaller channels on YouTube, the smaller channels that are swept under the rug, the smaller channels that are never seen, the smaller channels that are never given a chance. That turned out to be a mistake. While a few people actually understood the point I was trying to make, other people flipped out, you would have thought I was advertising my own channel . . . and some people actually thought I was, and sure enough, some of those people went out of their way to seek out my channel to attack it. See now why I don't advertise? But here's the thing: in trying to raise awareness of an actual issue on YouTube, a large number of backlashers saw this as a shameless and desperate cry for attention . . . and not once did I ever tell people to look at my channel, and not once did I ever tell people to even subscribe to my channel. Why? Because I don't advertise, because when you advertise, crap like this happens. Some people were even accusing me of accusing Casey Neistat of stealing subscribers away from me (uh . . . what?), which is absurd.

But still, the point remains: why is it that people like Casey Neistat, and others get posturing by YouTube simply for talking about random things going on in their life? In fact, why is it that YouTube has become about trends? Vlogs, reviews, people just talking about nothing . . . I mean, if this is all it takes to be on YouTube, then what's the point of amateur and independent animators, artists, cartoonists, filmmakers, producers, storytellers, and yes even puppeteers, to even bother trying to share any of what they create with other people on a platform that seemingly only caters to people who sit around giving out promiscuious relationship advice, or reviewing why a certain movie sucked, or talking about who they voted for and why you should too? Wasn't YouTube supposed to be an outlet for creative people to share their art and creativity with the world that would otherwise hide it under a bushel? Oh yeah, that was before it was sold to Google, I forgot. There's no room for anything like that on YouTube. But even so, what's so fascinating about talking about your everyday life and having millions of people listen? Are some people's mere existence just so spectacular that it must be shared with the entire world? I guarantee you if I talked about my life everyday, not only would nobody be interested, I'd bore myself.

And you know what's ironic? Why is it also that big channels always beg for subscribers? Getting back to Casey Neistat again, he once did a video begging people to subscribe to he can reach 3,000,000. Dude, you've already got millions and millions of subscribers as it is, why do you have to make a big spectacle about needing even more? And all of these other big YouTubers: how many of their videos always end with them squealing, "Please-please-please subscribe!!! I need more subscribers! Please subscribe! Please subscribe!" Gosh, it's like rich people: they always want more money when they've already got more money than they know what to do with! In a sense, you could actually argue that I at least have something bigger YouTube channels lack: integrity. Because, once again, I never beg, or even ask for subscribers.

But that does beg the question: why is it that advertising actually works for some people, but not for others? Big YouTubers constantly beg for more subscribers and get them; small YouTubers try to earn new subscribers and make enemies in the process. What gives?