How to Train Your Dragon is coming to an end
On 14 March, 2016, I uploaded a video called ‘What Happened to the Night Furies?’ It was terrible. Like, seriously, it absolutely cringeworthy in every possible way. I had no idea how to be in front of a camera! From the jarring entrance of me crying, ‘Hey, people of the present!’ (which I, for some unknown reason, adopted as a name for my audience) to my jittering jump cuts and over enthusiastic manner of speaking, it was terrible. Over my time, I’ve slowly refined and learned how to speak in front of a camera.
That video went nowhere, until it did. I had a short stint of 60 videos or so which nobody watched, and that was my final one. I was interested in HTTYD and wanted to know what happened to the damn night furies!? But there was nothing on it out there, so I, trying one last kind of video, made a fan theory. A year later it exploded to 200,000 views which… well, when you’re a nobody with no audience, that’s about as big as one can possibly be.
And that was how many channel truly began.
I started making HTTYD theories and explanations which were, for the most part, good-ish. I made mistakes and simplified things, and I’ve learned since then to never simplify on the internet because the INTERNET WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU. It gave me my dream career and launched my life into a new era. Since then, my channel has matured. My audience has grown exponentially and changed drastically in terms of the age group most of viewers come in. Now, the HTTYD group are, well, actually a minority.
In a sense, I feel like doing less HTTYD content is like I’m betraying that original group who got me started. That I’m turning my back on them after all they gave me. Strange guilt complex, I know, but it happens. I’ve come to love the characters and the dragons more than I thought I could. I know more random tidbits about dragon biology than I ever thought I would. After all, it’s my job to to know.
When the final HTTYD film finally comes out, it’ll signal a change for me and my channel. Maybe kids won’t care as much, maybe they will. It’ll always have a place in my heart. I can only hope the final film does the story justice. If it made Spielberg cry, then it probably will.
I am now a full time YouTuber.
One day, a long time, I jumped in front of a $150 (90USD) camera and a half-broken camera stand given to me by my grandfather. I started talking about where the night furies went. Night furies. As in, the dragon from How to Train Your Dragon. I was over hyper because I had no idea how to be in front of a camera. The camera went in and out of focus. I had to manufacture this enthusiasm because, ‘enthusiasm is contagious!’ or something like that. I had 500 subscribers.
I’ve grown, or at least, I hope I’ve grown. It’s taken me months to feel comfortable in front of a camera. I would wait till my parents were out to do it because shame. It took months to find a grounding, an image, a way to feel… right in this new online world? A world I wasn’t just viewing now but participating in, and others were participating with me in the way I had done just weeks before.
I’ve just finished university. Five years - two degrees (Law and Arts) - on, and now I’ve been given the opportunity to do what I love. Where to from here? Well, it seems like it’s over the hideously long fall I’ve been thrust toward and straight into unknown, that gaping abyss, that wild nowhere of the internet. It’s thanks to my patrons, to God, my viewers, and to my girlfriend I’ve gotten where I have.
It’s even scarier now because I don’t have this second life at uni to live in. Before now, my time was split, my attention diverted, and the reality had not yet become a set path. But here I am. Let’s just hope that the skills I’ve garnered over the years will get me to where I need to be. So thank you. One and all.
Some years ago, before my channel ever really took off, the community and I decided that we wanted to support two charities: A21, which works to stop human trafficking, and in particular the sex trade of women and children, and the World Wildlife Fund. One of the great (and I use that in the Alexandrian or Ivan sense) curses of life is that we can only care about, campaign for, and donate to so many things. People say ‘pick your battle’ and, well, I guess this is ours.
While my passions also lie with helping those suffering from mental health problems, the community seems content with these two charities. I can happily say that from t-shirt sales of the ‘Official Mishkerian Legion’ shirt, we have raised:
We can be pretty proud of that. I look forward to seeing what we can do together in the future, especially as we come up to the Vlogbrothers’ P4A 2018 over the next few months. We’ll need to pick another charity to promote. Last time we actually got eighth in votes, but… for some reason, they still didn’t choose it, which was insanely gutting.
Which charity should we go for next?