It’s typical to find online video executives and marketers frequently talking about such topics as brand deals, video strategy, and the best way to stay on top of the market without ostracizing audiences and losing a profit. At a business level, these conversations are important for driving and shaping the future of the industry. But when video marketers focus too much on what they plan to do down the line, they can sometimes forget where and why they initially started out in online video.
At one point, everyone in this industry was a newcomer. That’s why here at Tubular we wanted to get the perspective of someone who’s just starting his career in online video and why the industry matters to him, as part of our “Day in the Life of” series. Nick Torchon works as an intern at the YouTube comedy and gaming channel Funhaus, which boasts over 1 million subscribers and a notable average 30-day engagement rate of 2.7x.
In this interview, Torchon explains his daily duties at the channel owned by digital production company Rooster Teeth, as well as providing his thoughts on the future of online video and how brands can prepare for its changes over the next five years.
The Daily Life of an YouTube Intern
TI: What are your primary responsibilities at Funhaus?
NT: Most of my responsibilities fall under being an assistant to our editors. A lot of our videos need visual gags to push the jokes even further, so one of my jobs is to help illustrate these in either Photoshop or Premiere Pro. This usually involves going over notes on what we need to be doing, and how to best capture their ideas for each prompt. Since this is my second time around as an intern, I’ve also been put in charge of teaching the new interns how we normally operate. They’re all fast learners, but usually this relates to our live shows, so we focus on setting up audio equipment, cameras, and props, making sure the shows run as smoothly as possible.
TI: What does an average day look like for you after this, step-by-step or process-by-process?
NT: It can depend on the day, but usually they follow a pattern. On Mondays, we set up for our podcast which is live streamed through our website. Our team of interns and I will bring in the furniture, and any other props needed. After that, we’ll begin setting up cameras and audio equipment, ensuring everything is properly leveled and placed where it needs to be. Once all the necessary tests are completed we go back to our office and watch alongside the live stream, ensuring no issues come up. From time to time, I’ll sit in the control booth with our technical director, Omar, and work alongside him, learning the ins and outs on how these shows operate.
Most days, I’m coordinating with our editors and making content. We’ll receive a list of Photoshop prompts, and all of the interns will discuss which ones we would like to work on, and distribute each one accordingly. This is what a typical week will be, with everyone working to create the content that’s scheduled for the following week.
When we have off time, we’re encouraged to work on ways to improve ourselves. From time to time, I’ll work on either personal projects, or take a look at old footage we’ve produced and try to edit my own video from it, finding my own humor and style in the process.
TI: What’s your favorite part of your job?
NT: It would have to be at the end of the day on Fridays. After a long week, we all gather around and watch all of our hard work on the office TV. There’s something about being able to work on a project and immediately see the finished product, and knowing that millions of people will get to laugh at our jokes with us. It is hands down my favorite part of the job.
TI: Why do you think Funhaus, and Rooster Teeth brands in general, succeed in terms of online video?
NT: When you look at when and where the members of Rooster Teeth and Funhaus started out, you see they were part of the internet age since its conception. They grew alongside it and eventually became major players in it. I feel this success stems from the fact that they know who their base is on a personal level. They see the same things they do, at the same time they do, and get why they’re funny. It boils down to seeing themselves just as much a part of the internet as the internet is a part of them. It’s something I’ve always appreciated from them.
An Intern’s View: The Future of Online Video
TI: What’s your interest in online video?
NT: I’ve always wanted to work from behind the scenes, and felt there was always something interesting about having your work be appreciated whether or not those watching know what it took to make that. Anytime a major film releases, I always want to see how these ideas were spawned, and who these people were that put their heart and souls into it. To me, that’s the part of online media I feel rarely gets to shine, and why I appreciate Funhaus for always including their whole team in the conversation about producing content.
TI: How do you think online media/video will look in five years’ time? What would you like to be doing?
NT: ’m hoping that we’ll see a greater expansion into the types of delivery systems people use to watch online content, things like VR, online services, and others, giving people a more immersive experience. By that point, I hope that the concept of online media and mass media will become one and the same.
I also think there will be a greater push by companies to partner with online personalities. As of now, there’s still the potential for online content providers to establish themselves and create their own brand, but for many, there is still a barrier keeping them from reaching a wider audience. This is where big name brands stepping in and providing means to those goals is important. That’s not to say success can’t be achieved without it; there are still plenty of opportunities out there to grow and I hope at some point online media will be able to completely change the game whether or not they have someone backing them.
As for where I’d like to be, I think it’d be great to be able to work on projects I’m truly passionate about. I want to explore more into the world of post-production; having the skill and knowledge to take nothing and create an entire world is truly amazing to me. Overall, I want to be part of something where I can be excited to come to work everyday, and work with a team that has limitless potential to create the things that we love.
TI: What is one area you think brands in online video could improve on in the next five years?
NT: I think brands would benefit from not trying to take such a direct control over their partners’ content. I see this from time to time, where brands will attempt to influence their content creators, to appeal to a wider audience. While this is done with good intentions, there needs to be an understanding that content made solely for the masses is more likely to alienate its audience than gain new traction. In order for both partners to thrive, there needs an understanding that creators need an open space without the fear of being on someone’s leash.