Becoming a YouTuber: Interview with Two Button Crew


By: Eric Flapjack Ashley (@flapjackashley)

When YouTube debuted back in 2006, there was very little indication it would explode the way it has. The first video I ever watched on it was a couple Asian college students lip syncing with a Backstreet Boys video. It was funny, and a neat distraction, but in the age of MySpace, I figured it was more of a novelty. I mean, who wants to sit around and watch a low-res quality video buffer and stutter on a dialup or DSL connection?

Flash forward a few years, and YouTube has become a vital part of almost everyone’s life. Want to look up a vintage television show or advertisement? You can find it on YouTube. Care to watch clips of classic sporting events or wrestling matches? Let’s head to YouTube. Did you miss that important class lecture today? There’s a chance your school could have streamed it on YouTube. Don’t have a TV at all? Stream a lot of shows and movies (although some with a fee) right from YouTube.

But one area YouTube has especially grown is in user created content. People can make money from producing their own videos and blogs and uploading them to their channel, so much money that many can live (very) comfortable lives if they have enough of a following – upload daily videos on a newly-released video game or building a dedicated following on an older but still very active game like Pokemon GO can net you a (rumored) $500 or more per day through advertising that YouTube places on your content. Doing the math, approximately 30 videos every month at half a grand per day… and you could be very happy with those results. This is, of course, before YouTube changed certain guidelines on what content gets paid what, angering some longtime creators, and there is always a risk in giving up your day job – or even dropping out of college as some have to do YouTube full time – that what is green pastures today could end up being a desert of regret if internet trends change, you accidentally say something very offensive and subscribers begin to abandon you, or just whatever you are covering goes out of favor with the general Internet population. We nerds are dedicated and loyal, but we also are the quickest to deem something out of date in always looking for the latest trends.

So how does one start up a channel of their very own? It’s much harder than it seems. Some of the big gaming ones like Peanut Butter Gamer and GameXplain went for a few years before becoming the go-to iconic channels they are now. For every channel that has 100k or more subscribers – some surpassing over a million – there are about a hundred good ones that hover at a thousand or less. There are a lot of channels on YouTube and they are all fighting for your eyes.

One of those channels is called Two Button Crew, currently at 1,054 subscribers. That’s a decent number for a small, unaffiliated channel that started from scratch, but it took a lot of work to get there. TBC focuses on Nintendo content and uploads videos every weekday – their current count (as of this writing) is 694 videos on their channel, and that number will be higher by the time this article is published. That video count easily surpasses the number of available videos on much bigger channels. In addition, they recently launched a podcast as well. That may seem like a lot of work, and it is. I sat down with the two founders of TBC, childhood friends Scott and Simeon, and talked about video games, Nintendo, and whether if all of this work has really been worth it.

Hello guys, thanks for joining us!

Scott: Thanks for having us!

Simeon: An absolute pleasure.

First things first, you guys are clearly Nintendo fans. What is it about Nintendo that draws you to it?

Scott: Growing up, most of the games I was allowed to play were Nintendo titles. As an adult, I appreciate their unbeatable polish and uniquely fun experiences.

Simeon: It comes down to four things for me. First, Nintendo simply puts out quality games. Sure, there’s a stinker here and there, but overall, it’s a safe bet that when you buy a Nintendo game, you’re getting quality. Second, the games they make are unique. They are unafraid to try new things and make it seem like they have been doing it for years. Third, their characters are iconic and interesting. I’m always looking forward to seeing what adventure Samus is going on next, or what trek Link is having. It wouldn’t be the same without those icons. Lastly, the nostalgia factor cannot be ignored. I grew up with Nintendo, and it has become a part of me.

Two Button Crew has been going strong for well over a year now. Who came up with the idea to begin a YouTube channel and where did the name come from?

Scott: Simeon and I have been BFFs for 15 years, but in 2014, we each got married. We started seeing each other less, and I decided we needed to do something about that! Simeon took a little bit of convincing that we could pull it off, and then summer of ‘15 was when we kicked off our daily show.

Simeon: Scott came up with the idea for both the show and the name. The name actually came some years before the show when we were trying our hands at other gaming-related ventures. We were trying to come up with the perfect name. Scott had so many ideas that he would keep pitching to me, and I did not like any of them. Finally, he called me and said, “This is my very last idea.” I said, “It had better be a good one.” And it was.

New videos are uploaded every weekday to the channel. That is a practice that is normally reserved for huge channels with tens of thousands of subscribers. So, needless to say, that is quite a task for a small channel such as yours. What is a typical week like for you as far as planning and filming/editing and uploading?

Scott: We’ve been doing daily videos for 500+ episodes, and it’s the perfect pace for us. Even with full time jobs outside of Two Button Crew, we can set aside time on the weekends to batch recording and editing. A typical week of TBC content takes about 15 man-hours to create.

Simeon: We typically film on Saturday for two to three hours, and Scott edits Sunday. I write the social media posts throughout the week, and we’re both constantly coming up with ideas for episodes and adding it to our growing lists of ideas.

Do you ever have difficulties in coming up with new topics every day?

Scott: Never.

Simeon: This was my one fear before starting to do the show. As Scott said, I was skeptical, and one of my first questions was, “If we’re only ever talking about Nintendo, aren’t we going to run out of stuff to talk about?” I thought we would make it a few months in and have nothing more to say, but with our own new ideas, news breaking daily, and fan suggestions, I have a feeling we’ll never run out.

Has your channel changed and/or grown from your initial vision, or has it gone on pretty much like you had planned?

Scott: I was always afraid to venture into the unknown territory of game capture and live streaming. That’s why I’m really thankful for our friend Ryan, who remotely helps us out, leads our streaming efforts, and expands what Two Button Crew is able to do!

Simeon: It has grown, but the initial vision is still intact. We are just guys that like to talk about video games, and the fact that other people want to join the conversation is just an awesome bonus.

What kinds of early goals have you been able to meet so far?

Scott: We’ve always wanted to focus on not only making great content, but also building a tight-knit community. We set out to “show up every day for two years without expecting results”, and that’s a milestone we just hit! We won’t use cheap growth tactics, but instead focus on attracting the right kind of viewers. We have the kindest, most supportive viewers on YouTube; that has to be our biggest achievement.

Simeon: Seeing “The Crew” grow to over one thousand was a huge victory, and they really are the best group of YouTuber users in the world. Everyone is supportive and wants to see the channel succeed more than we could have anticipated.

You guys recently also connected with the YouTube channel of Nintendo Force, an independently published magazine that some have called the “spiritual successor” to the beloved Nintendo Power. How did you guys hook up with them?

Scott: Simeon and I are really happy about our collaboration with Nintendo Force! It started with us being huge fans of their work. We subscribe to their magazine, write in to their inbox, etc. Then, with unrelenting persistence, we kept offering to help them expand into the world of video! And their YouTube channel is doing fantastic now.

As a smaller channel that is beginning to really find it’s footing, what advice would you give to someone who wants to build a presence on YouTube?

Scott: You have to love the act of making videos more than the idea of being a famous YouTuber. You can’t be in it for the money or the fame – those aren’t sustainable motives.

Simeon: I agree with Scott. Persistence is absolutely key. Making videos should be its own end, not a means to some other goal.

Going forward, where do you hope to see the channel in a year from now?

Scott: Entertaining and bringing joy to more Nintendo fans!

Simeon: The same – good friends gathering around what they love.

And finally, do you guys consider yourselves to be nerds? How do you fly the Nerd Banner with pride outside of YouTube?

Scott: Absolutely. I’d rather watch Super Smash Bros. highlight reels than “real” sports, any day hands down. Apartment + laptop + high-speed internet = happy for life. What more could you need? What’s that about going outside?

Simeon: It is a mantle others must bestow upon me. My only responsibility is to prove it. I love attending local (or national) events, such as comic conventions or Smash Bros. tournaments. I also find myself falling into TV show fandoms. I’m a Whovian and a Lostie among others.

Thanks for joining us!

YouTube gives everyone a chance to be creative in amazing ways. And the beauty is that anyone can have a channel to create content on nearly anything they wish (within standard decency guidelines, of course). Launching a YouTube channel is a lot of work, but for Scott and Simeon, keeping it fun is vitally important. Enjoying what you are creating is key, and anything else on top of that is gravy.

You can find Two Button Crew on YouTube, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

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