It’s hard to believe that YouTube will be 11-years old in May this year. What started as a dating website has grown exponentially and has opened the door of opportunity to the world. Whether you’re an established business or just an everyday people, YouTube is the premier free video-sharing website comprised of user-generated content covering a vast array of topics. First a few updated facts before discussing the role of Atlanta’s social media Movers and Shakers. Although competition comes from websites as Vimeo, VEVO, Instagram, Twitter, Vine and others, YouTube continues to dominate the digital video scene with established content creators. As early as 2014, the website started offering a paid subscription service that’s commercial free, but for purposes of this article we’ll be discussing the original business model and that’s where most of the content is. The amount of Producers and Directors in the film community that found an alternative outlet for their vision is too numerous to name in this article, but there are a few notables worth mentioning.
Dormntainment joined YouTube in 2011, presently has 138,186,184 views with 970,291 followers. This is a phenomenal Internet sketch comedy group doing comedic pop-culture parodies. They call themselves “6 guys, 3 rooms, one comedy troupe.” As the name hints, they started in college in Atlanta but they have grown to include major marketing and branding as part of their presence. They’re also present on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Vimeo, Soundcloud, and iTunes. Besides the platforms, they have been featured on Comedy Central, perform live in concert and have a weekly podcast. Eazy_Comedy is a brother-and-sister comedy team featuring the comedian Eazy Comedy. Real names Everett and Erica Dukes, they joined YouTube in 2012, now have 10,088 subscribers with 513,828 views. This is one of the few channels that are actually produced for Vine and post elsewhere. Their Vine stats are 2,259 loops with 407 followers. The popularity of this Internet sketch comedy channel is tremendous (usually 6-seconds long) and you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Ink361 (a division of Instagram). Even without their Facebook page, their fans post on their own and the result is 35,502 views. Signal23 TV Network is the creation of Henderson Maddox, a Film Director with IMDB credentials and known for such films as “Unspoken Words,” and “Sounds of Poetry,” both with Robin Givens, has done a number of music videos, and was nominated for Best Director award in 2009 at the San Diego Black Film Festival. Also known as “Mr. 23,” his network is one of the few to offer gay programming on the website, which now total 15. Signal23 TV Network premiered on YouTube in 2013 and has gained 25,557 subscribers with 90,00 views. Titles such as “About Him,” “The Boyz Next Door,” and “Steel River,” are part of the present roster of 15-shows. As this is a network, it is not part of other platforms but is live on UStream as a distribution source.
Tall Boy Enterprises is the labor of love for Corey Sanders, a Videographer/Photographer and multi-dimensional media personality who provides a panoramic view of events in Atlanta’s various communities and beyond. At 7-feet tall he can truly say that. “I was working at a local radio station in Atlanta. I talked the program director into letting me cover an event in the hopes that the radio station would post my content on their sites. When I completed the work and showed it to them they were not interested and I was, like, what am I going to do with all this awesome content. At the time, Youtube was making a name for itself so I thought why not plus the people who took the time out of their schedules wanted to see the work & it made them remember me when we ran across each other again.” Joining YouTube in 2006, he has a 701 person subscriber base and 1,646,210 video views starting with the new channel. “The content I create/produce is positive and you can learn something from the people I interview. I refuse to put out negative content as that may be a reason why I don’t receive the hits I desire but I know that if a viewer takes the time out to watch my work they will be impressed & learn something from the great talents that have been interviewed.” Events, interviews, promos, music, corporate, commercials, and documentaries are just some of his content genres on additional platforms Instagram, Facebook and Vimeo. “There are a lot of platforms out there to share content, I personally don’t mind posting the content on any particular platform. The only thing that I would like to see is a better way to monetize it.” Download the Tall Boy App; Android users go to the Google Play Store & search Tall Boy.
Twiin Media are dedicated filmmakers and videographers. A two-man family operation in the heart of Atlanta, they develop interactive branded games, multimedia, animation, and corporate internet new media. They are also innovators who put their collective minds together, solve unforeseen issues and problems through creativity and technology, and a working knowledge of what will get them to their end game. Joining YouTube in 2008, the 187 subscribers have helped their channel 448,095 views. “These days we are primarily putting our content online to help promote our future project by getting the audience involved in witnessing first hand, the progress on our latest film. Although we prefer Vimeo, we choose YouTube to host our videos. It’s so important to have those views to show future investors and distributors your following. We’re not saying we have all the answers, we’re learning this as we go – along with everyone else in this bizarre new way of filmmaking.” With imagination being the driving force with their films, they always make sure the quality is always in their films and videos. Therefore, the content is varied and includes a new genre called Zomedy. “Our film “Hammertime” (working title) was inspired by a film we did in 2008 call Dude’s Day. It will be filmed almost entirely with action figures which we are custom designing. This makes for a unique developing process. Every week we are uploading content showing what we are working on and also getting the followers involved by asking them to vote on solutions and creative decisions. Example: hair styles for our heroes. We’re even offering large investors, dolls in the film made to their likeness. All this makes our audience feel like they are part of something bigger. And when it is finally released they will be even more excited to see and promote the final product. Follow us on Facebook for Hammertime.”. We are also preparing for a media blitz promoting the release of “Zombie Crush – A Teenage Zomedy” as a webisode. Which includes 10 completed episodes along with in-depth “making off’s” that coincide with each episode that focuses on high quality, low budget special effects. We are currently looking for suggestions where to best monetize our family friendly Zomedy.”
Jamagination is unique in name and direction. Founded and created by noted Photographer, Videographer, Filmmaker and Author Jarek James, he is a man on the move. “Believe… Rise… Conquer” is his mantra. Known to pay it forward, the uniqueness and imagination of his product is evident in his output. “What peaked my interest was the idea that someone all the way on the other side of the globe could potentially see my work. I started putting pics on my black planet page. Social media was still in its toddler phase back then. As social media grew, so did I, until I eventually had my own website built.” On YouTube since 2006, the channel has just re-launched March of 2016. With 367 subscribers and 296,435 views on YouTube, the channel offers a variety of genres including social awareness & commentary, fashion, infotainment, health, travel, humor, documentary, etc. He’s comfortable juggling his other platforms to represent his work that’s viewed on Instagram, Vimeo, Facebook, Model Mayhem, and Twitter. “I’m always looking to expand online visibility. Currently, I divulge in some extreme hash-taggery to get more views on Instagram, update my Facebook fan page, just uploaded a YouTube promo for my website. As for the future, I want to be in the loop on the newest apps. I often wonder how many apps do you need out here to communicate with each other but if I can post my work then I want to know about them all.”
The Kuntry Klub has been a part of YouTube since 2010 and managed to gather 62 subscribers, but the channel has generated 32,384 views. The company is a collective of painters, designers, music producers, and cinematographers. As a Photographer, Videographer and Cinematographer, he has been and still is involved in a wealth of music videos for Gucci Mane, 2Chainz, Mr. 285, Cypher, and Gospel recording artist Micah Stampley to name a few. “The Kuntry Klub feels our number one product offering is customer service; followed by the ability to offer exceptional photo and video services. The founder Christopher Jones is labeled as a visionary amongst his peers and others in the business community. The Kuntry Klub has mastered the art of storytelling through the lens. We believe our platform will take an artist’s dreams and turn them into reality. We are passionate and our customers leave the experience ready to share their experience. Technically blended with stellar customer service is our niche marketing strategy.” The production and video design company cross loads of social media platforms including Facebook, Vimeo, Tumblr, Twitter, Soundcloud, Flickr and Instagram with a mixed-genre of music, fashion, and travel. “Traditional marketing has changed over the years. It’s shifted from a paper and print focus to now digital. We understand that many in the younger demographic are on social media and use the validity of a number of followers to confirm how large we are as a brand. Our social media followers are able to comment and share our brand with others in their personal circles that have not yet worked with The Kuntry Klub. This referral marketing strategy is greatly contributed to our growth as a global brand. We are centralized in Atlanta, GA but have worked with clients from New York, California and as far as Italy. We do not bid on AdWords via Google but allow true organic searches to boost our online presence. It’s not to say that Google Adwords will not give us a boost in SEO efforts that intern reflect in our website analytics. The Kuntry Klub is focusing on building our foundation based on the quality of services that we provide for clients seeking our photography and/or cinematography services.“
Simboya Entertainment Group actually is a two-entity company that includes SimboyaTV. Founded by noted and award-winning Filmmaker Simuel Rankins, the YouTube channel has been part of the community since 2011. With 762 subscribers generating 90,610 views, this is their foray into web series production. “When these new social media platforms opened up, it gave us an opportunity to expand our body of work and make shorter projects, which I loved.” The filmmaker is already known for music videos and movie titles “Jack Squad,” “Angry Kelley,” and “Chop Shop,” check out the new “Lunch Tales” as their first show. “It’s a very funny, award-winning web series that I believe anyone that has ever had a 9 to 5, an office crush, or a crazy boss will be able to relate to.” You can also find Simboya on Facebook and Twitter while the movies are being distributed by Maverick Entertainment. There are plans to expand to other platforms but right now the direction for Simboya is simple: don’t confuse your audience with too many platforms and keep the workload small.
Things Black Grandmas Say is produced to be a family-friendly web series. The premise is based upon words of wisdom most Grandmothers say to their children and Grandchildren: sometimes wise, sometimes funny, but always on time. Jobi Tyson, the creator and star of this simple production, is an accomplished actress prone to wearing many hats inside and outside the social media world. “I sought to create characters and stories that could resonate with others while touching on subjects that are prevalent in the elderly community. As as tester, I created six characters, main character Sister Odessa Mae Thompson and supporting characters, based on my grandmother and her four sisters, Nurse Hettie, Theodocia, Aunt Della, Aunt Dot and Mama Liz. Its purpose was a break the stigma of aging by breaking down perceptions and building bridges. On November 2014, it took me seven days to make the teaser videos of each character public on YouTube.” Her credentials range from being an Elder Advocate, Author, Sports and Entertainment Brand & Marketing Strategist, it’s a wonder she’s has time to breathe. “Laughter is medicine. As I gained opportunities working as a commercial actor, a saying that resonated with me was to create what you want to be a part of. That’s just what I did to showcase my talents while uplifting and honoring the elderly through humor to possibly move on to something bigger in the future. I can definitely see Sister Odessa Mae being friends with Miss Hattie on Tyler Perry’s Love Thy Neighbor or have her own sitcom and/or cooking show.” The YouTube channel premiered in 2014 and has 137 subscribers with 10,000 views to date. All related content is accessible on Twitter and Facebook. “I’m seeking funding that can be donated via YouTube channel to expand to season three with a crew and extended cast or volunteer crew and cast, seed money for a product line.”
If you’ve heard or seen some of these social media Movers & Shakers, you know what to expect. If you don’t know who some of these channels are about, best to check it out for yourself. Whatever you do, become a subscriber to these channels or any other YouTube videos. Support the local artists.