(originally published on April 25, 2018)
It’s pretty much well-known by now; the 69-page Google Document came out called “Not So Awesome”, written by twenty ex-staff members of Channel Awesome. After reading the Google Document, I was heartbroken. My husband and I had been a fan of both Channel Awesome and Doug Walker (Nostalgia Critic) for many years, as well as the contributors. But it wasn’t the contributors we were upset with, it was Doug, his brother, Rob, and a few others. I’ll let you read the Document if you wish, but the mistreatment of the staff range from sexual assault, not being paid, Nostalgia Chick being forced to film a rape scene for their film “To Boldly Flee” when she made it clear when she wasn’t comfortable, and so much more.
In spite of this sad news, I applaud everyone who bravely spoke out. It took a lot of bravery, and more than ever, we need to stand for what’s right. So even though it’s sad thinking we’ve been lied to by people whom we thought were good, like Doug, I want to still say thank you with everything in me for all of your courage to still stand tall, not knowing the outcome.
This leads me to my interview with the beautiful and talented Marzgurl (Kaylyn Saucedo), who was one of the runners-up for Nostalgic Chick. Marzgurl has her own Channel on Youtube and has just under 18,000 subscribers! (I congratulated her on making it to 10,000 subscribers in our interview since she made a video about it!)
I enjoy her Channel very much because she is not only very personable with her audience but covers a wide range of topics and is very passionate about what she does. I can tell that she is one of the hardest working YouTubers out there today and she deserves every bit of success she has.
Below is our interview. Thank you, Kaylyn, for taking time out of you VERY busy schedule to make time for this!
1. First of all, congratulations on reaching 10,000 subscribers! I know I’m putting it lightly when I say it’s not easy. What would your advice be for someone who is starting out on YouTube and is struggling to find an audience?
It took me ten years to get this far, and then even after that, it took controversy to push me beyond that. I definitely don’t recommend doing it the controversial way! Just find something you enjoy discussing first. Find it, find your own voice, do it in a way that is fun and makes you happy, and then release videos regularly. This is basically do as I say and not as I do. If I had been releasing videos on a more regular schedule, then maybe I would have hit my milestone much sooner. But others who have a regular release schedule will become more reliable to their audience. Having fun and having a schedule will help. The rest of it just takes time.
2. A lot of YouTubers have started streaming on Twitch, yourself included. Do you prefer streaming over YouTube (or the other way around) and is it hard balancing two different schedules on different platforms?
I like streaming, and I do find that it’s great to interact with my audience. The biggest problem I have is that I still have a day job. I mean, that’s not a huge problem because it’s a job I love and it continues to make me money. But I do find that it’s a lot easier to just turn the stream on than it is to write, film, and edit a pre-produced video, of course. I still love doing it, but it takes so much more quality time, and I do feel guilty that I don’t produce those kinds of videos quickly enough like I once did. Under previous circumstances, I was once able to make video production my full-time career. Now I have to look for multiple outlets to have multiple streams of revenue coming in all at once. Certainly, the balance is difficult. And in fact, Twitch seems to have a more instantly gratifying monetization reward for me, for the time being. I’m still working that balance out for myself, but I feel like I’m getting closer every day.
3. I’ve seen some of your reviews on superhero films and I’ve really enjoyed them. Here’s a bit of a tough question, fans seem to love to hate DC films. (With the rare exception.) Why do you think this is and do you think this hatred is fair?
The modern age of the DC films tried to force a dark and gritty look that seems to defy the source material of these superheroes, specifically Superman. They have largely sacrificed a clear narrative for something that is visually intense, and even Batman as a character has suffered something of a loss of detective nature and intelligence. The only character that has appeared to have come out of all of this almost entirely unscathed would be Wonder Woman. DC had also attempted to rush out their own cinematic universe with epic crossovers, seemingly in response to Marvel’s amazing successes in the box office. But they were rushing to play catch up, rather than slowly and carefully taking their time to craft their universe and make it the best it could possibly be. It would seem that with recent movies, though, they’ve realized that their approach has not been landing well with audiences, and they’re slowing beginning to correct their course. We’ll see if they’ve learned from their mistakes and continue to improve.
4. I’ve really enjoyed your videos reviewing foods from NutriSystem. Are you still on the diet and would you recommend it?
You may want to check with a doctor first. But I have had two fairly long stints on NutriSystem now. The first time, I lost 30 pounds. This second time, I’ve lost about another 15, and I’m back within being within my recommended BMI finally after all this time. I’m still on it now. If this is something you really want to do (and nobody should ever feel like they have to, especially if they’re happy with who they are and where they are with their life), then certainly give it a try for at least a month. You do need to stick pretty rigidly with it for it to work. And admittedly, you’ll start to miss the flavors of other “real” foods. I know that’s happened to me. I may not stick with it much longer. But I’m certainly happy with the progress I’ve made.
5. I know you’re a fan of Anime and I certainly don’t blame you! Are there any Anime’s that people haven’t heard of that you would like for more people to give a chance? My pick is the extremely underrated Kodocha.
Kodocha is definitely high energy and fun. My personal favorite anime series is Record of Lodoss War. I can remember a time when a ton of people knew what that was, but now I don’t think anybody recognizes it when it’s mentioned anymore. But it was a fantasy series based off a game of Dungeons & Dragons and the animation is just lovely. There’s an OVA and a TV series, both of which I highly recommend.
7. Tough question: You worked for Channel Awesome and it was recently released how horrible they’ve been to their employees all these years. To say my husband and I were heartbroken, is an understatement. I’m still glad the information is out there though because none of you deserve to be silenced. I want to say thank you for sharing your story. I would like to ask if you were nervous leaving Channel Awesome and more importantly, telling the truth about the company?
I was certainly nervous, to an extent. I spent most of my adult life with Channel Awesome, and I wasn’t sure what my identity was going to be without them. But I suppose, if I have to be honest, I’d been living like I wasn’t attached to them for quite some time, and most people didn’t even realize I was there or that I was still creating content. I’ve been better off since leaving, so now I know in hindsight that my fears were unfounded. I think I was really ready to talk about Channel Awesome. So many of my other friends had been trying to speak up for years, but nobody seemed to be listening to them. I don’t know why the timing was all lining up right now. At the beginning of it all, we just sort of thought that it was all going to disappear again like it always does. But this time, speaking up got others to speak up, too, and now everyone’s been heard. I’m glad, too, that this gave other producers an outlet in which they were able to feel heard when they hadn’t been able to tell their stories before.
8. Since leaving Channel Awesome, doing your own work, and now speaking your truth, has your life, both professionally and personally improved?
I’ll say that in some ways, life feels a lot more overwhelming. I’ve been getting a pretty constant barrage of messages via every single social media platform, and even though I try my best to respond to everybody, it’s finally become almost too much to keep up with. I suppose there are worse problems to have, though. I feel like I can really be myself now without an expectation of being attached to Channel Awesome or tied to some brand or a set of ideas. The sense of freedom is really liberating, and I would say that in general, I’m much happier. On top of that, my day job is writing closed captions for TV, Hulu, Netflix, etc., and that job is way more fulfilling than doing work for Channel Awesome. My personal and private work feels so much more rewarding now than it has for years.
9. If you could go back and give advice to your younger self back when entered the Nostalgia Chick contest, what advice would you give yourself?
When I was younger and in those first one to two years (between the ages of 22 and 24) I think I put up with so much stuff because I really wanted to belong, and I guess part of me thought that that’s just what you have to do to get anywhere. That putting up with verbal abuses and miscommunications was normal. But it isn’t. I think I would tell myself that if I’m feeling hurt, it’s because it really is wrong, and you don’t have to put up with it. Would it mean that I didn’t get the eyes on my content that I eventually got? Maybe. But I think where I am now, with hindsight being 20/20 and all, I don’t think I’d have done so many things the same way. Views aren’t worth it if you’re putting up with those abuses, or contributing to something that’s hurting other people. But then, I think I’d also tell myself to hold the friendships I made with the other producers very close because those were the best things to come out of the whole experience.
10. Finally, you’ve continued to be successful in spite of Channel Awesome and it all boils down to how creative you are, your extensive knowledge when it comes to geek culture and your relatable personality. What do you see for yourself in the upcoming years both professionally and personally?
It’s difficult for me to say exactly where I’m headed, but I can’t help but feel like it’s so much bigger and more meaningful than I necessarily understand. Life somehow led me out to Los Angeles, where I’ve met so many cool people who work within different areas of the entertainment industry. I’ve ended up on television a couple of times now, and have been an extra in an upcoming indie movie. I started taking up some commercial acting classes, and although I’m not really certain I want to become an actor, the classes do definitely feel like they’re helping me be a better presenter when it comes to the work I already do online. I don’t know how life ended up getting me here, but I feel like it must be for a reason. And I’m definitely excited to find out for myself, too.
Thank you again, Kaylyn. I can’t tell you what an honor and a pleasure it has been interviewing you. I wish you great success and the best of luck in the future and that you will always have my full support. You can follow her on Twitter here, Facebook here, Twitch here, Tumblr here, Instagram here, Google+ here and you can feel free (purely optional) to donate to here PayPal here!