Here we are in the fourth and final part of my interview with YouTuber Many A True Nerd. In this part, Jon and I discuss Managed Content Networks, Patreon, YouTube Red, and other financial ins and outs of being a YouTuber. Please bear in mind that this conversation took place in the end of 2015 so some new facts may have come to light in the interim.
If you are a smaller YouTuber or you’re planning on getting into YouTube, I think you’ll find the following conversation very insightful. Many A True Nerd bucks many of the trends of most gaming YouTubers in that he is not partnered with an MCN. Read on to find out why!
TR: [My next question would have been] are you with a Managed Content Network (an MCN), but I know you’re not because you mentioned in one of your comment things, “No, I’m not with one” because someone asked you. Do you think what they offer today is worthwhile to YouTube creators at any size whether it’s 100 subscribers or 100,000 or a million?
MATN: No. I genuinely don’t. At all. I hang around a lot of YouTuber forums and I try and help out small channels when I can with a bit of advice. What I hear a lot is the smaller channels that sign up with networks basically universally say they don’t help, they don’t listen to me, they don’t do anything for me because they’re exclusively interested in helping out the bigger channels on their network. Which entirely you’d expect. You’d expect any business that’s got multiple channels under it to be focusing overwhelmingly on their biggest, most valuable properties. The thing is, once you’ve got up to the stage where you’re a relatively big channel and you would be big enough that an MCN would actually be worth your while [and] actually paying some attention to you… at that point, Google itself is paying enough attention to you. Like I know someone. I have an account handler at Youtube who I speak to on a semi-regular basis. And whenever anything’s gone wrong I’ve spoken to him and he’s a nice guy, he’s a great guy. And that varies [and] depends [on] who you get. I’ve heard some not so good things about some of the other account handlers. I’ve heard less good things about account handlers. I don’t know it’s necessarily a different bloke but I strongly imagine it would be. And they’ve a lot of people there and my understanding now is like YouTube from about 50,000 subscribers now starts reaching out to people directly and helping them out and giving them advice and having an account handler who’s there who’s a named contact who you can have at YouTube. I feel like MCNs wouldn’t even be much use to you at that level. All they really can offer at this point is royalty-free music libraries and stuff and there’s plenty of those available.
TR: I would bring up one thing and I wanted to hear your thoughts about this ’cause you said there wasn’t very much they offer. Generally I have to say I agree with you a lot because I’ve heard loads of those horror stories as well. However, most gaming companies nowadays… technically [let’s plays] could be DMCA’d if [a company such as] Bethesda felt like [it]. “Well you have our Fallout content on there, that voice acting is technically copyrighted work, you can’t have that.” [And then they] DMCA you. The only reason they don’t do it is because it’s bad PR [Youtubers are] free advertisement for their game. One of the things that [MCNs do] is that they negotiate licenses with gaming companies saying anyone with our network can play your game that otherwise you would DMCA and say it’s not licensed. But, nowadays, more and more gaming companies (except for maybe like Nintendo and some Japanese companies) are wising up and realizing, “Maybe we should just not care about that and let anybody put whatever they want up online. Playing our games, who cares, free advertising. Doesn’t cost us anything.” That’s like maybe the one thing, but even that’s gonna disappear as time goes on.
MATN: I think it’s already disappeared. Basically I stay away from only a very, very small number of publishing houses. And those are the ones that no network can get to play ball for absolute confidence anyway. Like no network will be able to say with absolute certainty, “By the way, you can now play Nintendo games without being part of the Nintendo Creator Program.”
TR: [TechRaptor tends to avoid putting Nintendo content on its YouTube channel as well for that same reason.]
MATN: Nintendo’s Creator Program. No network is gonna be able to get you around that because they just have that program and that’s pretty much [an] absolute exception. A very small number of individual one-off cases [and] then you’re basically just hoping you don’t get detected by Nintendo if you do Nintendo games. So there’s a small number of things that I just wouldn’t do for that reason. Vast majority of everyone else, I can e-mail them directly and they will give me permission in writing. And I for the most part will not make a video until I have permission in writing or there’s been published in a public place, on a forum, permission in writing granting me permission to make that video.
TR: Or a blanket grant.
MATN: Yeah, [or] a blanket grant.
TR: If there’s a blanket grant, do you not even bother to reach out? Like say with Minecraft as an example, they say, “We don’t care, across the board.” So if you [decided] to make Minecraft videos would you even bother reaching out to Mojang?
MATN: Probably I wouldn’t because I’d expect there to be quite a long waiting period to get any form of response. And if there’s a blanket thing and they’re a big enough publisher I would strongly imagine their response would be, “Thank you for your inquiry. We do not have the resources to reply individually to everything. Please see the general policy here.” And they’d just link me back to the blanket policy.
TR: So someone smaller then, maybe like an indie game you’re looking into. If you researched the game and it’s like “Blanket okay for everybody,” You’d just would be like, “Okay, not even bother” or would you do it anyway out of courtesy?
MATN: No, I’d write to them anyway because indie guys are lovely. Indie guys are very lovely.
TR: They are.
MATN: It’s nice to speak to them. Very often they’ll be nice enough to give you a little media pack that’s .png logos [and] stuff like that. They’re lovely and they genuinely want to hear feedback ’cause they’re making it as they go along. There have been occasions where I’ve done indie games where I’ve actually e-mailed the devs saying, “Hey, I really loved your game. Just to let you know, I encountered the following two things and I’m not sure whether you actually intended them or not ’cause I felt like they might be bugs. Here’s screencaps of them.” And they were lovely and they wanted to have a conversation about it. So indie devs are lovely people and I love chatting with them. So almost universally I do write to indie devs if I want to cover their stuff. But sometimes it happens the other way around. More and more indie devs actually write to me and do a cold approach, just sending me information about their game which I’ll kind of look at and decide if that looks like it’s a viable video or not.
TR: Next question would be do you currently live solely off of your YouTube income as it stands right now?
MATN: Yes. Yes I do.
TR: You do, okay. A large portion of that’s from Patreon? USD$2,200 [or so] a month?
MATN: Yeah, that’s true. Patreon is basically what keeps us going in some capacity. Absolutely.
TR: Now if it weren’t for Patreon, would you be able to live off of your Youtube income as it stands right now?
MATN: It varies a lot. The question isn’t just a question of an absolute amount. The question is the fact that ad revenue from YouTube varies. It’s hugely variable.
TR: January is the “death month.”
MATN: Exactly. In January it will be massively lower. [In November] it will be inflated. A given month I might have a lot more views and the amount you get paid per ad might go up. The following month it might go down and I might get paid a lot less. It’s not specifically that like I look at it and just think, “Right now, ad revenue alone, I would starve and be kicked out of my house.” It’s the fact that you kind of look and just think, “Maybe I can, but I don’t know for certain particularly in a month like January. At that point will I be able to eat and stay in my house?” Which is why I kind of think things like Patreon are hugely important to kind of second-tier channels like mine where it’s really necessary just so you absolutely can be pretty damn confident much more [than] with YouTube that on a given month you will at least be able to have a certain amount of money and to cover your base living expenses. Which is a huge relief. It makes things much more workable. Probably in the month of November I probably would be able to survive on ad revenue but I wouldn’t be able to quit my job on that basis because I know Janurary and February are coming if you know what I mean.
Author’s Note: Online ad revenue tends to spike before Christmas in the months of November and December and tends to dip much lower than usual in the months of Janurary and February.
TR: What was your job previously to doing [YouTube] if you don’t mind my asking?
MATN: I’ve done a lot of different jobs. I’ve done kind of various work around very kind of probably dry, uninteresting things.
TR: Oh, hello, me.
MATN: [Such as] products and marketing in the past. I’ve done a lot of work for start-ups.
TR: [laughs] I’m sorry, I just have this mental image of, “Hello, I’m Jon, and I’m here representing Luxo Vacuum Cleaners.” I could picture your whole video start spiel but adapted to marketing.
MATN: Now, now, now, that’s sales.
TR: Do you have any thoughts on YouTube Red? Do you think it’s gonna help alleviate the highly varying CPM for YouTubers or do you think it’s not gonna be very succesful or do we not know yet? ’cause Nerdcubed—[who] of course you’re familiar with ’cause you work with him—did a real nice video where he’s like, “Technically, I’m not even gonna see any money from the start of this program until like February so I can’t really know for sure.” So this is all speculation, no real true data on this yet. Do you think it’s gonna help with [the varying CPM] problem?
MATN: Purely from my own perspective, in terms of gaming YouTubers… we probably won’t feel it as bad as some others. People like Freddie Wong as an example. People who put a very large amount of effort and a lot of time into producing one short but very well put together video are going to be at a disadvantage versus people who are producing longer form, regular content because it’s all going to be calculated on view time. I’d say the bigger concern is …. there’s a lot of questions hanging in the air. Particularly when we start bringing in the fact that Google Play is basically wrapped up into the same thing. A YouTube Red membership is effectively also a Google Play membership and a Google Play membership is also a YouTube Red membership. If people start kind of signing up to YouTube Red mainly because they’re actually Google Play subscribers there’s a risk that because it’s gonna be based on playtime by number of minutes watched or listened… if people start using Google Play a lot then that means the vast majority of the revenue that’s being generated by Red will go to the musicians [and] not to YouTube. There’s a risk that if Google Play [starts to become] a serious competitor to Spotify there’s a risk that actually the YouTube side of YouTube Red won’t actually generate much because it will all kind of end up flying over to the music side of the business instead. Is that likely? I don’t know it, it won’t happen for a very long time.
I think that’s another kind of issue we’ve got to think about. Another part of it is it’s yet another thing that’s probably fairly hard to predict. Just the same as ad revenue was. And ad revenue was never a fair system. Ad revenue was always a system that basically said, “If you can grind for views then that is a good thing because you’ll be generating a higher number of ads and you’re paid per [one thousand] ad impressions that are generated.” This system is also unfair [because basically] the entirety of YouTube is now switching its primary metric over to being saying, “We now want you to create as many minutes to be watched as possible [and] not as many views as possible.” It looks to me – just from the initial figures that are starting to emerge – that like ad revenue doesn’t track against views or minutes watched particularly well. It kind of veers all over the place and the two don’t seem to have a particularly strong correlation. Whereas minutes watched appears to have quite a strong correlation with YouTube Red earnings. So maybe it’s a little more predictable but it’s still a system that’s now just open to as much abuse as it ever was and for right now it’s a tiny, tiny, tiny portion of what kind of comes in. But then equally, they’ve given quite a soft launch. They really don’t seem to have pushed it very hard. I’m not, like, scared of it. I think they’ve actually said they’ve promised, but basically they’re guaranteed a person who signs up to YouTube Red… the amount of money that you as a content creator will generate off that person will never be less than it would be had they not signed up to YouTube Red and they’d just been watching ads in front of your video. Which I can believe because the value of an individual ad is so minisculy tiny even if you’re only getting a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of that person’s Red revenue you’re probably going to be making more. So I can believe that it’s probably not going to hurt but I don’t see any particular evidence that it’s gonna be better at the minute.
TR: Well of course. Okay, that’s fair enough. Well ’cause the absolute gutter for CPM is like a dollar per thousand views. And you think about that and it’s like, if someone gave you a dollar just one time on Patreon, how long would it take them to give you one thousand ad impressions?
MATN: Quite a long time.
TR: It’s so much easier. Now a bit of a mildly more difficult. Let’s say hypothetically the bottom falls out from YouTube. The world ends, Google shutters its doors, YouTube is gone. What’s your Plan B? Classics professor? [laughs]
MATN: You can’t not have a plan for that. You don’t quit your job to do this without knowing what the out ultimately has to be and there’s two parts to that. If the bottom falls out of YouTube and that all happens then I’ve got basically two options. [I have] a certain number of people who are interested in me and what I produce still to hand. There will still be a certain number of people floating around who like what I do. In some capacity, they might be willing to support me in some other venture whether they want to watch me create podcasts or write articles on a site or in some capacity. There might be something else that I can do with an audience that I’ve already up. The community that I’ve already might be willing to watch me out of interest of me doing something else. Maybe in four years time a meteorite hits Google headquarters and YouTube gets accidentally deleted then, you know, at that point I’ll have a really good idea for a novel and these people will be willing to back a Kickstarter where I write the great British novel of some description. I don’t know. So that’s kind of one option. Maybe the community that I’ve built up would be willing to support me doing something outside of YouTube if YouTube collapsed.
TR: Well, they’re already giving you $2,000+ on Patreon so I’d say you definitely have a lot of support there.
MATN: So that’s one option. The other [is] I didn’t drop out of university. I didn’t not ever have a career because I did this straight out of school or anything. I’ve got a good degree, I’ve got a good education, and I’ve got seven years of good professional experience before I started doing this full time. I get approached by headhunters and recruiters on a not irregular basis. I happen to have a few skillsets that are fairly in-demand. So I would probably simply… as a short term thing I’d probably go back into full-time work. I’d just go back into the job market. Which I don’t think should be a desperately difficult transition. I live in Southeast England. You know, London’s right there. It’s probably one of the few places dotted around Europe where there actually are a decent number of good jobs going. So you know, I could in some capacity whether full or part-time go back into work. So it’d probably be a balance between those two things. And in all fairness before I went full-time on YouTube I was doing full-time work and part-time YouTube at the same time though that was too many hours per week. It wasn’t really manageable in the long term. So you know, if the bottom falls out of YouTube I’d probably find some sort of balance of saying… look, I can do some form of traditional work. I can take a traditional job in some capacity whether full-time or part-time or contract or freelance. And I’ve got an existing community of some size who will hopefully some of them will want to be around and hang around for whatever I do next and I can do something for them in some capacity some number of hours per week, some level of my kind of mental effort per week going into that. I could form something. I could form a little ball out of that somehow. It’s probably not the most exciting plan. I’m sorry that my plan isn’t like, you know, “become an astronaut.”
TR: [laughs] It’s reasonable.
MATN: It’s a sensible plan.
TR: It is! It’s very sensible.
MATN: Prudent planning! Sensible tomorrow.
TR: Regarding revenue, still—I know we’re talking an awful lot about YouTube◙have you ever done a sponsored video? Do you even consider them? Do you universally turn them down? Do you do some? What’s your policy on that.
MATN: I’ve never done one and I cannot foresee a scenario in which I would. I’ve also been approached relatively rarely. I read a lot how a lot of YouTubers get approached with these offers.
MATN: I think it happens more if you’re part of a network. But because I’m independent I think it happens a lot less to me. I have been approached in the past on several occasions with a few things. Generally they’re kind of “no” out of hands ’cause it’s like either clearly mobile games that just don’t fit in the style of game that I normally cover so it just clearly would not fit in at all. Sometimes it’s like random websites that may or may not have relevance to a young gaming audience. It just doesn’t fit in at all with what I do. For the most part they’re all written off out of hand. And I can’t really see an example in which I would. I also think, like, personally my view on that is you can’t really have your cake and eat it. If you are going to kind of go out to your own community and you’re gonna say to them, “I make a certain amount of ad revenue on YouTube but it’s not enough to sustain me,” and therefore you open something like a Patreon and thus you ask people to put in a dollar at the end of each month in order to keep you able to do this full time. It’s kind of unfair to those people to then turn around and say, “And by the way, I’m also taking money from this big corporation in order to put out a sponsored video.” I think if you do sponsored videos it undermines your ability to ask for donations. I think it’s very difficult to do both. I think people might resent donating to something when you’re doing paid videos on a channel. I just think [the] two don’t go together very well. And because paid videos therefore come with also some unpleasant obligations and NDAs and editorial oversight by the publishing house or what have you… I much rather favor the ability to keep my opinion completely unbiased by handling it through a combination of ad revenue and Patreon rather than going down the sponsored video route where you get into all sorts of… I think it gets a lot more complicated. I think it’s a lot more difficult. I cannot forsee a situation in which I would.
TR: But you don’t completely leave it [off] the table, either.
MATN: Theoretically, if someone that I liked… I’m part of a minority of people who actually enjoys Ubisoft games. And no one seems to like Ubisoft games other than me. Everyone seems to enjoy taking the mick out of them and saying they’re terrible. I really enjoy some of Ubisoft’s games. I think they’ve got a good formula that they do very well and they’ve made some very good games out of it. I enjoyed Watch_Dogs, I enjoyed [Far Cry 4]. I quite enjoy some of the Assassin’s Creed games. And these are games that a lot of people seem to enjoy taking the mick out of. But I really enjoy them. Like if someone like Bethesda or Ubisoft wanted to do sponsored video of a franchise that I liked and a game that probably I would have covered anyway, that would probably require a lot of thought as to whether that’s the right thing to do or not. If I were to ever do that, then it would have to be… I’d go above and beyond the call of duty in labelling it. “Sponsored content” in the video title, in the front line of the description. I’d probably make a comment saying it and I would say it in the video within the first ten seconds clearly labelling it as such. I’m not entirely of the opinion that everything’s okay as long as you’ve said it’s sponsored content because sometimes people say it in a slightly half-hearted and slightly mealy-mouthed way that doesn’t make it obvious “I have been paid money in order to promote this so this probably isn’t my actual opinion”. People state it in a very mealy-mouthed way. You know, like, “Oh, thank you such and such company for letting this video happen.” That is not good enough.
TR: It’s not necessarily if it’s good enough in terms of morality. Strictly speaking, it may incidentally be illegal. The FCC—the Federal Communications Commission in America—is actually cracked down on that a fair. [They] say “No, that’s not good enough.” And I think Britain’s equivalent [of the FCC] has essentially done the same thing in regards to that.
MATN: Our Advertising Standards [Authority], the ASA.
TR: That’s it. I’m not sure if you actually knew this offhand, but basically everything you said [in regards to disclosing sponsored content is essentially] what the requirements are for [disclosing] sponsored content in the context of stuff like YouTube. So you actually are at and above the standard. Let me give you a hypothetical situation. Five, let’s say six years from now. You’re still doing YouTube. A meteor hasn’t struck Google HQ – and by the way, look, I full well believe they’re just like the Lucky 38. They got lasers on the roof. It’s gonna shoot the meteor down anyway. I would not be surprised. [So, Google’s] anti-meteor system shoots it down, and Bethesda comes to you and says, “Look, we loved your Fallout 3 stuff and your Fallout 4 stuff. You did like like 500 Fallout 4 videos over the last six years.”
TR: (I wouldn’t be surprised by that, either.) “We would like to give you an early copy of Fallout 5. We’ll give you some absurd of money. You have to do like ten episodes of it. And you can just start releasing them when they come out.” What conditions would make you turn that down? Editorial control, you probably would say no to that. Is there anything that would make you turn that offer down? Where it’s not only do you get to do it—and it’s a game you definitely would play—but you get it early and you get to really get into it before a lot of other people. What would make you turn that down?
MATN: I think the only thing that would make me turn that down would be, yeah, if there was absolute editorial oversight. Editorial approval I can see under that circumstances because you’re dealing with nondisclosure agreements. I can understand they would have to have an NDA in place and that they would very likely have to have some form of oversight. They’d probably almost certanily want to see the final video to okay it and I can appreciate why they’d want to do that from a professional point of view why they’d need to do that. In a situation like that I’d probably be broadly okay with doing that sort of thing but that’s a very unlikely scenario. I’d say probably the point at which they actually tried to censor a negative thing, i.e. covering up their glitches if there was glitches. And you know, it’s Bethesda- I don’t care if it is the future. If this is future Space Bethesda there’s still gonna be glitches. They have to be happy with the game being shown off as-is. They can see the video and give an ultimate yes/no, but I think the only thing that would actually stop me was if they actually were to say, “Actually, you know what – this bit where you said you didn’t like this and this bit where you showed off this glitch, both of those have to go.” That’s probably where it’s a problem.
TR: Okay, and I would say one of the things that might make people less adverse to sponsored content [which some YouTubers do] is that they make sure, of course, to disclose it exactly as you would but they also go as far to say, “Look, I put out a video a day. I’m gonna do this as an extra thing.You’re not losing a free video I would have made anyway.
MATN: That’s a nice system. I actually like that, yeah.
TR: That’s probably the fairest way that you can handle [that]. ’cause really, if a game company comes to you with a game that you really love, the agreement is fair, you know people are gonna watch it, you know you love the game and they’re offering you as much money as you make on Patreon [in a month] or more – ’cause some offers, they are that much money – but that’s how you can do it without really upsetting anybody. If someone said we could trade positions, yeah, you get to play video games and put ’em up on YouTube all day and you make enough money off of YouTube to live off of. Who wouldn’t take that deal that’s like a really serious gamer? And conversely, I think because of that they would understand that you’re being offered something you’re gonna play anyway. It’s really fair, the amount of money is really fair, the conditions are fair. I think they would be a little more understanding. But I have to say I really do respect and appreciate your integrity in regards to this. ’cause there’s a lot of people who don’t turn that stuff down. They don’t disclose it properly. [We’re nearing the end here, so here’s my next question:] what advice would you give to any new YouTubers that are looking to get to where you are today and further?
MATN: Don’t look at what is currently successful and just think that you can try and replicate that. Because what is currently successful is only successful because someone came along and did it while it was still fresh to do. And while for them it was something that they were probably uniquely talented and capable of producing to the quality that they have. In some capacity, you may be able to emulate something. But unless you get extremely lucky, unless you happen – by sheer coincidence – to have that exact same series of skills and abilities you won’t be able to emulate it to the same quality. And it will show. The human ear has a remarkable capability for spotting something that is being faked. The human mind is very good at that sort of thing. Spotting when something is being forced. When you’re fake laughing. When you’re fake screaming. The human mind is very good at this. It’s why acting is a remarkably niche skill lots of people might try and do but a lot of amateur dramatics is very, very terrible. Because if you asked someone to try and fake something a vast number of people can’t do it properly. If you want to be successful, find something that you have a genuine passion for. It doesn’t matter what that passion [is or] how it manifests. Whether it’s something that you deeply, deeply love or something that you deeply, deeply hate or something that you deeply, intricately understand and know extremely well. Find one thing that you have a genuine passion for and if it’s something that’s quite unique that you don’t really think many other people have a passion for – all the better. ’cause that means for the vast majority of people who might be exposed to it it is new and novel. Chase that. Don’t just kind of look at something that already exists and just think, “I should emulate that.” And definitely don’t look at something that already exists and just think, “That’s so easy, I bet anybody could do that.” Because things are harder than they look. Everything is harder than what it actually looks like from the outside. Just be yourself. It’s a very difficult bit of advice to say to someone to “be yourself” ’cause there’s no really nice way to say that not everyone can look at something and think that looks like fun and necessarily be successful. There are a million alternative universes where I probably did the exact same things I’ve done and it just didn’t fly.
And I know from the fact that I hang out on YouTuber and Let’s Play forums and I try and help these new people who start up. But like 99% of them will check in once, maybe a second time, and then you’ll never hear from them again ’cause they got frustrated and they gave up because it didn’t happen fast enough for them. And it could have happened to me just as much. It is a long, slow, drawn-out process. And it took me well over a year before I saw any form of traction. It’s a lot of work. And most of all, if you are – and this is probably the most crucial bit – if you are looking at YouTube and just thinking, “My goodness, I want to make lots of money playing video games. I better do this.” Then just… just don’t. Just don’t. Stop. Stop. Go away and do something else. Because one, you’re actually gonna get to play video games a lot less that if you had an actually had a normal 9 to 5 job. I had a slightly early copy of Fallout 4. I got a press review copy. But because I have to play Fallout 4 for a certain period of time a day. Then I have to stop. Then I have to edit it. Then I have to render it. Then I have to upload it. Then I need to manage my community. And so forth. If I’m doing Fallout 4 that day, I can play Fallout 4 for maybe 2-3 hours in a day. Within a few days of it coming out, people who just had 9 to 5 jobs who just got home and were able to play for like 7 hours straight with a bit of fast food had played more Fallout 4 than me. You do not play a huge amount of video games as a YouTuber. You actually play video games relatively little. Things like PR and community management and self-promotion and editing and rendering and stuff. That’s what you do for the vast majority of your time.
And in terms of the money, even if you’re successful – after doing this for a couple of years, even if you’re one of the big success stories – you’re part of the 0.01% who’ve actually managed to make it. You’ll still probably be making less money than if you’d spent like four weeks learning how to use Excel really well and got an entry level position as a data analyst at a mid-sized corporate. If you just want to sit in front of a computer and make money and you don’t have a decent skillset don’t be a YouTuber. Learn Excel. That’s a really good, salable skill. And it’s so much faster and it’s a reliable paycheck. And you’ll actually get to play video games more than I do as a gaming YouTuber. If you want to make money and play games, don’t be a gaming YouTuber. That’s not what it’s about. You have got to be the sort of person who genuinely wants to be a gaming YouTuber and would continue to want to be a gaming YouTuber even if it didn’t pay anything. Because for like at least the first year of your life when you’re doing it, it probably won’t.
TR: That was a fantastic answer. Jon as a Fallout character—what are your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats?
MATN: Oh god. Fallout 4 or Fallout 3 ruleset? How many S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points do I have to distribute?
TR: Let’s say Fallout 3. YouTube success, probably Luck 10 clearly, right?
TR: But Fallout 3. We’ll go Fallout 3 system. Just the straight-up S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats.
MATN: Strength is probably going to be extremely low. I am not a physical fitness-y sort of person. So that’s fine. We can have that down at 2. Perception, my eyesight’s pretty good and I think I’ve got a good eye for spotting things so [I’ll] start that a 7 and work from that. Endurance… I’m not desperately physically fit but I’ve got good mental Endurance so I’ll start that at 4. Charisma, ooh that’s really interesting. Charisma versus Intelligence. ’cause both of those are kind of, ooh…
TR: What would Claire say about your Charisma?
MATN: Claire would probably say it’s 1.
MATN: I don’t want to sound big-headed but I’ve got to put that at least somewhat high ’cause I’ve built at least a decent community up. I’ll put that at lucky 7 ’cause it’s lucky that I was able to do that. Intelligence, with no disrespect, I’m gonna have to put that at at least 8. Only my vanity stops me putting that at 9. But then Luck I’ve got to put reasonably high… okay, I’ll put Agility quite low ’cause I’m not desperately fast on my feet. I’m clumsy. I’ve got that at 2 ’cause I’m damn clumsy, actually.
TR: Not much of a dancer, are we?
MATN: Oh god, no. No no no no no no no.
Jon talks to himself as he works out the distribution of S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points.
MATN: Alright, yes, that’s right. So, Strength 2, Perception 7, Endurance 5, Charisma 7, Intelligence 9, Agility 2, Luck 8.
TR: [laughs] Alright, I just thought it would be a funny exercise. Okay, this is my last question. Do you support gaming journalism, and it’s a multiple choice question: What Gaming Website, Not My Business, Hate Gaming Journalism, or Support Gaming Journalism?
It takes him a minute to work out the terrible reference on my part.
MATN: Oh yeah, when you’re first entering [Diamond City.] I didn’t get the reference. Support Newspaper!
TR: Anything else that you would like to get out to our readership on the record? Anything that you would like to say that you feel is important that you would like people to read?
MATN: I think we’ve covered it off pretty well!
TR: I think we have, too!
I would like to extend my thanks to Jon of Many A True Nerd for taking the time out of his day to let me interview him. I had originally asked for sixty minutes of his time. However, our conversation ended up lasting much longer as I worked my way through the questions and Jon was gracious enough to afford me nearly three hours of his evening so I could get through everything. He stayed on the line with me long enough that he ended up having a late dinner (and accidentally ordered two pizzas, to boot).
I have interviewed over two dozen people at TechRaptor and written who knows how many other articles. Every single one of them has been enjoyable, of course, but my interview with Many A True Nerd was different in many ways. Aside from all of the surprising facts I had uncovered, this was the first time that I had been interviewing someone that I was excited about for personal reasons. The Many A True Nerd channel has been a small part of my life for nearly two years. Jon entertained and educated me along with hundreds of thousands of other people through his videos.
It feels almost criminal that I was afforded the privilege of being able to speak with him. It is absolutely, unequivocally surreal to hear a voice that I’ve listened to for countless hours speaking to me. Answering my questions. I’ve walked away with an unforgettable experience and I feel privileged for having been granted the opportunity even to speak with Jon, much less for nearly three hours.
I also recognized that I had a heavy responsibility not only as a journalist but as a fan. I put serious effort into asking questions that I felt would reveal new and interesting information about Many A True Nerd to his fans and our readership. I’m very satisfied with the results. (Yes, even the bit about sexbots.)
I do hope you’ve enjoyed my conversation with Jon of Many A True Nerd. What you’ve read is the culmination of countless hours of work. My interview with him will remain one of the works I’m most proud of in my time at TechRaptor. Thank you for reading.
Images used in this article were sourced from screenshots from Many A True Nerd’s videos as well as directly from games previously played on Many A True Nerd’s channel.
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