It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, YouTube is HUGE. After its launch in 2005 it has grown into an internet super-power, on a par with Facebook and Twitter, giving the world copious amounts of cat videos and a new wave of ‘celebrity’ to look up to.
When I first started using YouTube, it was simply to watch music videos (usually Lady Gaga), I think I was too young to understand there was an entire community of people who managed to make a career out of documenting their everyday lives, or reviewing beauty products, or simply doing something funny or stupid to go viral.
Now it seems that’s what everyone with a YouTube channel is striving for; but how do you go about finding the stuff you think you’ll enjoy and subscribe to?
I think in this case word-of-mouth is a powerful thing, and so with that, I shall proceed to talk about my favourite YouTube channels.
5 – Ashens
Stuart Ashen joined YouTube in 2006, offering a range of comedy reviews about technology, gaming, Pound shop products and exotic or out of date foods. I started watching Ashens after my brother introduced him to me quite a few years ago now, and I along with 686,743 others haven’t stopped watching!
Ashen also successfully crowd-funded and produced a film in 2013 called ‘Ashens and the Quest for the Game Child’, also starring Warwick Davis and Robert Llewellyn which is also worth having a watch if you like slightly geeky, gaming-related comedy.
I seem to recall the first video I saw from the channel was his ‘Hunger Breaks: Chicken Tikka’ review, which I think has put me off £1 instant ‘meals’ for life. Click the link if you want to experience the same!
4 – Jeremy Jahns
Again, I can thank my brother for introducing this guy to me, probably around the same time that I started watching Ashens!
Jeremy Jahns is an American film/tv reviewer, who essentially lives in his local cinema and posts pretty accurate, to-the-point reviews about pretty much every new release. Jahns started out on YouTube in 2007, but has a slightly larger following than Ashens, probably due to the content being aimed at a slightly wider audience. Anyway, I really like Jahns because I can rely on him to inform me about whether I should bother with a film or not. You could type pretty well any title released from 2007 onwards (and even sometimes before) into the search bar, and 9 times out of 10, he’s reviewed it.
The reviews aren’t really long and tedious either, often the whole video will be 4 minutes long, but he still manages to do what the likes of Mark Kermode can do in much less time. I would say, if you’re ever unsure about seeing a film or not, see what this guy has to say about it first, and then make your decision. He knows his shit!
To get a feel for the channel, check out his countdown for the ‘Top 10 Best Films of 2014’ and see if you agree with him!
3 – Slow Mo Guys
I think the Slow Mo Guys are pretty well known online, if you take their subscription numbers into consideration (4,862,590) it’s hard to deny. I started following the Slow Mo Guys more closely due to another channel that Gavin now works for more permanently, which I will come to later.
Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy uploaded their first video in 2010, where a baby-faced Gav slaps Dan in slow motion while also showing previews of other videos, acting as a benchmark for things to come. The channel came about due to Gavin’s job as a cinematographer, operating Phantom digital high-speed cameras which allowed for the guys to create entertaining content and really cool shots of things like water droplets, underwater bullets, a dog jumping to catch some food, and Dan being kicked in the face with a football.
They were recently part of a huge advertising campaign, where popular British YouTubers were promoted within an inch of their lives to encourage more people to follow in their creative footsteps. You might have seen the pair on ‘This Morning’ with Schofe last year!
My favourite video so far has to be the Water Condom Head Balloon… and if that doesn’t pique your interest then I don’t know what will!
2 – Alli Speed
Thank you to my brother (once again) for introducing me to Alli and Charles – though I don’t watch him anymore…
Alli is slightly different to the other channels I’ve talked about thus far. She was introduced to the world of vlogging by her ex-husband Charles Trippy, who had already begun vlogging for the CTFxC (Charles Trippy Friends Core). As a couple they managed to create an incredibly popular channel, I believe their proposal video is one of the most watched videos on YouTube to this day (don’t quote me on it, that could have quite easily changed – thanks Miley and your naked Wrecking Ball antics).
Sadly, they divorced just under a year ago and a lot of viewers began to criticise Charles for the way he had ‘changed’ and quickly jumped into another relationship. Meanwhile, Alli took time away from YouTube, and slowly made her way back by posting various vlogs of her time travelling.
Now she tries to post almost every day, vlogging her life roughly twice a week, and posting other videos around that schedule. My favourites are her ‘Ask Alli’ segments, because she doesn’t shy away from her audience, only a few weeks ago she admitted that yes she was seeing someone again, which made the comments section go crazy with excitement.
I like Alli because I feel like I’ve kind-of lived with her for quite a few years, after watching the CTFxC daily vlogs religiously and seeing the ups and downs of her life. Alli Speed is a truly wonderful person, she is an insanely strong woman has a really positive outlook on life, I admire how she has successfully built up her career once more following the divorce, and it’s really nice having someone to look up to in that way.
If you fancy a peek into the world of Alli (and coo over her incredibly cute dog, Chico) then click the link to visit her channel.
1 – Rooster Teeth/Achievement Hunter/Let’s Play
At number 1, we have… Three channels, what?
Ok, let me explain.
Let’s Play is a channel run by the Achievement Hunter guys, who work for Rooster Teeth, who also have a channel on YouTube. So TECHNICALLY, it’s still one channel… or maybe not?
I don’t know…
Anyway, at number 1 we have Rooster Teeth, first introduced to me by an ex-boyfriend (ta lad) I found it so funny I haven’t stopped watching. I have quite a few Achievement Hunter/Rooster Teeth t-shirts and am really quite obsessed with the company (like the 8,022,131 other subscribers), my dream is to work there one day…maybe…please Burnie, if you’re reading?!
What I find most impressive is that this channel has become so successful; it’s become its own company. That’s the dream my friends, that’s the dream.
Rooster Teeth actually started out making a Halo-based show called Red vs Blue in 2003 (which is still going today, in its 12th season!) which became really popular quite quickly, and they began to branch out to live-action production. The Slow Mo Guys actually became part of Rooster Teeth in 2013, after Gavin became part of the Achievement Hunter group full time.
The channel puts out an enormous amount of content weekly, and is constantly coming up with new concepts for shows. Every week the AH Guys create new challenges in GTA V and Minecraft, or play party games like Fibbage, or actually demonstrate some gaming skill by going on raids in Destiny.
The first thing I saw from Rooster Teeth was Michael Jones’ show ‘Rage Quit’, which basically consists of a shouty New Jersey 20-something playing various weird, impossible or stupid indie games. I would warn you though, that this channel is very relaxed with things like profanities, drinking, sexual references etc. As long as you’re ok with that, you’ll enjoy it.
To throw you into the deep end, here’s a taster of what Rooster Teeth/Achievement Hunter is like…
and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So, we have come to the end of my list, I hope I’ve opened some more doors to further procrastination for you. Do you have any favourite YouTube channels, or are you too a fan of some of the ones I’ve mentioned?
I’d love to hear about it!
Tweet me @alejashleigh