Recently, a nice girl called Megan got in touch with me and asked if she could interview me for a College paper. For me, doing interviews are like doing those MySpace surveys, a fun way to pass the time while thinking about your life in a way that you don’t usually get the chance to. Though with interviews it’s even better, because not only are the questions tailored to you, but you’re also not wasting your time filling in a MySpace survey like a loser-face.
The unfortunate thing about this interview however is that, unfortunately, I sent Megan the answers a bit late and so she had to find someone else, which is completely understandable. But because I put quite a lot of effort into writing my answers, I thought it’d be a shame not have them be used somewhere. So, dear blog readers, this one’s for you! Though I warn you, it’s strictly for those people who want to know much more about my life than is probably healthy. Feel free to skip it, I won’t be offended, promise.
Tell me a little bit about your background and childhood.
I have a fairly mundane origin story really, the first born child to a not-very-well-off family living on the outskirts of Bath in Somerset, England. I was always a very shy kid, which my Mum noticed and tried to help me out of by sending me to weekly speech and drama classes when I was about seven. Little did she know that this wouldn’t exactly help me out of my shyness, but rather give me a passion for performing. I stayed an introvert all throughout secondary [high] school, but my interest in acting kept on growing. The school I went to didn’t teach drama, so instead I went to a bunch of workshops outside of school, learning both how to act for television and for theatre. Once YouTube hit me I decided to step back from those classes, although I still enjoy doing a bit of acting from time to time, regardless of the fact that I was never very good at it!
How did you feel about YouTube before you started video blogging? In what way has that opinion changed?
It’s become a horrible cliché to say this now, but before I started vlogging, I thought YouTube was just a website where you went to watch clips of TV shows and videos of dogs riding on skateboards. Like most people, I had absolutely no idea that there was anything resembling a community on YouTube, but after discovering vlogging and giving it a go, members of the community slowly started to appear, and I started to realise how much more there was to the website. Video-Blogging still is just one small part of the mass of content you can find on YouTube though, nowadays I usually describe YouTube as having “any kind of content you can imagine for any kind of audience you can imagine” … except porn, of course.
How did you get started posting on YouTube?
The first community based video that I ever watched was back in April 2007, which was called ‘The Liker Chain Resurrected’ – a video which went through a list of video-bloggers who were making good and notable content on YouTube at the time. I picked out a couple of names from the list that I thought sounded interesting, started watching them, and must have thought “hey, I can probably do that.” My dad had just bought me a laptop of my own, my brother had just relinquished ownership of his webcam knowing that he was never going to use it, and I had just discovered Windows Movie Maker. Plus, I was really, really bored. I was in the middle of exam revision at the time and needed a form of procrastination to get me through it, and so, enter YouTube.
How has being on the internet changed your life?
Being the shy kid that I was, I never found it very easy to make new friends, or know how to conduct myself around new groups of people. If was only after YouTube came into my life, and people starting watching my videos and giving me praise for them, that my confidence started to build. Also, it was a lot easier to make friends on YouTube because everybody had this common ground, and we tended to bond very quickly. It hasn’t just given me confidence though, before I joined YouTube I was on the path to a deadbeat job, and it was only with the internet that I was given the opportunity to take a hobby and turn it into my career. I’m still so incredibly grateful that I get to do what I love and get paid for it, and I try not to take that privilege for granted.
What has been your best encounter with a fan?
When people used to ask me if I got recognised in the street, I’d say that it happened every now and again, but not really that often. That was until I realised that it was happening pretty much every time that I left the house to pop into central London, so nowadays, it happens quite a bit. Which means, of course, that it’s very hard for me to pick a favourite! Though there was one time when I was out with my fellow YouTuber and now flatmate Alex when someone recognised the both of us, and literally screamed “OH MY GOD!” which made us all laugh hysterically. Nowadays, whenever I meet someone in person, I give them a little “I Found Charlie” pin-badge, though I’d be surprised if anyone actually wore them in public. Really, being recognised from time to time has just made the whole world a bit of a friendlier place, which is fine by me.
How do you feel knowing that the videos you post are watched by over half a million people?
I can’t really fathom it, honestly. I try and imagine myself standing on a stage in front of half a million people telling them about my day, drinking ketchup or painting myself purple, and it just doesn’t make any sense … but that idea really isn’t all that different to how it actually is. I tend not to think too much about a mass of people watching me though, I’m very aware that when I watch videos on YouTube it’s just me and my computer, so I don’t make my videos for an audience, I make them for the one person who’s watching it. I also just make them for myself, doing my best to make videos that I would want to watch, and that I can be proud to share with the world and say “I did this!”
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