Students display talents through YouTube videos

By Erica Rocha

After a long day at school, HoboWITHGuns sets up his equipment ready to “rage” and express his anger to 580 subscribers on YouTube.

Typically, students are involved in common extracurricular activities such as sports or clubs. However, to a couple of students, YouTube has not only grown into something they do in their spare time but into a passion. Uploading their videos to this social media website has showcased their talents and defined who they are as entertainers.

Introduced to gaming at a young age, Lucas Virella, Div. 461, had the idea to make a YouTube channel (HoboWITHGuns) through which he can share his hobby of video gaming.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was in the sixth grade: to show tutorials on how to do a cool thing in the game but from my perspective,” Virella said. “Soon I saw I grew an ability in which I speak randomly but in a comical way. I took advantage of this and began doing commentaries over games some people have never heard of.”

He features his favorite PC games such as SCP Containment Breach, Slender, Amnesia the Dark Descent, and Happy Wheels. His videos consist of two parts, one video that records him and his reactions to the game and another that shows the actual game being played.

“[This game’s] freaking easy… I should have probably never said that,” Virella said while playing a game in one of his videos. “Not dead enough? Okay we’ll add some more obstacles. ‘Mostly spikes now, enjoy.’ (The game announces). Like I haven’t dealt enough with that in every other game that decides to put spikes.”

Virella’s videos usually contain this type of angry commentary towards the game. He uploads his videos into a playlist on his channel that he has titled “Hobo Plays (and Rages to) – Challenging Games.”

“People enjoy seeing me overreact and say anything that comes to mind when I play a difficult game,” Virella said.

He also believes that making these videos allows him to release his anger and relieve his stress.

Virella has currently completed his 100th video which is a compilation of a years worth of his YouTube videos.

By sharing his videos, gaining an audience, and allowing advertisements to play before his videos, Virella has been able to make some revenue from his videos. The amount of money he makes from a video depends on how long an advertisement is viewed on his channel. Since he started gaining revenue on May 3, he has made about $16.18 for 27 videos.

Virella considers maintaining his YouTube channel “legitimate work” not because he gets paid, but because he spends many hours getting a video ready to upload. He films, records, edits, renders, and creates his own thumbnail for each of his videos.

“At times it really is [hard for me] and some people would quit. But I love making videos because in the end it’s a job well done,” Virella said. “I can show off and feel proud about them like after finishing a painting or fixing up a car, or getting an A for something you studied for. It’s a lot of stress to make videos and promise when they will be up but that’s what it’s all about.”

Another YouTuber who has earned revenue through his videos is Rehan Khan, Div. 461. However, due to his contract with a partnership, he is unable to disclose details about the partnership itself and how much money he makes. He is also provided with clothing for his videos through a sponsorship called Ghusulv.

Khan uploads singing videos on his channel, Khan & Fedoruk Co., which he works on with his friend, Justin Fedoruk.

“I got so much support [from my peers at school] for singing that I decided to make a YouTube channel to post my videos on,” Khan said. “My friend, Justin, is trying to be a professional filmer and director, so we bought an expensive camera and started making music videos.”

Khan and Fedoruk have 213 subscribers, 48,654 total views, and have gained worldwide support.

“It feels amazing to know that thousands of people know who I am and what I do,” Khan said. “It feels like I have a place in this world and I have made an impact on people around the world.”

Khan’s goal when starting YouTube was to gain thousands of views on his videos.

“Since I’ve achieved that goal, the sky’s the limit,” Khan said. “I’ve had so much more motivation for making videos.”

He is currently working on three original songs. He plans to write video scripts for these songs to make them into short films.

“We are going to have stories in it too, which is very popular nowadays in the music video industry,” Khan said. “Having a two to three thousand dollar camera gives us a great advantage over other people in reaching popularity, but our main focus is to give the viewers a mellifluous song to listen to.”

In the future, Khan would like to make videos with other YouTubers such as BoyceAvenue, which recently reached over one billion views.

“They would definitely boost me up in the cover artist popularity,” Khan said.

Brittany Abraham, Div. 471, also has a passion for sharing her hobby on YouTube. Under the name Brittany Lynn, Abraham shares videos of herself singing popular songs as well as original songs she has written, produced, and recorded.

“A really long time ago I started getting into writing music and I found this one girl named Tiffany Alvord on YouTube,” Abraham said. “She also wrote her own songs and she was recording them. She was getting a really good response for what she was doing and I was like ‘Hey I want to do that.’ So I started my own channel.”

To earn views on her videos, Abraham covers songs that have either been out for a while and are easily recognized or current songs played on the radio.

“It’s a lot easier to get views if people are familiar with what you are doing,” Abraham said.

With 3,758 subscribers, Abraham’s most popular YouTube video to date is a cover of Super Bass by Nicki Minaj with 23,904 views.

“I posted it and the next day I went online. There was already like 5,000 views and 50 comments in one night. It was insane,” Abraham said.

A majority of her audience subscribed to her after Tiffany Alvord “liked or favorited” her cover of Price Tag by Jessie J.

“I didn’t even know what was going on and then I looked on my comments,” Abraham said. “They were like ‘Tiffany Alvord sent me here.’ It was really cool that that happened and I gained about 1,000 subscribers in a week. It was really crazy.”

Over the four years she has been active on YouTube, Abraham has enjoyed reading comments left on her videos. Recently, she has realized that people from a few years ago continued to comment on her videos. She views this a motivation to continue making videos.

To further interact with their subscribers, both Abraham and Virella maintain a Facebook page as well. Abraham holds polls on different songs to see what viewers prefer to hear.

“It makes me smile because I know that I’m connecting with somebody through music. It really makes my day,” Abraham said. “Music is such a big part of my life and to be able to share what I do and to grow from what I share, it’s a big deal. It’s a big part of who I am… it defines me.”

Although she does not get paid for making videos, she has been contacted by people in Illinois and other states to offer her a chance to record in a studio. However, she has denied, doubting the legitimacy of these offers.

Due to their growing audience and the positive feedback from their viewers, Abraham, Khan, and Virella are determined to continue making YouTube videos.

“One goal is to grow off of what I post and continue to see if it goes anywhere and just keep connecting with the people that have supported me throughout the years,” Abraham said. “Just keep posting and doing music is the whole idea.”