Who are your favourite YouTube stars?

I have a confession to make. My newish HD video camera is patiently waiting to be used on a film project, rather than home movies. My old 4:3 Standard Def camera has had the privilage on a no-budget feature length doco which made it to a few film festivals, but my new Panasonic which was bought on a trip to Hong Kong in 2011, needs to feel that psedu-professional edge.

Yet we live in this magic age of self expression through sites like Vimeo and YouTube, so there’s no reason for my camera’s talents not to be shared with the world.

Two of my favourite YouTube characters showed up on a television commercial last week. They are Dom and Adrian, two uber-cool Sydney Eastern suburbs types who now DJ around the traps. And while Americans have understood the value of self-marketing through various social sites with just a few uploads, us Australians are just starting to see the value.

So this blog is a thank-you from a fan who has been following several talented and self-promoting Americans who have a handle on new media. One duo who not all my friends share a love of is Barats and Bereta. These guys have been entertaining me for years, so I never understand my peers who just don’t ‘get them’. To understand their brand of humour, check out Hypnosis and one of their older classics, Cubical War 2006. They even have a line of merchandising which includes a t-shirt with cartoon versions of themselves on the front. I’d love to buy one, but a 40-something man with two cute young guys on his chest would be a pretty sad look. Hey, bring on the mid-life crisis!

For years a misplaced dark lord has been slumming it in a supermarket on Chad Vader. This wacky endearing series is a great example of an original idea well done. This relative of  George Lucas’ most well known villain is a fish out of water, which is why this works. Many of us have grown up with this imposing Dark Lord, so to see this characterisation bumble through the mundane is simply delightful.

Recently on a YouTube binge my partner and I took a real interest in Davey Wavey. I’ve caught a video or two before, but for the first time we kept watching one after the other. He’s a Vlogger who is the gay Carrie Bradshaw. His candid discussions about sex and other aspects or queer life open the discussion (and shed a spotlight) on various aspects of my life. We only realised the other day that he’s been doing this for five years. Great effort, Davey. Beyond the eye-candy of his always topless appearance, there are some real gems among his musings. And yes I know there are other vloggers doing the same, but I have a feeling he’s the pioneer. Please correct me if I’m wrong in the comments section. Oh, and speaking of eye-candy, Mr Safety rates a mention as well.

But what prompted this blog is what appears to be the quick rise to fame of Where The Bears Are. My partner was at home sick a couple of weeks ago, entertaining himself in front of the TV. He couldn’t wait to show me this part soap opera, part b-grade series made with a-grade community charm. Yes there are holes in the plot. Yes there a times when you question why the baddies need to take their victims for long walks instead of just getting rid of them in private. Yes it has a ready made audience in the gay bear scene. But our three self-deluded main characters have appeal outside of their targeted audience. It’s well scripted and uses the resources of queer Los Angeles, showing that a bunch of actors can find fans without the help of a major TV network.

These Bears even have merchandising including a DVD with a Christmas episode. But what really impressed my partner and I is the fact that they are the special guests on a gay bear cruise. Off on the ocean to mingle with their fans and raise money for a second YouTube series. It’s just one of many examples of artists not waiting for their fortunes to change, but just getting out there and doing it for themselves. I can hear my video camera calling from the spare bedroom as I finish typing this paragraph.

So that’s me sharing some of my favourite YouTube self-made stars. Who are you fans of?

PS. We just discovered Husbands over the weekend. High production standards and a house to die for!
Blog by Kevin Klehr, author of the novels Drama Queens with Love Scenes and Drama Queens And Adult Themes

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