CatlinSpeak had a chance to interview members of Wonderly, a group of female entertainers on the cutting edge of online media.
Wonderly is a creative cooperative between prominent female artists. All of the original content creators that I interviewed work within the medium of short film and music that they ultimately post onto Youtube. While each creator has her own individual channel, the main Wonderly site (wonderly.com) features links to their videos as well. This allows audiences to find creators that they already know, while still being exposed to the other 37 artists who are featured in the site. Wonderly represents a largely unprecedented collaboration between independent filmmakers.
In addition to the videos, the site also features a social media feed with tweets and Instagram photos. A smart phone app based on the site will be released soon. Housed on the site is a store where one can buy hard copies of music and videos created by Wonderly. In addition to Wonderly’s online presence, the organization is also host to a number IRL (in the real world or “offline”) events for creators and audiences to interact in person. In order to help generate ideas, each month Wonderly posts a topic, typically a universal theme such as March 2013’s “play” for creators to work with. Anyone who wants to can submit work fitting in that theme, and one is chosen to be “featured fan of the week” and have their work featured on the site.
What content do you produce?
Grayson Burger http://www.youtube.com/user/pirategray?feature=: I create a bundle of videos: Vlogs, Funny Skits, Cinematography, Poetry type videos, discussion topics, daily vlogs, gaming videos (playthroughs and guides), questionnaire videos, and just a bundle of things that interest me.
Emily The Bravee http://www.youtube.com/user/emilythebravee: I’m a vlogger, but I’m working on incorporating some more animation into my videos because I’m in school for animation. I’m currently developing an original animated web series that we’ll hopefully be apart of Wonderly.
Sarah Sneak http://www.youtube.com/user/Sarahsneak: I create a smattering of content. I don’t stick to one genre, because I personally feel like I don’t fit into just one: I’m a comedian, a dramatic actor, a model, a life vlogger. I make content I want to see. My ultimate goal is to help people out who may be in tough spots in their lives. I often have been helped through tough periods in my life by engaging in Youtube and watching other people combat troubles with smiles and open hearts. I hope that I can help at least one person smile in a day. That’s all that matters to me.
Abberz 07 http://www.youtube.com/user/abberz07: I make quite a wide range of content – everything from general day-to-day life vlogs to music recommendations, fashion/styling videos to makeup tutorials. I like to have my content be a good representation of me as a whole and I’d like to keep doing that, and let my channel grow with me.
Marina Watanabe http://www.youtube.com/user/marinashutup
: I make vlogs about the weird characters and happenings in my life. I enjoy dry humor and deadpan comedy and my goal with my channel is to expand my ability to use them effectively and one day produce a web series.
Brizzy Voices http://www.youtube.com/user/brizzyvoices :Most of my content is impressions of cartoon characters. My goal is to make people smile as they are reminded of some of their favorite characters and shows while practicing my voices and challenging myself.
Miss Parker: I create funny, inspirational & sometimes, fashion content on my channel! My goal is to create more inspiring content, create a network within myself to keep people alive, inspired, loved & motivated when it comes to working toward their goals.
Wonderly speaking at a panel at Vid Con. (Photo: Kenneth Woods)
Who may apply to become a part of Wonderly?
Rachel Skidmore: We are open to inviting non-cis females and reviewing applications from anyone who identifies as a woman.
Why female exclusive?
Lana McKissack Moore : Wonderely is very important because women are underrepresented in the digital space, and it’s fantastic to have a place with such varied content from strong and independent females.
What is the hardest part of working online?
Grayson Burger: The hardest part is the fact that you’re an entire production team in one person. You have to do your own hair, make up, style (if you choose to), lighting, scripting (depending on the video), filming, camera work, editing, uploading and more. It takes a lot of work, dedication, ambition and passion, but through it all, it’s worth it. Sharing your thoughts and creations to people all around the world, bringing people together and just enjoying what you do is worth it all. Another thing is that there’s a lot of people on the internet that are unforgiving and will make rude comments, trying to tear you apart. Dealing with hate and trolls can be really difficult, but with time and a strong heart, you’ll get past it.
Abberz07: The hardest part of being a film maker is finding a balance between what I’m really excited about and what is actually worth making a video about.
Brizzy Voices: Finding time and place to film is totally the hardest part about filming. I refuse to film with other people around (canNOT focus) so that really limits my options too.
Miss Parker: The hardest part is not having any physical help sometimes when I need it.
Michelle Potter: Sometimes YouTube doesn’t buffer fast enough!
What’s the most fun part of being an internet entertainer?
Brizzy Voices: The most fun part of making videos for me is finishing them and sharing them with the world!
Grayson Burger: When you’re with friends making videos, joking around and just being silly on camera.
Michelle Potter: Sometimes people make gifs of us and post them to Tumblr. *hint hint wink wink* We get a kick out of the fun art fans create. Check out our wonderly.tumblr.com for awesomeness
Abberz 07: The actual editing of the video. And the most fun is connecting and collaborating with other content creators because it only helps me grow as a YouTuber.
Marina Watanbe: Telling stories!
Miss Parker http://www.youtube.com/missparkertv: The easiest/most fun is when I’m done, my video is being seen & my supporters are loving it! My job is done — for a few days! LOL.
What has your experience been like with offline events?
Emily The Bravee: The only offline Wonderly events we’ve had so far are the ones between the other Wonderly girls while we were still launching the site. They’re a blast though. There’s nothing that makes me feel better about doing Wonderly than being surrounded by these amazingly talented girls that I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with. Wonderly bonding ranges anywhere from shopping to parading around Disneyland to eating large amounts of pizza.
Grayson Burger: I absolutely LOVE them. It’s a great way to meet new people, talk with viewers and become a lot more personal to everyone around you. It’s a time where you can to meet people face to face rather through a username and it brings our viewers on a whole other personal level. It’s fantastic! And as for meeting fellow YouTubers, you get to learn, collab, and work with others that have and share similar interests (at least share YouTube in common) and grow together as people. Most times there’s activities like performances which you can watch, booths to meet people, and just mingle with others. Most times such things happen at convention centers (I’m talking like VidCon and PlaylistLive which are absolutely fantastic).
What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
Grayson Burger: Sometimes people get caught in confusion as they’re trying to make their channels larger. Don’t focus on the numbers as much. Quality is key to YouTube. You need to make videos you enjoy and would want to watch over and over and be happy about. You need to enjoy it and not make it into a job. At first, it will be really difficult to have your videos seen, but with some research, proper meta data (descriptions, tags, titles, etc) you can quickly learn the ways of YouTube and the community and thrive with time. Just be yourself, have fun, and post things YOU like.
Brizzy Voices: After 6 years of pursuing art and animation the biggest thing I’ve learned is that you need to be your biggest fan. No one is going always be there for you except yourself and no one will motivate you more than yourself. It’s cheesy, but believe in yourself!
To see more from these talented artists and others, visit Wonderly.com, youtube or twitter.