Last night as things were shutting down for the day I saw an interesting tweet from Netflix, saying they just released a documentary about YouTube called Please Subscribe. Being an avid YouTube watcher myself, I decided to give Please Subscribe the 15 minute test, (the test where you give something on Netflix 15 minutes before you decide to can it and watch something else). Please Subscribe examines the lives of a handful of YouTube content creators and pulls the screen back a bit to see how each of their channels really got started. Whether or not you watch or follow YouTube personalities the documentary is a very interesting view for multiple reasons.
1. Understanding Alternative Jobs
One of the common themes among the people in this documentary is the fact they have always found it difficult to explain what they do for a living. Getting to see first hand how these YouTube personalities operate behind the camera gives an outsider a lot of perspective into how much work they put into it. YouTube as a profession was something that didn’t exist 5 years ago, and the people in this documentary are writing the rules as they go; watching Please Subscribe has a wild wild west feel to it, in a pioneering kind of way.
2. Seeing How They Started
All of the people interviewed in Please Subscribe have “made it” in the YouTube scene. Understanding their stories, and how they started is one of the allures of this documentary. While each individual began creating different styles of videos, you’ll find out in the documentary that they all share a common desire which propelled them to start.
3. How Far YouTube Has Come
This documentary was created in 2012 (and has now just been released on Netflix) and this documentary does an excellent job time-capsuling YouTube as it was back then. In just 2 short years YouTube has changed immensely, so much so that it is almost nostalgic seeing some of the YouTube features shown in Please Subscribe. What is even more impressive is seeing how the individual channels have grown since this documentary was filmed. With each YouTuber introduction they display their number of subscribers and channel views, while I was watching I pulled up a few of the channels to compare their numbers to 2014, and all had exponentially grown. You might even recognize two of the main characters in Please Subscribe as they just hosted the Streamys this year!
Whether you watch it or not, YouTube is a growing force, creating new “internet personalities” every single day. After watching Please Subscribe you may find yourself searching for more YouTube content, and at the minimum walking away with a new-found respect for the people who call YouTube their career.
(Side note, if you are on Twitter you should follow Netflix, there is no way I would have ever found this documentary unless I was following them.)