Shane Dawson has been creating content for YouTube since 2008, and over those 10 years he has gained over 19 million subscribers, and is currently one of the most popular YouTubers within the community. Shanes earliest content consisted of sketch comedy, with Original characters he had created that mirror those of the celebrities within pop culture at the time. Over his time on YouTube Shane’s style has changed, he had a short music career creating music videos on his channel, in 2013 he crossed platforms and started a Podcast called ‘Shane and Friends’ which he produced over 140 Episodes for. In 2014 Dawson starred in, directed, produced and edited his feature film ‘Not Cool’. Since then he has released two New York Times best selling books and started working his most popular and reputable work his docu-series.
‘The docs aren’t HBO- or Netflix-worthy. They’re not going to win any Emmys next year. Yet they portray actual reality — something often taken for granted on YouTube.’- Julia Alexander
In May he went on to do a three part docu-series on one of the original YouTubers GRAV3YARDGIRL, Bunny. Exposing how her content and channel has changed she since she started making videos. As she has been there from the start this was an insight into really how YouTube has shaped her life and how much she hides of her personal life as she feels pressured to be shown as someone she may not be online. Again this is free content on Shanes channel with the first two episodes being half an hour long and the finale being forty-five minutes long, and reaching an audience of over 12 million people.
Shane follows with his most popular series to date ‘The Secret World of Jefree Star’ a 5-part series with the opening episode forty-five minutes long and the rest thirty minutes. Reaching a total of 28 million views. Dawson has around 4 billion plus views on his channel. Jeffree Star is a very famous make up artist who has a very successful make up line, this docu-series takes us behind the curtain on Jeffree’s personal and past life and also behind the scenes of his multi million-dollar company.
Most recently Dawson has done a documentary on Disney star come YouTuber Jake Paul called ‘The mind of Jake Paul. His 8-part series hit over 7 million views in the first 10 hours’ ratings TV channels can only dream of. Though it may have caused some controversy, it is Shanes most popular series.
Shane has become an innovator for YouTube creators in how they create content, and pushes the mental and physical extremes that they are willing to go to to get that content.Shane focuses on not only digging in on people’s journey through YouTube but he exposes the issues that follow you when you open up your life to the public. In his ‘The mind of Jake Paul’ series he focuses on Schizophrenia which has been a problem on YouTube since the beginning. In 2014 Physiatrist services did a study on the content and reviewed each video to see if any of them had any schizophrenic tendencies.
‘Of the initial 4,200 videos assessed, 55 videos met eligibility criteria.’- Dr Matthew M.Nour
‘Launched in 1997 as a DVD mailing service, today the majority of Netflix’s users access the company’s content vie the internet, a shift that has positioned Netflix as one of the internets most prominent edge providers’- Lyell Davies
Netflix like YouTube is an ever growing platform with content being added and removed daily, and when they started their Netflix Original series and movies it was again another game changer for smaller creators and an opportunity for others to get a foot in the door an has created some of the most popular TV series such as clack Mirror, Riverdale, How To Get Away With Murder and many many more. The first Netflix original series was Lilyhammer which launched on February 6tth 2012. This paved the way for content creators like Todrick Hall to create this more substantial multi-platform content.
Shane Dawson tends to stick to YouTube for the majority of his content with uploading to his Snapchat story every so often if there is an update on an edit or an ongoing story. Dawson does use the popular platforms Twitter and Instagram to inform his followers when there is a new video on his channel. He has decided to partake in a popular YouTube trend called ‘Vlogmas’ where YouTubers upload a video everyday in December, bit he is doing this with his Snapchat and Instagram Stories, but is yet to drop any hints on any new series or video ideas.
In Previous years Dawson has gone multi platform when releasing his own movie which wasn’t as successful as his YouTube channel, and also his own books which was the same outcome as his film.Releasing a book has become a popular trend for a lot of YouTubers all around the world, releasing everything from fiction to self help and to guidance books, and the majority of them hitting The New York Times best Sellers List.
Another self made YouTube star Todrick Hall, has a very successful channel with his videos around music, be it theatre, covers, originals or mash ups. He also does the trending challenges of the time and collabs with other YouTubers. Todrick Hall is mostly known for his mash-ups and original songs with his elaborate high production music videos. On one of Todricks albums ‘Straight Outta Oz’ was a chart topping album which he did an entire visual album for and toured around the world. He also made a documentary about the process of writing the songs and creating the visual album, all of which he did in the space on 7 days.
Though some people in the media talk about how Dawsons videos might not be Netflix worth and others praising him for doing it all on his own and a company like Netflix would be lucky to have his content on their platform. Hall has gone out and made the album done it all of his own back and in his own time just like Dawson, he already gave his YouTube viewers the visual album for free, the documentary which is also called ‘Straight Outta Oz’ was an add on, an extra insight to his world and how he works, which he then sold to Netflix. ‘YouTube is a planet made up of different ecosystems’- Julia Alexander
Other YouTube artists have done a similar thing with Accapella group Pentatonix creating a Netflix original documentary on one of their tours a few years back. And others reaching out to other platforms such as British YouTuber Joe Sugg entering into Strictly or Jack Maynard entering into ITV’s ‘I’m A Celebrity’ Jungle. Branching out to other platforms brings in a whole new audience for these creators.
Dawson picked up YouTuber or the year 2019 at the Shorty awards, along with his blogger fiancé landing the award for Vlogger of the year.
Polygon Julia Alexander. 2018. Shane Dawson’s Jake Paul docuseries is an exhausting reinvention of YouTube norms. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.polygon.com/2018/10/2/17927810/shane-dawson-jake-paul-documentary-episode-3-backlash-apology
Forbes. 2017. Profile- Shane Dawson. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/profile/shane-dawson/#7995e59b6591
Polygon Julia Alexander. 2018. Shane Dawson Jeffree star Documentary Keeping Up With The Kardashians. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.polygon.com/2018/8/3/17642862/shane-dawson-jeffree-star-documentary-keeping-up-kardashians
Snickars, P., Vonderau, P., 2009. The YouTube Reader. 1sted. Lithuania: Logotipas