TenEighty launched in April 2014 and since then we have covered the happenings within the UK YouTube community throughout the year.
Looking back over everything we’ve talked and written about in that short time is slightly astounding, because it really shows how quickly things move on YouTube and how much we have achieved.
So allow us this moment to indulge in ourselves and reflect on what 2014 has been for TenEighty and by extension the community we’ve dedicated ourselves to.
The Big Interviews
At the heart of TenEighty there has always been a drive to give YouTubers the coverage that we feel they deserve. We feel that mainstream media doesn’t really take content creators seriously and for us one way of legitimising them is by talking directly to them about what they do, what they think and where they see their careers going.
It’s not that hard to quickly google a YouTuber, watch a few videos and then think you know them back to front. But we want to really pay attention and give credit to the creativity these people have.
We launched with three big interviews from Benjamin Cook, Helen Anderson and Tim Hautekiet. Our aim was to really get to the heart of their creative process and to share a side of them that their fans don’t get to see often.
Ben told the story of how Becoming YouTube came to be, and we got to really delve into where the series could and couldn’t go. Ben revealed that topics such as race and sexuality were ones that he has considered but proved tricky. It was also an opportunity for Ben to defend decisions he had made regarding the Girls on YouTube episode, which caused a lot of backlash.
Helen showed her passion for more than just style and beauty, talking at length about her band and other filmmaking projects. In her interview she discussed the stigma that fashion and beauty guru’s face within the community, often thought of as brainless or shallow.
Tim H used TenEighty to announce his move to LA after being accepted on the Peter Stark’s Producing Programme course. We talked about the process behind his ideas and how they come to fruition, really getting to the heart of what drives him and his creativity forward.
Moving forward from these interviews, we tried to capture people who were very of the moment. Days before his third film Tick Where It Hurts landed we chatted to Bertie Gilbert and after her nomination for a Brilliance in Blogging award we spoke to Charlie McDonnell’s mother Lindsay Atkin.
Bertie was very forthcoming about his opinions on the YouTube community and the decisions he was making to move away from it and towards filmmaking.
Lindsay meanwhile shared the story of watching her son become the UK’s first YouTube sensation, as well as her insightful viewpoint on the YouTube sexual abuse cases.
Ahead of Summer in the City 2014, we announced that we would be selling our first physical copies of the magazine. For this we interviewed Louise Pentland as well as Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs for a dual cover (yes, the flip-mag was intentional) at the same time. Yep, that’s right, while the Louise interview was taking place in Northampton, the Jack and Dean interview was happening at the same time in London.
Louise discussed striking the right balance between her home life and YouTube career, while also delving in further to the YouTube culture debate she sparked. Taking a closer look at the terminology – words such as idol, role model, famous and celebrity – she confessed that she was still making her mind up.
Jack and Dean took a closer look at the complexities of their relationship, how it came to be and how it’s portrayed through their videos. They also dove into the problems they faced when conceiving Consent, revealing that they’d considered shelving the concept as the community faced more sexual abuse allegations.
And in December we spoke to Bethan Leadley about her refocus on her music career. We explored the creative block that many content creators face when they start branding themselves, as well as the hypocrisy of YouTubers who see their fans as money.
All of these interviews have been accompanied with breathtaking photography from Olly Newport and Rebecca Need-Menear that really brought the features to life. Without those photo-shoots TenEighty wouldn’t have such a strong visual brand and presence, and therefore we are forever in debt to their creative eye.
A lot of events took place within this community we call home. Whether it was the big conventions – DigiFest, VidFest at MCM ComicCon or Amity Fest – or shows – Jack and Dean Live, The Upload 3 Tour, Stuck by The RH Experience or Niki and Sammy’s #Twinmas – we aimed to cover them all and give our readers access they wouldn’t otherwise have.
However our biggest challenge was Summer in the City 2014, which we took on head first. We aimed to get photo recaps of all three days, main stage reviews of all the main acts and as many reports on panels as possible. We did this, while also manning our merch table to sell TenEighty’s fist edition.
Our coverage began before the event with an interview with Tom Burns, the founder and head organiser of Summer in the City who revealed some of his plans for the event such as the new meet-and-greet system and told us of problems he had faced in the past.
We also caught up with the other organisers Dave Bullas, Liam Dryden and Jazza John and found out that if Summer in the City had unlimited resources it would probably have a ferris wheel, bouncy castle and a helter-skelter (here’s hoping for 2015!) as well as listing five of the best Summer in the City moments so far.
On top of this, we practically got photo-sets of almost everyone and everything that happened, all of which you can view over on our Tumblr.
While we didn’t manage to cover everything we had planned to – seriously, the Smaller YouTubers panel was the best panel we have ever attended and we’re gutted we didn’t manage to get a write-up of it out in time – we are really proud of what we achieved over this weekend.
As a team we learned valuable lessons about how to fully achieve the coverage we want and we aim to bring that to every event we attend. Just thinking about it is giving us an itch: roll on Summer in the City 2015!
2014 was the year in which several allegations were made against several prominent YouTubers regarding their sexual conduct. While TenEighty is a publication that has celebrating the community at its heart, we never want to shy away from the topics which appear more challenging for us to cover.
We launched in April not long after some of the earlier allegations had been brought forward. We released our article The Abuse Scandals That Shook The Community in which we spoke to Fawn Mead, Hatti Rex and Rebecca Nixon, three feminist bloggers and members of the community who had all had close relationships with some of the accused.
Out of our discussion we learned that the issues the YouTube community faced encompassed far bigger topics such as relationships between fans and creators, hero-worshipping, education on consent and patriarchal society.
Moving forward, we looked at the heightened awareness surrounding these issues and whether or not the sexual abuse allegations had changed what audiences found acceptable on YouTube.
A video by US YouTuber Vitaly Zdorovetskiy received widespread attention from the community with many content creators calling for their followers to flag the video. We used this – as well as videos by KSI, Sam Pepper and Nash Grier – to carry on the discussion.
In September, Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank by Sam Pepper provoked a strong and loud negative response from the YouTube community and eventually lead to the video being taken down.
Despite Sam’s attempts to explain that the video – as well as two follow-up videos – were part of a social experiment to give awareness to male sexual abuse, it lead to him being dropped from Collective Digital Studios.
In October, more allegations were brought forward against multiple YouTubers. We tracked the response of the community in Sexual Abuse Community Response in which several YouTubers spoke out vocally against the accused and aimed to educate their audiences about consent and healthy relationships.
In November Francesca Georgiou launched We Are Here For You, a video project that hopes to reach out to the victims of sexual abuse and let them know that they aren’t alone.
While it is easy to loose faith in content creators and the community that surrounds them, we hope that the community can move forward and continue to support victims.
Through it all we at TenEighty have aimed to report on each case responsibly. While mainstream media began picking up on the stories as they unfolded, we attempted to give voice to the people at the heart of it. And our commitment to them doesn’t stop just because there’s no longer ‘a story’.
Protecting and defending the community
While we are a publication that reflects what is happening on YouTube in the UK, there are some instances where we try to be an active participant within the community. We value the people who have created the environment we have come to love and will always do our best to protect and defend it when certain things need to be uncovered or highlighted.
In April through to July we tracked the multiple line-up changes and ticketing problems regarding YouLive 2014. When Jey Management, the organisers of the event, were faced with allegations of fraud we contacted representation of some of the creators listed as attending to find out they weren’t attending.
Eventually, in August, the event was cancelled and we reached out to the Hilton Brighton Metropole – where the event was set to take place – for comment.
In September Vice Journalist Joe Bishop published an article titled Vain and Inane: The Rise Of Britain’s Dickhead Vloggers, which used The Pointless Book by Alfie Deyes as a discussion launching point to shame YouTubers and the content they create.
We responded head on by pointing out the flaws in his argument and urging people to not paint all content creators with the same brush.
In October – at the height of the sexual abuse allegations – Alex Day returned to YouTube after a six month hiatus. His return was met with widespread anger across the community, so we explored whether or not disgraced YouTubers should return to YouTube, and aimed to explain why they shouldn’t.
In November we uncovered that Craig Dillon was using a fake lawyer to gain access to events and to threaten those who had accused him of sexual abuse with legal action. Our investigation lead us to find out that Craig had been sending emails as ‘Thomas Corbett’ using the email ‘email@example.com’, a web domain which was registered to Craig himself.
And later that month we took Carrie Fletcher, Gary C, Hannah Witton and George Long to the ChildLine offices in Shoreditch. During the trip we discussed the best way to support those in need and how to respond to messages online.
Celebrating the community
Although at times it’s seemed hard to see, for the most part 2014 has been a great year to be a part of the YouTube community. Simply through running things like the Weekly Round-Up we’ve discovered and enjoyed a wealth of content creators.
And in October we introduced The Style Slice, a new column manned by Amy Pocock taking a closer look at style, fashion, make-up and lifestyle on YouTube that aims to find YouTube’s hidden beauty gems.
2014 also saw a lot of YouTubers appearing on Radio 1. Whether it was Consent by Jack and Dean being played during Matt Edmondson’s show, the hour long documentary on YouTube Gamers or Dan Howell and Phil Lester handing over the reigns of their Monday night slot to their YouTube friends (We did a write up about Tom Ridgewell and Jack and Dean’s show) it seems radio was the new place to be this year.
YouTubers also got political in 2014 thanks to Bite The Ballot’s LeadersLive project which saw four of the five UK party leaders face questions from an audience of content creators. We did reports on all four, Natalie Bennett from the Green Party, Nigel Farage from UKIP, Ed Milliband from Labour and Nick Clegg from the Liberal Democrats and we look forward to seeing the PM in the new year.
We shone a light on the YouTube slash fictions community and found out what drives them to write.
We celebrated the work of Jonti Picking and got five animators to draw their favourite Weebl creations.
But our biggest hurrah went out to PJ Liguori, Tim H and Bertie Gilbert who had their short-films funded by Ron Howard, Brian Graizer and New Form Digital. We caught up with all three ahead of the premiere of their films at Buffer Festival in Toronto, Canada and took a closer look at what New Form Digital aim to do in the future.
It doesn’t end here…
As 2015 dawns on us we look forward to it, excited and as committed as ever. We plan to carry on delivering you the content we have and hopefully more. We are so proud of everything that TenEighty has become and hope we can continue to develop into a force to be reckoned with.
It hasn’t been easy and there have been times where we’ve struggled to keep up with the ever-changing pace of this mad wonderful world. But we always pull through and that’s purely out of a love for the community we are a part of and a dedication to the medium we’ve created.
We believe in content creators, the people within this community and the creativity and social good it has and can accomplish. And while we believe in those things we want to thank all of you – our loyal TenEighty readers – for believing in us. You make all the hard work pay off. Thank you.
For feature interviews with Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs, Louise Pentland and more, check out the first 64 page physical edition of TenEighty Magazine. Get more information and purchase a copy on the TenEighty BigCartel page by clicking here.