The Becoming YouTube 2 trailer was unveiled last week, so we caught up with Ben Cook about what to look forward to this time around.
“An exploration of Fame, Fortune, Fans, the Future, and other things beginning with F,” says Benjamin Cook, on what we can expect from Becoming YouTube 2, the second installment of his documentary series, with added comedy sketches, all about YouTube and its users .
Becoming YouTube was one of the standout projects in the UK YouTube scene of the last few years, and anticipation for its sequel has been high, no more so than here at TenEighty. So when the trailer landed last week, it did so to a flurry of online excitement and acclaim, and the only thing to do was go and track Ben down for a chat.
The trailer also landed with the words Fame, Fortune and Fans in big red lettering. We asked Ben why he’d made these the main themes of the series.
“They’re the topics that interested me the most,” he says. “Simple as that.”
“I only make web series about things beginning with F now,” he continues. “I’ve made an eight-part web series for Channel 4 all about Fucking. It’s called Tofu. It’ll air on 4oD from 22nd January. It has Jake Bass in it, so TenEighty is bound to like it.”
We don’t know what you mean Ben. Although we are super excited for the episode featuring fellow YouTuber Mark Ludford. We ask how he’s managed his time, filming Becoming YouTube 2 as well as Tofu.
“By neglecting my friends and family, and growing a beard,” jokes Ben.
Bringing it back to Becoming YouTube 2 however, he reveals some more about this series’s content.
“It’s actually quite dark in places,” he says. “Dark, brooding, and brilliant. Yeah. Imagine a Tom Law video. Well, it’s the opposite of that.”
“This will be the final run of Becoming YouTube,” he continues. “No, it will. Please. Stop crying. You’re embarrassing yourself. It comprises three big, fuck-off episodes – Fame, Fortune, and Fans – and a few smaller videos. And some other stuff, stuff about the Future and… oh, wait and see. Spoilers! But then… that’s it, over, onto the next series, of something else, something more… international, which we’ve begun filming already.”
An integral part of the series are the interviewees, and the trailer revealed who Ben has been working with this time around. Alongside YouTubers such as Charlie McDonnell, Emma Blackery, Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs, and Louise Pentland, this series sees names from outside the usual YouTube sphere join the cast, including Tom Fletcher, The Vamps and Kylie Minogue. We asked how he went about reaching out to such ‘bona-fide’ celebrities.
“They’re all bona fide celebrities to me, darling!” he says. “Or – more accurately – what does ‘bona fide celebrity’ even mean, in 2015? In this brave new world in which YouTubers are getting papped and mobbed, writing best-sellers, working with Hollywood producers, popping up on the New Year Honours list…?”
“Honestly, it was harder to tempt Crabstickz out of his Crabcave than it was to persuade Tom from McBusted or Kylie to be in Becoming YouTube 2,” he continues. “No lie. Chris is a recluse now. A myth. A legend. A shadow. But I love him, and want him in everything I make.”
“No joke, though, he um-ed and er-ed more than Kylie,” says Ben. “But no-one was starry. Kylie was unassuming and sweet. Her people approached me and asked if she could be in Becoming YouTube 2. Amazing! The Midnight Beast had watched the first series, which helped. Tom knew of me through Carrie [H Fletcher]. The Vamps owed me a favour. And I have incriminating photos of Louise, so she had no choice but to agree to appear in Becoming YouTube 2.”
We can’t wait to see the results when the full series hits our computer screens, but we can’t leave Ben without asking the real question everyone wants the answer to: Will Becoming YouTube 2 actually be weekly, unlike its predecessor?
“This interview is over,” says Ben. And with a strange sense of deja-vu from our cover interview with him, it is.