A new genre of video is emerging on YouTube: the monthly vlog.
The attraction of this format lies in creators having both the time to edit (though when do we ever have time to edit let’s be honest) and the option to cherry-pick only the very best clips from the whole month for one video. This results in an intriguing crossover between short films and daily vlogging, and often inspires an array of amusing acronyms, including PMS (Pretentious Monthly Scrapbook) and RAG (Really Artsy Garbage).
Through creators such as Daniel J. Layton with his PMS series, or Maja Anushka who coined the term RAG for her own monthly vlog, you may have come across these types of video before. But Sam Angl is taking this emergent genre and making it utterly his own. His monthly PMS series, the cornerstone of the content on his channel, continues to get better and better each month. August – PMS. is no exception.
The video moves from stunning aerial shots of the sea when Sam was at the coast with his friends to quieter, more intimate moments of Sam with his gran at the piano, and it’s the constant switching between silliness and intimacy which makes it so engaging. It’s made all the more profound by knowing this is the story of someone real. Sam’s cinematography and editing skills take you on a journey from the very first moment to the very last like any good story will.
In keeping with the storytelling aspect, several themes run throughout the vlog. Video games are the most obvious one, with 48 references to everything from Pokémon to Wii Sports showing up throughout the video. The opening sequence features a completely homemade sprite animation which is as nihilistic as it is charming – an oddly endearing combination.
This theme is continued in a more subtle but equally prevalent way with sound effects, text, music, and some Zelda-inspired CGI throughout the rest of the video. The care and attention to detail are obvious, and repeated viewing will be rewarded as viewers pick up the multitude of references and subtleties.
Another theme of this month is growing up. The presence of computer games and talk of school summer holidays as a kid gives the whole video a nostalgic feel, taking us back to that time before we all became disillusioned adults. Back to when we were younger and were constantly playing those games. (As if we don’t STILL play them…)
And Sam’s gran is there to offer us some good life advice in the video, giving us an older perspective on how to live which perhaps, as young people, we need to be reminded of sometimes.
Wrapping the video together in the epilogue, Sam offers a third theme to the vlog: community. As he puts it, “I was part of something this month. Summer in the City  was when I first realised that I belonged to something, and it was from there that I took notice of these other collectives that I fit in, the friends I rarely see, and the friends I probably see way too much. Also family, which is a community I probably take a bit for granted… August made me realise: You know what? I’m not alone. Not anymore, anyways.”
That’s kinda beautiful, Sam.