Canada’s YouTube stars talk about web success

There’s a subculture of web users who speak reverentially about the work of RayWilliamJohnson, ShayCarl, or MysteryGuitarMan.

TORONTO — There’s a subculture of web users who speak reverentially about the work of RayWilliamJohnson, ShayCarl, or MysteryGuitarMan.

None are household names, but Internet famous? Definitely.

A roomful of YouTube auteurs aspiring to the same status gathered recently at Google’s Toronto office to trade tips on how to hit it big on the web’s largest and most popular video site.

Corey Vidal says getting a million hits on YouTube was tough but getting 50 million, that was actually much easier.

And while the 23-year-old Oakville, Ont., native doesn’t think he’s necessarily cracked the code to YouTube fame and fortune, he has quit his job to become an online video pro.

“My advice is just keep going, don’t get lazy, don’t give up, don’t get discouraged if things aren’t working,” Vidal said during a panel discussion.

“You never log in and have less views.”

Vidal, known as ApprenticeA, first posted to YouTube to share a video with a friend, and didn’t expect anyone else would see it — a fairly common story among users who had videos go viral.

Next time he logged on, the video had amassed 500 views. Not a big number by YouTube standards, but about a hundred times more than he expected.

It took a couple years of faithfully posting videos — “not too serious, I find people go to YouTube to laugh, not to cry,” is how he describes his style — until Vidal got his big moment, and was featured on YouTube’s front page.

“It was like winning the lottery, and it was kind of like, it was this fun thing and now bam, life has completely changed forever. Everything has been different since,” he said.

“In the past two years it’s actually been enough for me to do it full time and quit my job.

“In the past year I’ve now started a company, hired employees and produce videos on an ongoing basis with my production crew. And I’m now working with sponsors and advertisers and brands.”

Also on the panel was user FLuffeeTalks — he prefers not to go by his real name — who has nearly half a million subscribers and almost 94 million views.

He recommended that newer users not get discouraged by the nasty cesspool that is YouTube’s comment section.

“If you have haters, that’s when you know you’re starting to get popular,” he said.

“If people care about you enough to leave hateful comments and try to make you feel bad about yourself, then obviously (you’ve made it).”

User Mugglesam — who also didn’t want to reveal her name — said commenters aren’t her problem, and she’s actually had a hard time getting family members to understand why she posts videos of her children on YouTube.

“When I first started YouTube was some scary thing, and it still is in our town, and I have to describe it as like being on TV — or better than being on TV, actually,” she said.