Sinnott, James

Just the Right Amount of Crazy

Do you, like most people, enjoy the occasional Youtube video? Well you’re not alone. As of 2014, billions of people use Youtube, a figure that will assuredly go up moving forward. People use it for entertainment, for advice, to get their news, to advertise their businesses, and a litany of other things. One of the biggest aspects of Youtube is the fact that it has created a culture of content producers. Anyone can become a budding filmmaker, comedian, blogger, podcast producer, “lets player”, and more. Given its prevalence in our culture, I decided to speak with one of Youtube’s up and coming creators to see what goes into making a video, and why he does it in the first place.

Al Chestbreach is the operator of a popular Youtube channel that mostly does “lets plays”, which is basically just playing a game and recording it for others to watch. He also has a weekly podcast called “Real Life Friends”. As of this writing he has nearly four hundred thousand subscribers. I sat down with “Al” at his home.

Real name: William Petersen, or BIll to his friends. A man of small stature, but big energy. An energy reminiscent of the late Robin Williams, able to jump from subject to subject and joke to joke with the ease of an olympic mogul skier. An energy that is off the wall and chaotic, yet brilliant, and as focused as a laser when he needs to be. He’s absurdist, but not just for the sake of absurdity. Laughter is never in short supply when around this creative dynamo. His computer has a massive tower he built himself and affectionately nicknamed it “Thor”. We had our chat in his bedroom that acts as his studio. His room is what one imagines his mind is like, cluttered and eccentric.

James Sinnott: So, thanks for sitting down with me.

William Petersen: Not a problem, man.

JS: Alright so, how did you start making Youtube videos?

WP: Well, I guess it started in school.

JS: Oneonta right?

WP: Uh, yup.

JS: So, it started in college?

WP: Yea, I have always been into making videos, you know that. But When we were kids Youtube wasn’t around. It was just really starting up. But I had a new media class that talked about the possibility of making money making videos but I didn’t start till after I was already home.

JS: Was there anything specific that got you started?

WP: Not really. I’ve been making videos for almost as long as I can remember, and eventually I just started putting them on Youtube, people like em, so, uh, I kept doing it. Couple years later, still doing it.  

JS: And you make money off of it?

WP: Off the advertisements, but yeah.

JS: So, what goes into making a video?

WP: Well since I mostly do “lets plays” not a whole lot really goes into it. I have a set schedule for what games I play each day. I take suggestions from viewers and fans every once and in awhile. But usually I just sit down, play, and record.

JS: What’s the hardest part?

WP: I guess, uh, if I had to choose, uh, it would probably be that games aren’t as fun as they used to be. Since they’re now work just as much as they are for entertainment. Kind of takes the fun out of them.

JS: I can see that.

WP: Yea, if there is a game that I wanna play that I also play for the channel, then I make a point of playing it all the way through before recording anything.

JS: Makes sense. Where do you see it going from here?

WP: The channel?

JS: Yeah.

WP: Well, I guess just keep going till it’s making me enough money to live off of without having another job. Or, If I find a job that I really like, I’ll probably stop doing it and just focus on that.

JS: Alright, well, thanks for doing this.

WP: No problem.

If you want to have a good laugh, compliments of Mr. Chestbreach, just head here. Support your local Youtubers, with only five views a day you can help this Youtuber eat tonight.