Deep in the heart of Texas (What city is the heart of Texas? Do they all claim to be the heart? Where's the brain of Texas? I want to go to there.) an expo called Rooster Teeth happened. It's where Gaming met The Internet. The Internet was all, "Hey do you guys want me here? You seem pretty into blowing shit up and also headsets." They both had a few drinks and then everything was stupendous. Guess who went to RTX2012? THIS GUY. I'm Whitney Mixter by the way.
Rooster Teeth Productions, based in Austin, brought the world Red vs. Blue. The comedic sci-fi web series apparently is extremely popular so I felt really lame for not knowing about it beforehand. The conference had lots of long lines for games I'd never heard of and was full of people that probably look down on my affinity for playing games on Wii. In addition to the abundance of games, slap bracelets, and probably the creator of the next Facebook, there were a bunch of panels. Among them was a Women of YouTube panel including the interweb's most adorable lesbian, Hannah Hart.
The Women of YouTube Panel was moderated by Jenni Powell (Producer of the The Lizzie Bennet Diaries) and also included Daily Grace, iJustine, and the Live Prude Girls (Milana Vayntrub and Stevie Nelson). Though the video doesn't necessarily exhibit this, the panel was by far one of the most hilarious panels I've ever attended. The natural camaraderie and kinship between the panelists was as apparent as their comedic abilities. Several bits were built throughout the hour-long panel, many of which played off the 'so awkward it's funny' tension between Hannah Hart and the Live Prude Girls which you may remember from that time they interviewed her.
However, it wasn't all fun and games. Anyone active in an online community, as RTXers are, knows about the power of trolls and the constant threat of internet harassment. Being a woman in this space unfortunately opens you up to near anonymous attacks. Aside from the obvious "I am a woman, please critique my physical appearance forever" attitude, the accessibility of YouTube stars on and off-line leaves the door open for some really creepy shit. Beyond the very act of being a consumable internet entity, these women are creators of content. Everything they put up comes from their personality, taste, and personal brand. It's not just words or a performance. These videos are intentional and their visions went into every step of the process from the initial idea to the editing of the footage.
Tim Poon asserts that the success of these women is "what happens when charming people put great content on YouTube." I think this panel made me realize that YouTube is secretly one of the most intimate performance spaces available. With so much content being produced and consumed in the privacy of one's own home, YouTubers are showing the world what comedy means to them as weirdo humans that spend a lot of time in front of computers which you can maybe relate to.
*cover photo via Platform Nation