YouTube content creator Shammy has made name for himself with his harsh critique videos in the ongoing “Actual Review” series.

You may have seen him pop up before when biting into No Man’s Sky (twice) or the infamous melon video which mocked a somewhat misguided look at quantum computing for gaming.

You’ll also recognise the constant presence of owls as the channel mascot and avatar for the person behind the channel.

We caught up with Shammy over email as part of our YouTube interview series to find out more.

Before we get to the questions we suggest you watch this Q&A video which may answers more basic questions like “how are your videos made” and “why the owl”?

htxt.africa Who is Shammy?

Shammy Shammy is more or less an exaggerated version of a lot of the more extreme qualities of my own personality. I honestly think that I’m snarky and sarcastic to a fault, so I try to get some of that out of my system by projecting it onto the character of Shammy so that I can hopefully pull it back in my day to day life a touch. I’ve said before that I’ve sort of made the character of Shammy an embodiment of a lot of the things I don’t like about myself and then wrapped it all up with my sense of humor. I know I just make the teehee funny hahas about video games but I’ve always felt like humor is best when it comes from a place of honesty and vulnerability.

As for the origin of the name Shammy… It’s an inside joke between my friend Max and I, and I’d sorta like to keep it that way.

htxt.africa Critique channels on movies, videogames, and a variety of other topics have become a noticeable part of YouTube. What’s it like from the inside and how is that different to the way audiences may perceive it?

Shammy I can’t speak for everyone but I personally think it’s a lot more work than a lot of people perceive it to be. Obviously I don’t work as hard as the people making the games I’m criticizing (video games are witchcraft and it’s insane that they exist at all let alone at the scale that they do), but I put in full time hours most weeks working on scripting my reviews properly when I’m not currently even earning a living wage.

I also think it’s a lot less of a “community” than most people think, I’m friendly with a few other game review/critique channels (Joseph Anderson, Raycevick, Lord Mandalore, B-Mask, Turbo Button, etc.) but it’s not like other communities on YouTube where collaboration is a regular thing.

Joseph A and I have interacted quite a bit on twitter as well as in private (nicest dude ever, by the way) and as a result there are quite a few people who have asked us to collaborate. Problem is, our styles are so dramatically different that even though we cover the same subjects I don’t think a traditional “collaboration” is really even feasible. I don’t know, I’m sure there are a lot of things that are different about it from the inside that I could think of if given the time, but those are the two that stick out the most for me.

htxt.africa What type of video do you enjoy creating more? Your critique videos or more off the wall stuff like the melon video? 

Shammy Oh god the melon video, my Magnum Opus. Honestly I don’t really know, I enjoy both for very different reasons. If all I did was weird off the wall shit like “What does this 14 pound bag of melons mean for gamers?” & “Top 10 Games of November 2016 That Are All Owlboy” I think I’d probably blow my brains out, and the same goes for only doing reviews.

My interests and what I enjoy doing change all the time, I don’t have the attention span to stick to one thing and that thing only. I want to do more weird one-off videos in the future, but right now I’m enjoying the review cycle and doing them allows me to grow my channel to the point where I can get away with those bizarre videos more often.

htxt.africa How has your channel been affected by the recent demonetisation on YouTube?

Shammy Briefly every single one of my videos was demonetized, but I think that must’ve been a glitch because without repealing about half of them came back after like an hour. I’m still being hit, some of my videos have had their monetization given back, but it’s a bit hard working for 300+ hours on a video knowing that there’s a good chance it’ll get demonetized for the entire period where it gets the majority of its views.

It’s a spooky time being a creator on YouTube, especially when you’re still trying to grow to the point where it’s sustainable and your upload schedule is as infrequent as mine.

htxt.africa Many of the other channels we’ve interviewed have had experiences with Reddit. What’s your relationship with that site like? 

Shammy My first big boom in subscribers was before I even started doing the reviews, I made a video called “2 dollars, 10 games” in which I bought a $2 bundle on G2A (a website I in no way endorse) and more or less tore apart the shovelware games I was given with it. Someone posted it onto /r/gaming and it hit the front page, earning me about 2,000 subscribers and doubling my sub count in like 2 days.

After that things were pretty quiet for about 6 months, I slowly crawled from 4k to about 6k subs from June to December, and at that point I gave up and decided to just post my Call of Duty review onto Reddit myself. It did pretty well, a lot of the comments were fairly negative but I played along with it and people seemed to enjoy that. I think I gained about 4k subs when that happened, which put me over the 10k threshold and holy shit did things get crazy from there.

Once you pass 10k subs YouTube starts recommending your videos to random people, and I guess YouTube recommended my videos to literally everyone on the entire site because I went from 6k subs to 80k subs over the course of about a month and a half. Since then growth has been pretty steady, I gain 100-300 subs a day in down periods and when I upload I see big surges of growth. I’m hoping to break 250k by the end of 2017 but it’s gonna be an uphill battle to do so.

htxt.africa We share a love for Titanfall 2. Do you still pick it up for the odd game or have you put it away for the time being? 

Shammy Nah I haven’t been playing it recently, haven’t had time. Hoping to get back into it when game releases start to calm down a bit.

htxt.africa Did your mom enjoy the Mom-Friendly Review of Outlast 2? Also, did your Google Analytics report an increase in the mom demographic for that video?

Shammy She did! She cried when it got to the ending bit. As for the increase in my mom demographic, I didn’t see it in analytics but I got a ton of comments on that video of people saying they showed it to their moms and they loved it. I don’t think that’s my strongest video but it will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason.

htxt.africa When can we expect An Actual Re-Re-Review of No Man’s Sky? There was the big 1.3 update recently.

Shammy I want to die.

htxt.africa Give us an actual review of this interview.

Shammy It was definitely an interview.

 

You can find Shammy on YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch. Consider supporting his channel through Patreon.