Have you ever wanted to know what Vin Diesel would look like if we was cut out of ham? Do you crave salsa made with a garbage disposal? Are you interested in popping popcorn with a homemade laser cutter?
If you answered yes to any of those oddly specific questions, there’s only one YouTube channel you need to watch and that’s William Osman.
A recent force on the site with his channel’s earliest video being just over a year old, Osman has cemented himself as maybe the funniest maker channel, and our favourite content creator in a long time.
This is thanks to the crazy projects undertaken (usually one per video), a great sense of humour and superb filming and editing by John Willner – known as “CameraManJohn” whenever mentioned.
As part of our ongoing series of talks with YouTube content creators we spoke to Osman over email to find out how it all works.
htxt.africa Who is William Osman and how did he wind up making videos on YouTube?
William Osman William Osman is me, a mechanical/electrical engineer living in Southern California making pseudo-educational content for YouTube. I started a personal blog last year documenting my projects, but started the videos soon after taking inspiration from a few YouTube channels such as Applied Science, The Hacksmith, Simone Giertz, and others.
William Osman CameraManJohn and I have been making terrible non-science YouTube videos since high school. The first science video I asked him to help film was the racecar telemetry project. The early videos are a combination of his camera work and me on my own, but he’s taken over all the filming now.
William Osman I swear that I’ll make a RetnaSmelter9000 video one day, telling you what not to do when building a laser cutter.
htxt.africa Are many of your videos as dangerous as they look or do you take more safety precautions behind the scenes?
William Osman Home-built laser cutters are inherently unsafe, so everyone wears safety glasses when it’s on. The cotton candy machine was kinda scary before we put the bucket around it, and using a table-saw to cut wood for the Auto Juicer wasn’t exactly proper table-saw usage. Other than that, I can’t think of anything which made me too nervous. There are a lot of safety precautions considered/made which you don’t see on camera.
htxt.africa You’ve done a lot of collaboration videos in the past. How does the video-making process change when other channels get involved?
William Osman I love collaborations! The only problem is you need to pick projects which merge both channels and can be done in a reasonable time-frame. One of the biggest issues is how to work together while still centering the video around the main creator. I’ve seen collabs where the guest becomes the main focus, so we try really hard to balance that.
htxt.africa Which projects were your favourite and least favourite to do?
William Osman I’m incredibly proud of the mechanical TV project, but it was also the worst project to work on. It took three weeks of struggling to achieve semi-functional results… CameraManJohn thinks the collab with Evan&Katelyn was most fun to film due to the real-time not overly complicated projects.
htxt.africa Almost all of the other channels we’ve interviewed have found success on Reddit, and that’s where we first discovered you thanks to the Vin Diesel ham video. What’s your relationship with the site like?
William Osman Reddit is great when it likes your video, and horrible when it doesn’t. People can be reeeeeally mean on the site.
htxt.africa How has the recent round of demonetisation on YouTube affected your channel?
William Osman We keep things super clean, so I haven’t seen the effects other than me accidentally de-monetizing the channel which took over three days to fix. The volatility and lack of support for monetization on YouTube does scare me though.
htxt.africa Do you have a video you’d like to produce or a project you’d like to make, but can’t because of safety or monetary reasons?
William Osman I really want to make real remote control car. Also I want to make “House of Science” were a bunch of youtube makers live in a house for a month doing science all day every day.
htxt.africa Did you ever get into trouble for distributing angle grinder cotton candy at Maker Faire?
William Osman No, I think it encompassed the true spirit of makerfaire plus nobody got hurt.
htxt.africa Did the store accept the returned garbage disposal?
William Osman Yeah they did accept the return! I cleaned it really well, but left the googly eyes on.