The 7th Hour

Or in this case, month.

It’s been just about 7 months since I started my journey into YouTube content creation. My progress has been steady and I thought I would share a bit about it, along with documenting my progress for posterity. It’s been such a ride. When I started my channel, my thought process was “why not do something more with this hobby I love?” Clearly I’ve played Magic: The Gathering for a large portion of my life, and I’ve written about it here in years past. I was always brewing and playing with my IRL playgroup but eventually we all moved apart and I was stuck in a place without the ability to play with anyone. I still collected cards and was still brewing new decks, but not being able to play regularly took its toll. Eventually my Sister and her Husband invited me to play with them at family gatherings, but it still wasn’t enough. It took the pandemic to really turn this into a nearly-daily thing. The advent of Discord servers dedicated to MTG matchmaking, and the progression of tools like Spelltable, Moxfield and OBS really solidified playing paper MTG with strangers over the Internet. That eventually took on a life of its own, to the point where I joined a ton of servers and decided to get into the content creation end of things. I had been watching other creators put out gameplay videos for so long, and having decided to go ahead and do it myself, I realized that I could now play with the same people I used to watch regularly. Becoming more entrenched in this community has opened the door to doing even more, and I have additional projects in the works that are still relating to this channel but will expand reach.

Starting out I knew that my setup was crude, and I knew that eventually I would need to make some upgrades. One of the first things I did was get a new microphone. Despite the fact that I wanted to get a Blue Yeti, there was a sale around the end of last year that pushed me in the direction of the Hyper X Solocast Microphone. Previously I was just using my Hyper X headset to record, and I figured they were a reliable enough brand. The sale really pushed that over the edge. It was a standalone USB mic that came with its own stand, but I prefer the ability to move it around so I bought a boom arm for it which you can see here:

Hyper X Solocast Microphone with pop filter installed on boom arm.

Early reports from viewers note a marked improvement in audio quality. I’m happy with the purchase. Another purchase I made that isn’t equipment but was still very important to me was the following:

Custom Playmat from Inked Gaming

There was a deal over on Inked Gaming to basically upload an image and have it printed onto a playmat. Many creators have their own logos emblazoned on their mats, and I wanted to join the club. The mat is high quality, looks amazing in person and on camera, and didn’t cost all that much. I want to start offering this as part of a merchandise lineup but unfortunately have not yet found the right option to where I don’t have to spend a ton upfront without knowing if they will sell. Perhaps a Kickstarter or another option I am unaware of will be the right choice. For now, I really enjoy having my own mat and I use it regularly.

Path to YouTube Partner

On to stat tracking, we’re getting quite close to another one of the requirements for YouTube partnership. As you can see above, the 4,000 watch hours requirement is nearly met. Honestly though the subscription numbers are starting to worry me. I was averaging about 150 new subscribers per month in the first few months of the channel’s life, but in the past couple of months it’s dwindled to about 40 per month. I haven’t really changed anything about the formula that should somehow affect the YouTube algorithms, but here we are. I still have about 5 months to go during my first year so it is definitely still attainable but I still wonder why the subscriptions dropped off so rapidly. I attributed some of this to the holidays but we’re into February and that shouldn’t be the case anymore. I’ll keep an eye on it and hope that some of the bigger guests and collaborations along with starting up some supplemental content in the coming months will get me there.

Makin’ that money

Last time I checked in I only had 3 patrons and was making about $20/month. I’ve now earned about double the Patrons and double the income. It’s still not entirely where I’d like it to be, but it is also progress and getting paid a nominal fee to do something I’d be doing anyway feels good. There are other supplemental funds coming around as well. I’m proud to have people willing to pay me for my efforts. This is quite a time investment compared to things I’ve done in the past.

Gimme those follows!

My Twitter following has grown as well. Last time I was under 100 followers, and now I’m on the uphill side of 200. Followers come in spurts, but I find the more I interact with the community there and the more I collaborate with people the wider net that is cast. I follow people and they follow me back, and vice versa. Par for the course. I still have not yet passed my original Twitter that is linked to this blog in terms of followers, but I imagine that will happen soon enough.

Affiliate accomplished

Last time I was not yet to 50 followers on Twitch and was talking about how I was trying to become an affiliate. We hit affiliate status within a month of that last post, and are now sitting at 100 followers. Getting affiliate meant the ability to get subscribers (which = income) and I have had a dedicated handful of subs that have kept up with it for a few months now. We had our most successful stream to date this past weekend, where we had at one point almost 40 viewers. Normal average of views is around 10, so that was nice. There were gift subs given out, bits used to cheer, and a raid from one of the other channels I had collaborated with. Twitch seems to be my fastest growing platform at this time, but I still believe that the YouTube channel will bring in more dinero overall. Whatever the case Twitch has a policy of taking half of what you make and then only pays out once a certain threshold is made, so I have not yet seen any of the money from this, but will eventually.

Fliers by Izlain

As I said earlier I was always watching MTG gameplay videos on YouTube and had followed a ton of channels that I watched regularly. This really took off during the pandemic and quarantine when I had nothing better to do than go down rabbit holes on the website. One of my favorite channels to watch started up back then, a show called “Play to Win.” When I started my own channel, it was immediately on my bucket list to get some games in with them. That is finally happening this upcoming Saturday. I’ve already played with a slew of other channels but this is one of the bigger ones. I’m hoping to not only have a blast but to bring more eyeballs onto my own content in the process. I’ve been making “fliers” like the one above each week for my streams and I think it’s done its work getting more people to watch the show.

I should also mention that I have an active Discord server, with over 100 members. If you are interested in playing MTG over webcam, we can help you get into it and learn the ropes. We primarily play cEDH but most members have decks of various power levels. We also have a sub group of regulars that play MTG Arena, and I’ve even featured a video of myself dueling Discord members in the game along with Streaming it occasionally on non-primary stream days. Others play a variety of video games as well, so there’s something for everyone.

If you have followed me here, there are links below where you can follow me on all of the platforms that I’ve spoken about today. Following costs nothing and really helps me out, so I’d appreciate the couple clicks it will take to do so. We’ll check back in soon. Until then.

The Possibility Storm YouTube Channel

TPS on Twitch

TPS on Twitter

Join The Possibility Storm Discord Channel

Everything else

 

The Journey So Far…

I realize that I’ve been neglecting this blog, and I still have things that I want to write down for posterity. At this point, my content creation energies are going fully into this other venture, so I have been thinking about what I can do with the blog in the meantime. I can say confidently that at this point in my life, I’m not going to dedicate sufficient time to blogging anymore. I’m fully invested in other forms of content creation, and given my schedule, I can’t do *a lot* with both at the same time. That said, I do want to perhaps use this as a form of self therapy, and also as a way to self-promote at the same time. With that said, this post is completely about my other project: The Possibility Storm.

The last post I made was announcing my new project. At that point, I was using shitty graphics that I made myself, and had just started the corresponding YouTube channel. At this point, I’m over 90 days deep, and I thought I’d share some of the “achievements” I’ve completed to this point. The first thing I’d like to share, is pictured above. I had a friend of a friend who happened to be in one of my early episodes, who also happened to be a graphic artist for his day job, and as a result I was presented with an opportunity to get free graphic design work for the channel. The new logo is fire, and I’m absolutely in love with it. Big thanks to Tallasis who created this for me.

As I said, it’s been just over 3 months since I started the new YouTube channel, and this has already surpassed my expectations, but we’re at nearly 400 subscribers and 1500 watch hours. The channel also has over 10,000 views, and I’m aware of other channels that have been active longer than I that have less views and +\- the same sort of subscriber count. I am well on schedule to make the requirements for partnership at the one year mark. I’m simultaneously proud of this achievement and humbled by the support. To be fair, I have infiltrated the appropriate channels for this growth to be expected. I’ve been very active on Twitter, I’ve been a guest on many a stream of other creators, and I’ve shamelessly shilled whenever the opportunity has arisen. I’m not saying this has been easy, and I know that it’s been work on my part, but I’m very happy with the growth vs. the effort put out. Speaking of support, this has become lucrative in its own right.

I’m not going to pretend like $20+ a month is “raking in the cash” but it’s a good showing for what I’ve done to this point. I’m well on my way to YouTube monetization, and I’m already making enough to cover most “costs” of the production of the show to this point. I of course want to invest into the show as well; getting a better microphone is high on the list, along with perhaps some better lighting and additional cameras for various production facets. I appreciate the support I’ve been shown, and I intend to continue this production and improve it as I go along.

My Twitter presence isn’t where I want it to be, but we’ve managed almost 100 followers and I’m always having conversations with people about MTG amongst other things, and I’ve used the platform to collaborate with many a content creator. It’s still my social media platform of choice, and a great way to interact with the audience.

This project started out as a completely video based feature, but I was also looking to expand in any way possible in order to gain reach and monetization where applicable. As such, I’ve expanded to Twitch in order to live stream recording sessions so that people can either watch the games live, or watch the edited videos later. In some cases the live streams are more entertaining for some, but the quick cut videos are more accessible to get to the end result more readily. We’re pushing the amount of followers to get affiliate status (we’re actually at 30 followers now, despite what that graphic shows), which unlocks the ability to gain subscribers and further monetization efforts. I think between Twitch, YouTube and the Patreon, I should be able to increase production value while simultaneously providing multiple benefits to those who pay into the show.

Another revenue stream I’m looking into is channel branded merchandise. I’ve already had a surprising amount of “I’d buy that if you make it” in this regard, so I’m looking to get these products out as soon as possible. Pictured above is a t-shirt with the awesome logo my buddy made for me. I’m also looking to get logo playmats for MTG made. I’ve looked into several options for mass producing each, and in some cases, we can do batch orders in a Kickstarter fashion, where those who pledge towards the total goal will get a shirt or mat if the goal was made and I’ll make a profit. I’m being completely transparent here, in the sense that I want to create the content, but I’m also open to receiving some cash for the work I’m putting in. In this sense, these are amounts I wish I could have earned for the blogging I’ve done over the last 20+ years. I’m also going to be the first person to rock these t-shirts and have a playmat displayed during streams/videos.

So if you’ve followed me for the past 16 years, I’d sincerely appreciate a follow on social media, the YouTube channel or on Twitch. All of the support helps, even if you’re not contributing monetarily. If you can spare the extra change, the Patreon is at minimum $2/month, and once I hit the 50 follower mark on Twitch, that will open the option for subscriptions there, which are at minimum $5 a pop. For the cost of your morning coffee, once per month, you can help finance the channels I’m producing and I’ll love you for it. You can find all of my content and related socials on Linktree.

Thanks for reading through my shameless self-promotion. I appreciate you all.

Announcing: The Possibility Storm

Well, those 6 months just flew by. Apologies for going silent for so long, but the time has come for me to unveil my latest project.

Why was I gone for so long? What’s to become of this blog? These are questions I aim to answer while simultaneously self-promoting.

In January my father fell ill. He was also caretaker to one of our last remaining elderly relatives. This meant I had to spring into action and figure out what to do with them both. This culminated in moving his entire life from one county to another, along with rearranging my entire life. We have made due, but there was much to do to get to this point. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say that it was not a fun experience, and I do not recommend. Over the course of the last month, things had settled down to the point where I could start focusing on something new. I put together the accounts needed to get started with the new project over a month ago, and finally went live about a week ago. Generally positive feedback to this point, and I’m looking to improve. Episode #2 will be live later this week. As for this blog, well it can still be a place where I sporadically post (most likely reverting to the free version and losing out on domain name because that shit isn’t cheap) but it’s more likely that I use it to send more traffic towards my YouTube channel. Perhaps I’ll do some personal style posting again. Time will tell.

So where is it? You can check out the channel here.

What is it? The Possibility Storm is a YouTube channel dedicated to Magic: The Gathering. Currently showcasing quick cut gameplay videos, I intend to later introduce Deck Teck videos and Podcast episodes.

What can we do to help? Subscriptions, shares, likes and comments on the channel will help me grow. There is also a Twitter account that needs more followers. Eventually if the demand and growth are there, I intend to set up a Patreon and provide more perks.

Lastly, I have a Discord set up that’s free to join. In the event the Patreon thing goes forward, I intend to have a dedicated portion of the server for Patrons as one of the perks.

Thank you for your support.

MTG: Stuff to Watch on Quarantine

As the global crisis continues, a large portion of the population is stuck indoors. I suppose in other times we wouldn’t have had the Internet, cable and streaming services so we’d probably want to spend more time outside or visiting other people, etc. This type of freedom of movement has been severely restricted for much of the world, so being stuck inside is the only option if you are deemed unessential. We should all be feeling pretty fortunate that this is happening in 2020 and not 1991, because the Internet gives us plenty of things to get lost in. This is the sort of post that could apply to anyone and any topic, however I’m only going to stick to Magic: The Gathering Content Creators today. But if you happen to be into something completely different, I’m sure a cursory search of YouTube can get you to your chosen hobby, and you could probably make a similar list for your niche. To wit, I’d imagine you could learn a whole new skill or find a brand new hobby simply by perusing the annals of the web. With that said, here are several of my favorite MTG themed YouTube channels that are helping me get by in these the boring-est of times.

The Command Zone


I believe this was the first MTG themed podcast I started listening to, and only started really watching their channel back in 2017 or 2018. So it’s been a little while and I have to say that I’ve liked most of their content. There’s a dud episode here or there, but I like the way they find topics to discuss that is more structured the way I used to try and structure my own (dead) show. I also met Josh at GPVegas a couple of years back and that brings it that much closer to home. What I really find mesmerizing about their channel though is the sub-show “Game Knights” where they have live reality TV style games of magic in their studio. Here is where their production value really shines. The show is presented as if they are only minimally edited though a bunch of great animations and sound effects really bring the games to life. As a source of information, the guys are typically some of the first to relay important announcements from WotC themselves, and they have presented helpful tips about the game and its many rules interactions. Highly recommended even if you are fairly new to the game as these guys skew more towards the casual side of things.

Casually Competitive


Truth be told, The Command Zone was pretty much the only MTG related channel I followed for a long time. I only more recently (say the past 3-4 months) became more interested in watching gameplay videos, and this is probably in direct correlation to the fact that it’s around the same time I started playing paper Magic over webcam. As such, this ends up being like watching professional eSports though the games are heavily edited and narrated. Apparently there is a whole crop of newer players in the community that are starting these sorts of channels, because these aren’t the only new kids on the block that have found a fast following. Whatever the case, the bulk of Casually Competitive’s work are these edited and narrated gameplay videos. However, they do some instructional videos as well that will help you sort out the difference between Casual, Competitive and Casually Competitive decks. I like their stuff and you might too.

The Spike Feeders


So if The Command Zone skews more towards casual and Casually Competitive is sort of there in the middle, then The Spike Feeders are definitely the higher end of the spectrum. These guys do a variety of gameplay videos, but do have a know your combo series as well, though everything skews towards the highest end of competitive MTG. With that said, all power levels of Commander appeal to me for different reasons, and well, I like all three of these shows for the same ones. The Spikes give me games with cards in them that I cannot afford and I get to live my cEDH dreams by proxy. Speaking of proxies, I’m not sure if these guys play with those, but if they don’t they’ve got quite the collection regardless.

Play To Win


Play to Win is another newcomer to the community. They have only been around for a couple of months but already have quite the following and I can understand why. Honestly they are probably my favorite aside from The Command Zone, and that’s mostly due to the chemistry between the show’s two main hosts, the way that they edit the gameplay videos, and the little cuts back to the hosts in the middle of play. If The Command Zone is the big budget summer blockbuster film, this is the low-budget indie flick that you ended up liking better. Your mileage may vary, but I’m sold and hope they maintain their pace.

The Commander’s Quarters


There’s some irony in my inclusion of the above video, in that I had started working on this draft a couple of days before it went live. The day that I finished this draft and scheduled it for posting, the above video released. Looks like great minds think alike. While I will have named several of the same channels in this post as Mitch does in his video, he does touch on some other options that I did not include here (mainly because I watched his video after the post was done) so I’d watch that video for more suggestions. Mitch’s typical content is about building budget EDH decks, and his typical limit is $50 (though it used to be $25). I’ve taken some inspiration from his deck techs in the past, so if you’re looking to get into the game on the cheap, this is a great place to start.

Tolarian Community College


I’ve been watching Tolarian Community College for almost as long as The Command Zone, probably because there has been some overlap between their shows. Last year at the Magicfest in Vegas he was present along with Josh and Jimmy from TCZ but I never managed to catch them. Anyway, he’s a long time member of the community and has some great and varied content. He covers more than just Commander like most of the other channels I’ve mentioned, but he also has interviews with WotC personnel and a couple of different podcasts with varying content as well. His personality is probably what keeps people coming back, as he’s a loveable goof that we’ve all known at some point in our lives.

Jumbo Commander


Jumbo Commander came across my radar when Jimmy from TCZ was in New Zealand filming for Mulan so Josh pulled DJ over to co-host a few shows. He was also a guest in the past. Whatever the case, I took notice and have followed him since. He makes a variety of non-gameplay videos but has recently jumped into streaming a bit of his MTG Arena gameplay (which I’m not really a fan of watching, but it’s there if you like that). I’ve mentioned his channel plenty of times in some of my own deck tech style posts, where I’ve said that I took his inspiration and then made it my own. he’s another likable guy and he’s got a lot of content to dig into.

Playing With Power


Playing with Power is essentially the same sort of channel as Casually Competitive though they strictly put out narrated gameplay videos of cEDH games. I have enjoyed their matchups and think the videos are well done. There’s not a lot of commentary here because I’ve only recently started following them and they don’t have a huge back catalog. It’s worth watching if you’re into higher end gameplay.

That’s all I have for today. Happy binge watching!

Couch Podtatoes Episode 77: A Guide To YouTube

CP4

I’ve seen quite a few conversations on blogs and social media, about how the poster just doesn’t “get” YouTube. Why it’s popular, why so many people are watching it or producing content for it. We attempt to answer the question “What makes YouTube a valuable resource” in this episode. We go over various types of videos that we’ve seen and watched ourselves, along with sharing some of our favorite channels. You can find some of those channels listed below if you’d like to check them out. Hopefully this will help some of you dip your toes into the service. Let us know if it did help! Otherwise, enjoy the show.

 

Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 77: A Guide to YouTube (runtime: 49:14)

What are we playing? (starts at 1:25)
Discussion: YouTube (starts at 12:01)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Eri
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Our favorites:

Izlain’s List:

Eri’s List:

Music Credits:
“Bit Rush” by Riot Games
“Francis PS4 Remix” by WTFBrahh (from the YouTube page of the same name)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Libsyn.com. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

You can also find the show in video format at The Gaming And Entertainment Network YouTube page. Or view it here:

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!