Are we Youtubers or Filmmakers? Does it Matter?
What are we? What is Full Dark? Why do we have "productions" in our name? Why don't we use words like "paranormal" or "ghosts" or "society" "team" "crew" or something else that lets people know we're into Weird Shit and hunt ghosts? Because we're not only into ghosts. There's a lot more than weird shit that we like, and want to be able to film and experience and share. And we'd like to do that without a single word implying JUST GHOSTS, thus pigeonholing us into JUST GHOST CONTENT. True, almost all our stuff is ghost related, but the content that's not is still interesting to us, so we make it.
Anyway. Are we Youtubers? Or FiLMmaKeRs??
If I had to define it, we're literally both. The only thing I can see that might set us apart from typical Youtubers, is our lack of following the "rules" of it all. We don't stick to an upload schedule, and we (okay, I, Amy), didn't know how that "collabs" were things, and I was too shy at first to reach out to anyone anyway. We took the name PRODUCTIONS to imply that there's a produced level of visual media going on - it takes time, and a modicum creativity (i.e.: trying all the different settings in FCPX). I dressed for the job I wanted: a measure of professionalism, I suppose. While that makes sense to me, I probably inadvertently put a measure of distance between us and most other groups or individuals by using the word "productions." That lack of personal touch in a person's name, and implying a business approach instead of a more human one, might be what hurts us most after all now.
We're Youtubers though, simply because we use Youtube as our main platform for hosting our videos. Now and again I even vlog, with a camera in my face, which, TBH, I kinda hate. It was never my intention to be a vlogger, but that's the only way I can tell the stories or show the footage I have, without it being a photo slideshow and voiceover. I also don't think I deserve to hide myself - I'm a person, I have a camera, and wifi.
There's also a sense of community on Youtube (even though you're more likely to sink than swim in that million-subscriber sea), and we can easily find other, similar content and creators. For the first several months of Full Dark, Jan-May 2017, I only put our videos on Vimeo. But that seemed like a video platform where private content is kept, and most people have to pay for subscriptions or access to it. We never wanted to hide anything we made, we wanted people to see it and react to it and maybe find some new way of looking at the weird stuff we like too. That's why we went to Youtube - maybe we'd find more people like us.
We thought we had at first. In 2017 we thought several teams and individuals out there were as all-in for honesty and integrity, and trying to dig deep into the paranormal dogma as we were. What we came across were people "digging deep" at a lot of the True Believer tried-and-true aspects of the paranormal for shock value, and for the sake of just arguing within 146 characters (it was the olden days before 250). Where they came from is a place of wanting big, offended, outraged reactions. There's blowing someone's beliefs apart for the sake of offering new understandings and new perspectives of old ideas, and there's blowing someone's beliefs apart for the sake of a self-satisfying "See? I'm right". For all intents and purposes, fuck that. In any subject matter, the paranormal or not, that's just a crappy way to come at people.
And don't get me wrong, there's a desperation in all of us who make videos to BE SEEN, and to have views add up, and comments roll in. If you think, as a creator, you're immune to that, you are lying to yourself. But tearing other people apart and inciting anger over other's words, beliefs, stuff they've tweeted or made a video about, is by far the SHITTIEST way to act on that desperation or get noticed. I used to Twitter Argue. You know, about dumb things like interpretations of crappy backyard ghost photos, religious dogma and its application to the paranormal, demons (of course), etc etc. I will openly admit I had my own insecurity and vulnerability to work through, and my opposition and stubbornness toward things I wanted to disbelieve, or relearn how to believe in my own way and time, was just that. Vulnerability, a chip on my shoulder. I'm sure I felt like a good defense would constantly keep a wall up toward any disagreement with ME as well, which is a faux safety blanket if there ever was one. Either way, no one gets to be the paranormal police. Who the fuck are you, or I, to tell anyone anything about what THEY believe. No one knows shit for sure, and everyone's full of ideas; good AND bad ones.
I don't want to fight about fucking orbs, people. I just don't care if your dust or your grandmother on your iPhone video scares you, or moves you to tears and tweeting about it. I don't think about that stuff anymore. I keep my focus on what we're trying to create, and find, and seek out, and how to best present that to the world using video editing software. Even if the world is watching something else, our love of going places, and seeing and experiencing things for ourselves has ALWAYS been, and continues to be, the primary drive behind Full Dark Productions, or, Amy and Ryan and the Poor Shmucks they Convince to Come With Them to Strange Places. (Do not worry, we are not re-branding.)
What we come across in the supernatural world isn't always purely cut-and-dry GHOSTLY, and that's pretty normal, actually. The paranormal zeitgeist is far more complex than a single photo, video or experience. It's full of things that have nothing to do with video creating, like very old books, a game of Telephone of over-told stories, and Googling for shit that may or may not have been typed up in the past 30 years of internet access. (There's a surprising amount of old Geocities/Angelfire style websites still parked out there on servers chugging along, full of late 90's ghost stories, haunted places lists, weird accounts, and articles. Internet archaeology, really.) I just want Full Dark to keep going toward strange things, strange places, and similarly strange people to ourselves. We do that as best as we know how, for being two people who try to bring the best of their abilities to the table, every time. We land our content on Youtube, we consider ourselves self-taught, amateur, I repeat, AMATEUR, filmmakers.
I can only answer whether or not we're Youtubers or filmmakers by quoting the living pile of glitter (AND MY QUEEN) that is Kesha 👑: