Today’s article is very self-indulgent, so apologies in advance. I’m just in something of a self-reflective mood because I just chewed through a lifetime of old storage boxes in one evening. I didn’t really have a choice. The Goodwill van was coming in the morning, and lord knows I didn’t want the donatables sitting around for another two weeks before the next time they’d swing by.
But I’m honestly glad they spurred my hand and made me sift through it all, because I found a bunch of diamonds in the rough. Old things I’d long lost and never thought I’d see again. The biggest and best white whale was Oxford: Portal to Fantasy, an interactive essay I wrote while studying abroad (now playable in-browser on itch.io!). But there were also several old CDs containing videos from long before I’d even created a YouTube account. These days they’re useful only to remind myself that I’m actually improving at my craft. Without further ado, in order of age:
1. Chelvis Nemo Productions
The first videos I ever edited were a tetralogy of unconnected vignettes starring my brother, with a different neighborhood friend as the villain in each short (I’m the evil wizard in ‘Return of the Kingdom’). I did all the work in iMovie, and honestly these turned out pretty entertaining even all these years later. It helps they don’t overstay their welcome, clocking out at 1:24 minutes each.
2. A Cheesy Love Story
At some point in high school, I attended a UCLA film camp and this short flick was the resulting abomination my group produced. Once again I played the villain and handled all the editing. Though it’s clear I was still getting the hang of cutting different takes together. I also composed that godawful song at 2:36 using GarageBand.
3. Interrobang: The Art of War
In college I first started getting the idea of creating my own YouTube channel, and recorded the pilot for a planned series of videos where I talk about classic works of literature. This series was going to be called “Interrobang”. It would star myself playing a character named Mark, but it never progressed beyond this single episode. The editing is still choppy, and it’s painfully audible whenever I switch between sound files.
4. What was that, Sandvich?
This was the first thing I ever uploaded to YouTube (which almost immediately earned my first dislike!) It was a really obvious joke any TF2 fan would have thought of after this MLP scene aired 3 days prior. Shortly after this I was hired by Legend of Equestria and put my videography dreams on hold to develop games, which would remain my primary passion even after starting The SPUF of Legend in February 2016.
5. The SPUF of Legend – Episode 0
While the first public upload to the SPUF of Legend was our guide to TF2 weapon pickups, this unlisted test video is actually a few hours older. I’m clearly heavily influenced by STAR_‘s style, and have transferred into voiceover commentary away from appearing on camera in person.
6. The Only 5 Melee Weapons Worth Using in Payday 2
I know we’ve progressed beyond the purview of “aabicus’ early videos” but this Payday vid was probably the most important one I ever uploaded to the channel. I’d been releasing game commentaries for years by this point, and had developed a bit of a following. But I was getting tired of the 5-10 minute format and designed this video to cover its topic and wrap itself up as fast as conceivably possible. I didn’t anticipate how popular the “lightning list” format would be… All my future videos heavily modeled themselves after this one. It’s also where I started regularly adding subtitles after non-native English speakers complained they had trouble parsing my rapidfire format.
I didn’t return to the on-camera format until VGFAQ started paying me money to create videos for their channel. For the first time, I had to handle lighting and making my face look decent while reciting my lines. You can tell I sneak a ton of cuts in there, usually during card transitions so the viewer’s hopefully not looking at me. The convention videos didn’t get enough views to justify the time, money and work we put into making them. But I’m glad I got to stretch my legs as a roving videographer for GDC and E3.
And that’s pretty much it for big milestones! I’ve gone through something of a forced transition recently, since I’m currently living in Portland without my tank of a desktop and have to make videos without relying on 1080p AAA game footage to distract the viewer from the simplistic editing. Plus I’ve been hired by Brendon.com and have been making ‘personal development’-themed content for their YouTube and Instagram accounts. It’s definitely different from my usual fare, but I’m really appreciating having a fulltime video editing job where I’m learning all the tricks and tactics I was missing from my years of self-taught videography. Color-grading, in-Premiere subtitling and transition-masking are far and away my favorite new tactics I’ve picked up, and I’ve only been working there for a few months!
We’ll just have to see what the future holds, because I don’t think my future SPUF work will look like it always did before.