By Gabrielle Fellows
With YouTube stars such as PewDiePie and YouTube-only shows such as “Bravest Warriors” making millions of dollars off of creating and sharing content via the web, it’s not out of the question to have a dream to make a living off of Internet entertainment.
Jim Stickel, a senior telecommunications major at Youngstown State University, is taking his dreams in that direction. Stickel recently took a video project that was for a required practicum class and transformed it into a YouTube series that has two episodes out and three more in the works.
Stickel is currently writing, directing and producing a series called “Relativity,” which is about the delicacy of time travel.
“A main character is trying to figure out who is trying to kill her brother, but the catch is that history can’t be changed,” Stickel said. “So she’s caught in this loop of not being able to do anything, but wanting to. It’s taking off from there. It deals with time travel, but it’s a very small scale.”
Stickel said his idea for “Relativity” stemmed from his passion for film and television — something he’s always been heavily involved in.
“I’ve been looking for excuses to do a video project on my own terms and hopefully get credit for it. I did this show for a practicum class, where you take the whole semester to pitch a video project to a professor. That was the perfect timing to take this idea and run with it. I came up with this idea for ‘Relativity,’” he said. “‘Relativity’ started by writing a 15-minute pilot episode. The pilot episode had about five characters and I figured, this is a chance to see if this works. I can practice writing, casting and seeing the best way to tell a story that I wanted to tell. It was a great learning experience as well as a chance to do what I wanted to do, while getting credit for it.”
Stickel’s YouTube channel is called Youngstown100 and features “Relativity” as well as other videos Stickel has done over the past few years. He said where “Relativity” and his other video projects go from here is something he’s going to leave up to fate.
“This show started off as a one-time thing, ‘we’ll see what happens’ and now we have a second episode out, a third one in the works and a fourth and fifth episode written. I was surprised it worked out this well, but I’m ecstatic about it. To do a YouTube channel I’d need a ton of views and likes, it might take years. To get that notoriety and get to that point, you have to start somewhere,” Stickel said. “I’d rather have a couple people watch what I produced than have it stay an idea. I’d be open to trying it though. You have Amazon, Netflix, YouTube — all that Internet-based television. As long as you have a story, there are probably people out there for it. You could make a living doing a grassroots video project. It’s something to shoot for.”