YouTuber Spotlight: Julian Smith
It’s another YouTuber Spotlight here on Professionally Incoherent! This column is very similar to yesterday’s Professionally Incoherent Recommends, but it’s focused on the YouTube channels I follow that I feel produce consistently high-quality material. This time I’m talking about Julian Smith, a writer/actor/filmmaker/musician originally from Nashville, Tennessee and working out of Los Angeles.
Smith got his start doing freelance camera and editing work in his hometown, while nurturing an interest in producing original content in his spare time. He eventually made the move to LA after one of his YouTube videos, “25 Things I Hate About Facebook” went viral while he was living in New York. His highest-rated videos frequently hit several million views, and I'll embed of few of those into this article. Read on for more about Julian, and to find out why I think he’s worth following!
I first heard about Smith from prominent YouTuber Philip DeFranco, who made a video several years ago talking about a number of new YouTube personalities that he’d been watching. I went looking for Julian Smith and happened upon the following video, a nonsensical piece starring Smith as an eccentric, bathrobe-wearing Brit trying to sell his brother on a new product: Hot Kool Aid.
Smith’s sense of humour generally follows this style, with videos that are based around a single silly concept (a la Monty Python). He puts a lot of emphasis on wordplay, and how words can have a number of different meanings, like in the "With Child" sketch from which I lifted the header image. Much of his work features original music by Smith, and some are all-out music videos, like his most recent post, “Rendezvous With You”. There's something to be said for a YouTuber who takes the time to record his own soundtrack for something as ephemeral as a YouTube video.
While Smith does not keep the same daily post schedule maintained by YouTubers like Toby Turner (click here to see my article on Toby from last week), his bi-weekly posts are worth the wait. Most of them have an original concept each time, but Smith occasionally brings back characters for future appearances, most notably his dim-witted alter ego Jeffery (a jellyfish victim - more on that in a bit). One of my favourite Julian Smith videos from the past few months was a collaboration he did with YouTubers Rhett and Link, titled simply “Waffles”, which stars Smith as Jeffery the jellyfish victim:
That post is a sequel of sorts to another jellyfish-themed video (I don’t know why Smith has a fascination with jellyfish, so don’t ask), sensibly called “Jellyfish”:
Smith, like many YouTubers, maintains a vlog channel; it allows his fans a peek into his life, including tidbits about upcoming videos and his responses to fan questions. A highlight of this channel is his story about the “Craziest Thing I’ve Done”. This vlog shows what a great storyteller Smith is, even when he’s not writing and shooting comedy sketches – Smith really comes across as a down-to-earth guy here, someone you’d love to hang out with in real life.
Another component that makes Smith’s videos distinctive is their unique visual style, which Smith achieves by shooting on high-quality cameras with a number of lenses. Shots are often drained of colour, reinforcing that the videos exist in some sort of bizarre parallel version of Smith's real life. It's stylistic choices like this that elevate Smith's work beyond the connotations of being a YouTube series (as the site is treated by the established media).
I especially appreciate Julian Smith's work because he doesn’t release material every day. As awesome as it is to get a huge stream of content from your favourite YouTube personality, it can be overwhelming when they release 5 videos per day and you feel obliged to view it all or relinquish your coveted “fan status”.
When I see a new Julian Smith video in my subscription queue on YouTube, I get a little excited, because I know that the extra time Smith took to produce that video almost guarantees a great experience. Even though I’m subscribed to about 20 channels on YouTube, I more frequently share Julian Smith’s videos on Facebook than those of any other YouTuber. See the links below for Julian Smith’s two YouTube channels and his official site.
What do you think about Smith? Have any other YouTubers you’d like me to check out, or possibly talk about here on Professionally Incoherent? Whatever your thoughts, post them below, and hit that “like” button – the support helps the blog grow! Check back here tomorrow, because I’ll be posting my review of Kenneth Branagh’s new summer blockbuster Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth as the titular Marvel superhero!