Some artistic New Yorkers who have built an online following using nothing more than a laptop will soon have the chance to up their game with a new state of the art facility that is free to use.Later this week, YouTube is opening YouTube Space New York, which joins similar spaces in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo.
Launching on Thursday, the 20,000 square foot studio is filled with permanent (a Brooklyn apartment) and temporary (a recreation of the iconic CBGB Club) sets, teaching facilities, loaner equipment, post-production facilities and three enclosed sound stages.
"Each YouTube Space has its own unique flavor because each location where they exist is a little bit different," says Adam Relis, Head of YouTube Space New York, "but I think there are trends that are the same across all the spaces. Things that we've seen happen are creators will come in and just want to shoot anywhere."
Like other locations, YouTube Space New York is free to use for YouTube Creators, so long as they have 5,000 subscribers and are members of the network's Partner Program. With over a billion monthly unique users visiting the site and 6 billion hours of video being consumed each month, the media giant is happy to reward its content creators by upping production quality and providing a safe space to meet and collaborate.
"New York City is no stranger to the large media company who probably has the higher budgets. We also know there are a lot of people who are in their bedrooms shooting, and so it's important for us to be able to work with creators large and small," says Relis, who sees the space as more of a "community center" than a Hollywood studio. "We want to make ourselves available and I think the fact that there's no charge to come in here makes it appealing, but it is a way for us to really invest in the community. Hopefully that resonates."
Open from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, the YouTube Space vows to serve as a creative playground for viral hopefuls, regardless of the subject or format they choose to explore. "The way that we're set up is just so Creators can come in and use the space in the way that they know and want to use it," says Relis, perhaps in "ways that we're not even thinking about."
Metro talked with three of the local New York City creators who will use the space.
Alba Garcia Ramos, SunkissalbaChannel
Long before the recent beauty vlogger craze, New York native Alba Ramos established herself as a DIY force on YouTube, providing beauty tips to girls with natural hair and darker skin, filling a necessary niche that's helped her grow her channel to over 450,000 subscribers since 2010. Despite starting out as a charming personality with no technical experience, Ramos says her onetime hobby took on a life of its own once her viewership grew. "Experience was basically my best coach and I just got better and better at it," she says of her creative evolution. "I taught myself how to edit, how to strategize videos and make it a little more organized." With YouTube's studios now just a short train-ride away, Ramos looking forward to providing better content to her viewers, saying, "People are so used to seeing me in my bedroom, creating my own videos, but when I have a video [shot here], it looks much more professional, much more high-quality."
Paul Gale, Paul Gale Comedy Channel
Comedy-minded creator Paul Gale has amassed an enormous following (approximately 65,000 subscribers) since 2012, when he launched his channel as a student at Brandeis University. After spending years watching up to 7 videos a day and studying the platform to determine the best ways to engage viewers, Gale had his breakout moment in January, when he released a parody video of Spike Jonze's Her , replacing ScarJo's sensual A.I. with Seth Rogen's. Since then, he's seen continued success thanks to his witty takes on modern issues like why Starbucks spells your name wrong and what millennials really fear on Halloween (spoiler: dead phones, not the walking dead). "I think in the next couple years, people will sprout up because this exists," Gale says of YouTube Space New York. "Someone who is maybe doing comedy and maybe has a really good voice and just can't financially make it work because they can't rent all these locations, will be able to use this space as a home."
Beth Hoyt, Beth In Show Channel
Off-beat comedienne and actress Beth Hoyt is quick to admit she didn't know much about the internet when she made her YouTube debut on comedy network My Damn Channel. "I didn't know what vlogging was at first. I didn't really get it. The ones I watched I just didn't understand, and then one day it just clicked: you have to find your voice," says Hoyt, who eventually found her voice by doing "weird things," like filming mango-cutting instructional videos and delivering spot-on impressions of Martha Stewart, Gwyneth Paltrow and Tilda Swinton. With her viewership currently at 23,000 subscribers, Hoyt is looking forward expanding her fan base and adding a level of expertise to her unexpected career. "[Vlogging is] already my job, but this'll help me feel like I have a place to go to work, rather than waking up in my bedroom and having to make my bed and that's my workspace," says Hoyt, "although now I'll never make my bed, I guess."