On the quest to catch ‘em all, he’s caught over 25,000
Check out his channel at http://www.youtube.com/SkulShurtugalTCG
YouTube is a powerful tool.
From video game how-tos to make-up tutorials to funny videos of people hurting themselves doing dumb things, YouTube caters to just about anything you want to watch. YouTube content producers can grow communities and gain a large number of followers, known as subscribers. Here at Union College, it just so happens that we have a fellow student who has done just that. As of this writing, over 25,000 people have subscribed to his channel. Several of his videos have soared into the hundreds of thousands of views. His name is Jack Sauder, and his channel focuses on all things Pokémon. I was lucky enough to sit down with Jack this past week and discuss his newfound success.
Jacob Prosser: How long have you been collecting Pokémon cards?
Jack: “I’ve been collecting, basically, hardcore since about 2011, but I dabbled a little bit into collecting since the day it came to America.The very first day Pokémon cards were available in stores in America, we were in the store and I saw them on the shelves and the animé had just aired the night before, so I was familiar with it. I told my mom, “Mom, please get me a booster pack!” and she did. So, I collected the cards a little bit back then, but really hardcore, like what made me famous, since about 3 years ago.
JP: When and why did you start your YouTube channel and making videos?
Jack: Technically, it started about July 2012. I didn’t really start making videos often until, shoot, maybe about July 2013 really. I posted a few videos before that just of different things—mostly Pokemon. I didn’t really start thinking, “Oh, people really enjoy me, they would like this,” until over a year later, and really, not until November. In November 2013, I posted my first BIG video, right now it has over 652,000 views. Long story short, cards come in booster packs, and the packs come from booster boxes. It’s more economic to buy a booster box than packs. There was a really good pull [a rare card drawn from the pack] in there that Theresa, my wife, got in her box. [That] was what everyone all over YouTube really wanted to see. Before that, my videos were getting under 100 views, and now over 5,000 on every single video. That one [the booster box video] in particular skyrocketed. It’s the second most watched booster box of all time on all of YouTube, for any set.
JP: You’re over 25,000 subscribers now, congratulations on that! When did that number start taking off, was it gradual or was there a sudden spike? Is there any particular strategy you try in gaining subscribers?
Jack: It didn’t take off right away. I had less than 100 subscribers all the way until [last] December. Over Christmas break, I was watching my gmail because I have it set up so that I get a notification every time I get a sub. It got to one point where I hit 100 a day, and that’s when I realized, “Oh I really got something going here.” There’s really been no strategy for the most part. I just keep making my videos the same way. I try to look at my analytics page to try and see what kind of videos people like. I use that to help make future videos. But for the most part, it’s been the same since day one.
JP: What are some of your most viewed videos, and why do you think they did so well?
Jack: Well, my most viewed video is the [booster box video]. The second most viewed is on an animé episode called “The Strongest Mega Evolution.” I took the raw Japanese video and posted it on YouTube before anyone else did. Most of my most viewed videos are booster box openings. Another one is a video on Pokémon facts, most of which are, to my knowledge, not published anywhere else on the internet.
JP: So, exclusive content, stuff people can only find on your channel, seems to do well?
Jack: Yeah, yeah you could say that.
JP: Do you make money off your channel?
Jack: YouTube does pay me for [my videos], yes; a substantial amount. It is enough to live on, and I get more money each month. It blows me away that this can turn into my career. I’ve always struggled with trying to figure out what to do for a career, and this is the first time ever that I really feel happy with a job choice.
JP: What are some tips from you to anyone interested in starting their own YouTube Channel? How can they be successful?
Jack: Trust God. I give God complete credit for my chanel, absolutely 100%. There’s a whole lot of luck involved. That one video [booster box unboxing] is probably the reason I am where I am today—just because of that ONE pull from a box, completely randomized, we had no idea it was going to happen. Even we [my wife and I] thought when we bought the box, “Wouldn’t it be cool if this happened?” We didn’t seriously consider it! After you get your initial start, make yourself well known. Look at other videos. Don’t be afraid to post thoughtful comments; not just “FIRST!!” Do not post “first,” I beg of you, people! (laughs). Have people realize you’re very invested and out there in the community. Be active. Make clear that it’s not about you, it’s about the content and having fun. That’s basically what my channel is: it’s all about having fun.
JP: Any last words?
Jack: Zippy (Jack’s favorite Pokemon and mascot of his channel) says “Hi!”
If you’re interested in checking out Jack’s YouTube channel, search for SkulShurtugalTCG or go directly to his channel at http://www.youtube.com/SkulShurtugalTCG. If you have any interest at all in Pokémon or simply want to see the success of one of your fellow classmates, check it out.
Jacob is a sophomore studying communication.