How Minimalism Makes a Business
Never Too Small explores upcycling in new video series
Good morning. Daily time spent on Meta’s “Twitter killer” Threads has dropped 80% since its July peak, with critics pointing to the platform’s “very generic content” as the reason behind the slowdown, per Time. Barring a substantial comeback, Zuck might be better off channeling his competitive energy into a certain cage fight (if it ever happens).
How Design Creators Make a Show for YouTube and TV
In one episode of Wonderful Waste, Dutch designers Pim & Luc (left) developed a workshop in Katmandu, Nepal, that turns tourist’s waste from the mountains into colorful souvenirs (right) / YouTube
Design and architecture YouTube channel Never Too Small (NTS) recently released a new video series called Wonderful Waste. The series, which is airing now on YouTube and later on broadcast TV, explores how designers and architects upcycle trash into usable items, like playgrounds made from discarded scrap metal or chairs from reclaimed wood.
We spoke with co-founders Colin Chee and James McPherson about the unusual ways NTS, which has amassed more than 2 million subscribers in six years on YouTube, integrates film production for both YouTube and TV into their channel.
The foundation: Chee began working with McPherson in 2008 at the video production company New Mac in Melbourne, Australia. Chee started NTS as a passion project, filming with the production company’s crew and equipment (NTS is still part of New Mac).
“I wanted to do something different than what existed in the YouTube ecosystem,” Chee said.
“So I take a more minimalist approach and the architects and designers become the main storyteller. Usually the owners [of the homes] tell the stories and I like to put architects and designers in the spotlight.”
The goal is to make architecture accessible to a wider audience. “I ask subjects to tell stories in a more simplistic language rather than full of architecture jargon and technical terms. I would shamelessly raise my hand and say ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’” Chee said.
NTS’s documentary style content lends itself to TV network licensing and funding (NTS has received funding through Australia’s federal film commission, Screen Australia), but its top priority is still YouTube.
The YouTube videos, which run around 15 minutes, will be reformatted for broadcast TV and extended into 22-minute episodes. McPherson said NTS will work with Screen Australia to distribute the videos internationally.
They’ve previously repackaged Never Too Small videos into TV episodes which later aired in the UK and South Africa through distribution assistance from Screen Australia.
“With Wonderful Waste, we’re taking sustainable design and making it very accessible for everyday people through a visual approach. Sometimes the visual is strong enough to tell the story no matter the language,” Chee said. “That’s also the power of YouTube. If you were to put it only on TV maybe a few nations would see it, but through YouTube it’s available to anyone everywhere.”
Who’s Behind the Viral Country Hit ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’?
Oliver Anthony performs his song “Rich Men North of Richmond” / YouTube
Oliver Anthony (real name: Christopher Lunsford), singer of the viral country song “Rich Men North of Richmond,” opened up about his background (and the influx of business interest he’s received since the song was released on August 8) in a lengthy Facebook post last week.
Context: Anthony described himself as a high school dropout who has spent the last decade working manufacturing jobs in North Carolina and Virginia.
“Richmond” laments the injustices Anthony believes unfairly affect the rural working class, and his message appears to be resonating.
The song is No. 1 on Apple and Spotify, and a video performance is nearing 30 million views (and topping trending charts) on YouTube.
Anthony’s reaction to such drastic overnight success? “People in the music industry give me blank stares when I brush off $8 million offers,” he wrote in his post.
Zoom out: While Anthony plans to take things slow, the song’s lyrics have already led to a polarized response, further driving its visibility.
Conservative figures like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene are embracing “Richmond” as “the anthem of the forgotten Americans,” while Senator Chris Murphy (a Democrat) tweeted that the issues Anthony describes are "all problems the left has better solutions to.”
Comedy Creator Druski Starts Sports Agency
Comedy creator Drew “Druski” Desbordes launched a sports agency called 4LiferSports last week, signing University of Florida football star Princely Umanmielen as his first client.
Context: Druski is known for viral Instagram sketch comedy fame and his parody music label, Coulda Been Records. He said he believes the extensive trust he’s built with brands through his personal partnerships will set the agency apart.
👀 Creator Moves
100 Thieves is hiring a sales manager to drive business for their energy drink, Juvee.
Complexly is hiring a freelance subject matter expert to develop a syllabus and episode list for an upcoming series about sex ed.
Lifestyle creator Eli Stone is hiring a part-time editor for a specific series distributed across his channels.
🔥 Press Worthy
Meta ends news availability in Canada amid the country’s new act requiring tech companies to pay news publishers for using their content.
Video editor Jordan Orme starts a new YouTube channel to teach the psychology of editing.
Elon Musk announces that X will get rid of its block feature (excluding DMs).
Addison Rae releases an EP featuring Charli XCX.
YouTube rolls out extensive multiview features for its NFL Sunday Ticket package.
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