Sticks Opens for Business 🎬

The filmmaking brothers taking on creator clients

Good morning. This just in: The White House is hosting its own invite-only Creator Economy Conference this August. The plan is to discuss creator priorities with senior Biden administration officials and cover topics like AI, privacy, and mental health. What creator would you nominate to speak on behalf of our industry?

P.S. We released our limited-edition, 28-page print zine, The Publish Paper: Volume 2, last week. Check it out here.

Inside Sticks’ New Commercial Business

Sticks, made of brothers Curtis (left) and Lucas Nicotra (right), announce they’re open for hire after making a short film for Nathan “Unspeakable” Graham (center) / Sticks

Challenge creator Nathan “Unspeakable” Graham released a short film made by filmmaking brothers Lucas and Curtis Nicotra, aka Sticks, for his new creator course yesterday. 

In classic Sticks fashion, the duo uploaded a video of the BTS to their own YouTube channel—with an announcement: They’re open for commercial business.

Context: Over the last year, Sticks has made movie trailers about the lives of creators like Mark Rober, MatPat, and Ryan Trahan…and released behind-the-scenes videos of the trailers that often get more views than the trailers themselves. Sticks’ channel has grown by 800k subscribers in the last year. In the five years since it launched, Sticks has tallied north of 18 million views.

Now, they’re offering up their skills for creator storytelling and cinematic short films to brands and creator companies. 

“For years we’ve dreamed about ‘how do we make movies on YouTube that are relevant for YouTube,’” Lucas told us. “We think it’s about creating a YouTube cinematic universe, so this is a further step into that.”

Their first client was Ryan Trahan’s Joyride candy brand. Now, they’re working with Unspeakable’s Blueprint creator course.

  • “These kinds of commercial productions could've been done by a traditional production company,” Lucas said.

  • “But there’s something about us being the bridge between YouTube and cinematic production that [Ryan and Nathan] felt like they could trust us,” he added. 

The content strategy for Sticks: share BTS of the commercial work on their own YouTube channel, which serves as a résumé for future business.

Looking ahead: Sticks hopes to make feature films and TV shows funded through 1) the channel and 2) branded short films.

“The reason we want to do that is so we can have a direct connection with our audience without any gatekeepers or barriers in the way,” Curtis said. “Ideally if we could just post movies on YouTube but also release them in theaters, that’d be really sick.”

Twitch Announces New Slate of Tools

Twitch shares new video features and a milestone program over the weekend / Twitch

VidCon wasn’t the only creator conference making a splash last week: Twitch revealed several new tools and programs at TwitchCon Europe. Three that stood out →

  • Drop In. Twitch’s Stream Together tool enables two creators to livestream on both of their channels simultaneously. A new feature lets creators collab by “knocking” on the door of a creator who’s currently live—and instantly connecting to their stream should they let you in.

  • Enhanced Broadcasting. This program gives streamers more control over video quality while introducing vertical live video.

  • Streamer Achievement Awards. Twitch’s new viewership milestone program rewards creators with physical “Bleed Purple Statues.” The first tier (out of three) is awarded for 5 million hours watched.

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Jenny Nicholson says Disney “tried and failed” to copyright her four-hour review of the Star Wars hotel / Jenny Nicholson

Commentary creator Jenny Nicholson’s four-hour review of a Star Wars hotel has drawn nearly 9 million views on YouTube and was labeled “one of the most captivating pieces of entertainment…so far this year” by The New York Times.

But last week, Nicholson revealed on X that Star Wars parent company Disney “tried and failed” to copyright claim her video.

  • Even though Nicholson won her appeal, the video’s AdSense revenue went into escrow.

  • This means she doesn’t know how much money the video has generated (and can’t receive it) until the claim expires 30 days after its file date.

Zoom out: Cash flow matters for most creators, and even small delays in AdSense checks can lead to issues in budgeting both time and money. “I basically just expect it to happen to all my videos at this point and I have Patreon so it’s [no big deal]!” Nicholson posted on X. “But idk it’s such a rough system for newer or smaller channels.” 

👀 Creator Moves

  • Cam Newton is hiring a video editor to cut vertical clips from his sports podcast.

  • Fireship is hiring a news editor to write informative scripts for their software engineering videos.

  • ZHC is hiring a thumbnail artist with a strong understanding of Photoshop.

Looking to bring on new team members? You can post opportunities on our (free) job board here.

🔥 Press Worthy

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