Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.

Looking for the breakout channel of 2013? Look no further than AWEme. The Defy Media (formerly Break) channel kicked off in February, and since then, it has grown at an impressive rate. With Man at Arms serving as its driving force, AWEme has averaged more than 100,000 new subscribers a month. In September, it was 50th on our monthly subscriber leaderboard. Now, in October, it has crossed one million subscribers. We spoke to Andy Signore, Director of Programming at Defy Media, about AWEme’s rapid rise to prominence.

Tubefilter: What do you have to say to AWEme’s one million subscribers?

Andy Signore: Thank you! I know I speak for the entire company when I say we are completely ecstatic and grateful for all of the fans that have discovered us! Their support has truly AWE’d us!

TF: Why do you think AWEme has grown at the amazing rate we’ve seen?

AS: We wanted to create a clear vision for this channel to post content that was truly amazing, that in turn would prompt others to tune-in and share. And we’ve been able to do that thanks to the amazing work of our blacksmith Tony Swatton – who builds these gorgeous weapons completely from scratch. And our brilliant chalk artist Chris Carlson – who is consistently pushing his medium to bigger and better places.

TF: Man at Arms has been particularly popular. What do you think is that show’s secret to success?

AS: Tony Swatton is the key to that success. Most people probably don’t realize this, but to help off-set costs of the show and to allow Tony to make the time for us week after week – we shoot six of those builds over the course of 9 days. What he is able to accomplish during the time (with no sleep mind you), is always mind-blowing. He is a true craftsman and his skill set is astonishing. I think the viewers see that. In fact, if he was merely posting videos of the generic weapons he typically builds, he still would have found that audience. But our insistence on him to focus his builds in the realms of pop-culture, probably got us there a little faster.

TF: How much of ‘Man at Arms’ budget is spent buying items to destroy with the weapons?

AS: Not as much as you’d think! Our art director Chris Bradley is also our stunt coordinator – and he pulls some great deals. In the first season we went bigger and bought a car to destroy… In the second season we made our own ballistic dummy. Neither of which ultimately felt necessary – so by season three we started buying a bunch of more specific, cooler little things – and so far no one’s complained!

TF: You guys have also gotten involved in the slow motion trend that has become huge on YouTube over the past few months. How do you think AWEme’s slow mo videos stand out from the pack?

AS: We use lots of slo-mo in our demolition scenes on Man At Arms. We actually try our damnedest to focus on demos that can actually show off the sharpness of the blade through slicing –  but it usually never looks as cool as smashing glass vases in slo-mo! So we are guilty of joining that trend since its just really fun to watch.

We’ve also experimented with some science concepts that used slo-mo. But in looking back at those few examples, I honestly don’t think we stood out from the pack enough. So we’re definitely looking to push ourselves even further in that genre, as we expand our programming.

TF: Tell us about the upcoming programming we can expect to see on AWEme.

AS: We’re deep in development on a few ideas that I can’t get into too much detail about yet! But I can say we’re always on the look-out for more artists like Chris, and artisans like Tony, who are out there working in exciting mediums. So if you know someone doing amazing work that could fit on AWEMe– by all means, please reach out to us via our Facebook page!

TF: Do you foresee any changes to the channel caused by Break’s merger with Alloy Digital?

AS: This merger helps our programming a ton, by allowing us to share it across even more platforms and discover an even larger audience.

TF: What role do brand partnerships play on AWEme?

AS: We’ve worked with numerous studios and gaming companies on Man At Arms to officially integrate their products timed to specific releases. If a game or movie uses a badass weapon, chances are the AWEMe Channel is that exact demographic they’re seeking and that audience wants to see that weapon be built from scratch. Sometimes we go rogue and do it regardless, but we much prefer to always work with the brand to do it properly, and help ensure that their audiences can find us too.

TF: What is your main goal for the next year on AWEme?

AS: Over the course of 2014, our goal is to launch several new shows on AWEme that can be launched parallel to our existing programs. Shows that continue to amaze our amazing subscribers – so stay tuned!

On Deck (channels that will soon reach one million subscribers): Lauren Curtis, Screen Junkies, Sawyer Hartman.

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