Nick James is a 47-year-old stay-at-home dad. He lives with his wife and son in Santa Monica, California. He’s been a member of the YouTube community since September 12, 2006 and posts videos to the site under the handle “nickynic.” So far he’s uploaded 47. Here’s one:

This video elicits MANY questions. Too many. Close to a paralysis inducing number, but one stands out: Why? Why nickynic? Why do you and thousands of others like you spend so much time creating videos? Why is YouTube filled with years and years worth of footage from talking head videobloggers, neighborhood documentarians, and markedly amateur comedians and filmmakers?

Chuck Potter was wondering the same thing. And the answer might lie somewhere inside his documentary, I Want My Three Minutes Back.

Over the last two years, and under the the banner of Third Career Films, the first-time filmmaker (in previous lives Chuck was a commercial photographer, then a multimedia developer) has ventured into the homes of some of the most prominent members of the YouTube community. He’s pointed a camera towards individuals who’ve posted hours upon hours of skits, sketches, and their lives online. But you haven’t seen them from this angle.

Through candid interviews, I Want My Three Minutes Back reveals the varied psyches of your part-time videobloggers and looks at what drives someone to create, in Chuck’s words, “these really wonderful bodies of work.”

For Nick James, YouTube is almost like an addiction, something he finds himself hiding from his family. For Kevin Nalty, creating videos is a hobby (though he’d love to turn it into a career) that he manages (or tries to manage) between his lives at home and work. For Cory Williams, it’s a therapist’s chair and (hopeful) launchpad into traditional media. Philip DeFranco, Michael Buckley, Mark Day, Red State Update, Happy Slip, Zipster, Tay Zonday, Judson Laippy, and others also wax personal on their relationship with YouTube and what compels them to create.

After a screening of the film earlier this week at For Your Imagination in New York City, I caught up with Chuck to ask him about the genesis of the documentary, if he’s gotten an answer to his question of “Why?”, if he has any advice for new YouTubers, and why he’s not releasing the film online (Seems crazy, right? Make a doc about YouTube and then NOT release it on YouTube? But he’s got a decent reason.).

Stay tuned to to find out where you can catch a screening, and check out the trailer below:

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