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.
At first glance, it may seem like gamer Rifty simply materialized on YouTube in April 2018 with a healthy dose of beginner’s luck. His channel’s very first videos are slickly edited, built-for-trending Fortnite bonanzas, with all-caps titles and well-made thumbnails. By June 2018, he was bringing in up to 10 million views per month, with viral hits like Y’ALL MIND IF I FORTNITE? (now at 2.1 million views) and Y’ALL MIND IF I DEFAULT? (3.1 million).
But his channel’s rapid takeoff wasn’t beginner’s luck. Before launching it, Rifty spent years on YouTube, learning animation, graphic design, and video and audio editing. He got his start making content about the game that never lost its spot (yes, really) as YouTube’s most popular: Minecraft. When Fortnite debuted in 2017 and quickly found an audience on YouTube, he saw an opportunity to bundle up all the production skills he’d learned and use them to stake a new spot on the platform with a channel that is–at least for now–all Fortnite, all the time.
Over the past two years, Rifty has built that channel to one million subscribers–and he’s made it the foundation for the next step in his digital content career. He can’t divulge his exact plans just yet, but he does tell Tubefilter he wants to get into more live content, and hopes to “lead the charge” into a new era of livestreaming on YouTube.
Check out our chat with him below.
Tubefilter: How does it feel to hit one million subscribers? What do you have to say to your fans?
Rifty: It feels surreal to hit one million subscribers. If I’d told myself over a year ago that more than one million individual people would follow me, I would’ve laughed. To my fans who continue to watch daily, I want to assure them that this is just the beginning!
Tubefilter: Tell us a little about you! Where are you from? What did you do in ye olde days before YouTube?
Rifty: Well, I was born in Texas, and have lived my entire life here. I have never worked an actual job for somebody else. I started off my YouTube journey by animating Minecraft videos, then eventually moved to making gameplay content. Over the years, I’ve learned how to animate, do graphic design, edit videos, and add commentary, all from YouTube videos.
Tubefilter: What made you decide to start a YouTube channel? Why did you want to establish a presence on YouTube specifically?
Rifty: I have always loved being able to create something and watch it back. It’s an endless cycle of creating something and then trying to improve and make something else that’s better. At first, all I intended on doing was showing my content in hopes of improving somebody’s day or letting them forget their troubles.
Tubefilter: Looking at your channel’s oldest videos, you clearly came into your channel with a plan for Fortnite content. Have you shifted your content strategy at all, or have you kept it consistent?
Rifty: My first video on this channel was years after I started making videos. I wanted to see what I could do with a new slate and all of my acquired skill over the years. As I look toward the future, I’m looking to get into more live content while trying to do something different from everybody else. I wish I could tell more right now!
Tubefilter: Why did you decide to start making Fortnite content? What about Fortnite appeals to you as a player? Is Fortnite what you’ll be doing for the foreseeable future, or do you plan to mix in other games?
Rifty: I started making Fortnite content because I truly love the game. Epic Games’ treatment of their content creators is second to none, and they truly understand the need for frequent new content. But all games’ influences come to an end, and I am definitely planning to start doing new things with games/content.
Tubefilter: What do you think makes your videos stand out from the millions of hours of Fortnite content on YouTube?
Rifty: One thing I pride myself on is my production quality and my unique content. My first few videos on my channel took months to create, because I knew I had to do something different to get my foot in the door!
Tubefilter: What’s your production process like? How long does the average video take you to make, from conception to posting? Do you play every day, and take clips from that day’s gameplay to make that day’s video? Or do you film days ahead?
Rifty: I’ll typically spend hours at a time coming up with ideas, and then write them all down. To be more productive, I’ve hired an editor to help me, as I try to post consistent content that is higher-quality than everybody else’s. After videos are edited, I’ll take care of the rest, making the thumbnails and doing the uploading.
Tubefilter: When did you start noticing your audience really picking up?
Rifty: Once my first viral video, Y’all Mind if I Default, started to pick up momentum, I realized that I had found something that worked. The way that I’ve gone about growing my audience is to be seen as a friend of the viewers. Somebody they would laugh with.
Tubefilter: What’s your favorite part of making content specifically for YouTube?
Rifty: My favorite part of creating content on YouTube is being able to read what people think right after creating it. I think it’s incredibly liberating to see what somebody thinks, no matter their opinion. They are individual, living people that spent the time out of their day to watch what I made. I love it.
Tubefilter: What’s next for you and your channel?
Rifty: I’m looking to start expanding with content and hopefully change what it means to be a livestreamer on YouTube. If it all goes to plan, I’ll be leading the charge! One of my main goals in 2020 is to pursue more opportunities with branded content, and I just signed with Michael Gordon from Fullscreen as my manager.
You can add yourself to the ranks of Rifty’s more-than-a-million YouTube subscribers at his channel YouTube.com/Rifty.