YouTube Millionaires: “Bad Animator” Danny Casale On Life, Art, And Accidentally Killing A Class Hamster

By 07/30/2020
YouTube Millionaires: “Bad Animator” Danny Casale On Life, Art, And Accidentally Killing A Class Hamster

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 creator has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments here.

This week’s installment of YouTube Millionaires is brought to you by SuperBam, the premiere rights management company for creators.

Art has brought us so many wonders. The Seated Buddha. The Mona Lisa. That one statue of Lucifer that was too hot, and its replacement, which was even hotter.

Also, Danny Casale.

Casale has been on YouTube since the dawn of time (2007), and since then has filled his channel with hundreds of examples of his work as a self-dubbed “bad animator.” His comedic weekly videos feature blobby animated characters–all voiced by Casale in various unique tones–on plain backgrounds with cycling animations like ear twitches and mouth movements. To children of the 2000s internet, they may be reminiscent of Microsoft Paint-made AIM and MySpace icons, full of bright color, thick black lines, and oversized Arial font captions. Casale creates them in editing program Final Cut, and generally can produce a complete video in an afternoon, which means his content tackles topical, er, topics like people believing dumb stuff they see online, everything being made of cake, and please for the love of god put on a face mask.

Along with his videos, Casale has established a clothing line and, most recently, a podcast, That’s Really Cool Man. We’re a bit delayed marking his one millionth subscriber–he’s actually at 2.1 million on both YouTube and Instagram, plus 1.6 million on Facebook and 1.5 million on TikTok–but hey, it’s never too late to admire “bad” art.

Check out our chat with Casale below.

Tubefilter: How does it feel to hit one million subscribers? What do you have to say to your fans?

Danny Casale: When I hit one million subscribers last year, it was truly a dream come true. Ever since I discovered YouTube and started making videos in 2007, having one million subscribers always seemed like an impossible goal. But I kept creating videos year after year, and I eventually found my niche of making wacky animations. When I hit two million subscribers a few months ago, that feeling was even crazier. I don’t take any of this for granted, and I’m honored that people enjoy watching my cartoons.

Tubefilter: Tell us a little about you! Where are you from? What did you do in ye olde days before YouTube?

DC: Since I started making YouTube videos in fifth grade, one could say pre-YouTube life is a little blurry. My early videos consisted of domino tipping videos. I actually invented a word for a certain domino technique in the 2007 YouTube comments section that has come to be an industry-standard word in the domino Wikipedia (and my old YouTube username is still credited as the original inventor!). From there I evolved from dominos to comedy skits, and then comedy skits to animation!

Tubefilter: When did you realize you had a knack for drawing? Also, you’re a “bad animator” (your words, not ours!), so…what draws you to animation?

DC: I always doodled throughout school because it was the only thing that would keep me awake during class. This was before I discovered coffee, which would’ve been a huge help. But my doodles kept me very entertained. I have notebooks and notebooks of drawings from middle school, high school, and college. They all had a very consistent style. Blobby characters, weird-looking monsters, and funny-looking people. Eventually, I figured out how to make these characters move on my computer. That’s when I realized I could bring these doodles to life!

Tubefilter: What’s your process for making a YouTube animation? How long does each minute of finished product take on the backend?

DC: My animations are created in Final Cut, which is a terribly inefficient way to make animation. But it’s the only way I know how, so that’s what I work with! There is a wide range of what’s possible even in that program though, since my style is already so simple and colorfully. For a normal minute of animation of my cartoons, I can usually have that finished in an afternoon or so. That’s the charm of it, I think…The fact that the videos are so quick and easily digestible.

Tubefilter: You get up to lots of creative stuff outside of and tangentially related to YouTube, including merch designs, music, a podcast…How do you balance all of this? Do you have set days to work on specific things, or do you just sort of do things as they come?

DC: I usually just work on whatever I’m stoked about on any given day. Some days I have a few different projects I switch around on, other days it’s pigeon-hole focus on just one project. To some people, this type of lifestyle would be too sporadic and unorganized. But for me, it keeps my excitement levels high. Having a few different eggs in a few different baskets helps satisfy my creativity!

Tubefilter: Is YouTube your full-time job? What else do you get up to away from your channel? What does the average day look like for you?

DC: YouTube is definitely a full-time gig at this point, which is a sentence that I always wanted to say. I also post my videos to Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter. I have a very dedicated audience on those platforms as well. I just started my podcast called That’s Really Cool Man, where I talk more about my life and have on creative/interesting guests. I’m also looking to get into Twitch live drawing, and even have a miniseries in production right now that I plan on submitting to festivals next year. But overall, this all falls under the simple category of creating and making something cool.

Tubefilter: Do you have any strategies for growing your audience? Have you noticed any particular kind of content getting more traction than others? Do you adjust what you film depending on how your viewers react?

DC: My videos that consist of characters telling the viewer to “send this to a friend” always do super great because a bunch of people are sharing it with a bunch of other people. Everyone loves sharing funny/cute/weird stuff to their friends. My “Blue Dude” videos also do really well; I upload those maybe once or twice a year. Blue Dude is a character I created who talks about the more bittersweet moments in life, which seems to strike a huge emotional chord with viewers. My first Blue Dude video I made was in 2017, and I gained about 100,000 subscribers just from that video alone. People love to feel like a character (even if it’s a cartoon) relates to them and gives them advice.

Tubefilter: Tell us (or draw us) a secret.

DC: When I was in second grade I accidentally killed the class hamster. I made a whole animated video about it here.

Here’s a glorious freeze-frame from that video:

Tubefilter: What’s your favorite part of making content on YouTube?

DC: Comments and messages from viewers telling me I made them smile or laugh, even after a particularly rough day.

Tubefilter: What’s next for you and your channel? Any plans looking to the future?

DC: I’m looking forward to continuing to make funny and touching animations, as well as continue further connecting with my audience through my podcast. My merch line is also cranking with some super dope clothes and I couldn’t be happier that people are ordering, so I can’t wait to continue on that front, too. Hopefully, we are able to have live events again someday soon, because I really miss meeting those who watch my content. But until then, I’ll be focusing on keeping people entertained and feeling good at home.

You can add yourself to the ranks of Casale’s more-than-a-million YouTube subscribers here.

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