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.
When Mitchell Crowley was a kid, he and his friends all liked this one video game. It’s pretty obscure, but you may have heard of it: NBA 2K.
Okay, okay, we’re kidding about it being obscure; it’s actually one of the top sports video games out there. But if you’ve managed to somehow miss it, NBA 2K debuted in 1999 and lets anyone with a computer design their own perfect Frankenstein’s monster of an NBA team by pulling any players they liked from the league’s real-world roster and mushing them together into one (hopefully) unstoppable alliance.
Subscribe to get the latest creator news
Crowley, a die-hard basketball fan, was obsessed. So were his best buddies, brothers Jesse and James. When all three of them started playing around with making funny videos to show their family and other friends, the game they loved was a natural starting point. Eventually they decided to try uploading their videos to YouTube, and to their surprise, one where they (affectionately) made fun of 2K‘s infamous glitches “popped off,” Crowley says.
Seeing its numbers skyrocket, Jesse–who’s better known by his YouTube moniker Jesser and now has over 11 million subscribers–told Crowley he thought they could turn making videos into a career thing. Crowley thought it was possible, maybe, but he wasn’t sure about it being a full-time job. So the two remained friends, but split paths a bit: Jesse went on to start a channel and co-found the content group 2HYPE with James and their other 2K-loving friend Kristopher London, and Crowley went to college.
Crowley and 2HYPE’s paths re-converged after an injury and subsequent surgery forced him to take time off school. Instead of going back, he decided to join 2HYPE as its newest member, Moochie–and thanks to that decision, his channel recently crossed one million subscribers.
Check out our chat with him below.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tubefilter: Give me a little bit of background on you and how you got into content creation.
Mitchell Crowley: Okay. All right. I’ll give you the rundown. I have a cool story I don’t think many have heard before. How I started making videos is, me and my friends, like Jesse and our friend group, whenever we’d hang out, we’d be like, “Oh, let’s make a skit of something.” It was just for fun. We would just post it so we could all watch it and show our parents and laugh and stuff like that. Then we’d make fun of this one video game with all the glitches it had. A video game we all played. And it was NBA 2K. That video ended up getting a bunch of views. We were like, “Whoa. What? it’s popping off.”
Then Jesse was like, “Dude, I think we can make this a career type of thing.” Obviously, we ended up doing it, but I ended up going to college instead of keeping up with my YouTube. Then I had a crazy surgery that forced me to quit college. Jesse was like, “Dude, you should start your YouTube up again.” So I ended up starting my YouTube up again, and now this is where we are now. I ended up joining 2HYPE with the squad. It really just started off making some videos that made no sense. Now, it’s a very fun career we have.
Tubefilter: Did you ever go back to college, or did this just become your full-time thing?
Mitchell Crowley: No, it became my full-time thing. It was like, yes, I had the decision to either go back to college or just try my hardest at YouTube. That was a decision that my parents wanted me to go to college, but they understood, “Hey, maybe we should let him try to do YouTube.” That was a big decision, yes, either going back to college or pursuing YouTube. I’m very glad with the choice I made.
Tubefilter: When did you know that had been the right choice?
Mitchell Crowley: I would say once I started taking YouTube very seriously. It was probably a year after coming back to YouTube, because I saw the 2HYPE guys are one of the smartest groups I’ve ever seen with how they–what’s the word?–do YouTube. They’re just very smart and intricate with it, where it’s literally, it’s always fun, but it’s also like they have a business model.
Tubefilter: Yes, totally.
Mitchell Crowley: I would say once I joined 2HYPE and started making videos with the guys, and they were helping me get on a schedule, I would say then.
Tubefilter: Can you talk a little bit about that? How did things change for you production-wise once you got into 2HYPE?
Mitchell Crowley: I learned a lot about how they run their channels, and they would help me. They’d push me to do things that would benefit me–say hiring an editor, so that gives me more time in a day. Because it used to take me like, I’d say like 12 hours to edit a video. Just little steps to help put out as many videos as you can without overworking yourself, and formatting videos almost like an essay where it’s MLA format.
Tubefilter: So you’re still in college, basically?
Mitchell Crowley: Yes. [laughs]
Tubefilter: I know things shifted a bit during the pandemic, but how does your production schedule look these days? Do you guys still produce a certain number of videos together? How do you do on your own? What’s your week look like?
Mitchell Crowley: We have meetings with my team. We figure out days that I can record videos by myself, and then we schedule with 2HYPE. We figure out one to two days a week where we all sit down with each other, and we each get a video in. We call this the 2HYPE film days. We’re doing one tomorrow, and I ordered some very scary animals that they’re going to have to hold.
Tubefilter: No spoilers! How does the plotting process go? Is it more difficult to come up with ideas for solo videos than it is for 2HYPE videos?
Mitchell Crowley: I’d say yes, because we have less people in the videos, so it’s focused mainly on me the whole time, when usually I like riffing off other people. I’m switching content this year. I’m taking a step away from NBA 2K. We had a few video ideas with 2K that we keep doing because they were doing well. They’re very fun to make. Now, we’re switching into…I guess I’ll call it bigger content. We want to do more in real life content. We have a hundred ideas, and we choose the best three to focus on. Then once we are like, “Okay, let’s film this video next week,” we’re going to try to plan that whole video out before next week. Then once that’s fully recorded, we move on to the second idea, and then do the same thing there.
Tubefilter: What made you want to switch away from 2K?
Mitchell Crowley: I guess to try to–what’s the word?–try to appeal to a bigger audience. I was doing 2K for a whole year. I still love doing 2K videos, but I want to try something new in 2023. That gives me more motivation too to test and try and see if people like it.
Tubefilter: Yes. It seems like a smart but also very intimidating step. I know you said you wanted a broader appeal, but how are you tooling your in-real-life content to appeal to the people who have been subscribed to you?
Mitchell Crowley: Yes, so I’m still keeping it sports-related because I feel like all the people that watch me really enjoy sports. With 2K, it’s those people who can really only enjoy basketball. If we get away from 2K, we can appeal to people that don’t just like basketball.
Tubefilter: Is there anything else that’s changing this year that you’re changing up about your content or about your channel at all?
Mitchell Crowley: I’m focusing a lot more on YouTube Shorts. I think those are very fun to make. I’ve probably only posted about 10.
Tubefilter: What appeals to you about doing Shorts?
Mitchell Crowley: It’s like a whole different style of content. At first, I was scared to start doing Shorts because I was so locked in on the long-form videos that I was like, “Oh, I know what I’m doing, but I don’t know what I’m doing with Shorts.” Then we started posting a few and I’m like, “Okay, this is actually very fun.” Short video days are fun days because you get to record four little videos in one day.
Tubefilter: I will say I know that Shorts is intimidating, but also I feel like somebody with such a solid basis in long-form has a much easier time learning and incorporating short-form, so if that’s you, you’re ahead of the game.
Mitchell Crowley: Yeah! Shorts are a great way to grow an audience, and you get to put your own little style in on it. Then hopefully, the people from Shorts come to watch your long-form.
Tubefilter: That’s the tough part, I think, but it’s definitely something that some creators are figuring out how to do that. When you’re approaching short-form, are you approaching them with the same style as your long-form and hoping to just carry over between both?
Mitchell Crowley: Yes. I keep my same personality in both, and try to show my personality a lot in the Shorts. I keep the same content where the Shorts are mainly sports-related. All my videos are sports-related, but with Shorts it’s really just me attempting to do whatever I’m doing in the video. With long form, I usually have a bunch of my buddies in there, so we get to mess around with each other. You get to test new things doing Shorts, which is very cool.
Tubefilter: What has it been like for you to hit a million subscribers? Has it changed anything for you or is it just another day?
Mitchell Crowley: I was very excited to hit it. I was staying up the whole night. I was playing Warzone with some of my friends and I’m like, “Oh, I might hit it next game.” It was 3:00 AM in the morning at this point. I was very close to it, but I’m like, “Oh, I need to go to sleep. We’re recording tomorrow.” I ended up going to sleep, and then woke up to a million and I was like, “What?”
I was definitely very excited. It made me more excited to keep hitting milestones in 2023, so it was very motivating.
Tubefilter: Do you hope to hit 2 million this year or…?
Mitchell Crowley: I think the goal is we’re aiming high. We’re hoping for 3 to 5 million.
Tubefilter: Oh wow. Okay. Do you have any other plans? I know we asked about YouTube already, but for the rest of this year, do you have any other partnerships planned, are you doing any merch, anything that you can talk about?
Mitchell Crowley: I’ve been in the works for almost a year of creating a clothing brand, which so far nothing’s come out to how much I…I want it to be super comfortable. I want people to really enjoy the clothes, because it’s once I come out with that, that’s all I’m going to wear, so I also have to be very comfortable in them. I just want to create the best type of clothing that people really enjoy buying. It’s been over a year. Nothing’s come out yet, but that’s something I do definitely want to focus on this year.
Tubefilter: I know YouTube is your main focus, but you also have an Instagram, and you have a fairly sizable Twitter account too. Are you on TikTok or any other platforms?
Mitchell Crowley: Yes, I’m on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter. I’m very scared of Instagram and Twitter.
Tubefilter: Understandable. With TikTok, are you just planning to cross-post your Shorts?
Mitchell Crowley: Yes. I also like to do original content for TikTok and Shorts, so some of it won’t be crossed. I feel like TikTok and Shorts are a different breed of content, so if you post one on one, it might not do well on the other.
Tubefilter: I hear that from a lot of people! I wanted to ask a little more about you joining 2HYPE later than the rest of the guys. That’s really tough from your side, to have to go into an established group and be like, “Hey, I’m here now.”
Mitchell Crowley: Yes, because it was always like me and Jesse would be in videos with each other back when we didn’t have very many subscribers. When I took the break and I was coming back, I was at 100,000 subscribers, and everyone in the group was at a million. It’s like, “Oh God, this is so intimidating.” Now, instead of entertaining 100,000 people, I’m jumping in to entertain a million people.
It was definitely very scary, but the guys were so welcoming. They’re such a cool group of guys that they made it super comfortable. They were like, “Oh, dude, they love you.” They just gave me a lot of love and motivation. I was very glad that the fans liked my personality and behavior. It was very intimidating, but I shouldn’t have been as scared as I was.
Tubefilter: I’m glad it turned out okay!
Mitchell Crowley: Yes. Shout-out to the fans. Appreciate all you guys. I think we have one of the best fanbases on YouTube. The most loving and supportive.
Tubefilter: What makes them so awesome?
Mitchell Crowley: Just all the comments, they’re just so nice. I’ll leave it at that. They’re just so nice.