Hank Green on the Vlogbrothers’ YouTubing Priorities

/ Sep 7, 2014

HankGreen

Hank Green and his brother, John Green, created the Vlogbrothers, a video project and YouTube channel in which the brothers communicate daily via videos on the platform. They’ve created a community surrounding the effort called Nerdfighteria, and their YouTube channel has over 2.3 million subscribers. However, what does a creative duo do when one of the partners has a major success of his own? Rhett & Link asked how the brothers dealt with “The Fault in Our Stars” explosion on this week’s episode of “Ear Biscuits.”

Let’s start from the beginning. Initially, it was John’s idea to start a YouTube show…but Hank’s enthusiasm propelled it forward, and Hank created the project’s first video. Being Vlogbrothers has become so important for Hank and John, not just because it changed their lives and careers (not to mention the lives and careers of others—we’re talking the guys who started VidCon, here), but also because it’s a huge part of their relationship. Hank went so far to say, “If ever I get to the point where I don’t watch one of John’s videos, that’s the day when we might as well not have the Vlogbrothers channel anymore.”

Why is that the case? Well, each brother still remains the other’s most important audience member. “That’s just the way it has to be for Vlogbrothers to be what it is,” Hank simply explained.

Thus, when “The Fault in Our Stars” began its course to cultural phenomenon status, the Green brothers realized that it was something “we had to think actively about.” So they did, and they decided, “This is not a wave we want to ride…If we had caught that wave, it would have changed our community fundamentally.” For Hank and John, the promise of “tremendous” subscriber growth mattered less than the identity of the subscribers. It was important for those subscribers to maintain the Nerdfighter identity.

As for the Nerfdighters, Hank doesn’t believe they at all think of him as in the shadow of John’s major novel/motion picture success. However, he does think that his brother might end up compensating in terms of video content to keep viewers drawn to Hank. Though Hank admits he’s better at making videos (jokingly, but possibly truthfully), he noted, “John is focusing more—I can tell he’s doing this intentionally—on the boring stuff, and he’s letting me do more exciting videos.” This means, in Hank’s words, viewers get to see a Hank video and think, “Oh, thank goodness, I get to not think about Ethiopia for ten minutes.”

After all the work both brothers have accomplished, individually and together, Hank still counts Vlogbrothers has his favorite professional accomplishment. “All of the other things wouldn’t have been possible and wouldn’t have mattered without Nerdfighteria,” said Hank. “That channel is the coolest thing that ever happened to me.”

For more on the brother’s relationship and Nerdfighting fans, listen to Hank’s interview on “Ear Biscuits with Rhett & Link.”

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