Mitchell Davis on Growing Up Online and His YouTube Evolution
Longtime fans of Mitchell Davis on YouTube have seen him go through a cycle of posting on the video platform for fun, then as a job, then out of passion, and now, once again, in a more committed, job-like manner with an imminent move to Los Angeles. Davis told Rhett & Link about his YouTube awakening and what he plans to do with his channel once he gets out to LA on this week’s “Ear Biscuits.”
When Davis started uploading videos to YouTube in earnest, it was 2007. He happened to fit the attractive, teen boy vlogger model with long hair and bangs, thus gaining popularity that revealed itself at the YouTube gathering called 789, which preceded VidCon. There, Davis said, “I considered myself becoming a YouTuber that day, because I realized the community.”
Before 789, Davis had only “casually” watched YouTube, not subscribing to any channels and, what’s more, not realizing that there was a “momentum growing” behind the whole enterprise. At the gathering, Davis also met fellow YouTubers, like Tessa Violet, who urged him to get more involved with the community—meaning he would have to start engaging in conversations with other creators, collaborating, and subscribing. Of those folks, Davis explained, “They made me a YouTuber.”
When he got back from 789, Davis subscribed to the channels of “everyone [he] met there.” His YouTube career later took a turn for the more serious when he decided not to return to college after experiencing very severe OCD symptoms. After Davis left to get treatment, he figured he would say goodbye to college for good and do YouTube full time, which he did with his best friend, Kyle Sibert.
Working with a partner, Davis’s channel, Livelavalive, became more sketch-oriented. The guys adopted a regular schedule in which they would brainstorm all week and post new videos every Thursday. Davis and Sibert kept this schedule and worked together on YouTube videos for three years until Sibert left in favor of a more stable financial situation. Yet for Davis, Livelavalive remained a huge part of himself and he remained dedicated.
Overall, Davis calls himself an artist, preferring it as a more all-encompassing label than something like “YouTuber” (Davis also sells his prints in the physical world and posts music in SoundCloud, for example). He continues to make videos and post them on his channel, but he’s been forced to do so less frequently, as he needs to work other jobs to help pay the rent. As Davis put it, “I really love Livelavalive, but from a financial standpoint, it’s not enough now.”
Thus, Davis plans to move to LA to revive his YouTube channel, but also just to be “closer to all that creativity,” that of the other artists of all colors who live out West. He is certain about his passion for his YouTube channel, stating, “Always at the end of the day, I want to do Livelavalive.” To make this work, Davis has decided to bring back a regular schedule to his uploads and to work on his time management. He also wants to show people who “anticipate coming [to his channel] and seeing that fringed, sixteen-year-old boy” that he “grew up online, and is not a character.”
Rather, Davis is an artist, and one of his many art forms is YouTube video. For more on his work and plans, tune into “Ear Biscuits with Rhett & Link.”Tags: 789 gathering, Ear Biscuits, kyle sibert, livelavalive, mitchell davis, Rhett & Link, sketch, soundcloud, tessa violet, vlogging, youtube, YouTube Creators