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The REALity Show

‘‘ I came to the conclusion that I needed to take actions into my own hands - if I wanted to continue a career in entertainment. ’’

By David SheltonOctober 23, 2017

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Hi David, can you briefly describe your channel to new viewers?

My Channel is unlike any other 😉 I do reaction videos – watching and reacting to new music videos. But now I also mix-in travel/food episodes and personal vlogs.

It’s not your first time in front of a camera. What made you want to start YouTube?

I always had a passion for being in front of the camera. My wife knows this well. She also know that I can’t cook. So she submitted me to Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America”. It’s a show that takes terrible cooks and puts them through a culinary boot camp. I was selected for Season 3 – there I am in the middle.


How did it turn out? Well, I can proudly say that I was taught how to cook from Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell. I ended up on 7 out of 8 episodes and became a semi-finalist and the fan favorite. After that show, I continued to plug away at new opportunities to further my career in entertainment. I pitched shows to networks, contacted, auditioned and even got far with some large opportunities. I was even the lead in the 2014 independent Lionsgate film, Devil’s Deal. But after that film, other projects always fell apart at the last minute.

At a certain point, I couldn’t stand how the industry viewed reality TV stars.

I came to the conclusion that I needed to take actions into my own hands – if I wanted to continue a career in entertainment.

I set a firm date to start filming. I didn’t care how unprofessional the first few were. I wanted to simply start and practice being in front of a camera again.

Then, the day before my very first day of filming, I was let go from my day job. This was a very scary time as I was the only person working in the family (my wife was a stay-at-home mom and I had a 6-month-old).

But I thought it was God telling me to move forward with it and so I did.

You capitalize the “REAL” in REALity Show. Can you explain more about the niche you are creating for yourself?

I feel like I am creating an entire new niche and market for YouTubers.

I emphasize the REAL in REALity because I bring my experiences from Reality TV into YouTube. Unscripted, raw and real reactions to what’s going in media and my life. I am a go-getter, adventure seeker, tell-it-like-it-is country boy with an open mind. So I am constantly trying (and succeeding in some cases) to reach my dreams and try new experiences. Sharing my reality with viewers.

Before I started on this journey, I went to my wife and told her “I don’t want this to be a scripted deal”. But I did ask her “What if I mess up?” She replied “Who cares?” So I thought “You are right, I will keep it in there. I am known for being a self-deprecating and fun guy, so why not showcase the bloopers and mistakes.”

I see mixed messages about fair use/copyright on using artists’ music videos in a reaction video. What are the specific guidelines around that?

Your guess and interpretation is as good as anyone’s. The Fair Use act can be interpreted many ways. But to me, it seems that you can use most songs in reaction videos – just as long as you aren’t using the entire song and/or the video.

What YouTubers are doing is NO different to what E! Entertainment or other Gossip TV shows are doing.  For example, they know when Taylor Swift will drop a new song. They talk about it, play a piece of the video and make a News Alert story about it. Even more, they even get paid BIG bucks to do it via advertisers.

When it comes to YouTube, it seems only larger YouTubers are allowed to monetize or do some videos. It’s almost like you have to earn your stripes and once you do, they will let you get away with more.

Also, every song has different copyright policies. However, you will RARELY (if ever) be able to find those policies on YouTube when the music video and song releases.

More and more, it seems like YouTube is frowning upon creators who do reaction videos.

How have you attracted viewers to your channel? Which external channels have been the most effective for sub growth?

I was sharing to social media outlets like Tumblr, Reddit and the other platforms YouTube lists underneath every video. However, I didn’t really see any growth from this.

The thing that helped me to grow was visiting other YouTubers, subbing, liking their video and commenting that they should check mine out and return the favor. It has worked tremendously well.

Sidebar fun fact –  Facebook video is a completely different animal than YouTube. Facebook does not like when you post videos in the feed that are hosted on YouTube. In fact, their algorithm will purposely give YouTube videos less reach. So if you want to grow an audience on Facebook via videos, you need to upload directly to their platform. If you want the Facebook audience too, you will have to grow both those channels separately.

I think Facebook’s potential for growth far exceed YouTube’s. But as of right now you just don’t get paid on Facebook.

Your sub growth peaked in April and August 2017. What happened during these months?


That’s a great graph. In early February, my brain and channel started changing and I got more aggressive about growth and building my audience.

In my first season, I tested out reaction videos. However, I missed the boat as I was reacting to old outdated videos. People want to see reactions to new, trending stuff. The spike actually began to climb in February when Missy Elliott came back out on the music scene with “I’m Better.” I received a couple of thousand views in one weekend and was freaking out (video below). I thought I’d hit the jackpot, at least in terms of views.

That was followed with Iggy Azelea’s new music video came out “Bounce.” (booty shaking music) and I jumped on that Reactioner Bandwagon. It got like 8k views over the weekend and I was freaking OUT.

That’s when I started focusing in on more reaction videos than just stories of my life.

David, you recently visited YouTube with some grievances. What were they? How did they react?

I did recently go to YouTube Headquarters in person. YouTube had recently changed their music policies and immediately started de-monetizing many of my videos. I hounded them for months on the issue. I tried to set up a meeting and they wouldn’t even acknowledge the request. Even with 9k subs at the time.

Finally, I was fed up. So when I was in Los Angeles doing a Facebook based show called Dareplane, I realized I was already more than half way to Youtube’s office. They still hadn’t replied regarding a meeting. So the day I was leaving, I picked up my luggage, paid an Uber driver $50 and went to the YouTube/Google offices while documenting everything (see video below).

They were supposed to be open at 9:00 am – and I showed up at that time, however, no one was there. So I showed people around and made myself at home. It was still surreal to visit the office and you can watch what happened in the video above.

How would you propose to solve some of these issues?

I would say to YouTube – stop trying to play games with YouTubers if they are putting in the time consistently for a YEAR. Give them a break and review their analytics and help that person!!! Some videos are “automatically” flagged as “not suitable for most advertisers” (that’s what they say).

I don’t know if I believe it. I think that is in place to discourage reaction-ers from using artist’s content.

As an emerging YouTuber, it’s nearly impossible to live off revenue from Google Ads. What is your mindset regarding monetization?

My mindset is that I am not doing this just for fun. I am doing it to build a real channel that I could monetize in the future. Even with the rapid growth that I have had, it may still take years to get to a place where that is a possibility.

If YouTube isn’t that place where I can get support, I am not afraid to take my content elsewhere in the future.

Based on your experience thus far, would you like to turn Youtube into a full-time job? Or keep it as a hobby?

I would love to turn it into a full-time job! All of these great, established YouTubers have the money and the time to make a great product – so it just has to snowball and get there. You can watch my first episode below and it alone was so bad… it could go viral someday!

I am not ashamed of the video and will keep it because as I continue to grow, people will enjoy watching a baby YouTuber’s first steps! 🙂

What’s your advice for YouHackers who are just starting a YouTube channel?

Get ready to work, get ready to cry, get ready for your computer to be shot in 2 months. Be consistent, embrace yourself, your quirks and reach out for help. (I did and no one wanted to help a nobody YouTuber.) However, I will be glad too to help you, as long as you plan on a million percent following through.

Also, it’s important to note that I’ve invested thousands of dollars into my channel and brand. But don’t feel like you have to. Do it one step at a time. Be consistent, be interesting and be YOU! Don’t try to be like another YouTuber.

Finally, what’s next for you (and The REALity Show)?

The Reality Show - YouHackers

I am focusing less on Reaction Videos and more on quality content. Yes, it greats to get some views but quality is what gets people to come back. The retention rates on those Reaction subscribers is not very good. Typically those type of subscribers want to only watch you react to videos of the music they like. They may not necessarily be the right viewership for vloggers and YouTube personalities. I want fans – I want people that want to get to know me and all of me. That’s my goal and I won’t STOP until I make it happen!

Gear Info

  • Filming N/A

  • Sound N/A

  • LightingLED flood lights

  • EditingLaptop: HP PC 570 Editing software: PowerDirector

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One comment

  • iililycollins

    I can feel ya personality right through this interview! Have u thought about daily vloggin? Bring that Texas flavor