Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Update: The Photoshop Guys Revealed!

Previously, on Today on the Interwebs we featured Youtube series sensation You Suck at Photoshop (YSAP), where angry Photoshop dude Donnie Hoyle teaches pixel-smelting techniques while letting on way too much information about his failing marriage and life. The wildly popular series racked up eight million page views and two Webby Award 2008 nominations, while keeping its creators mysteriously out of the limelight. Who is behind YSAP?

TIME's Josh Quitter quips:
You're probably assuming that the series is the work of a pro, a well-known stand-up comedian…

Wrong! You suck at guessing.

That's right folks. It's not Dane Cook, or Will Ferrell, or anyone you've heard of. TIME's Josh Quitter interviews YSAP creators in his article The Photoshop Guys Revealed. The voice of Donnie is done by real-life Photoshop export and Foghorn Leghorn look-alike Troy Hitch, 37.

A lot of Donnie's character is improvised on the fly by Troy, and the rest is presumably filled in by hanger-on Matt Bledsoe, 39. The TIME article is not really clear about Matt's contributions, so I'm going to go ahead and guess he fetches Troy's juice boxes from the fridge in exchange for creative credit.

The Covington, KY duo originally made a website full of flash and nostalgic wonder. Web video impresario Rob Barnett saw it, and proposed they embark on a joint venture: to build MyDamnChannel, a funny video site. They did, and it was humming along. One day, facing a tight deadline they created YSAP as filler, when they couldn't think of anything else.

Matt explains that he and Troy, "had both been in the agency business so long that after a while we'd seen every kind of person in the advertising world." One stereotypes, he said, was the "insane designer, basically. He has horrible social skills and horrible things going on in his life and the only thing he has going for him is he can out-Photoshop the guy in the cube next to him." They made it in two hours and posted it. The first video of the series got 50,000 views, and the second episode gained 400,000 views in 5 days. YSAP went viral.

Donnie is cornered by a SWAT team in YSAP #10, which ends with a "Where'd he go?" It's not clear what happened to Donnie in that cliff-hanger, but YSAP has taken this opportunity to launch a spin-off, Sn4tchbuckl3r's Second Chance.

Sn4tchbuckl3r was my least-favorite character in the YSAP series, and the debut is not promising. The premise is that Sn4tchbuckl3r has started a gaming-addiction rehab program. It doesn't live up to YSAP because YSAP combined a useful teaching tutorial with a tightly-woven, emotionally interesting (hyperbolically melodramatic) narrative. We learn a lot about Donnie: where he works, how his marriage doesn't work, his hobbies, sense of humor, friends, likes and dislikes.

On the other hand, Sn4tchbuckl3r is just Sn4tchbuckl3r. So far he's a one-dimensional character. He likes WoW, and he likes it a lot. That's all we know about him. Let's see if Matt and Troy can do with character development in the next episodes.

Overall, it's a quality series, and a quality interview. MyDamnChannel as a website is visually little cluttered but still functions okay. (If it's too annoying, you can always watch YSAP on Youtube. Too bad you can't turn off Sn4tchbuckl3r's Skype calls.) I'll give it an A.
(From Laughing Squid)

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