Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Ten years ago today, I released the animation that would lead to my eventual career as a YouTube animator. To commemorate this occasion, I've decided to share its story. (It's actually quite dramatic.) in 2005 I entered my junior year of high school and for the first time I was home schooled, through an online distance education program. Until that point the five people in my family shared one computer, giving me limited access. But since I was enrolled in this online school, the school provided me with a laptop, my first laptop ever. This gave me the freedom to experiment with animation as much as I wanted. Back when I was 11 I had a phase where I experimented with pixel animations, but when I found out about a versatile animation program called Macromedia Flash I had to get back into it. I discovered a website where I could submit my animations to, called Newgrounds. The amazing thing about this website is that all animations go directly to the front page and get reviewed by anyone who visits, to determine if it deserves to stay on the front page. The first full-length flash animation that I made was called "Pink Army", and involved an orange stick figure fighting an army of pink stick figures. I posted it on Newgrounds and it did alright. It didn't get a bad score, which I was happy about, so I claimed my victory and moved on. One day, I got inspiration to make a short animation about a stick figure that fights with its creator in the animation program itself. How did I get this idea? I can actually attribute many sources of inspiration to this idea. Being a long time fan of Looney Tunes, the animated short "Duck Amuck" really appealed to me, as well as the story of "Harold and the Purple Crayon". I had also seen some Flash animations and games online that gave me the final spark to come up with the idea. It took me about three months to finish, and on Saturday June 3rd 2006, I uploaded it to Newgrounds.com, excited to see how it would do. The next morning I discovered that I had gotten second place for the whole day! I was so excited. I thought that was the end of it, but it was only the beginning. I started getting all kinds of messages on AOL Instant Messenger from website owners that wanted to host my animation on their website. I also got emails. Lots of emails. One guy offered to pay me $75 to host my animation on their site as long as I sign a contract to give them exclusive rights to the animation. The idea of getting paid actual money for animation that I made just for fun got my attention, especially since I had never had a job up to that point and also grew up in a family that was financially struggling. I printed out the contract, signed and scanned it, and as I was about to reply to the email I saw another one right underneath it that said: "Don't sign anything regarding your flash." It was from Steve, the owner of AlbinoBlacksheep, a very popular Flash animation web site at the time. I was about to sell the future of my animation career for $75, but I read his email and ended up not doing it. If I had done it I wouldn't have been allowed to post animator vs animation anywhere else or make any money from it besides the $75 that he paid me. So he saved me in the nick of time. Later, another very popular website called eBaum's World posted my animation on their weekly "Best of the Web" post. eBaum's World was infamous for taking images and videos from the internet without permission, and stamping "hosted on ebaumsworld" in the corner of each image or video, at the cost of content creators. many people including Steve saw my animation as the perfect way to fight back against eBaum's World, using my animation as evidence in a legal campaign against them. eBaum's World found out about this and started messaging me. At the time, my main concern was getting paid for my work, and keeping rights to my animation. So when eBaum's World offered me $250 to pay me for my animation, I took it. Then they pressured me into giving them a short testimonial, to restore their tainted image. That set the whole thing on fire, and Steve felt very betrayed by me. Looking at the instant messager conversations with eBaum's from back then makes me cringe. I was basically a puppy and they were leading me with puppy treats. They entered me into their monthly contest and told me that I'd won, and would receive $1,000. But if I still wanted them to pull my animation off the website, I wouldn't receive any of it. They even offered to make me my own website. But after talking to Steve I decided to give them back the $250, and officially asked them to remove the animation and the testimonial. You can find the details of this on the Wikipedia page of eBaum's World. It's currently the only place that I exist on Wikipedia. A guy named phaseblue created dramatizations of the whole thing on a website called "You're The Man Now Dawg" and they're very entertaining to watch. It's funny that he assumed that I look like Mr. Rogers. You can find links to those in the description. The story doesn't end there, although most of the drama is over. All of this happened before YouTube became a mainstream video platform. Animator vs. Animation was exploding all over the internet and there was no main website where it existed. I was getting a ton of attention but not getting paid for any of it. Then atomfilms.com offered to fund the making of a sequel, and that is how Animator vs. Animation II came about, and it was released November 4th of that same year. Not thinking about the consequences, I included my actual AOL screen name in the animation And set myself up to never be able to use AIM again, without withstanding the overwhelming spam of instant messages every single time. Shortly after, a fourteen year old kid named Charles Yeh offered to make a game of the animation, and looking at his impressive work I agreed to collaborate with him on it. You can still play this game on my website. It wasn't until 2007 that I realized that YouTube was a place I should be putting my stuff. When I actually uploaded my animations, hundreds of copies of them already existed on YouTube, and already had millions of views. It was nearly impossible for me to compete with them, since they were always on the top of the search results. But as I came to learn that I could report copyright infringements, I knocked off videos one by one until I was at the top of the search results, but that took a few years. Then, pushed by countless requests for number three, I gave in and made an animation to be the epic finale to the trilogy, concluding with a violent explosion and a blue screen of death. I wanted to make sure that no sequel could come out of that. So at that point I was done with Animator vs. Animation. I went off to college to study animation, and my goal was to work at Pixar. After not getting accepted to their internship program two years in a row, I started looking for work at small businesses in the area that needed animation. But shortly before graduating, my teacher Tom told me "Look, you have a massive fan base, "and a unique series with so much potential. It would be a waste not to continue it." So, right after graduating from Columbus College of Art Design, I launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the making of Animator vs. Animation IV. When I started that campaign I had about 12,000 subscribers, but shortly after releasing the finished animation, It grew to 100,000 subscribers, which gave me a huge boost of inspiration to keep going. So then I made Animation vs. Minecraft, and within a month it grew to one million subscribers. And here we are today, with a subscriber count at nearly 2,000,000. So thank you so much to everyone who's been following my animation so far. I know many of you have been following me from the very beginning. So I'd especially like to thank Steve Lerner of AlbinoBlackSheep.com, for saving my animation career in the last second, as well as Tom Richner, for giving me the push I needed to grow this channel to what it is today. I've provided links to their sites in the description. Props to you if you watched the whole video. If you haven't yet, be sure to like my Facebook page, since that's where I post frequent updates, and also check out my Patreon page if you'd like to become a patron And if you haven't checked out my other channels yet, I have a tutorial channel where I teach animation, as well as a Minecraft channel. So thanks for watching, and here's to the next 10 years.