Let’s meet some of Reno’s YouTubers
“Wrestling With Wregret”
YouTube entertains more than 2 billion monthly users, and some 300 hours of content are uploaded each minute. One Renoite, Brian Schiedel, quit his job at Channel 2 News to pursue YouTube full time in 2016. Others I spoke with, like Mike Henderson from All-Terrain Family, produce videos as a hobby but are confident they will be able to make their channels their main source of income. Many YouTubers see their channels not only as a place to grow an audience, but also as a professional stepping stone that can provide experience in business and marketing.
Wyatt Hansen didn’t find inspiration watching the classics. He grew up on YouTube and is part of a new generation of videographers finding creative guidance online from YouTubers like Freddie Wong: someone you’re not likely to see at Cannes anytime soon but who has a larger audience than some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
Hansen’s channel, Practical Media, consists of action and horror shorts, with some comedy sketches. Most, like the “Walmart Brawl” or “John Wick Home Invasion” videos are action-packed, full of guns and gore. Their most prominent features are their intense and graphic fight scenes, similar to those in movies like Kick-Ass or Kill Bill, where an archetypal combatant can wipe out an entire room of bad-guys without breaking a sweat. These scenes also give Hansen room to show off his knack for special effects: exploding cars, superheroes and gunshots make his shorts look more like the work of a team of Marvel editors than one 19-year-old.
“If [my friends] are at this level having taken the full program, I feel like it’s better to just take a year off and try to get an editing job,” he said. After meeting film students at the University of Nevada, Reno, Hansen decided he could learn more by watching tutorials online than he could in class with a professor.
“If I can, I may as well just get my foot in the door and start my editing career.”
Northern Nevada is a great place for just about anything outside. You can rock climb, mountain bike, ski and camp all within the same 45-minute radius, just to name a few. Mike Henderson is the All-Terrain Family’s patriarch.
“It’s really great living in Reno,” Henderson said during a recent interview. “It’s easy to be in the middle of nowhere. We can get to ghost towns nobody knows about in two hours. We can get to petroglyphs; there’s a place an hour from here where there are 20,000 petroglyphs that are 10,000 years old. It’s spectacular. And that’s just on a random Tuesday.”
The “All-Terrain Family” is Henderson, his wife, Danielle, and their two kids, whose online nick-names are Rocket and Lightning Dragon. Together, they document a wide array of outdoor spaces in Northern Nevada and beyond through a family-focused lens. The channel is series oriented, and their videos are a little longer form, ranging between 10 and 25 minutes. They also regularly post tutorials teaching viewers how to build custom “overlanding gear,” like trailers and racks that are a mix between off-roading and camping equipment.
Wrestling With Wregret
“I call YouTube low-risk Hollywood,” said Brian Zane Schiedel, the host of “Wrestling With Wregret.” “You can get famous without having to move to L.A. and wait tables.”
Schiedel’s channel, “Wrestling With Wregret,” has more than 270,000 subscribers and nearly 120,000,000 lifetime views. The content driving his metrics is niche though. Schiedel is devoted to the sappy and sensational world of professional wrestling, specifically World Wrestling Entertainment.
Schiedel moved to Reno in 2010 for a production job with a local news outlet. But before long his YouTube channel started generating more revenue than his full-time job, and in 2016 he quit to produce “Wrestling With Wregret” full time.
“In June 2015, the channel exploded,” he said recently. “I went from 2,000 subscribers to 100,000 subscribers in the span of a few months.”
Online, Schiedel has a contentious and brazen personality, like one you’d expect to see on a pro wrestling stage. He wears bright suits, cusses, and delivers no shortage of controversial “hot takes” for ardent fans. Even though Schiedel is quieter and dresses less snappily in person, his channel is a platform for self-expression.
“When I was a kid I always wanted to be an actor,” he said. “Over time, that dream died, but I still liked acting. I think YouTube is a great way to get that expression if you’re someone that likes to perform. You’re your own boss and your own director.”
Reno Film Collective
The Reno Film Collective held its first short-film premiere night in 2018, and has since grown its volunteer base to 175 Renoites. Their ranks include screenplay writers, directors, cinematographers, sound engineers, actors and other like-minded individuals who share a common interest in film.
“I want our community to feel proud,” said Joe Montelongo, the Collective’s outreach coordinator. “I want them to feel proud of the people in their community who are putting in the work to make Reno somewhere people want to visit. I want them to see our tenacity.”
The Reno Collective focuses on short films, and most of their content runs between five and 10 minutes.
To join, the Collective asks prospects to take part in one of its “Film Something” meet-and-greets, which take place every couple of months and require participants to write and shoot—not edit—a short film in only four hours, demonstrating comfort on set.
Of the channels mentioned here, the Collective’s videos are the only ones that would occupy a traditional “film” category. That is, their videos are driven by compelling narratives and serve not just to entertain and drive engagement.