4 min read

Breaking the VTuber Mold

Breaking the VTuber Mold

I want to talk about a mistake I see a lot of VTubers making when they are getting started. In my eyes, the typical pipeline VTubers take can be very limiting when starting out and have lasting negative effects later on in their careers. I'm going to teach you how to stand out as a VTuber to be unique without following what everybody else is doing blindly.

The VTuber Pipeline

You might feel pressured to

  • Get an expensive 2d (or 3d) anime model
  • Plan a grandiose debut stream
  • Do cover songs that all of the other VTubers are doing
  • Spam message a bunch of other VTubers to do collabs with
  • Play the same games as your favorite VTubers (Minecraft, Phasmophobia, whatever the big agency VTubers are playing, etc.)
  • Join an agency
  • Much much more

A lot of these things are just community standards. When you see others starting out the same way, it might feel comforting to have a template to follow. A path paved ahead of you for a goal that feels aimless and lonely.

While I can understand the value in wanting to have easy steps to follow, this approach severely limits the amount of creativity and growth you can have. It can lead to burnout which will happen if you invest a lot of time into things you don't enjoy doing.

The Reality

For every VTuber you see "making it", hundreds more are retiring after a few months to a year of trying to make it work without anybody showing up to their videos and streams. At some point, you have to ask yourself as an entertainer, "If I'm doing the same thing as everybody else, what makes me stand out?".

The thing a lot of people miss is when you peel away the avatar, the community of dedicated fans, the memes, and the overall feel of it all, you're still playing by a lot of the same rules as other content creators do. You still deal with the same YouTube algorithm, the same video editing software, the same storytelling fundamentals, and the same need to be entertaining on screen. None of that changes because you decided to use an avatar instead of being a faceless YouTuber or buying a webcam.

A lot of people also get started hoping that they can be the next famous agency VTuber. The reality is that you're competing against hundreds if not thousands of entrants to make it in. It's far from guaranteed that you'll make it past an audition. This is  aside from the fact that you should think about if you want to be in an agency and what that really means for your content and creative freedom. That's not to say that being in an agency is bad but it isn't for everybody and they aren't without their downsides.

Looking Outside The Community

I've seen VTubers who grew without worrying about most of the typical things I mentioned above. These days it's much more common and known that utilizing things like shorts and TikTok can blow up a VTuber out of seemingly nowhere. Long-form YouTube videos can still work wonderfully (and that's without sticking to the typical VTuber style of content).

Did you know that for a long period of time, one of the largest VTubers on the planet grew through Facebook? Not everybody is on YouTube or Twitch (but you should really be on YouTube haha).

I've seen VTubers blow up through being funny on Twitter. I've seen VTubers that barely use Twitter with thousands of views. There is no "right" way to do it. You just need to leverage what works best for you.

How to Break Free

Try to think about your favorite "regular" creators who don't use an avatar. Would their content not work if they suddenly used an avatar? Why or why not? If the answer isn't strong yes, that might be something worth exploring. There is a whole world of content creation outside of the VTuber community with thousands of creators learning lessons (and talking about them) out there for you to learn from.

Do you need the fancy debut or could you just get started with videos right away and let the YouTube and TikTok algorithms do the work? Is a cover song worth your time when you're less of a singer and more of a comedian or analytical person? Do you even want to play with others and have them on your stream?

What's stopping you from making guides for your favorite game with an avatar. Maybe you want to make deep analysis videos about scientific topics. Perhaps you want to talk about your life as an author or professional lawn mower. What's stopping you from doing that as a VTuber?

To limit your sphere of learning to just the VTubers you see around you is to do yourself a disservice when you could be picking up a LOT more skills and ideas to leverage for growth. Thinking in this way can give a wonderful way to stand out. Being different is good! What's important is to do it authentically in a way that won't burn you out in a few months!

It's worth noting, the "typical" VTuber things to do aren't bad or wrong. This is all to get you to think about what makes the most sense for you creatively and if there are other ways to grow that you might have missed if you just follow what others around you are doing.

Hopefully, subscribing to my newsletter here is a part of that process for you! if you liked what I talked about here, let me know in the comments here or on Twitter. In the future, I'm planning on doing some analysis on specific creators and how they are finding success. I'd love to have recommendations of creators to analyze!