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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT

SkyCorp® Home Video

Hello! We're so excited to feature SkyCorp® as one of the most creative and funniest Youtube channels on our DARKNET blog! Please tell us a little about yourself and your journey! 
I'm Richard Rogers and I've been making weird videos since I was 13. I started on a webcam (just comedy stuff was too young to strip) and then graduated to video cameras in my backyard with neighborhood friends. Usually, fake guns and blood were involved, figuring out where to hide dead bodies or buy drugs. Relatable kid stuff. They were terrible, but that's where I found a passion for comedy and filmmaking. As I grew up I let Youtube go for a bit and attended film school and made some short films to explore all that. It was during the time when Youtube had this big boom. Becoming a "content creator" became a thing. And I suddenly had left that world. I missed it because I was trying to be a professional filmmaker. But I was no closer to that after coming out of film school and making another short. I moved to LA in the middle of editing it and struggled to get my bearings in a new city. It took way too long to finish, but it's where the idea of SkyCorp was born and fleshed out. After that, I decided to focus on SkyCorp. I missed making the absurd comedy videos like I did when I was a kid, but I approached it now with much more skill and focus. I realized I could grow into a professional filmmaker by creating and building my own world. 
SkyCorp® has been very successful for some time now, tell us how it all started?

It all started when I had just finished my first short film and was writing my next one. I was working at a small production company in North Carolina. One day I was going through the storage closet and I came across a VHS camera. I zoned in on it like a complete moron but internally everything was clicking in a “big-movie-scene” realization type of way. It was subtle, but it felt like I had found some kind of portal into my creative voice. I dove into an 80s/90s commercial wormhole and found that I loved the aesthetic and tone. I realized that if I twisted that tone into something dark and absurd it was the most accurate expression of my sense of humor. I discovered vaporwave that same week, and through that writing process of that 2nd short film, I was able to flesh out the idea and world of SkyCorp.

It’s strange to think that it’s “successful.” I’m so used to grinding out videos and inching forward bit by bit that I can’t really see it that way. I think it has so much potential and this is only the tip of the iceberg.  

What was the major factor for you that made you completely switch and focus on SkyCorp®?

Timewise I am not able to truly focus on SkyCorp sadly. It does not generate enough revenue to be my only job. I’m jealous of content creators with the audiences / brand deals / merch sales that can sustain a living. It wasn’t until 2020 when I actually stopped losing money from SkyCorp. I’m very grateful for that because I was really at my wits end with the whole thing. 

In the sense that SkyCorp is my main passion, then it absolutely has my full focus. Everything else I spend time doing (other freelance jobs) are done to make a living and support the growth of SkyCorp. It keeps my passion because of how the audience responds mainly. It’s really resonating with them. How they respond is just as entertaining and sarcastic as the videos themselves. The videos also lend me much needed filmmaking experience. I’m constantly in a creative space. Every video I grow as an artist. 

In the newer videos, we see multiple faces. What was building a team like and how big is it today? 

Building the team was very natural. With the actors, it was about having that dark sense of humor and the acting skill to bring it out. Most of the time they would reach out through Instagram or it’s just a friend I’ve known for a while. The loose creative team of SkyCorp is composed of myself and about 3-4 others. I handle a majority of the workload but I wouldn't be able to do it without these close collaborators. My roommate and longtime friend West is a fantastic DP and he shoots many of the videos. I have another friend who I write/direct with and we’ve made some of my favorite stuff in the world. And then I have another friend where we talk about overall branding and development. Every single one of these friends have helped in a variety of different ways and they all have the ability to act. They’ve been in a majority of the videos. Having collaborators with skills in multiple areas has been the most important thing.

What goes into the creative process of making SkyCorp videos? What equipment or software do you use to achieve the ultimate VHS effect and 90s visual assets?

For me, it all starts with having a strong personal sense of humor/aesthetic. So the creative process is usually as simple as an idea popping into my head and fleshing that out on paper to see if it’ll be good. Having knowledge of certain formats from that time period helps a lot. People suggest ideas all the time, and I never stop getting inspired so there’s a giant cesspool of un-made SkyCorp ideas floating around. I spend about an hour or two writing a basic draft of an idea, and then another to flesh it out. Once I feel good I reach out to people who would play the parts well. The rest is producing stuff. Scheduling, locations, props, all that. I circle back to writing right before the shoot. I have a GoPro that gives a nice “90’s fisheye” look. And then I have a 4k digital camcorder that has great digital zooms.

Going into your software question - I cut in Adobe premiere and do VFX/motion graphics in After Effects. I do analog sound processing and mixing in Pro Tools. Usually, the videos take about 10-15 hrs to edit.  I think a big reason they feel authentic is the way we shoot them, the graphic style that gets implemented, and the music/sound effects. The VHS look is just a final piece that’s achieved by copying the final edit to a DVD and recorded onto a VHS with a combo player. It’s an authentic VHS tape. I used to shoot on hi8 (an analog VHS looking format) but those cameras only work plugged into a wall and you have to live capture the footage. 

Tell us about the process of writing these funny scripts! Do you write them by yourself or with the team? 

It's typically whatever makes me laugh, which in a general sense is screwing up something that feels very happy go lucky, or something that's downright delusional/moronic. I have an idea of certain formats from the time period, so it's all about making something messed up within that.

I have had a few videos where the other person wrote a majority of the idea. I prefer to do it myself but sometimes it’s really nice to bounce out ideas with someone. You get together and communicate all sorts of random things, like throwing darts blindfolded, and you find a couple of ideas that stick. Then you just make bullet points and random notes, forming a solid pathway for the script. In the end, I have to sit down and write a specific script alone. And there’s no way around that to my knowledge. Maybe I’m a control freak, but I feel weird trying to get someone to do that when it largely benefits me. 

Finally, we would love to ask - What would you say to up and coming artists & creators who want to pursue their passion and dedicate their time to their projects?

Oh man haha. It’s really hard and frustrating. You have to sacrifice so much. In the beginning, you aren’t making any money from it, you’re convincing people to do free work, you have to do most or all of the work, and you fail constantly. It’s exhausting. Maybe less so if you’re just making TikToks in your bedroom but still. You gotta come up with ideas and have a strong desire to express yourself through video. For me, it's just really difficult timewise and not rewarding most of the time. You have to do it because you truly love it, so you have to search for something that you can put yourself into. In my case, SkyCorp fits my sense of humor. I get tired of it, but I don't get tired of it.

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