Youtube vigilante ThnxCya - or James when he's in disguise - decided that simple Let's Play video wouldn't be enough to bring justice to his beloved Minecraft. Partnering with ZAMination to create Minecraft related tunes that become viral in no time? Yeah, that did the trick for him.
Read below to find out some of his inspiration, a touch of his process, and maybe even find out where he got that kicky name.
1. You're name has probably confused more than its fair share of glancing people, so what made you land on that version? Did "Thanks, See You" sound too weird?
- But isn't half the fun in the mystery? The reality though is far less interesting, pretty random though. Basically, when I was at Uni (before I did YouTube) I used to go to the same shop regularly for essentials, drinks, snacks etc. Every time the guy behind the counter had finished serving me he went, 'Thanks, Cya!' Eventually I noticed this and the words kinda stuck in my mind. I used ThxCya as an online PSN name for a year or so before eventually adding the 'n' and making a YouTube account!
2. On the topic of intros, you're animated video for your channel is not only informative but awesomely done to boot. On the other hand, it probably took a long time and a bunch of effort to put it together. How important do you think touches like that are when it comes to making your channel feel worth the viewers time?
- I suppose it depends on the channel itself. I've seen plenty of channels that avoid things like animations but who still produce excellent content. However for me, I treat things like this as a gift to the viewers who support me. Something extra high quality to get excited about. I also like to work with slightly lesser known animators, It's very cool to be able to showcase someone else's skills to a new audience. Also, high production quality can help when trying to attract new subscribers to the channel!
3. That's not even the first bit of animated Minecraft fun you and ZAMination, among others, have done together, comprising your incredibly successful Minecraft Songs line of content. You've talked about your individual inspiration for videos, but what launched the idea of these music videos set in Minecraft in your head?
- Basically, it's just using my history of music. I've been playing instruments since I was around 14, and throughout school had the usual dreams of becoming a rock star. I took music at GCSE and then music and music production at A levels. I enjoyed this so much that I then went onto university and took a music performance, songwriting and music production course. I think its kinda cool to be able to blend music with video games and Minecraft is the perfect platform. In terms of the music side of things, I myself write, perform, record, mix and master my own stuff. It's a nice way to put into practice the things I've learnt along the way. Amazingly it's very rare to find Minecraft musical content where the creator actually does the work themselves, there has been a big culture of people 'buying' music content and then simply uploading for a profit. As someone who does it themselves, it does hurt a bit to see.
4. Oh, and you do gameplay videos of Minecraft as well, these making up the majority of your 1,000+ videos. That's a bunch of videos and weeks of content, and it's the kind that go beyond just playthroughs on seeded maps. You take on fascinatingly strange alterations on the formula like your recent Pixelmon and Five Nights at Freddy's. How important do you feel these kinds of diversions from the norm are to making your content stand out with the most viewed game on the internet?
- I think that’s simply down to the beauty of Minecraft. Its unique in as much that for the price of an account anyone can create anything they want with a bit of practice. Minecraft isn't just 'Minecraft', it can be Pokemon, it can be Five Night's at Freddy's, so it opens up doors for fans of different games and can bring them all together in one world of blocky goodness! In terms of my own content, I kinda think people have seen enough vanilla Minecraft, so it's the modded worlds and custom maps that I feel keep things fresh and interesting for the viewer.
5. You have done other games such as Stardew Valley, Minecraft: Story Mode, and Five Nights at Freddy's World. Do you think changes of pace like these are important for a channel, or is it more about just playing what you love and letting the views come as they may?
- Well, it’s a yes and no sort of feeling. Minecraft has always been the core of my channel, and ultimately it's what most people want to watch, but at the same time I think it's bad as a creator to limit yourself purely to one game. Gaming is bigger than ever, and especially with the rise in indie titles, some games simply can’t be ignored. I like to throw in a new title every now and again to keep things fresh. Okay so they might not generate as many views per video on my channel, but it's awesome to be able to offer the viewers an alternative. It also opens doors to new subscribers who might find your channel for that new game!
6. While we're talking about Minecraft: Story Mode, what are your thoughts on an actual story mode inside of Minecraft? When Telltale first announced their little series, confusion ran amok when people thought there would be an actual story mode inside the original game, and some people actually seemed intrigued by the idea. What are your thoughts on that kind of move?
- That's exactly what I thought! It made me quite sad to see the early backlash from some of the Minecraft community about Story Mode before the game was even released. But for me, I think it's a really nice twist, especially with the previous titles that Telltale have produced. My only concern was that Telltale tend to produce 18 rated games, so was a little unsure as to what they would do with Minecraft, which tends to attract a younger audience. A few minor cuss words, but overall very enjoyable and a great story line.
7. Speaking of Minecraft content, there are so many videos that have been crafted on the Youtube space, from the standard lets plays, to challenge playthroughs to tons of modded games. Are there any Minecraft mods that you would recommend to other content creators to download and create videos on?
- Wow, its difficult to know where to start with mods, due to the amount of them, and diversity. But I think the release of 'multi mod' launchers such as the 'Technic Launcher' really help with this as they build a world packed full of awesome mods for you! It's easier for beginners also, as direct modding can be tricky at times. Personally I'd recommend the Pixelmon mod, but also things like Hexxit, FTB and Crazy Craft which have tonnes of mods all together. Anything with randomly generating structures and new mobs is good with me too.
8. We have spoken to others before about the proper type of voice for Youtube, and you are one of those people with a very soothing and welcoming voice. Do you think that those who have a very monotone voice and personality can find success on Youtube? Are there any tips you could give to those wishing to improve their speaking skills on camera?
- Well that’s kind of you to say! Although you can't really change the voice you are born with, I do think that anyone can be successful no matter what they sound like. My advice for this is always the same, YouTube is about entertaining and it's important to put some consideration into your vocal style. Confidence is key, try to engage people and make them feel welcome. You could even pretend you are presenting a radio show! Of course with anything, it's just down to practice and repetition. It took me some time to find my true 'voice' on YouTube, but trust me, it will come!
9. And finally, after the recent 1.9 combat update what is next for Minecraft? Anything in particular you would like to see added into the game?
- Although I mentioned this earlier, RANDOMLY GENERATING STRUCTURES! They are so fun to seek out and explore. I know they recently added the igloo's, but I'd love to see a unique structure in every biome. Oh, and maybe some birds and insects would be cool.
Dance your way over to his Youtube channel, or sing your way into his heart via Twitter and/or his website.