IamA history buff and artist who is making an animated cartoon on a different history event, every week. AMA
My short bio: We have taken on the goliath task of animating short cartoons on historical events every week. Sure there are other people doing history videos but they lightly animate characters here and there or mainly have library images.
I write the scripts, direct the narrator, animate and produce these videos on top of a full time job. I also write and illustrate books in the same style.
My Proof: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC510QYlOlKNyhy_zdQxnGYw
The first step is writing up the scripts, this is hard since the information has to be accurate as its educational. This can take a good half of a day depending on how complex the subject is. The animating part takes a few days as I'm mainly doing it after work, (and a illustrator and a volunteer animator is helping on the odd scene in their spare time).
I really would like to learn more about your animating process. Do you think you could site some resources?
What resources do you mean? I use flash and after fx. In fact im animating as we speak :)
I've just read this and I love shows like drunk history where they portray historical events, I'll be sure to watch!
Seen some of those :)
What's your favorite time period/moment in history?
Also I'd like a video on the English Civil wars, they make a great story :)
That would be the World Wars :)
English Civil War would be a good one, did you study this? I aim to have a catalogue of history subjects on the channel
Around the same period: The Thirty Years War makes for a good story. Starts off with a guy being thrown out of a window and devolves into all-out religious civil war involving all the main powers. It's also traditionally seen as the origin of our modern conception of a state.
New word learnt 'Defenestration'
Will you please do the Haitian Revolution?
Haitian Revolution At first I'm doing alot of subjects I studied at university and have a familiarity with, but I plan on covering almost everything in history. I also want to represent the lesser known parts of history. The main thing the further you back with is the costume accuracy. As I am drawing everything I have to research the costumes from reenactors and online illustrations like osprey books. The further you go back the harder it is.
Almost everything in history? What do you mean by that? That's such an impossible amount of stuff that I'm curious what your intent is there. (Also put two line breaks in between paragraphs to avoid the whole of your comment being a quote.)
I have a book called 'History of the world in 1000 objects' inspired by that I want to depict all the topics that people struggle to learn about and cover stuff from the prehistory to modern. I wrote a bit ambitiously earlier :P
Gotcha. Well I enjoyed the WWII video and look forward to your continued work and development as a channel. Good luck!
Thanks :) Subscribe and comment. Enjoy and learn about history.
Theres a BBC podcast called the history of the world in a 100 objects. It's quite interesting. Have you listened to it?
Have you read / got the Dorling Kingsley books I have one called 'History of the World in 1000 objects' you might like it
Your work looks amazing and I'll have a gander as soon as I can, but would you ever want to do a 'History of psuedoscience'? If you could get Spirit Science in there then I think that'd be great.
Its a possibility, although it would take a lot of research on my part as I am not familiar with this topic. I would like to do videos celebrating Scientists in history like Einstein
In my opinion there is no better way to do that than to debunk what is arguably one fo the biggest threats to scientific endeavour that exists in modern times. Not to sound like a clickbait article or anything, but this will absolutely blow your mind.
If I was to give another example that's similar it would be 'Ancient Alien theory' (Which is something that spirit science actually use a lot themselves), the rejection of established anthropolgical explainations in favour of claiming aliens built civilization and all this sort of thing.
Didn't South Park make fun out of this theory with the first thanksgiving back in colonial times? XD And the fact that the History Channel was playing episodes as if this was a reputable fact.
Heres something to whet your appetite that we just released about the Salem Witch Trials. As you know, many innocent people were hanged being accused of witchcraft.
This is my first time arriving to an AMA before it closes :D okay, my questions are:
Any chance of a video highlighting the first woman to ever run for president of the U.S.? Victoria Woodhull is a very fascinating person.
Any chance of videos about historical events in Eastern or Middle Eastern countries? Like, maybe about the Chinese interacting with the Romans for example.
1) This would make an interesting video. Women's history is definetly something I want to make videos about. I think this video is a good start (although it was criticised for being anglo centric, lesson learned)
2) I actually did my dissertation on the crusades, I found it a fascinating topic. We have made a video on the Great wall of China built during the Ming Dynasty, and I also wrote a whole book on the history of China from the first emperor to the Qing Dynasty. It was very difficult to get reference images for the costumes of soldiers ie during the warring states periods!
You said you like the world wars history the most, but what part do you like out of them most? I have friends who can name every division in some battles and others who can name seemingly every flying ace and their history. Do you focus on the political or geopolitical side? Or the 'people' side. Either the psychology how people performed in battle and the homefront?
WWs is so fascinating because you can be very generalist and be very indepth.
I dont go that focused in like battle strategies and maps etc. I am into the battles broadly, the technology, weapons, factions, campaigns.
On average how many hours does it take you to animate 1 video, o and what is your full time job?
To be honest I haven't timed the amount of hours yet. But it is taking me about 3-4 days to finish the videos, and add all those layers of sound on top. I am a video editor for a e-learning project, so similar to this.
Any chance of getting a Julie D'Aubigny video?
I have an idea for a playlist: Icons of History
Uh...was that a yes? I suppose she is an icon in history.
Anyone who is interesting will certainly be considered for a video :)
Have you done anything on the Ottoman front of WWI?
No but I've written up a script on the Gallipoli Campaign 1915, so expect to see this soon, in a week or two :)
What's your current setup? What programs do you use? What would be your "dream" setup such as what programs and computer would you like? Great animations and history telling I subscribed!
After fx and flash fir animation and to edit the video premiere. Illustrator to do the drawings. I would like my pc to be able to real time render faster
What are your thoughts on italian organised crime more specifically The Mafia. Will you ever do a video about them?
I have written a book on the roaring twenties and dirty thirties looking at Alcapone and others during prohibition, i think this needs the video treatment
Can we have the name of the book please?
Simple History: a guide to the Roaring Twenties and Dirty Thirties
How far back in history do you intend to go? And what sort of history do you intend to teach? As in; will you stick strictly to orthodox teachings, or include alternative theories and leave things up the viewers? Do you think that it's important for everyone to think about our history in the same way, and accept the same model? What about historical bias? Will you depict people, events and civilisations as being good or bad or be neutral and objective? Is there anywhere in particular you will focus on or will all countries and cultures be covered? And lastly, how accurate and in-depth will you be? Will you avoid making generalisations and assumptions, or try to simplify things so it's easier for the average person to understand?
Perhaps the further you go back the less sources have survived and the more interpretation there is. I would therefore have to show this in videos. Ie the crusades I think its impossible for people to think of history exactly the same way as everyones experiences and upbringings are different and therefore their interpretations are different. Although you could argue that the way nations view their role in history are often very bias. I will try not to show icons of history in too much of a black and white way, their mistakes should be known as much as their victories. The idea is to have the videos short and snappy and cover one specific topic / event without too much waffle. Some people won't like this style as it may appear too simplistic, but learning history can often have so much information overload you don't know where to start and it can certainly put you off learning if you are a pupil or student, so I hope that I can help with that :)
How would I find the books you mentioned you make? I would be interested in these for when my son grows up. I'm a history buff, but have always had a hard time capturing my attention without illustrations. I think what you do is amazing and I can't wait to watch more of your videos.
Side note: I don't agree with the comments on the videos being boring, of course they aren't action packed exiting videos, they are simplified facts and fulfill they're purpose :))
If you PM me your email I'll send you one of them as an ebook so you can see:) Thank you for your kind words.
How do you you ensure as much historical neutrality as possible? Obviously history is written by the victor and a lot of modern western history is incredibly embellished
The sources im using are as impartial and factual as possible
What do you have planned for the immediate future of your channel? In other words, for those who subscribe today... what will change? New art style? More bells and whistles? Better audio?
When there is a n established community around the channel, I will make videos on what the audience want to see the most.
Well... that's content. I was more referring to the actual technical side of the channel! I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear.
(On the subject of content, though: it'd be cool to see a series on obscure but important figures in history. People who you don't learn about but were responsible for something crucial happening or being developed.)
Yeh this would be interesting. The icons of history get all the credit but people forget those around them like Paul Revere who had several other riders with him, when people think he was the sole rider
Would it be possible to do one on the Crusade of Varna? Also, do you play games like eu4 and ck2?
Possibly would take alot of visual research! Is this featured in those games? I am a big gamer and love games with a historical setting. In regards to strategy Rise of nations and Age of empires. I also thing games are an amazing way to connect with history and feel like you were there
This stuff is super cool. As an aspiring upcoming history teacher, this is fun to watch. For my question, where do you get your narrators from? Is there a process?
I asked around on a forum showing them the stuff I had done before (this is very important as anyone can say what they are going to do and alot of time they never do anything). I was then flooded with emails from amazing voice actors who wanted to record narrations.
My favorite part of history is the American presidents. Something about this job and the people who take it up always interest me. Do you have plans for any presidential events (JFK shooting, Watergate, etc.)? And who is your favorite president?
I've written and illustrated a book on the Cold War so JFK and Nixons characters have been drawn up for these videos. Heres a page from it, can you notice the water gate easter egg? :)
Will you take into the account historical accuracy, or just the story at taught in the West?
We were taught in University that with history there is always the writers bias, I try to be impartial but this can be impossible at times. The videos are more informative rather than analytical however.
I appreciate the answer! Have an upvote!
Which one of your videos have you had the most trouble creating?
The World War II Overview one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUqy-OQvVtI
Is rather complex being that we are not looking merely at one event but several on the timeline. This means that several characters have to be drawn up. Secondly I animate in both flash and after fx. Now both have offered me problems, for one Flash crashes 99% of the time doing anything and is very volatile. After FX meanwhile guarentees a safer environment for animating but is less fluid for doing in and the files sizes just for one shot are often 1gb + (for a few seconds of footage). The shot here for example is like that: https://youtu.be/6vWiJBlwcT4?t=1m6s
You have a zoom in and wiggle effects
Will you do one on the Ottoman Empire?
A broad overview? I want to make faction episodes on WWI
Yea, I was thinking something like the Rise and fall of the Ottomans, from when they came into power in the 13th century to their fall after WWI, but maybe that's too broad.
The sick man of Europe
Do you have sentcils or library of things already produced? How do you maintain that library?
Yeh I've got a library building up from illustrating and producing the book part of the series. Here is just one set of characters drawn up in illustrator for the Stalingrad battle scene in WW2 overview: http://www.simplehistory.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/stalingradbehind.png
Why do you want to do this? What motivates you to do this?
Being a history buff and an artist I wanted to combine these two things.
Do you plan on do any videos about the Hun empire and the Mongols or Golden Horde?
Yes in the future, as these will take more research
Are you planning on covering specific subjects, such as the history of aircraft, as well as general history?
Yes I love world war technology, in particular weapons and tanks. And well military history in general. Changes in technology can dramatically change the outcome of war, like the invention of the radar
What encouraged you to start making these shorts? (BTW I am a huge history buff aswell and I love your short films)
I have been writing the books and illustrating them for two years, and originally saw youtube as a way to market, but instead of making annoying adverts I thought that I could make something worthwhile thats fun and people could learn from. I am obsessed with history and studied it at a world class university. My family also love history. What I noticed on Youtube is that there arent any animated cartoon history channels, they either have a presenter most of the time which I personally find a bit boring or they have power point style animation with little care for costume accuracy etc so basically in short wanted to make something I wanted to see and what others might like as well.
Great idea. Ive sent to my middle school history teaching colleagues.
Can you do siege of vienna?
Is this the battle that is connected to the discovery of coffee beans in the Ottoman camp?
Hi! I'm considering majoring in history, specifically European war history, and i'm not getting muvh support from my family and friends about my decision. They think i'll grow poor and be stuck with teaching. How has studying history shaped your life and where has it brought you?
I have to say everyones journey was unique from where they went after uni. Personally I took on an entrepreneurial angle and I don't teach history in my job now. Perhaps with any humanities i would say its good to self teach yourself skills on the side for when it comes to the 'real world' because employers wanted to see these more ie my ability in after fx. But this channel and its books are where I continue my love of history. In short most people I know have gone onto to do well after studying history and didnt just go into teaching.
You mentioned that you studied history in university, then did you learn animation by yourself ? if so was it difficult to learn ?
by the way, I love your videos.
Yeh I am self taught. Of course were are not going for the best animation in the world with these videos, but enough that it gives an interesting history learning experience.
Wow. Thanks for doing this. What a great educational tool.
How do you address issues/context that is embarrassing? Such as, The Opium Wars. Whose perspective would this be told from?
Request: History of Kemet, & Propaganda/ Information Wars.
History of Kemet
I would try to be impartial but while I don't know much about the opium wars its generally seen as a very bad thing that Britain has done in its past (I'm British). Good request. I was fascinated with Ancient Egypt as a kid, no obsessed, I will have to make some videos on the subject asap.
What program do you use to animate? Any good tutorials on it?
Flash (which is quicker but crashes alot) and After fx. I just learnt using youtube tutorials and trial and error
How do you plan to expand and improve your channel? The artwork is near and I know you have another job, but the videos seem a bit dull.
I'm sorry that you didn't find the videos entertaining.
Is there any chance of you covering the USSR? If so, can you guarantee you'll check American claims of what it was like for accuracy? There was a lot of propaganda in the 60's and on from both sides that is still pervasive.
Yes I've already written a book on the Russian Revolution, Cold War and one on the Space Race, and I studied Soviet history for 3 years at University. Very interesting topic. I've also written up a script for the Russian Revolution so keep tuned
Oh, cool, link to the book?
Not sure if I can post the link I'll take it down if its not.
I teach 7th Grade history and I love people like you. I am very animated about my content and am always trying to find new resources to reach students who don't like my approach or simply need a different angle. The rise of educational YouTube channels has been incredibly helpful!
Have you ever considered looking over bigger state's educational standards and creating items tailored to common themes? If you could pitch it to teachers/districts in this way you may be able to leverage this into a major business opportunity.
That's good to hear. I remember as a pupil how difficult it was to learn dates and remember facts and figures because there was no anchor to it. Then our teachers tried this thing where we would draw cartoon strips of every event, this without doubt helped me get A grades on my modules in history. And it inspired my history books and these videos. Basically I think getting the information overload (like you get in the boring black and white textbooks) reduced is key. Visualizing these events too helps kids to remember the facts :)
I've looked at KS3 /KS4 and the american educational syllabuses as a bit of a guide.
Agincourt is on the list I hope?
Thats a good one, I actually have some footage of reenactors doing the battle of Agincourt without any crowd in the background so could mix in some of that with the animation
Those who control the past, control the future.
So exactly which ideology are ya selling?
Not sure, who would you say?
how long would it take to create an animated cartoon depicting real life events (eg celebrities) just alone? (if it was your only job)
2-3 days to make a video if I could purely focus on what I love doing. That's just a dream at the moment.
Is theres a chance of seeing gallipoli campaign (canakkale savası) video ? That war was kinda important
I've already written the script for it, and choosing the right narrator, so you will see this one very soon.
Teacher here. Do you use the social studies standards to create your videos? This is a gold mine for schools!
Alot of the content and sources are from academic and school resources. I hope you make good use of the videos in your class
Have you heard of Horrible Histories series?
Yes I have
Thanks for answering. They're hilarious. I just think every history buff should watch them.
I have all the magazines, they are an influence, but I feel there is a lot of joking about some horrible things like people being killed in horrid ways
I love these! Can you do the Romans leaving and the English (Anglo Saxons) coming from Germany please?
Yes I have done a Roman book on Hannibal - Julius casear so a video should be made on the Romans
Do you need any male voice actors? I'm willing to offer my services
You can send a show reel or read a line to [email protected]
What do you think of the Franco-Prussian war?
I haven't studied it although we did look at Otto von Bismarck's policies at University
Do you plan on doing a christmas special?
Yes I will do it on the World War I christmas truce
I've seen historical recreations of tank battles on the AHC channel but they seem dated. Have you thought about teaming up with a someone very knowledgeable in WW2 and create something similar?
Can you show me a clip of what you refer to? I go to a lot of historical reenactments as you can see on the channel, and am thinking of mixing in this footage with the videos
There is also the market in the online ww2 tank gaming such as World of Tanks to sell to. Please don't make more mediocrity, we have enough if you do go forward.
They seem to do the job pretty well :)
Will you do any Persian or Middle Eastern videos?
Yes I will
Do you focus mostly on military history? Or would you do cartoons on economic history like the origin of the Container Ship, the rise of the ice industry, how the Dollar became dominant, or that time that Aaron Burr founded the "Manhattan Water Company" that he actually turned into a bank?
I love origin stories. Well weve made one about how LEGO started https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvggwfWoRes so i was thinking of doing more of these on companies like apple, google, nintendo,
Woo! I went to school with you. Glad you're doing so good.
Since this has to be a question so it doesn't get deleted - how's the YouTube format working out for you? Is the passion more about the history, so you don't really care what format it's on, or would you prefer to be just a YouTube or just an author?
Cool whats your name? I have the books going on, but the video format is another way people can learn and I think while you both have the visual element there (so were not just looking at a sea of text) video is perhaps a quicker, more accessible format. The videos are short and keep you engaged if you don't have a lot of time. Theres also the possibility that they could work in some kind of E-learning quiz game as cutscenes if you will. I enjoy both, in terms of creativity
It's Ryan! High school days :)
It's amazing how productive you are, pretty inspiring. Do you have a day job too or is it all about the history now?
Nice to speak to you again. Yeh got a day job as well, so this is something I jump onto after work.
Have you considered partnering with Badass of the Week? If not, you should check it out.
Note: resubmitted because first post wasn't a question and I'm dumb.
I haven't heard of this before
how about that Nullification Crisis?
I see this is related to the War of 1812 which is something I really want to make into a book and video. How would you envision an animated style video depiction of this topic?
Wow. Subbed to your channel. Do you limit yourself to creating animation for significant world events only? Please do one of the Philippines' overthrowing of Ferdinand Marcos
Philippines' overthrowing of Ferdinand Marcos
Thanks for the sub! At the moment I appear to just be doing significant, but lesser known / niche events will be made into videos as the channel becomes more grounded because there often isnt much info on the topic on youtube (which would annoy me if I was a student studying the topic.
Will you do the Gold Rush?
This one has been done!
Hey! I love your YouTube videos, I'm just wandering how long do these type of videos takes you to produce? And what type of work goes into it?
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