The Rise of ‘YouTube Nation’

A look into the YouTube creator community and it's perspective in relation to Hollywood.

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Upon arriving at the offices of “YouTube Nation,” the last thing I expected was to be witness to a robbery. Yet, I was on the premises for no more than 10 minutes before I crossed paths with a crime that could only be described as “positively funky fresh.”

For viewers who have already tuned into “YouTube Nation,” the idea that a little wackiness might be ensuing at their headquarters is probably not a big shock. A quickly developing trademark of the show features host Jacob Soboroff integrating himself into clips and music videos, and on the day I visited production, Jacob was shooting some scenes as a dancing bank robber that truly redefined what it means to hoof it from the law.

For his part, Soboroff, a former “HuffPost Live” personality, seems to have no reservations at cutting loose for the sake of the show, and that attitude is one that prevails across the board at “YouTube Nation.” Executive produced by Steve Woolf and Zadi Diaz, the show (the first daily series produced by DreamWorks Animation and the first daily program to use the YouTube brand) is a frenetic window into the world of YouTube, connecting audiences to a curated “best of the web,” and allowing YouTubers to shine a spotlight on their own.

The show, which, at the time of my visit, is just entering its second week on-air, already runs with an efficient and effervescent energy that in no way indicates its relatively new status. This is owed, in large part, to Woolf and Diaz, who have lived with this project for many months, testing various iterations and concepts to finally deliver something to the YouTube community of which they could all be proud.

“We’ve done a lot of different iterations of the show,” Woolf explains, “We had a bunch of people in to see if they fit as a host. We tried using someone different every day, to see if we could keep it fresh that way. I mean, that’s not all. We tried many different ways of looking at it, including different writing styles, different ways of showcasing the clips we use.  We tried BuzzFeed-style shows where there was nothing but text, and there was no host. We tried all of that stuff to zero-in to the point where it actually felt right.”

Luckily for Woolf, Diaz, and viewers alike, “YouTube Nation” found its face in the energetic and lively Soboroff. The electric host, who formerly worked with “HuffPost Live” and currently also maintains a show on Pivot, connects with his audience, because unlike many on-screen personalities who are mired in traditional television presentation, Soboroff, whose origins are with YouTube, understands what it means to be on the other side of the screen.

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