Held at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre between 19 – 22 September, VidCon is the fan-first, must-attend event for online video creators and their starstruck community of fans, bringing together international creators and other fans through panels, Q&As, live performances and meet and greets. We sit down with Hank Green, the co-founder of VidCon, ahead of its Aussie arrival.
Let’s start at the beginning, How did you get started on YouTube? what drew you to being part of the platform in the early days?
There were already a lot of interesting and weird things happening in online video. Video was suddenly becoming a conversation instead of just a one-to-many expression, and the early manifestations of that seemed really cool to me. Also, they seemed cool to my older brother, and in typical younger brother fashion, I just believed him.
What some may or may not know, is you’re actually the co-creator of VidCon, it’s partly your brainchild. Please, tell us a bit about its origins and what it has now become.
I knew someone was going to make a conference for the online video community, and I was afraid that it was going to be done badly! I called a friend of mine who started a Harry Potter convention called LeakyCon and in just a few weeks, the first tickets were on sale! It’s always been our goal to reflect the state of online video, and as online video has grown and changed, so has VidCon. But ultimately the spirit is the same, we want to be a place where the people who love this stuff can get together and celebrate, learn, and connect.
You’ve been responsible for some wildly interesting web projects including the brilliant charity initiative Project for Awesome, the highly educational Crash Course and SciShow (My personal favourite). What are some of your favourite creations you’ve had a hand in and why?
My friend Bernie Su and I created an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice called “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” that won an Emmy and had (still has, really) a huge cult following. That’s a really special thing to have been a part of. Most recently, I started a channel called “Journey to the Microcosmos” that explores microscopic organisms, and it is REALLY FUN AND WEIRD.
VidCon is fairly new to Australian audiences, I believe this will be the third event – what are your thoughts on the Australian leg of the event and how does it compare to the US edition?
In the US, VidCon can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. There’s some cultural element to that, and also it’s just bigger. So it’s really nice to have an event where it feels like I can actually hang out for longer, have conversations, and relax a bit more. Aussie culture is a lot more chill while still being extremely capable and I love that.
You’ve attended previous years events in Australia, what are some highlights for you regarding visiting Australia?
I mean, this is cheesy, but the friends I’ve made. There are so many extremely talented creators doing really interesting, smart things. I met Georgia (of GeorgiaProductions) at the first VidCon Australia and (this will embarrass her probably) immediately after watching a few of her videos introduced myself to her mom because I knew her talent was going to be a big deal and that can actually be a really hard thing. Now I’m good friends with Georgia and her mom and I’ve loved watching her find success.
Thanks for taking the time to chat to us Hank, before we wrap it up, what is next in the world of Hank Green? What have you got in the works at the moment that you’d like to tell your Australian fans about?
Mostly, in every free moment I can find, I’m working on the sequel to my first novel, “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” which has been out for about a year. It’s going really well and I can’t wait to get it out into the world!
VidCon Australia 2019 goes down from 19 – 22 September at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Tickets via vidconaustralia.com/register/