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Innovation comes in many forms. Meet the creative minds inspiring others through art.
When it comes to building video game streaming into a business brand, no one has quite a unique perspective as Bruce Greene. Bruce is the former manager and one of the seven founding members of Funhaus, a comedic YouTube channel owned by Rooster Teeth. He got his start in radio at 18 years old before landing a job at G4, a TV network for video games. His desire to be on camera is fueled by his belief that the best kind of content is made by someone who actually cares what they’re talking about. Therefore, after helping develop Funhaus into a multi-million dollar brand, Bruce decided to pursue his career as an entrepreneur and content creator. Now he ranks as one of the top 50 Twitch streamers since starting full-time in September 2019. Join us as Bruce discusses what inspires him as a creator and check out his exclusive GREY collaboration t-shirt.
Funhaus originated from a YouTube channel called Inside Gaming, which was a product of Machinima. When you transitioned over to Rooster Teeth, what was your role?
When all seven of us left Machinima, we founded Funhaus. Adam Kovic and I ended up being sort of the figureheads, but truthfully we all had a hand in making that brand. I was like the business leader. I ran the budgets, I did the numbers, I managed everybody in terms of personnel. I did that up until 9 months ago. I had been doing that for a long time too at Inside Gaming along with Joel Rubin.
At what point did you realize it was time to work for yourself and become an entrepreneur?
When we were all leaving Machinima, we were trying to figure out if we could start our own brand or find a home. We had no idea if starting our own YouTube channel would support everybody’s income and there were obviously people with families that needed health insurance. I wanted to do that in 2015, but we just couldn’t find the right fit.
We offered to buy the brand Inside Gaming from Machinima when we were leaving, but Machinima refused. So we left and went to Rooster Teeth. It was mainly because we wanted to be safe. We wanted support from a larger company and we got it. We didn’t have to worry about going out and getting private investments from different angel investors. We wanted to just work at a company, so that’s what we did.
So how are you using your past business experience to grow your Twitch channel now?
The reason I left to do my own thing was because I knew that it was just me. I didn’t have to worry about anybody else and that was always my major concern at other places—making sure the business ran at Machinima or Rooster Teeth because it supported other people. So now I only have to worry about myself. And it’s really great in one way because I’m not up at night wondering if we’re going to get raises or paychecks.
I’m kind of using the things I have learned about digital content creation over the years and applying it to myself on Twitch and on YouTube. And I see a lot of people asking in the comments, “Where are the edited videos?” or “How come you’re not doing the stuff Funhaus is doing?” And I’m like “Guys, it’s only me!” My business may grow and I may be able to take on another person, but that may be months or years away because it takes a while when you start something.
What’s something unexpected you learned about becoming a Twitch streamer and how is it different from working on YouTube?
There’s a lot of work that goes into streaming. For example, I have an ad-supported stream from Twitch where I’m giving away Twitch merch, which is super cool. But there have been rounds of emails and phone calls about what I’m going to do. Also, I had to get the merch and now I have to ship it out to winners and that’s all outside of the actual stream. So there’s actually a lot of producing that goes into specific streams. Sometimes it’s just as easy as I want to play Jedi: Fallen Order. Other times it’s like getting together six people to play Earth Defense Force. That takes a lot of scheduling.
It also takes a long time to upload Twitch streams on YouTube. People think I’m just throwing it on YouTube, but no, not at all. I have to curate a thumbnail, a title, and all this other stuff.
So, what does your daily routine look like now?
I usually wake up around 9ish, which is great. The best part of running your own business is you can wake up whenever you want. And then I start returning emails, start getting together other deals that are coming through for the next week or two. Getting together edits, getting together YouTube videos. I do all that stuff in the morning. I get lunch and then I start a stream.
So I’ll stream from like 2-6pm. Grab dinner. Spend a little time with Autumn [my fiancée] and then go back to streaming around 8:30pm until like 11:30pm. And then as soon as I’m done, I get ready for bed and go do YouTube videos for an hour. Basically, by that time, all the videos have finished uploading and I put in the thumbnails, titles, and descriptions and it goes up the next day. I do that seven days a week right now.
What do you do when you need a day off?
If you stop streaming on Twitch for a few days or if you stop uploading on YouTube, then all of a sudden people move on. That’s the way it goes. The majority of streamers come in, watch your stuff, and won’t chat. They just hang out. If you don’t stream for a while, they’re going to give their Twitch prime to someone else because they haven’t seen you in a while. And that’s kind of the interesting thing about Twitch and YouTube. You really can’t stop.
I know recently creators have done a great job of talking about mental health and how they need to take breaks. YouTube and Twitch have talked about it, but they haven’t actually put measures in place to help creators do that. You can always stop if you want to and refocus your business on something else. And if you really like it, then you’re going to keep grinding and that’s the way it goes. But it’s okay. It’s a really fun grind and something I really wanted to do.
What’s something you believe Twitch or YouTube can do to help avoid creator burnout?
Their algorithms are so complicated and I don’t know how to tell them to change it so people don’t forget about creators. The problem lies in the fact that everyone else is also doing what you’re doing. They’re all streaming and putting videos on YouTube. So if you leave, they’re going to fill in the gap. But there is an interesting shift I’ve noticed in the industry that I think Twitch and YouTube can do.
Recently, Ninja and Shroud left Twitch to go to Mixer. Because both of them talk about not having to worry about viewers or subscribers, my educated guess is they’re getting paid a salary to stream. So now they can take a day off. That’s actually something that can help with creators’ mental health. I know that Twitch wants creators to make streaming their full-time job, but they also have to take care of them and a flat fee could be coming. Every day you’re not streaming, you’re losing thousands of subscribers. And if they pay you a flat fee, you don’t have to worry about that.
I know you’ve also acted in some sketches over the years. Is acting something you want to get more into?
That’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid. So any chance I get to actually do that sort of stuff is awesome. That’s sort of the next step in my plan. Once I lock down my stream schedule and have time for other stuff, I’d like to take acting classes and actually try and audition.
So how do you hope to expand your business brand in 2020?
Right now we’re doing a podcast and I really hope that’s something we can put ads into and sell. I also want to collaborate more with my friends in the industry. Hopefully the more people I collaborate with will lead to a regular cast of characters I play games with or appear on their YouTube channel. The same with Funhaus. I’ll drop by and occasionally do a video with them. Collaboration is really number one on my list for 2020.
What advice do you have for anyone who also wants to become a Twitch streamer?
Just do it! If you have a computer, you can stream. That’s it. Streamlabs and OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) are totally free. They’re complicated programs, but they’re going to help you stream. So if you learn how to do that, go and do it.
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Catch Bruce’s live Twitch stream every day at 2:00pm PST and 8:30pm PST.
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This article originally published on GREY Journal.