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Masters of commercials, vloggers, the leaders of the Mythical Beasts share their history and thoughts on YouTube.

Rhett and Link

With Shira Lazar

Filmed by Mark Ostrick
Shira: Hi, Shira Lazar coming to you from VidCon with Rhett and Link.

Link: Yo.

Shira: How's it going?

Link: Pretty good.

Rhett: Fabulous.  

Shira: You guys have a huge community here, which is represented by this.  I just need to show this to everyone.  

Rhett: This is know--you remember Cub Scouts?  You were probably not a Cub Scout, you may have been a Girl Scout?  

Link: You look like a Boy Scout.

Shira: I was a Boy Scout back in the day.  

Link: You're tomboyish.  

Rhett: This is the official seal, the great seal of the Rhett and Link community, that's the mythical beast that's our like, core group of fans.  This is a--

Link: It has a mouse with antlers and wings and--

Shira: It's a hybrid animal.

Link: Some fee--well, it's mythical.

Shira: Well, mythical, yes.  Otherwise known in my world as hybrid.

Rhett: Hybrid, yeah.

Link: And a fan designed that, and then we had an artist put it on there, so.  This is--you know, you try to foster community.

Shira: Yeah.

Link: You know, you people, if you are crazy enough to like us, you're a part of something, so you deserve a merit badge.

Shira: I think that's so great.

Link: A literal merit badge.

Rhett: They named themselves, you know, we let our fans themselves and they named themselves the Mythical Beasts, so we just, we feed the Mythical Beasts whatever they want.  If they want patches, we give 'em patches.

Shira: And there are so many people out here, so many fans.  Were you surprised about that here?  

Link: Yeah, I was surprised that, you know, everything sold out the first inaugural event, and here it is selling out.  I mean, we're big fans of selling out, but in a different kind of way.  

Shira: And you presented up there, what did you do?

Rhett: We made the mistake of attempting to write a song in ten minutes.

Link: No, we wrote a fabulous song, man, it was not a mistake, it was awesome.

Rhett: We wrote an amazing song, I mean, it was definitely McCartney-ish, at least, at least Lennon-ish.

Link: Lennon and McCartneyish, you mean.

Rhett: Well, I'm McCartney.

Link: Okay. Well, you don't play a bass.  

Shira: Right, I'm feeling very chemistry between you two, which hopefully you do too there, so but, how long have you guys been together, tell your story to everyone.

Link: Well.  We met, believe it or not, way back in first grade.  

Shira: Did you really?

Link: Yep.  

Link: First day of first grade.  We were both held in from recess for writing nasty words on our desks.  

Rhett: This is a true story, and we, you know, got to know each other as we were held in from recess and started, you know, trying to be the center of attention, and then one thing led to another, started making videos together, and then YouTube came along and you can just be anybody, put it up there for anybody to see.

Link: And here we are.

Rhett: Anybody.

Link: Started watching it.

Shira: What was that first video that really made you realize that there's something to this?

Link: You wanna tell 'em about this?

Rhett: No, I just wanna do this. (mouth opening noise) I wanna make that noise.  It was when somebody took a video that we had uploaded to our website.  We had people ask us, how come you guys don't have a YouTube?  We're like, well, YouTube is for people who don't have their own websites.

Link: Yeah.

Rhett: Who don't have their own servers, and they took one of our videos and uploaded it to YouTube and it got like, a thousand views in a day, and we said, hold on, that's more views than we've ever gotten on a video on our own website.  Maybe there is something to this.  That was actually a parody of Pimp My Ride called Pimp My Stroller, where we took our children, we don't have children together, but we have children with women back in North Carolina, and we put them into a stroller and we pimped it out.

Shira: So what's the secret behind your success?  What do you think?

Link: Me.  

Shira: I see some tension.  Do you think it's you and you think it's you?  

Rhett: Yeah, I'm pretty convinced that it's me.  

Link: What is the secret behind our success?

Shira: Yeah, what do you think it is that keeps people coming back?  

Link: I--well, I think we have a relentless pursuit of continuing to get better.  You know, we look at something, and we want it to entertain us, you know?  If we can internetain our selves and be happy with it, then we're happy.  But we're always like, we could do a little bit better, so we always try to do better, and then, you know, people aren't as tough of critics as we are.  

Rhett: Yeah.  

Shira: Yeah.

Rhett: I mean, I think it's definitely frequency and quality, you know, quality and quantity of content and just continuing to get out there, and I think a lot of it had to do, it was, you know, timing for us.  The fact that we got in in 2006 and we were putting a lot of videos up there, that was back when features on the homepage meant a lot and we got featured three or four times on the homepage in 2007/2008, so we got that initial boost of momentum that a lot of the times nowadays, it might require getting plugged by a larger YouTuber or somehow kind of breaking through, and so then it really wasn't just one video, it was, you know, we're going on 250 videos now that we've got online, so it's just kind of been a slow build and eventually, everything just starts feeding back on itself and you keep going up in the rankings, you know.

Link: A slow build, like the Great Wall of China.  

Rhett: Slow boil.

Link: I assumed that that took a while to build.  Let's talk about that for ten minutes.  

Shira: Yeah, let's just get into that for a sec.  Alright, so, this is a full-time job for you, am I right?  This is your career.  Are people surprised that aren't in the YouTube space that this is your job to create YouTube videos pretty much?

Link: First of all, my--can you feel that I'm vibrating?  

Shira: I don't feel that. 

Link: Well, my phone's vibrating in my back pocket, but I didn't wanna stop it because it would look like I was scratching my butt on camera.  

Shira: No we wouldn't want-- Although it might entertain people.  

Link: Yeah, but now I am scratching my butt.  

Rhett: Yeah, this is a full-time job for us.  I mean, we make a living by being approached by sponsors who wanna somehow get their product to get a message into one of our videos, and a lot of times we create series or create a video that's kind of the initial seed for that idea is a brand, but then we make it into something that does't come across in a very branded way, it comes across in a way that's, "Hey, I wanna see this," but lots of brands are willing to pay to get the recognition in there, so yeah, for about three years now, it's been a full-time job for us.

Shira: What does the future hold?  What do you guys wanna do with next?

Link: Hold on, you've been getting paid for this?

Rhett: Yeah, yeah, for the past three years.

Shira: He's been pocketing all the money.

Rhett: That's what that bank account that ends in 786 is all about.

Link: Must've been working nights at like, Lowe's Home Improvement.

Shira: You've been doing great blogs from there.

Link: Oh, thanks.

Shira: I've watched.

Rhett: What is next?  Thi--well, you know, actually, we didn't get into the whole YouTube thing in order to necessarily cross over into more traditional forms of entertainment like TV and film.  However, a lot of the stuff that we've done has gotten attention in that--in the TV realm and we're actually in the process of developing a pilot around the local commercials idea that has been so successful online of us going around and making free local commercials for businesses.  So, that's in the process of potentially becoming a TV show, which is exciting, but again, it's not like, hey, we're ready to let the internet go, we want the internet to be an integral part of everything that we do from here on out, so, but we do have a pretty cool opportunity in that area.  

Shira: Well, say goodbye to all the YouTubers.  You have to say--

Link: What do I have to say?  You've got a question?  Oh.  

Shira: Thank you.  Thank you, Mark, my cameraman, I'm not sure if this will be edited, but my camera--because this is a conversation, he wanted--yeah, so what do you feel about being in North Carolina and being able to create content for everyone to see, you don't need to be necessarily in the bigger cities like you used to have to be in LA or New York to really get heard by the industry or by people.

Link: Well, we're actually in North Carolina right now.  We've developed a new technology where we can teleport ourselves--

Rhett: Well, no, these are holograms, not teleportations.  That's 2015.

Link: Yeah, holo--holograms.  Like, look, right through.  Right through my arm.

Rhett: Very realistic.  Actually sensitive to touch.  

Link: You could feel that?  No, I mean, we're based in North Carolina and we, you know, we met there in first grade, we grew up there, we're deeply rooted there, our family's there, so it's great to be able to create stuff, distribute it online, and not necessarily have to leave.  Yeah, we enjoy coming to LA and New York, and you know, the thriving internet metropolis of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, have you heard about the great stuff that's going on there?  Oh, well, you just got the scoop, young lady.  But you know, we're base--we can stay based in North Carolina and just, you know, get our stuff out there from there, it's amazing.

Shira: Yee-haw!

Link: Makes me want to stare into nothing.  

Shira: Alright, let's say goodbye to the interwebs and we'll see you soon.  What's your farewell, do you have a farewell?  

Link: What?  Oh.  Hologram.  

Shira: Holo--

Link: What?  I'm backwards.  

Rhett: We're beaming out now.

Link: I'm backwards.

Shira: It's been a long day.  

Link: I've already been out of here.  

Rhett: Have a good one.  That's usually what I say to people.

Shira: Goodbye.

Rhett: Have a good one, and I kn--

Link: How did Mr. Rogers close his show?  And now it's time to say goodbye?

Shira:  Byeeee.

Link: That's the Mickey Mouse club.

Shira: I was gonna continue it.  

Rhett: Yeah, but then you know, there was a guy on Mr. Rogers, this is the show for the kids, who was called Mr. McFeely.  Do you ever think about that?  The guy's name was Mr. McFeely.  He was like one, he was like--

Shira: Ohhh, we're going on tangents.  This will be a long-ended web video.

Rhett: What would Mr. McFeely say right now, kids?  

Link: He'd want us to end it and go.

Rhett: I'll see you later.

Shira: See you soon, thank you, bye.  

Link: It's over.