Don’t get me wrong — I love streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus. Having mass amounts of movies and TV shows available at my fingertips is nothing to complain about. However, the video-sharing platform YouTube will always hold a special place in my heart.
Though I love professional production, A-list actors and spectacular special effects you can only find within big-budget film and television, there’s something about the multi-niched, unprofessional and personal realm that is YouTube. When content creators have no more cash in their pockets than your average everyday person, in order to bring in those likes, views and subscriptions, they have to rely solely on creativity and storytelling. This means there’s no Hollywood production or explosions (*cough* Michael Bay) to hide behind.
Though his last video was posted six whole months ago, my favorite content creator on Youtube as of now is Josh Ovalle. You might know him better by his Vine username Josh Kennedy or maybe you know him from his two film-festival-selected short films “minimum max” and “Two and a Quarter” that he made as a teenager. Either way, the now-21-year-old Washington native has been responsible for creating some of my favorite videos on the entire platform of YouTube.
Ovalle’s home movie-type production aesthetic, with left-in bloopers and at times poor video and audio quality, gives off an extremely nostalgic and intimate vibe. As obscure as they can be, most of Ovalle’s videos seem to follow a pretty set-in-stone structure and style of editing. A typical Josh Ovalle video consists of two parts — a skit of sorts that often makes fun of a trope in popular film or television, and a vlog, usually cut and edited to music, which quickly shows a few instances and moments of Ovalle and his friends simply living life and making memories.
Speaking of his friends, Ovalle’s circle consists of “Stranger Things” star Finn Wolfhard and fellow content creator and comedian Casey Frey, among other creatives. Wolfhard is featured in quite a few Ovalle videos, as well as a music video directed and edited by Ovalle for rock band Spendtime Palace’s song “Sonora,” which currently has 3.4 million views on Youtube. Not to mention, this music video takes on a completely different production style — a professional one — which goes to show you that the YouTube videos aren’t mere “bad quality,” but simply driven by a specific aesthetic.
Ovalle’s aesthetic and unique editing style aren’t all that’s responsible for making his videos so captivating — the comedy plays a large role in the videos’ success as well. As previously mentioned, a lot of the comedy in Ovalle’s videos is based on tropes common in film and television. In his video “RACING TIME,” it’s the teen sitcom trope of learning a life lesson. In “Hide And Seek,” it’s multiple different tropes found in the thriller and horror genres, as well as a perfectly placed Jim Carrey Grinch impression from Frey.
Ovalle’s videos are very funny, but they’re also sweet and moving at times in the way that they’re edited, and I think that’s what keeps me coming back to this channel. It doesn’t feel like I’m watching a skit. It feels like I’m watching the creation of one — all of the laughs, bloopers and mistakes included — and that makes for a uniquely intimate watching experience that I’d recommend to just about everyone.