The highly popular video essay YouTube channel Every Frame a Painting, is sadly coming to an end. The channel, which focused on examining films like Drive and directorial styles like Edgar Wright’s, has racked up over 1.3 million subscribers in just three and a half years and has generated a very loyal fanbase. Though the channel hasn’t posted any new content in over a year, creators Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos announced that they are moving on to other things and are discontinuing the channel.
The announcement came out of a Medium post written by Zhou. The post itself reads like an Every Frame a Painting video script, which was intended to be the channel’s last video, but Zhou and Ramos never got around it making it.
Zhou stresses that there wasn’t any sinister reason why he and Ramos decided to end the channel. He simply states that “we just decided to end it, rather than keep on making stuff.” He adds that they are both currently enjoying the time that they are spending at their jobs and they just felt like it was time to move on.
However, the Medium post is more than a goodbye letter; it dives into the origins of the series, as well has how Zhou and Ramos developed their channel’s style, and what they ultimately learned form the entire experience. It’s an insightful look into what it’s like to be running a YouTube channel with over a million subscribers; there’s a lot of work that goes into maintain that kind of popularity.
Zhou writes that there was this kind of internal fear that he had developed after gaining such a huge audience with Every Frame a Painting. To keep sane and creating what they wanted to create, they had to keep his very vocal audience at arm's length. Zhou goes onto say that the success he had gain had trapped him. He could no longer write something without thinking about if it was good for his audience, nor could he make jokes on Twitter anymore because so many people took his jokes seriously. “I could barely stand to look at my own work,” writes Zhou. “Eventually, the solution became clear: go do something else.”
Zhou also brings up an interesting point in post when talks about channel independency versus partnering up with a sponsoring company. Though Zhou and Ramos chose independence for the majority of the time because that allowed them to control their projects from beginning to end, if they were to now sell their channel after calling it quits, they could make pretty big profit considering they have over a million subscribers. It makes us wonder, since Zhou mentioned that they basically have just been able to break even doing their channel, if creators with big followings could sell their channels, rather than just ending them and walking away when they want to stop making content, they could potentially walk away will a lot of cash.
Nonetheless, many of the channel’s fans are saddened by the news that the channel is ending, having waited over a year for new material. All of the channels past videos will stay up however, so at least fans will have something to keep coming back to.