For anyone who has stumbled upon my page, my narrations at Apeiropillar Productions, etc., I feel I should make this blog post so no one is confused or gets the wrong idea. I'm still getting comments and questions, so I will set the record straight.
I am no longer narrating creepypastas. The only narration work I do is requests from friends, official work on Manor House, and the very, very rare instance where I will make a video featuring multiple voice actors (not to mention hosted on channels other than my own). I will provide links and examples below.
Now, if you are still curious, on to the 'Why'. Short story: I got burned out, bored, and wanted to do other things.
I started narrating creepypastas as a means to enhance Apeiropillar Productions, the now-defunct youtube channel I was once a part of. I became quite enamored with creepypasta, the community, and how I could contribute my creativity to the art form of short horror fiction. What started as just a way to get some attention to the channel, then blossomed into me pouring a lot of my time and creativity. I made custom music, worked hard to have the best audio quality, made dynamic visuals, and generally went above and beyond the normal narration video you see on youtube.
For a while, it was fun, very fun. I was reading great stories, getting to know cool authors, getting voice actors on my videos to make even greater productions, life was good. Unfortunately, many a factor soured the entire venture for me.
1. Lack of good content: I always had high standards for the stories I narrated. I turned down a lot of submissions requested of me. Everything had to be interesting, unique, and well-written. This led to me recognizing the good authors, but led to it getting more and more time consuming just to find a good story. I only released two narrations a week because it took so long not just to edit and record, but also to find a good tale to tell. After 9 months and 85 narrations on Apeiropillar alone, I was sick of trying to find something good, without just going back to the same 3 authors over and over again. No one wants to listen to me go through Slimebeast's 200 story backlog, or only narrate Shadowswimmer77. They are great authors, but that doesn't lend much variety.
2. Lack of originality: Some people can spend their time basing their content off of other people's original work. I, apparently, can't. At least, not as my main focus. I tried my hand at writing some of my own creepypastas (which you can read on my profile), but it never stuck as something I wanted to continue with. I found myself enjoying making music more and more, and found fulfillment in other projects. There are so many channels that narrate other people's stories, some do a fantastic job, and my contributions were just a drop in the sea. I'm proud of them, I think they are good as I could make them at the time, and I still get the occasional comment that people love them; unfortunately, it's not enough for me.
3. The changing face of the community:
a. A big turn off was where the community was going. I never intended to be a famous or 100K subscriber narrator, but to say I wasn't peeved at my lack of success would be a lie. In my mind, I was doing 5 times the work as most narrators, but getting little to no attention. This is, of course, superficial, but this was all started to get Apeiropillar more attention. Maybe it was doomed from the start, but I still felt like I was wasting my time after a while.
How can I possibly get people's attention when huge, pre-existing channels are narrating the same stories I am, with their legions of fans?
I wasn't following the emerging trends that get people subscribers and views these days, i.e.: Narrate 25 stories with minimal effort, Let's Not Meet, "True" "Scary" "Stories", 14 REAL TRUE CRYPTID WEREWOLF STORIES, Laughing Jack part 67, and so on. Again, complaining that I wasn't being successful is shallow, but if what I was doing wasn't getting any attention anyway, why bother?
I can't stand most of what gets narrated these days. It all feels like capitalizing on trends, not on trying to be good horror fiction. I know people like Deep Web and other trendy fiction, but I don't, so I decided to leave narrating behind.
b. Drama, sweet shoggoths, the drama: A lot of the community is toxic, especially narrators. Echo chambers and hero worship have completely painted the scene. Most narrators and fans gravitate towards MCP, Creeps, CPJ, Be.Busta, Lazy Masquerade, and stay within those circles. It breeds an ecology where the status quo is NEVER threatened. As long as you have a voice someone likes, that is all that matters. In turn, that breeds a thousand other channels that all do the same thing. Find a free story, especially a popular one, slap Myujji songs on it, find a single image, upload forever. If you question ANY of the basic process or any popular narrator, if you criticize anything that is accepted as "good", your ass gets blacklisted. Channels shun other channels, no one improves themselves or each other, and the pond becomes stagnant. Saying publicly that MCP doesn't have a great voice, his audio quality could be a lot better, and his methods are questionable is a death sentence, even if it is a valid point. If the community won't let you question things, then it is in trouble.
I can't be a part of that. It brings me down, demotivates me, and is just a pain to deal with when you are trying to work with others. People reading stories on the internet getting in fights with others over the most inane bullshit. Why would I voluntarily be a part of that?
c. Legal troubles: I think things are better now, but I can't say for sure. MCP and Creeps monetizing Slimebeast's work, how long it took to resolve those issues, MCP and others narrating stories without permission, all of that is ugly. What's worse, people DEFENDED that behavior, just because they like their voice. Disgusting. I couldn't work with others because I happened to side with Slimebeast on some issues, it was ridiculous.
Not to mention Cava getting the trademark. Full disclosure, I supported his decision on the basis that there was nothing else we could do because the USPTO are naive and shortsighted. I'm still hoping there is a way we can get the term declared generic so no one can own it. But as long as a subgenre of literature can be owned, I will be nervous, and you should be too.
What I'm doing now:
1. Making music: Making ambient tracks or just whatever I want, is so much more rewarding. I don't care how much attention it gets, I just enjoy doing it. It doesn't have the restrictions that comes with narrating. I even have others using my songs in their narrations (a lot of my stuff is CC-BY-SA) and others who just enjoy listening. It is a wonderful feeling I rarely got with narrations.
2. Podcasting: I run two podcasts where I read stories with others and critique them. The first is Raygun Readers, where I read and analyze short science fiction. It's fun, it's creative, and it has such better quality than the average creepypasta. The second is Rawdog Readings, where I read good and bad creepypastas with friends, and we discuss why we like/dislike it, what mistakes are made, good writing, etc. It keeps me involved with the community, without having to deal with it (a contradiction, I know).
1. Don't let this insult you: If you are a narrator, more power to you. If it's a fun hobby for you, have fun with it. I hope you are trying to be the best you can and are adding something special to the, frankly, over-saturated scene.
If you are a fan of someone I've mentioned here in a bad light, understand that this is my opinion or my perspective on events that have happened. I'm not telling you who to like or what to do, but I hope your reaction isn't to ignore/block/shun me because I've said something contrary to what you think. Be an adult about the art we all share, please.
I still follow a small handful of narrators I like and respect. Hopefully they continue to bring good content to the table.
2. My stories will stay here on the wikia for people to read. My narrations will stay on Apeiropillar for people to view/listen to. I won't delete them as something I'm ashamed of, because I'm not.
3. Keep writing! All you authors who read this, please keep writing. Be the best writer you can be. Don't feel like you need to write a story just to get it narrated. Be different. Try to write something people actually believe for just a moment, without being derivative of others. Creepypasta started as short fiction that made people question if it was real or not without being cringe-filled nonsense. It's up to all of you to bring the quality back up.
Thank you to anyone who read all the way through. If you want to discuss what I've said here, want to use or request a song from me, want to submit a story for my podcasts, etc., I'm on twitter @Abysmii and you can message me on youtube.
Links to everything below for reference:
Narrations (channel defunct): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfP958GA3Wm8llOIrT-1U6gCE_xxLLZ5Q
Example of a rare "narration" project I will do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgmBSIaSj1Q
Raygun Readers: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7xYUr3BlSIlVt5oxKA9XRg
Rawdog Readings: https://soundcloud.com/abysmii/sets/raw-dog-readings
My Music: https://www.youtube.com/user/Abysmii
Dead Palette - What creepypasta used to be and the direction it should be taken in: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvwokA8yGh_WQ53ilBwH3veUd1hkeofp8
Narration channels I think are the best: