Wren Weichman: Special Effects Storyteller With A Passion For Gaming [YouTube Nextup Creator Profile Series]

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I heard they hooked Wren Weichman up to a computer, to teach the computer some things, only he was so smart, the computer exploded! Okay, that might not be true (then again, it might not, not be true …), but one thing is for sure: The YouTube landscape quickly took on an “unfair” tilt when people like Wren got in the game.

Wren’s skill for visual effects magic is not merely good — it’s stupendous. In my questions to him, I ask Wren if there was anything the Creator Space could teach him, and fortunately he is confident enough with his skill level to admit that the answer is essentially “no.” Wren is basically a gift to YouTube in the sense that currently the world has free access to someone making interesting and visually gorgeous videos about stuff we all love and to which we can totally relate. Consider yourselves lucky, because as he points out, he could be in Hawaii repairing nuclear submarines (instead of answering the question “Could Superman outrun the Flash?” — yup, I stuffed two “Simpsons” references into one profile).

One day, Wren will leave YouTube and doubtlessly head on into the soul-crushing pasture that is making special effects for Michael Bay movies (my worries, not his). And on that day, the YouTube-iverse will once again become more level, but it will also be much more flat.

What got you into YouTube in the first place?

Wren Weichman: Well it started as just a place to share my videos. I was in college and I discovered that visual effects were something a kid could learn and do in a basement! I mean, what?! That blew my mind as I always found them interesting, but not something your average citizen could do without proper schooling or industry support. So I had taken it up as a hobby and started posting my FX test videos online. These tests eventually started getting longer and more complex until they were turning into actual videos worth watching. I did this for about two years before I actually started realizing that this skill I was developing was something I wanted to keep doing, and now here I am!

Why did you choose the channel name WrentheReaper?

Gosh, I actually made my account back in 2006 when YouTube was still rather new and unknown. I simply wanted to share with my friends some snowboarding videos I had taken, but I needed a username. I wish I had some cool story for the name but it was literally just a random idea that popped into my head so I typed it out and hit enter. I’ve regretted it ever since because there are a bunch of other names I’d now rather have, haha. My middle name is Talon and I’ve always liked the idea of branding a channel with that name.

You run a VFX-heavy channel — how much longer does it take to make a video that is laden with VHX as opposed to not, and is it “worth it”?

Oh yeah, it’s definitely worth it. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t be making videos at all, but the biggest downside is easily the massive time requirement. Especially for YouTube, where better returns favor more consistency and frequency. As a one-man team, it’s really hard to get anything done in a timely manner. Most of my videos require at least 60-100 hours each, but that’s because I’m usually very particular about even the smallest details. I also work for the channel Corridor Digital, making all of the “Behind-the-Scenes” videos and whatnot. Those don’t require any effects and I can generally breeze through them pretty fast. I just finished one yesterday that took probably half an hour to edit together, but that was a very small video.