Storytelling and Fan Fiction with Mauricio Velazco (Browntable)
I’m really excited about this interview. I hyped it up a lot on my email newsletter because I have been excited to speak to Mauricio (@Browntable_Ent) of the YouTube channel Browntable (link). If you’re not familiar with Mauricio or Browntable, he is the creator of the amazing Zootopia fan-fiction series Return to Zootopia (episode 1 link).
This discussion is most useful if you’re planning to write fan-fiction for NaNoWriMo next week or just in general. This conversation will be perfect you to study, and I highly recommend checking out the Browntable channel.
I was one of the original “Patreons” of Mauricio’s Browntable channel, and I am proud to continue this. He is a great storyteller who I am sure will continue to tell great stories. In the future.
Without further ado, let me hand the mic over to Mauricio!
1) What are your top 3 favourite stories and why?
So, I don't really read too much, but my favorite story book-wise would have to be A Farewell To Arms, I dunno why, but that story really stuck with me and I remember being severely enthralled by it. There was something about constant suffering and longing that made me enjoy it. I know I also really enjoy the story of the movie The Dark Knight. There's a duality between the protagonist and antagonist that isn't presented very much in other superhero films. Lastly, Your Name has a story that to me, impacted me because it's not exactly linear. If you see the film you'll know what I mean and I was astonished by that. This has happened in other films like Memento by Chris Nolan, but that movie felt a little too edgy and artistic for my taste.
2) What advice would you give to an aspiring storyteller?
I would tell an aspiring storyteller to keep consuming media that contains a good plot. See, a book or film can be great to read or watch if the story is good, but the plot is what makes the reader or viewer care for the story. The plot is what changes are made to the story to create a cohesive novel or film. Also, keep creating. Gotta get the crap out of your system to get to the good stuff.
3) Where do you think most stories fail? You can reference a contemporary movie that you’ve experienced recently.
The audience isn't invested in the characters. A story can be extremely interesting but no one will care about what's happened if the characters aren't interesting or relatable. But of course, the story is still important, and how the story is modified to fit the plot is also very important. Venom has bad characters and story, Ant-Man and the Wasp has good characters(ish) but bad story, Infinity War has great characters and a great story - if we're on the topic of blockbuster films.
4) Your YouTube channel Browntable has grown in leaps and bounds in the last few months. Last time I checked you’ve passed 82,000 subscribers. What has it felt like to experience such a growth in following?
Absolutely insane, I still don't entirely know why people are subscribed to me, but it's very cool to see. I try very hard to keep entertaining and educating. Mostly entertaining to be honest.
5) I have to say I really loved your Return to Zootopia series—it’s clear that a lot of care and attention to detail went into each episode. What things could you share with aspiring fan fiction creators from your own experience creating this fan film?
So Return To Zootopia was a personal project that turned so big that I'm no finishing it for the people that are watching. I grew slightly disinterested this year but the fans keep me going so I'm trying my very best to showcase what I can do with the tools at hand. When writing a "fan fiction", try not to think of it as a "fan made" project, but rather think of it as if you've been given the opportunity to officially continue the story or the character's lives. You don't want to muck it up. So you have to forget about personal gratification and think about what's best for the story and characters. That's why fan fictions that, for example, have humans come into the world of Zootopia make me want to vomit, because not only does it make no sense, it's very obvious that the writer does not care about the world they're writing about and conserving it.
A fan fiction is a work that pretty much is based on someone else's work, so you have to respect that, not butcher the creation and move on.
6) You’ve recently had some trouble with monetisation on your channel, but YouTube appears to have reinstated it. Would you be willing to describe what happened and explain what it felt like to go through this? (Completely cool if you’d rather not discuss as these matters are often sensitive.)
YouTube demonetized the channel because of human error supposedly. It wasn't a big deal because I had so much support from other creators and Twitter followers and subscribers. It honestly meant so much to me and I owe all of them so much. When YouTube found out about the mistake because of a Twitter post I made, they reinstated the ability for me to monetize my work and all is good now. I freaked out though, when it happened.
7) What are your long term plans for your channel? Any more video projects in the works?
So, I want to keep making video essays, but make them slightly more entertaining. If people want information, they can read a book or look at Kurzgesagt (link) or Nerdwriter's (link) channels. I think what makes a channel unique is the voice that belongs to that channel so I want to emphasize that more. I am working on an animated series, that I think can be called an anime due to art style and certain tropes, called Space Ranger Commence (Name not really official yet, but this is likely it). It's rather fun and I'd much rather work on that than Zootopia as it is an original project. Either way, Return To Zootopia's almost done so all is good.
Thanks so much for the questions, really opened my eyes a bit as to how I think.
Thank you for having me,
Did you enjoy this Q&A? Got any more questions about writing fan-fiction? Type your thoughts into the comments below and let me know!
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Posted on: 27th October, 2018
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