Ryan Bergara became a popular creator on YouTube after creating a series with his co-worker Shane Madej on BuzzFeed. The series was both BuzzFeed: Unsolved, which focused on unsolved true crime cases,e and BuzzFeed: Unsolved Supernatural where the two investigate ghost tales. In 2019, Bergara and Madej separated from the company and formed their own entertainment studio called “Watcher.” At VidCon, we got the opportunity to speak with Bergara about Watcher and what it is like to return to VidCon.
We’re rounding out our LAST ghost files location of the season! LET ME IN YOUR HOME. https://t.co/fHw9EPuXSX
— Ryan Bergara (@ryansbergara) June 28, 2022
Q): It’s been about three years since you developed Watcher, right?
A) Oh, man, each of the years, kind of like dog years. It’s really like, any year on the internet feels like an eternity. But yes, in 2019, we formed the company and filmed like, a year’s worth of content just to kind of be ahead of the boulder that was rolling towards us, which is, you know, week-to-week releases on the internet. And it is kind of amazing to come back to VidCon. Because we were here in 2019. But we were here for Buzzfeed Unsolved, right. And so this is like our first year here for Watcher. So it’s kind of almost like a benchmark to, you know, be here for Watcher and see kind of how far we’ve come in three years. So that’s kind of fun.
Q): Was it a smooth transition going from BuzzFeed to Watcher?
A) Oh, yeah, I mean, to say that there wasn’t crippling fear, in the beginning, every day, would be a lie. Obviously, there are times when you doubt if you’re going to be able to create a path on your own and succeed and thrive in that path. But we’re doing the best we can. And I would say that I couldn’t have asked for a better transition. Like I think everything went relatively smooth, honestly. And I think a lot of that is because of our fan base. We somehow lucked out and have one of the best Internet communities out there. I think there’s not a lot of toxicity in it. Everyone’s very nice and friendly, and just good people. That’s good and very supportive.
Q) Are there any pieces of advice you’d give to somebody to start that initiative of your own company?
A): Yeah, I mean, I think the first thing is to just realize it’s going to be scary, and not let that be a deterrent and still go for it. Because the worst thing that happens is, you make a mistake, or you fail, and then you just do it again. I mean, this is super cliche, and it’s very much you could embroider this on a pillow. I feel like I think you learn so much more from failure. So if failure is the main thing you’re scared of, it doesn’t quite even make that much sense. And I think from that point, that there really aren’t a lot of failures that could happen there because you made something that was true to you. So yeah, I would say just focus on all those things and get over the crippling anxiety and fear of failing by putting yourself out there because it’s really vulnerable to make content and put it out there and hope that people watch it and like it. And I think that sometimes gets a little bit, not talked about that much, I suppose.
Q): What went into making your new show?
RYAN: Man, So I always kind of knew, I wanted to build upon what we had done with Unsolved and that’s like a take that very seriously, because Unsolved was my baby. It was something that I was really proud of. And I was really just happy that we had the team that we had to be able to build something as cool and fun that people actually liked. But there also came a responsibility to not let them down. If we’re going to try and build upon that platform. Yeah, here’s the show with a different name. I never really wanted to just kind of rest on my laurels and make the same show and just kind of rely on like, Okay, people will just want to see Shane and I hunt ghosts, I wanted to make something that felt intrinsically different.
Q) How do you pick and do the research on the things you go after?
RYAN: I think it comes from what I was saying earlier, like when it comes to any topic that we’re going to go after we really first assess, is this something that we’re passionate about? Are we curious about, is there something that we’re trying to answer about this particular topic? And if that’s not the case, then we usually won’t go after it because I think more than anything, as wild as unscripted is, above everything else people are able to pick up on whether or not you’re genuine about what you’re talking about. In that, like, you’re not acting, you’re not saying a script, you’re not trying to fool anybody. You’re kind of trying to just be yourself as much as you can. And when you’re not yourself and unscripted. People pick up on that it’s almost kind of like this like instinctual almost like