Get Moving


Sometimes you just need to get off your ass and move around to get thoughts flowing.

These past few days had left me feeling like a zombie, thanks to a mild cold that came out of nowhere. My whole DayQuil/NyQuil regiment that I jumped right on in an effort to get better before Disney managed to take my already wacky sleeping schedule and make it worse. That first day I ended up sleeping from 11pm to 4pm. Of course getting up that late meant that I couldn't fall asleep until 4am the following morning. All that to say that even though I'm much better now I still really felt out of it today and pretty tired for seemingly no reason.  

Luckily I didn't have to work through it too much, as I ended up wrapping up my Friday workload a little earlier than planned. It freed up my evening, but I felt too lethargic to go into the city for a movie. I usually do this thing when I'm working where every so often I'll get up, go into the bedroom, and jump plop down on the bed and lay there for five minutes. Always across the bed too, because obviously if you lay down on it the right way then you're just going to bed. Then I'll eventually force myself to get up, go back into the office, and get back to work. Today I found myself doing that a lot, and after I finished my work I found myself doing it every few minutes. Just kind of going back and forth from the computer to the bed with no plan for the rest of night.

So I decided to get some productivity out of the night and sat down with the goal of working on that Rob Plays channel redesign for 100k that I've been talking about. It'd make for a good project because it's not the kind of thing you do in one sitting, so I didn't feel like I had a specific goal to accomplish. I headed over to the Hungry JPEG, which is my go-to site for fonts and graphics, and just started browsing. I wasn't planning or hoping to just stumble across a perfectly pre-made logo, but I figured maybe the different styles of what was there would spark some ideas.

However instead of ideas, I just found myself growing frustrated, and at first I couldn't figure out why. I was just clicking through page after page of designs and growing irritated with each page. Irritated enough that I had to ask myself why I was getting so annoyed by what was supposed to be a pretty relaxing activity. What I realized, and apologies in advance because this analogy might suck, is that I was getting annoyed because I was essentially looking at all of these maps with no idea of where I was trying to go.

All of these designs were really great examples of what certain specific styles looked like, but I had zero (and I mean ZERO) idea of what I wanted. Normally when I design a thumbnail or channel art I begin with some kind of light at the end of the tunnel. A style or a mood or a general vibe. Then it's just a matter of figuring out how to achieve it. To go back to that awful analogy, it was as if I was flipping through pages and pages of maps with no clue as to my destination. How can I know which map is right for me if I don't know where I'm going?

I realized then that before I can even play around with designs, I need to figure out what that destination is for Rob Plays, and to do that I need a clear vision of what the channel is. I also realized I wasn't going to do any of that in front of a computer. As it turned out, the gym near me was still open for another two and half hours so I figured I might as well do something that would force me to think. Even if I just ended up walking on a treadmill for two hours, that'd be time to try and seek clarity on what Rob Plays is and what I want it to be.

I got myself over to the gym and started running and let me tell you, it worked. I mean first off, it felt really good to get back to running after being home sick all week. Obviously you shouldn't be working out while sick, but being on the closing end of the cold, it helped so much in shaking off this funk and waking up. Beyond that, it really did force me to just think for all that time. Getting back into working out, I've been spending a lot of time focused on running goals and times, but I forgot that once you shed that, it's a great way to just tune out the world and think.

Anyway, as far as content goes, I already knew what Rob Plays was as a channel. 

  1. Rob Plays is usually Disney videos, but sometimes only tangentially. 
  2. Rob Plays is usually history videos but sometimes it isn't.

In other words it's a channel with a very specific focus most of the time, but with some wiggle room to change things up. None of that is changing.

So the question becomes, how does the name "Rob Plays" represent either of those two things? The answer is it doesn't. It's terrible as far as a brand name goes, and why wouldn't it be? It's just the altered remnant of what the channel used to be. Compared to my peers in the field, my name is pretty awful. Defunctland. FastpassFacts. Park Ride History. OffhandDisney. DSNY Newscast. All names that to a good degree clue you into the kind of content you're going to see.

Rob Plays? Is it a video game thing? What is he playing? 

The problem, however, is that at nearly 100k subscribers, this would be an awful time to completely re-brand the channel. During my first re-branding I thought I was clever by going from Rob Plays That Game to Rob Plays. I figured it would be similar enough that the connection wouldn't be lost, but by losing "That Game" it'd stop feeling like a video game channel. To be honest, I still think that was a good move.  

So here I have this channel, mostly about Disney but not always, and mostly about history but not always, that should probably drop the "Plays" for something else but should ideally keep the "Rob" there as some kind of connective tissue from Rob Plays. I obviously need to avoid any use of the word Disney or any logos or images from Disney because that's a legal trap I do not need to fall into.

And then I had the most brilliant and perfect idea:

No. Just kidding. I didn't.

I wish this process was that perfectly timed. The truth is I walked out of the gym with no solid ideas for a new name. At most I realized that if I decided to keep "Rob Plays" I could try and work a VCR play button icon into the channel to try and further distance the channel from the idea of playing video games. Instead it'd be Rob Plays (Videos). 

The downsides to that idea is that it doesn't do anything to inform people that it's a channel about Disney (sometimes) history, and that play button graphic might end up looking dangerously similar to YouTube's logo. It's a band-aid at best.

So I'll keep thinking and brainstorming, and while I didn't walk away from the gym tonight with a perfect idea, I wasn't planning to get there tonight anyway. All I know is I gained some clarity on what this channel is and how the name should reflect that, and I was reminded that sometime the most simple way to make progress is to just get up and get moving.