The number of fan-made anime videos on YouTube grows and grows every day. And just like with all internet content, there are tons of good-quality videos, and then there’s some that are… not so good. Out of the vast sea, one channel that stuck out to me as unique, creative, and deserving attention is mynameissport.
This channel creates English covers of different anime openings and closings. Not only that, the videos showcase many different talents, including singers, musicians, cosplayers, and artists.
I was able to interview the channel’s producer, AJ, and ask them about the inspiration behind the channel, their process for making videos, and much more. Please enjoy the interview and a big thanks to AJ for agreeing to the interview!
Since you produce anime covers, you must be a fan of anime! How long have you been a fan, and what are some of your favorites?
Yes, I have been a fan of anime since I was a child growing up. Luckily, I had experience with anime before it became way popular in the Western countries. I also watched poor-quality English dubs of anime which I hated but liked, and I got to go to Asian countries etc. This it carried on into my adult years. Luckily, now you can watch legal streaming anime easily alongside getting disc content which is more accessible than the past.
I do not have any favourites since there are too many to list. However, I am sucker for good-quality hand-drawn anime like the ones released in 1980s and early 1990s and some modern day anime films. However, I do not mind CGI and digital animation in modern anime as long as they are good quality.
Your channel is unique in that it combines both covers, cosplay/fan art. What inspired you to create your channel and become a producer of anime covers?
I started about a few years ago because I saw various English covers of anime and video games and I noticed people constantly churning out the same content that multiple people had covered before. That inspired me to say “Hey, what about producing English song covers that have not been revised for the English language, have not been done by other people, and showcase content that has fallen under the radar?”
Besides your YouTube channel, do you have other experience in producing videos or creating music?
I do have experience producing videos, such as video and audio editing, alongside basic editing skills, but because of my dyspraxia, it is not too strong in terms of creativity. However, my strength is to lead or work on projects behind the scenes. I do not mind doing all the administrative work since it is rewarding.
What is the process of making your videos like?
It would take way too long to describe the whole workflow and I don’t want to reveal some of my true secrets. In short, the first stage would be to have a plan on what I want which means doing a lot of research. The second stage is contacting people professionally yet personably, and the third stage depends on the answer and then moving on to see what happens next. This constantly goes back and forth until I get enough of the right people involved. I always have a backup plan in case if anything fails. The fourth stage is producing, quality control, draft feedback etc. and the final stage is releasing, sharing and promoting the project once all the issues have been addressed.
How do you gather all of the different participants (singers, cosplayers, etc.)?
A lot of research, looking at their channels, social media pages, previous content, status online, getting recommendations, and word of mouth etc. It’s not an easy job to scout and cast talent as you need an open attitude. You have to look far and wide to get to the people you want.
It seems that you use different participants in every cover. Is there a reason for that?
No one size fits all. You got to try to use different people to suit each cover. You cannot use a singer, person, group etc. who is not suited for a cover. You want to see whether they fit for it and can make it beneficial both for myself and the person, group, channel etc. in question. If you just cover a song or project you are not suited for, then you are doomed to fail. I have learnt it through a few projects in the past and seeing people releasing content in the past.
It is numerous factors. Mostly, you got to like the song/anime, or the cover will not help to get the passion across. Even if I am not keen in the series but it has a good song, then I am all ears. Also, I look at if there is a special connection, such as celebrating an anniversary or if it has potential to do well. But I am opening up to different avenues as of this time.
Out of all of the covers you’ve posted so far, which one is your personal favorite?
I cannot say which one is my personal favourite, sorry! This will get more difficult as I produce more and more covers and original projects.
What do you hope to achieve with your channel? Do you have any certain goals in mind?
I want to get to a stage where any type of channel, group, or person – big, small or in between – can help one each other and can collaborate with no restrictions. I want to keep remembering what it’s like to be a small channel even if I grow in status. For example, I want to be able to answer every comment, be responsive, truly hang out with my fans, and get to be open to collaborate with good, reliable people.
I am starting to open up on producing English song covers from recent anime, tokusatsu, or video game series and would like to start working on some original based projects with an interesting subject in question.
I still want to produce and create content for fun and treat it as a hobby and as something I enjoy in my spare time. I am not in it for the fame or fortune. As long as I create content that people like and showcase content that’s under the radar, then that is all that matters.
What’s the best and worst part of your job as producer?
The best part – Seeing at the end that your hard work pays off and that you have created it from start to finish. It is a great feeling that you did it – you were the one who produced, created, and are responsible, alongside other people, for the work. If it successful, such as having lots of views or getting massive attention, then it is a bonus!
The worst part – The constant rejection/ abuse from most people, including bigger channels, will not collaborate because of my small channel, my social media status and/or that I produce for fun. (I do pay for people or services if needed. I just release my projects with a nonprofit attitude as of this time.) However, I am used to it. Many times I move on and treat it as a pinch of salt.
You are very open about having dyspraxia, which I find inspiring, especially with how successful your channel is. What helps you be so open about it? And do you have any advice for anyone who may also have dyspraxia or a similar condition?
Being open is important because dyspraxia is not as well-known as other impairments, such as dyslexia. I have always been open ever since I was diagnosed. It provides a new perspective and approach, plenty of food for thought around. It identifies more of your weaknesses and turning it around to say what personal strengths can employ to overcome it and helps process the high and lows.
My advice is you got to consider that being open about your disability or learning impairment has more benefits than being closed. Being prepared for it encourages a more honest relationship and it is not an invitation to judge. Just remember that there is a lot of support out there and finding the right connections will help massively.
Once again, a very big thank you to AJ. You can check out more mynameissport videos on the official YouTube channel.