James “Caddicarus” Caddick is a man that needs no real introduction. He is a popular figure on YouTube that has amassed over 600,000 subscribers at the time of writing and mainly puts out videos around games made for PlayStation consoles with a focus on PS1 games.
He has been creating videos for years now and has been producing various amounts of content around the gaming genre, including Drum covers, reviews of more recent games, and the typical top ten videos all about different aspects of gaming culture.
Some time ago, I had the chance to talk to Caddicarus about his YouTube career, his advice for upcoming talent, and what might have happened differently if his foray into gaming hadn’t worked out. Here is what he had to say.
Adam Newell: Thank you very much for your time today Caddy. To start, I just wanted to ask you to introduce yourself to all the people out there who may or may not have seen your channel or heard of you!
Caddicarus: Hello there! Firstly I’d like to thank you guys for having me today – and for anyone reading this not having a clue what’s going on – my name is James Caddick, and I run a YouTube channel called Caddicarus!
Adam Newell: Thanks again for your time! What I wanted to ask first was, where did you get your name “Caddicarus” from? Does it have a special meaning or was it just something you put together?
Caddicarus: Again, thank you guys! It’s a pleasure. Caddicarus, believe it or not, derived from when I was MUCH younger and a being a fan of Tobuscus (as much as I’m not proud to admit that now). I managed to take my surname and make a kind of ‘—us’ username out of it. It was only then I realised how similar it was to Kid Icarus, so then I incorporated that NES game into my first ever intro despite never playing any of the games before. Not much else to say about that!
Adam Newell: Back in the day, how was it that Hidden Block came about and how did you become a member of the team?
Caddicarus: It was so long ago that I honestly don’t remember the full story – I can tell you that I contacted Brutalmoose in very early 2013 I believe to tell him I loved his stuff, only to realise he had actually contacted me first. We started talking, and then we ended up talking with Wallid (Balrog) and Jimmy (NintendoFanFTW at the time) to make a collaborative site similar to Normal Boots. Luke (Yungtown) and Jeff (SpaceHamster) appeared later, and then we stopped recruiting. DidYouKnowGaming helped out TONNES during the early days of the site, so thanks for that Shane!
Adam Newell: As an English YouTuber, how do you feel the UK Youtube community differs from other parts of the world like the US?
Caddicarus: To be honest, I couldn’t tell you – I’m not 100% on the viewing algorithms and such, but all I can tell you is that more than 80% of my fan base are American, and most big conventions where most fans would be are in the US – which is a problem with constant flights and such. Community wise, we’re all online and many of my friends I only ever text chat, so I feel like we’re all in the same boat there!
Adam Newell: What would be your top tips for anyone else inspiring to follow in your footsteps and be a YouTuber?
Caddicarus: DON’T MAKE IT A CAREER.
Just don’t. Don’t plan your life around it, don’t get your hopes up, and don’t expect a single thing to happen. I also don’t recommend Let’s Play because that community is completely saturated, and unless you have something AMAZINGLY original to bring to it, I don’t think there’s much point.
When I started, I was working in a supermarket and working my way into the world of UK TV – at which point I had been uploading videos in my spare time (awful comedy skits that you can see on my second channel….) for about a year. It took nine months for me to even dabble into the world of gaming videos. Twelve months down the line I amassed 157 total subscribers before being discovered by Shane (DYKGaming) and Jirard (The Completionist) who then helped me jump up the ranks, and after LOTS of hard work, I managed to leave my job a year later!
But yes, if you want to be a YouTuber – you need a few things:
- 1. Total dedication to do it on the side of whatever else you have in your life.
- 2. Stubborn persistence.
- 3. Complete patience.
- 4. Willingness to fail.
- 5. Accepting criticism and applying it.
- 6. HEAPS OF LUCK.
- 7. Constant improving and consistent quality once you have an audience, no matter how small.
I’ve tried to help so many people in the past, and I could tell you some stories about spoiled and annoying people that had excuses for everything and expected everything to happen for them immediately (even blaming me for not being the reason they got subscribers), but that’s for another time.
It also helps if you’re still living with parents to be as productive as humanly possible since you have zero responsibilities compared to living alone, and WAY more time on your hands – so I took advantage of that time before I moved out!
Adam Newell: The common perception nowadays is that Youtube has a start-up cost; you need to buy equipment and have the right gear. It’s no longer just a guy and a small camera making a random video, there’s production value in it now, Do you agree with these feelings?
Caddicarus: Yes and no.
The age of Vloggers has long gone if you ask me, and people that still vlog from years ago only do because they grabbed their audience when that was popular, and people loved their character enough to follow it. Nowadays, I think there’s a crazy figure like 300 hours of content being uploaded every minute on the site (don’t quote me on that…), so in order to stick out and ‘make a career’ from it, you unfortunately need to save up and at least get decent audio recording, cameras, lights and editing software – otherwise people don’t care.
There are instances where this is definitely not the case though – GradeAUnderA being a perfect example – the guy has millions of subs with Windows Movie Maker – but his personality and tight comedic writing and timing are what made him popular – you can listen to him as much as watch the video. But that’s another genre of the video he’s making – gaming in particular is unfortunately very quality-driven, even if you’re analysing and reviewing with no visual or audio humour.
That’s a tough question though – like I said before, luck is a HUGE part of it though – so the worst quality stuff and viral videos can still get randomly popular, and people can get audiences overnight from not even trying – but if you ask me, for that LITTLE bit of extra luck to stand out, quality is important unfortunately. You’d be surprised what you can do with no equipment though – some of the funniest YouTubers in the gaming space that I’ve seen barely have a decent camera – it’s all about what you do with the editing software. You can make miracles from it, and then hopefully grab a big enough audience that could get you paid to upgrade! I have no clue though because I personally saved up for all my gear years ago, and I’m still using it today.
Adam Newell: You yourself have been able to grow a large and expanding community, what is it you feel draws people to your content?
Caddicarus: No fucking clue. Maybe being British, that always helps.
Seriously though, I make videos that I like to make, and if other people like them, fantastic. That’s all I’m really concerned about – making people have a good time with me as I make the videos! I’d say what makes me stick out though is, funnily enough, being British (people love my accent for some horrifying reason), and focusing a lot on PS1 games.
Not many people did much other than Nintendo when I started so I think I was lucky enough to grab a niche market of people my generation that grew up with PS1. Other than that though I don’t know – I just hope people like watching as much as I do making – and if anyone has something constructive to throw at me, I try to apply it as best as I can (that’s why I recently completely overhauled my video schedule and removed other shows for more drive and direction in my work).
Adam Newell: And on that note, just how does it feel for you knowing over 600,000 people in the world subscribe to see you and your content week by week?
Caddicarus: Insane. I can’t even imagine that many people in a room. Or that many pieces of paper stacked on top of each other. I don’t even know how it feels. I’m eternally grateful, and people on social media are some of the most sweet, supportive and even constructive people I’ve ever met and could wish to have following me!
Adam Newell: Coming off your successes of the Caddicarus show, if you hadn’t of been able to do a show based on gaming, where would you of most likely gone next?
Caddicarus: I tried my hand at ‘comedy,’ but it failed. I can’t write sketches like that constantly; I need themes and structure within BIGGER videos to try writing them! I think though I’d love to do something horror-related. Horror short movies or horror movie reviews, or just general movie reviews in the same style I do now (I mean, I’ve already done that with Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase and even Casper: A Spirited Beginning).
My passion to KEEP GOING with YouTube was when I found out how amazing it felt to make gaming episodic videos and other serious reviews (especially since I was a review writer before and I loved doing that, so mixing the two made more sense than struggling comedy skits) and even when it still took over a year after I started to even get a small audience it was just so gratifying and exciting, not to mention varied – and that’s something only games can do from how different they all look, play, and how they influence how you write a script or direct a live-action segment with going outside to film or such.
Adam Newell: Lastly, I just wanted to use this space as a chance for you to say anything that your heart desires, either towards your fans, future subscribers, go nuts!
Caddicarus: For current subs – if it’s your birthday today while reading this interview, happy frickin’ birthday to you – and please remember to stay beautiful! For future subs – please stay far away while you have the chance. Your life will be considerably better.