Influences and Inspirations
I believe that every original artist/creator out there was inspired by a great artist before them, and this includes me. Most of my personal inspirations come from the TV shows I grew up watching, mainly The Ren & Stimpy Show and Jackass.
Let's take a look at one of those listed inspirations as an example. Ren and Stimpy was created by John Kricfalusi. John K credits Bob Clampett (Looney Tunes) as an inspiration for his work, and Bob Clampett was inspired by Charlie Chaplin, among others. You can see how the inspiration torch gets passed down from creator to creator, and it extends to me, as some of my friends have told me that I've inspired them to drum up ideas to start a YouTube channel of their own, and that makes me happy to hear.
There's a big difference between "being inspired by" and outright copying the act of another. For example, I mention Jackass as an inspiration, but you don't see my crew of friends puking up goldfish or shooting fireworks out of our butts, do you? You do, however, see us depriving each others brains of oxygen for sport, and you've probably seen me accidentally hold my breath until I lose consciousness on camera, and crazy stunts like that were inspired by watching Jackass. Holding my breath has been a talent I've practiced ever since I was a kid, and I was inspired to find an entertaining way to share it with the world by watching stuntmen from that show.
The slow-motion stomping and ground point of view you see in my "stompdown" simulation videos was inspired by a scene from the hit 90's movie Office Space where three of the actors destroy a printer outdoors by stomping and hitting it while fitting music plays in the background. In my case, I'm not smashing any faulty hardware in my videos, I'm giving the impression that I'm jumping YOU for following me!
Childhood Dreams and Early Art Experiments
I've always dreamed about having some sort of artistic outlet that I could use to entertain people from all around the world. I don't want to leave this planet without leaving some sort of mark on it, and if having a comedy, entertainment, sports, and awareness YouTube channel is what's going to leave that mark, then I'm all for it.
As a kid, I had one of those TalkBoy tape recorders that I would use to record my own mock radio shows, voice impressions, and comedy skits on. I would imitate celebrities like Hulk Hogan, speak in foreign accents, and scream like a maniac in a parody of Mortal Kombat whenever a fatality finishing move was being used. I would say "FINISH HIM, duh-duh-dunn..." and then scream bloody murder for a while, then play it back it in slow motion and laugh at the result.
I used to draw when I was a kid, too. I would record my favorite cartoons on VHS, rewind and pause the tape at a scene, and draw what was on the screen in front of me. I was never able to learn to draw anything on my own without being able to see it in front of me, so I lost interest in drawing after a while. During this time, I also recorded songs off the radio onto cassette tapes and sang over them on a karaoke machine at home. I even used to write short stories as a kid, including Batman fan-fictions.
At one point, I wanted to go to college for graphics design and computer programming. I was really into video games as a teenager (and still am to this day), and I would sometimes brainstorm ideas for video games I wanted to create while I was in class. I would come up with characters for a fighting game and give them names and move lists, and I would design my own Super Mario Bros. 3 levels on paper. Once video games began looking more life-like and less like the basic, virtual games I had wanted to make, I lost interest in wanting to create them, and after graduating high school I decided not to go to college at all.
An Idea is Born
Next, I got into photography and filmography. I went around photographing nature and sharing it on a now-deleted Facebook page. I'd take pictures of sunsets, forests, lakes, insects, and animals, and I'd also take photos of myself in beautiful backgrounds. This went on for a while until I grew bored of it.
The No Deo Hero, before it had that name and before it was a YouTube channel, began as a personal Facebook account. Before I realized how toxic and invasive of my privacy Facebook was, I used it to share photos of my friends and me and to upload funny videos I filmed of us hanging out together. My friends and co-workers loved the videos, as, aside from being funny and entertaining, they were refreshing to see on their news feed as opposed to the gossip, fake news, and other annoying things people are known to regularly post on Facebook. When I eventually deleted my Facebook account, my friends told me they were going to miss the entertaining videos I shared, so I decided to start a YouTube channel and carry on what I'd started on a better platform.
Once on YouTube, the videos I filmed and edited began finding an audience outside of just my friends and co-workers, and after this happened, I decided to make the channel more structured instead of just being a collection of random videos of my friends and me goofing around. The earliest playlists were the comedy skits, breath-holding battles, home gym workouts, and sparring matches. The stompdown videos were created shortly after, then down the road came the wrestling matches, and I continued expanding from there.
This wasn't my first YouTube rodeo. I had a few solo channels before this one, which served as precursors to the one you're watching today. I would occasionally feature my friends, and I even had a giant, stuffed dragon as a "co-host" on one channel, and the videos consisted of comedy skits, gym workouts, and showcasing my breath-holding talent. I ended up losing interest and deleted those practice channels, and by the time I created The No Deo Hero, I was ready to put all my focus and effort into it.
Friendship Played a Major Role
The top things to me that life wouldn't be the same without are friendship, family, humor, and music. The No Deo Hero is, and always has been, a way for me to share the good times in life I have, including time spent with my friends. It's my artistic outlet, and a way to showcase my talents to the world, while having fun and making people laugh in the process. YouTube is not a job for me; it's a hobby, and while it does seem like work at times when it comes to tasks like video editing, it's so much fun and rewarding.
All of my inspirations are present in its content, from the Jackass-ery of holding my breath for prolonged periods, to the Ren and Stimpy-esque humor of smelling my friends' shoes. I even use anthropomorphic animals as personas as a throwback to TV shows like Rocko's Modern Life and BoJack Horseman, where stereotypical traits are assigned to each character according to the animal they're illustrated as. In my case, mine is a rat because I don't use soap or shampoo in the shower, and I don't even own deodorant, making me a "vermin" in the eyes of society.
Speaking of friends -- I may have created this channel on my own, but without my friends agreeing to be a part of it in the beginning, it wouldn't have been as fun to start. I've since found success as a solo act after those friends moved on in life and proudly continue carrying the torch. Of course this success also wouldn't have been achieved without you, my fans, discovering me and showing your appreciation by supporting me, and I sincerely thank you for it!
The Benefits of Having a Fun, Successful Hobby
Some people create YouTube channels because they think they can use them to make easy money. The ability to make money through ad-revenue and receive support from fans is a plus, but my channel wasn't created with that in mind. I didn't even have a payment link until a few months in when fans who were interested in crowdfunding began asking if there was a way they could become patrons.
Whether it's filming a video of my own for the channel or filming a commissioned scenario for my patrons, this channel gives me more reason to be creative and have fun in my adult life. Filming custom videos for people around the world is an amazing opportunity, and being crowdfunded makes me feel like an underground internet film star!
I'm not reaching for mainstream success with The No Deo Hero, as my content isn't mainstream and I don't follow trends; I'm just happy to know people from all around the world are enjoying my personal form of art and appreciating it for the unique creation it is, and I'm proud to credit the great artists before me who inspired it.
Thanks to everyone out there for both inspiring me and enjoying my creation! You're all very much appreciated!