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The inaugural YouTube U.S. NextUp class gives their commencement address

By YouTube NextUp Class of 2011

Editor’s note: We just wrapped up the first ever Creator Camp as part of the YouTube NextUp program in the U.S., and we felt like we should hand it over to the class itself to tell you all how the week went - in (mostly) their own words. The class filled in the blanks for this blog post - you can follow each link to see who contributed that phrase. Huge congratulations to the first ever YouTube NextUp class!

We’re a group of 25 YouTube Partners who were bodacious enough to be selected for the first ever YouTube NextUp program. We received $35,000 from YouTube to take our career to the next level, and were invited to attend a special Creator Camp in New York to perfect our skills.

That first ever YouTube Creator Camp wrapped up last Friday, and it can best be described as stinkin awesome. The week started with a group of alien individuals getting to know each other, and by the end of it, we were our own YouTube wolf pack.

New York city provided a frenetic backdrop to our experience. For some of us, it was our first trip to the Big Apple, and it was common to hear people saying “this isn’t anything like Dallas”. Or sometimes “do you smell that?”

It’s hard to pick out highlights in a week that was so overwhelmingly intense, but they have to include the time when Luke Conard wore a full face of makeup and also the moment when I held back tears after being handed the biggest check I have ever received as an independent filmmaker.

We worked hard during the week and learned a lot. One of the most important lessons we came away with was to bring along Chescaleigh if you want someone to eat a fish eye at a Chinese restuarant, and also that it's a marathon, not a sprint. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that humping the air on occasion was really important too.  (Ok, ok, the main thing we all learned was the importance of collaboration!)

During the final presentation, we learned that our videos have collectively been viewed more than 30 million times this year alone - which made us feel like rock stars.

Shooting the collaborative videos was a crazy and amazing experience. You can see some a sneak preview of our projects below - we think you’ll agree it’s pretty epic, with dashes of sentimental mushiness.

What will the future hold for us, as the first YouTube NextUp class? We’re sure it’s going to involve tons of amazing video collaborations and probably a little bit of sweet sweet YouTube money. (Editor’s note: Each of our YouTube NextUp participants received $35,000 to take their YouTube channel to the next level).

So tune in - watch our videos as they progress towards respectability, and we’ll do our best to keep producing the same genuine, creative and fun-filled videos that you’ve grown used to. The YouTube community is full of awesome and creative people, and we really want to make sure we continue to rock it out in future. Here’s to ever-growing view counts and a happy YouTube future.