Please Subscribe: A Documentary About YouTubers

Director Dan Dobi hosts a documentary meet-and-greet with a handful of folks who’ve made careers for themselves as online personalities. There is no secret formula for monetized viral supremacy, but there are precedents for it, and Dobi’s sample suggests that cute, quirky hams have tended to do best — narrating video games or recreating them as stop-motion movie sets, tutoring Rubik’s Cube solutions, bottling the lightning of their own drunken humiliations, or just being themselves in that special YouTube way. Clearly we are living in a weird Warholian futureworld: Fame still works, but differently; nobody’s even heard of these people, except of course for their millions of devoted subscribers. Glimpsed behind the scenes of their work, they contemplate the pros and cons of complete creative sovereignty, and the various comparative challenges of real-life interaction. Dobi’s secret weapon is Dustin McLean’s stick-figurey animation, which drolly reenacts the Tubers’ admittedly banal origin stories, and gets at the gleeful go-figure spirit of their peculiar cultural moment. There will be haters, of course. But as Mystery Guitar Man reminds us, “You can’t let comments get to you…How mad can you really get at a 14-year old?”