Going Big on the Small Screen
NH native finds unexpected stardom on YouTube
Earlier this year, as he has hundreds of times before, 22-year-old Auburn resident Cody Owen stared into a camera and recorded a video soon to be viewed by hundreds and thousands of people. This time, however, was different.
“I have the biggest announcement of my life,” Owen said, smiling, to his audience of followers on his YouTube channel, The Atlantic Craft, where he’s parlayed his love of Minecraft into a richly constructed series inspired by the video game. “I’m scared to tell you. It’s so big and so awesome.”
So what was the big announcement?
After years of producing his homegrown YouTube series from his home in New Hampshire, Owen’s now starring in a new original animated series produced by the online video platform — one of the first in a line of YouTube shows for families.
Called “Kings of Atlantis,” this new series was inspired by characters Owen developed for his own YouTube channel. In fact, Owen pitched it to YouTube himself.
“You know, you have an idea in your head, and you think it’s awesome, and you might tell somebody else — and they’re like, that’s awful,” Owen recalled in his YouTube video announcing the new series. “That’s happened to me.”
“You live and you learn,” Owen continued. “But I pitched this idea to YouTube, and they loved it.”
“Kings of Atlantis” follows “two deposed, young monarchs” (who also happen to be a chicken and a penguin) on a quest to wrestle back control of their underwater kingdom from an evil villain who recently arrived on the scene.
Owen lends his voice to one half of the pair of “brothers, pranksters, and soon to be heroes” trying to save their fellow aquatic citizens.
For someone whose foray into filmmaking initially started just as a hobby, meant to be viewed by close friends, the rise to Internet stardom still feels a little surreal.
“I began to watch and create YouTube videos before I even knew about Minecraft,” Owen says. “Later on, when discovering
Minecraft from a close friend, I found it to be an amazing tool to create and develop stories.”
After working on his own “small animation projects,” Owen says he “began writing concepts and characters for an entire universe.”
As for his advice to others looking to follow a similar path?
“YouTube is an every day job, 24/7, and you will only see success if you enjoy it and join for the right reasons,” Owen says. “Anyone looking to start a YouTube channel should do it for fun or a hobby and see where it takes them.”
Just be prepared for a lot of hard work, he adds — contrary to what it might look like from the outside, his job is “not just ‘playing video games.’”
To tune in: “Kings of Atlantis” appears on YouTube Red, a paid membership service that provides access to original content beyond what’s available for free on YouTube.com; you can watch Owen’s own channel for free at YouTube.com/The AtlanticCraft.