For the seventh year in a row, tens of thousands of people descended on the Anaheim convention centre to meet their favourite YouTubers, network with fellow creators and hear industry insight from the leading online companies at VidCon 2016. It’s basically heaven for people who prefer the Internet to anything IRL.

VidCon is separated into 3 registration levels: Community, Creator and Industry. Community passes have access to all the ground floor activity, such as the exhibition floor full of freebies from Maker Studios, Vine, Netflix, ect. as well as select Q&As, panels and meet ups. Creator passes also have access to the convention centre’s second floor and a wealth of panels that focus on people creating online content and how to cultivate and grow a channel. Industry passes go one-step further and explore brand deals, working with social influencers and business models for online video. All this is to say that there are SO MANY panels on at the same time that you will wish human cloning would just hurry up and happen, so you can attend all the panels on your list. Or you know, that time turners were real.

YouTubers Yulin Kuang and Emily Diana Ruth hosted a panel about the process of making their own web series, I Ship It and Cold. Both series started as short films, which were developed and funded by New Form Digital’s Incubator program for online creators. Based on the success of her short film, Yulin Kuang pitched a series version to The CW’s online platform, CW Seed, and the web series was released on the first day of VidCon. Emily Diana Ruth had similar success with her short film and has recently finished post-production on her series, for Verizon’s new app Go90. Unfortunately, both series are exclusive to the US, but the short films are great to watch in the meantime!

Another web series panel featured home-grown Aussie talent, SketchShe, RackaRacka and Michael Shanks from Wizards of Aus. All three channels received Screen Australia funding to make series and showcased their talent at a community panel.

SketchShe recently released their new series Traffic Jam The Musical, featuring original songs and their real singing voices. Known for their miming and choreographed videos in cars, this presented a whole new challenge for the channel and the girls spoke about the daunting task of taking singing lessons and recording in sound booths. Looking ahead, the group hope to take their show on tour, despite the fear of singing live.

RackaRacka, whose series Versus is an Official Selection at Melbourne WebFest this year, are known for their practical stunts and visual effects videos, and spoke about the ways they achieve them. For example, the team recently hired a helicopter to lift and fling real cars across a soccer field. However, they often also use different camera angles and sound to imply action if it is too hard to film and think that often fake hits look better on camera than the real deal.

Michael Shanks is another example of a special effects heavy YouTuber. His 6 part series, Wizards of Aus, has enough VFX shots to rival any blockbuster, and he did it all from his mother’s basement. He tries to hide his talent with self-deprecating humour, but there’s no doubt he’s got the experience to back him up, having made web series since he was a teenager.

Most excitingly, the best news to come out of VidCon is that it is expanding internationally to include Amsterdam in April 2017 and Melbourne in September 2017. So if you’re keen to go to your very first VidCon, keep a lookout for when tickets go on sale! https://vidcon.com/australia/