YouTube star Shane Dawson reveals how his recent book came to life
While YouTube has become increasingly popular in the last few years, there are some people that have been on the platform since it's early days -- one of the most successful people is Shane Dawson.
With over 15 million followers across his two YouTube pages and over 3 billion views, Dawson has definitely made a name for himself in the world of social media.
Known initially for doing comedy sketches, celebrity impressions, and original characters -- Dawson has branched out in the last few years into new video types. Not only that, but Dawson has also made his way into the world of podcasts and books.
His most recent book, It Gets Worse: A Collection of Essays focuses on memories and moments from his turbulent childhood and adolescence. The book was released in summer 2016 and made it to the New York Times Bestseller list.
Read part one of our interview with Dawson below!
#YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases rising talents. To see more past interviews, including more features on Shane Dawson, click here.
When did you first discover your love for performing?
I knew I always wanted to perform, because I would walk around the house with a towel on my head -- which nowadays everyone would just assume I'm trans -- but, back then I just wanted to make my family laugh and make my mom stop crying about her divorce. I just started then, I didn't really get into the whole acting thing until high school.
You're very much an open book on your YouTube channel -- what is it like for you to put yourself out there on the internet and really expose yourself to your fans?
I like putting it all out there because if people can see the worst of you, then when they see a glimpse of good, they're surprised. I like being open, I don't ever want to put out a fake representation of myself. A lot of people on the internet take selfies, they like to filter them and FaceTune them and they only tweet when things are good and put up videos having the most fun ever, but I like to sprinkle in some dark stuff because that's life.
Is it hard to dissociate yourself from the characters you play versus the person you really are?
I've gotten good at creating another person. For example, I changed my name. My real name is Shane Yaw, that was just because my agent at the time said no one would want to see me because my name was awful, so I changed it, but it helped me create this other person. When I get a bunch of hate comments, or people telling me, "Kill yourself!" or "You're ugly!" or "You're fat!" or this and that, I don't really process it because that's for Shane Dawson, that's not me. It's been getting harder though as I've been writing these books though, because this is me. I even thought about putting the book under my real name because this is definitely more real than anything I've ever done online before.
What is it like for you to dive into yourself so much for a book?
It's been awesome. I mean, I love YouTube, I've been doing it for ten years, but you know, I've done thousands of videos. It's getting to a point where -- I'm not running out of ideas -- but I've definitely done everything. With a book, I realized that I could tell stories I hadn't been able to tell on YouTube because they would be too expensive to make, there were too many characters, working with children is awful -- all of these things. But I can just write whatever I want and there's no limit. I can tell big stories and small stories, and they don't have to be laugh out loud funny all of the time. I can tell a dark story and I can tell a sad story. Writing the book was the perfect way to do that.Do you journal?
No, but I used to, and in the next book I do I want to include some. My mom gave me a little notebook from when I was younger and it was just letters to God and they are dark. It will be like from when I was eight years old, something like: "Dear God, why am I so fat? Make it go away. All of the other kids aren't fat. Bye, Love you, Shane" Just so sad, but it's so funny to look back at that and realize I'm the same now, haha. If someone told me to write a letter to God now, I'd probably write that. It's interesting, but I don't journal anymore.
So did you save ideas or did you just mostly have to think back on moments?
It was a nightmare, I was on my way home from Denny's one night and I had just signed the deal for the second book. I didn't know what to write about, and on the 30 minute uber ride from Denny's I came up with every chapter concept in that timeframe. All of my stories have a beginning, middle and end - they all have heart and they are all similar in structure.
Can you take me through the creative process you go through when you create your YouTube videos?
Nowadays, it's a little different because I do daily videos. Once in awhile I'll do a sketch or a short film, and that took me a long time to make and a lot of money to make. But, the daily stuff is a little easier because I have formats, like covering conspiracy theories or I taste crazy food from around the world. I create formats because that way I have a bunch of recyclable ideas that I can rotate through. It's easier now, back when I was doing sketches every week that was a nightmare. That would take me three days to think of the idea, and then a full day to write it, and then a day to get the stuff for it, and then a full day to film and then a full day to edit. It was a seven day situation.
How did you make the decision to transition into more traditional forms of acting and doing movies and television?
I started YouTube because I wanted to direct. I never really wanted to be on camera. I wanted to entertain but I was always so self-conscious I didn't ever want to be in front of the camera. I kind of had to when I started YouTube because none of my friends wanted to be in my videos and my grandma was the only person that would do it. So, it was just me and my grandma. I would just play different characters and put on a wig, and then it became a thing and I was the guy in front of the camera, which I didn't want. But I'm happy that happened, because I think it's interesting that I'm one of the only only YouTubers that doesn't think they're super hot or super cool, I think that's sweet I think a lot of people relate to that. I always wanted to direct, and that's that's always my mission.
More from AOL.com: