Stephen Robinson has a mind full of bees. Idea bees.
Robinson is the head of the creative team that started 52 Skillz, a YouTube channel where he learns a new skill every week and documents it. More recently, he created How To Learn Anything and won $50,000 from the Telus StoryHive initiative. Basically, the show is like 52 Skillz but with a bigger budget and more pressure.
“I think with anything creative, or anything in life, if you are doing what you love and you are doing it full time, there are parts that are amazing,” says Robinson. “Then there is 10 per cent of it where I think about what the hell did I get myself into?”
What the recent University of Alberta psychology grad has got himself into is trying to better a pretty unique feat. This feat, which was documented in the winning How To Learn Anything episode, was to solve a Rubik’s Cube in under 60 seconds while skydiving. It took him six jumps, but he did it.
His next challenge is using the $50,000 to finish the How To Learn Anything series. That seems like a lot of money, but Robinson knows he will have to be careful with it.
“$50,000 for five episodes of TV is nothing,” he says. “It is not a cheap medium, but we’ll pull it off.”
Crediting the ‘do it yourself’ documentary style of how How To Learn Anything is shot, he knows he can keep it affordable. And while 52 Skillz and How To Learn Anything are two different projects, Robinson expects the same out of both. Namely success.
“Having a show like this gives myself and those on the team the opportunity to do incredible things,” Robinson says. “But, getting people online to watch or care about your video is extremely difficult.”
He says he won’t feel relieved until the show hits the 100,000 hit per episode mark. The show currently gets about 5,000 to 15,000 views.
With previous skills such as: ‘How To Drift In Super Shitty Cars,’ ‘How To Flip A Water Bottle To Impress Your Friends’ and ‘How To Give Your Girlfriend A Haircut,’ Robinson’s creative juices are flowing. With How To Learn Anything in mind, he knows he doesn’t need to beat the skydiving/Rubik’s Cube video, he just has to equal it. Which is a smart way to think about it. Trying to better that video may be setting himself up to fail.
Now, with the focus shifting solely to How To Learn Anything, he is going to have to be a different type of creative.
“We are now planning out the next six to eight months of our lives,” he says. “We are putting together the production for the show, seeing what we can get away with and trying to keep up the bar with the episodes.”