Michael Stevens (educator)

Michael David Stevens (born January 23, 1986) is an American educator, public speaker, entertainer, and editor best known for creating and hosting the popular education YouTube channel Vsauce. His channel initially released video game-related content until the popularity of his educational series DOT saw discussions of general interest become the focus of Vsauce,[7] encompassing explanations of science, philosophy, culture, and illusion.[8]

Michael Stevens
Michael Stevens VidCon 2016.jpg
Stevens at VidCon 2016
Personal information
BornMichael David Stevens
(1986-01-23) January 23, 1986 (age 35)[1]
NationalityAmerican
EducationBlue Valley High School
University of Chicago
OccupationYouTuber
Spouse(s)
Marnie Stevens
(m. 2016)
[2]
WebsiteVsauce.com/Vsauce1
YouTube information
Channel
Years active2010–present
Genre
Subscribers17.1 million[3]
Total views2.09 billion[3]
Associated acts
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2011[4]
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg 1,000,000 subscribers 2013[5]
YouTube Diamond Play Button.svg 10,000,000 subscribers 2016[6]

Updated: June 18, 2021

As the host of Vsauce, Stevens has become one of the most successful YouTubers (with over 17 million subscribers and over 2 billion views),[9] as well as a leading figure in the internet-driven popularization of science and education.[10][11] In 2017, he created and starred in the YouTube Premium series Mind Field,[12] and presented the nationwide educational stage tour Brain Candy Live! alongside Adam Savage.[13]

Early life and education

Stevens was born on January 23, 1986,[1] in Kansas City, Missouri. His mother worked as a teaching assistant, while his father was a chemical engineer. The family relocated to Stilwell, Kansas, in 1991. Stevens graduated from Blue Valley High School, where he developed a comedic personality, as well as a passion for knowledge, participating in informative speech and drama club programs.[7] He then graduated from the University of Chicago with a bachelor's degree in psychology and English literature.[14] As an undergraduate, Stevens became interested in video editing, having viewed a re-cut trailer of The Shining.[15][16]

Career

YouTube video editing and Barely Political (2007–2010)

Under the username pooplicker888, Stevens edited and produced his first video content on YouTube in 2007, with some of his clips being featured by CollegeHumor and Funny or Die.[17] In the same year, as the user CamPain 2008, he began using superimposition and dubbing to produce short comedic films about candidates in the 2008 United States presidential election.[18]

Stevens' online content attracted the interest of Ben Relles, who invited him to become a member of the online comedy group then known as Barely Political. Having moved to New York City in 2008, gaining employment with both Barely Political and Next New Networks, Stevens acted alongside comedians such as Mark Douglas, Todd Womack, Andrea Feczko, and Amber Lee Ettinger, becoming well known for his role as a bearded nun.[19] He also edited content for the channel and directed a music video parodying Owl City for Douglas' popular The Key of Awesome series.[7][20]

Early Vsauce (2010–2012)

 
Stevens (right) with fellow YouTube personalities and President Barack Obama at a White House meeting concerning HealthCare.gov in 2014[21]

Stevens launched the Vsauce channel in 2010.[22] Initially, it featured many contributors, with a heavy focus on video game culture. Several distinct series emerged, many of which were hosted by Stevens, including V-LIST (video game-related lists), IMG (featuring viral images), DONG (Do Online Now, Guys, showcasing various online games and tools) and LÜT (showing nerdy and interesting products available online). He developed a catchphrase by introducing his videos with "Hey, Vsauce. Michael here".[19]

However, it was Stevens' educational content that attracted the most attention. He says he was inspired to create scientific videos by Paul Zaloom's work on Beakman's World.[23] Stevens realized that his most popular content tended to incorporate more serious real-world concepts, often exhibiting interdisciplinarity. Notable examples include: "What is the resolution of the eye?"; "What is the speed of dark?";[24] "Why is your bottom in the middle?"; and "How much money is there in the world?"[25]

Later in 2010, Stevens launched two related channels, named Vsauce2 and Vsauce3, which eventually attained the sole hosts/producers Kevin Lieber and Jake Roper, respectively. By 2011–12, most content relating to internet and video game culture was delegated to these two channels, leaving the original Vsauce channel hosted and produced solely by Stevens, and devoted to educational discussion. Most videos are titled with a question, which Stevens answers or discusses at length, covering relevant tangents from any educational field that appeal to general interest.[7]

I don't want to just create things that are me reading a Wikipedia page, I want them to be a journey – a logic train that makes you go "Oh wow, where are we going today?"

— Michael Stevens, TenEighty Magazine, 2015[18]

Google, TED talks and science education collaborations (2012–2016)

 
Stevens appearing in a Vlogbrothers video in 2016[26]

In 2012, the year after Next New Networks was acquired by Google, Stevens also began working as a content strategist for Google in London. His role focuses on Google's YouTube platform, including meeting with fellow content creators to optimize their videos' effectiveness.[7][18]

Stevens became an accomplished public speaker. He presented two TED talks in 2013: "How much does a video weigh?" at the official TEDActive,[27] and "Why do we ask questions?" at TEDxVienna.[28] He has also spoken at events for Adweek, VidCon,[29] MIPTV Media Market,[30] the Edinburgh International Television Festival,[14] and for Novo Nordisk as a diabetes educator.[31] In 2015, he appeared at the YouTube Fan Fest in Toronto.[8][32]

In October 2015, Stevens launched the DONG YouTube channel, to feature content from the DONG series formerly on Vsauce.[33]

Through his work with Vsauce, Stevens has collaborated with and appeared alongside prominent individuals within the scientific community. These include Bill Nye (on "Why did the chicken cross the road?"),[34] Derek Muller (on quantum randomness),[35] Jack Horner and Chris Pratt (on dinosaur studies and Jurassic World),[36] and David Attenborough (in an interview about Planet Earth II).[37]

Mind Field and Brain Candy Live (2016–present)

In 2016, former MythBusters co-host Adam Savage stated that he would join Stevens on a stage tour in 2017.[38] Later in the year, Stevens published a video to Vsauce announcing that he and Savage will visit forty cities across the United States in early 2017 to present Brain Candy Live. The tour has been described as a live science-based stage show that is "between TED Talks and the Blue Man Group".[13][39] A second United States tour was scheduled for March–May 2018.[40] However, due to scheduling problems, the tour was cancelled and has not been held since. It has never officially been stated whether it will ever return.

Stevens partnered with YouTube Red (now YouTube Premium) to create and host Mind Field, which premiered in January 2017 through YouTube's paid streaming service on the Vsauce channel (all episodes have since been made available for free to non-premium subscribers, however there is some bonus content that requires a subscription to watch). Each episode of the educational series explores a different aspect of human behavior, by hearing from and conducting experiments on Stevens and guests including Dominic Monaghan.[12][41] Stevens said that he had "pitched Mind Field to many television networks and it [had been] rejected".[42]

In 2019, Stevens changed the name of the DONG channel to D!NG to avoid demonetization from YouTube's new policies on advertiser-friendliness.[43]

Personal life

Stevens moved to London, England in 2012.[7] In 2016, he married his wife, Marnie, moved back to the United States and currently resides in Los Angeles, as does Jake Roper, the host of Vsauce3.[44] Michael and his wife had a daughter named Maeve Stevens on August 15, 2019.[45]

In his Field Day documentary, in which prominent filmmakers undertake a project of their choosing, Stevens decided to visit Whittier, Alaska, to investigate the uniqueness of the remote town.[46][47]

Filmography

Year Title Role
2009–2011[7][20][48] The Key of Awesome Bearded Nun
2010–present[14] Vsauce Himself
2012[49] Dark Matters: Twisted But True Himself
2013[50] Asdfmovie6 Guy Talking About Carrots
2013[51] Head Squeeze Himself
2013[52] America Declassified Himself (as science journalist)
2014[53] Super Brainy Zombies Michael
2014[54] Jimmy Kimmel Live! Himself
2015[55] Jamie Oliver's Food Tube Himself
2016[56] BattleBots Himself (as judge)
2016[57] The Filthy Frank Show Himself (Spit Donor)
2017–present[12] Mind Field Himself
2020–present Dad Feels Computer Master

Awards

Year Award Show Category Recipient Result Ref
2013 RealPlayer Video Visionary Awards Education Vsauce Won [58]
2014 Webby Awards People's Voice for News & Information (Channel) Won [59]
Streamy Awards Science and Education Won [60]
2015 Science or Education Won [61]
Editing Michael Stevens and Guy Larsen (Vsauce) Nominated
Webby Awards People's Voice for Science & Education (Channel) Vsauce Channels Won [62]
2016 Vsauce Networks Won [63]

References

  1. ^ a b Michael Stevens [@tweetsauce] (December 30, 2012). "@issa_al_matari 26. I'll be 27 on January 23!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ @tweetsauce (July 30, 2016). "UPDATE: I got married!!! The awesomest person in the world now calls me her husband :) I love you, Marnie!!!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ a b "About Vsauce". YouTube.
  4. ^ Social Blade (January 11, 2011). "Vsauce YouTube Stats (Summary Profile)". Social Blade. Archived from the original on May 3, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  5. ^ VsauceGaming (September 3, 2012). "1 MILLION SUBSCRIBERS!". Facebook. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  6. ^ ColorfulPocketsVlogs (July 1, 2016). Just Got My Diamond Play Button. YouTube. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Think Fact (January 23, 2014). The Story of Michael Stevens, The Man Behind Vsauce. YouTube. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Kate Vickery (2015). "Meet The Man Behind Vsauce: Michael Stevens". Faze Media. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  9. ^ Vsauce – YouTube: Videos. YouTube. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  10. ^ Jessica Lahey (October 28, 2014). "What Teachers Can Learn From Vsauce's YouTube Show". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  11. ^ "MICHAEL STEVENS: YouTube sensation aka Vsauce". WME IMG Speakers. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  12. ^ a b c Geoff Weiss (January 12, 2017). "Vsauce Drops Trailer For YouTube Red Series 'Mind Field', Premiering Jan. 18". Tubefilter. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  13. ^ a b Blake Rodgers (January 8, 2017). "ADAM SAVAGE TALKS UP NEW SCIENCE TOUR BRAIN CANDY LIVE!". Nerdist News. Archived from the original on January 29, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  14. ^ a b c "MICHAEL STEVENS A.K.A VSAUCE". Edinburgh International Television Festival. 2015. Archived from the original on September 29, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  15. ^ Brady Haran (March 2, 2013). "Meet Vsauce". Sixty Symbols. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  16. ^ Robobos (February 27, 2006). "Shining". YouTube. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  17. ^ Michael McCrudden (May 5, 2016). "V SAUCE – Before They Were Famous – Michael Stevens". YouTube. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  18. ^ a b c "MICHAEL STEVENS: SPILLING THE SAUCE". TenEighty Magazine. June 7, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  19. ^ a b FootofaFerret (October 26, 2013). A Brief History of Vsauce. YouTube. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Barely Political (May 14, 2010). "ELECTRONIC WUSS: Owl City Parody – Key Of Awesome #20". YouTube. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  21. ^ "YouTube Stars Talk Health Care at the White House". www.youtube.com. The Obama White House. March 6, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  22. ^ David Gianatasio (July 19, 2015). "10 Viral Content Creators Who Electrify Fans by the Millions". Adweek. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  23. ^ Reddit (April 29, 2014). IAMA: Michael Stevens of Vsauce. YouTube. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  24. ^ Eric Blattberg (December 4, 2014). "The secret sauce behind YouTube giant Vsauce". Digiday. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  25. ^ Simon Bor (July 2, 2015). "Opening Keynote, Michael Stevens: All Change? – Report". The Children's Media Conference. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  26. ^ "47 YouTubers Laugh Without Smiling". www.youtube.com. vlogbrothers. April 9, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  27. ^ "Michael Stevens: YouTube educator". TED (conference). February 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  28. ^ Sophie Lenz (September 5, 2013). "MICHAEL "VSAUCE": FORGOTTEN QUESTIONS ANSWERED ON YOUTUBE". TEDxVienna. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  29. ^ "MICHAEL STEVENS: Vsauce". VidCon. 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  30. ^ Robert Briel (March 28, 2013). "MIPTV to showcase YouTube originals". Broadband TV News. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  31. ^ Sam Gutelle (October 24, 2014). "Novo Nordisk Taps Michael Stevens Of Vsauce As A Diabetes Educator". Tubefilter. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  32. ^ Nick Krewen (March 31, 2015). "Google sponsors first North American YouTube FanFest". StreamDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  33. ^ "D!NG". YouTube. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  34. ^ Amanda Walgrove (September 17, 2012). "Vsauce And Bill Nye Dissect The Classic Joke, 'Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?'". What's Trending. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  35. ^ Derek Muller (July 16, 2014). "What is NOT Random?". Veritasium. Archived from the original on October 12, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  36. ^ Anthony Domanico (June 19, 2015). "Chris Pratt and paleontologist Jack Horner crack dino mysteries". CNET. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  37. ^ Lori Dorn (November 9, 2016). "Michael Stevens Talks With Sir David Attenborough About Storytelling, Animals and Technology". Laughing Squid. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  38. ^ Paula Hendrickson (August 17, 2016). "'Mythbusters' May Be Ending, But Star Adam Savage Sees New Beginnings". Variety. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  39. ^ Morgan Greene (October 24, 2016). "'Brain Candy Live!' coming to Chicago". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  40. ^ "Don't miss: 'Brain Candy Live' with Adam Savage (Tested, Mythbusters) & Michael Stevens (Vsauce) / Boing Boing". boingboing.net. November 3, 2017. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  41. ^ Dan Rys (June 24, 2016). "YouTube Announces Mobile Live Streaming, New Original Series". Billboard. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  42. ^ Oravecz, Nora (December 15, 2017). "How Vsauce's Michael Stevens Disruptive Pitch Finally Got Approved, and Led Him to His Top Series, Mind Field". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  43. ^ Garcia, Elijah (May 14, 2019). "Vsauce Experimental Channel Changes Name From 'DONG' To 'D!NG', Fearing Demonetization". Mammoth Gamers. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  44. ^ "Michael Stevens from Vsauce on Instagram". January 15, 2016. Retrieved October 21, 2016. I've moved to LA! There's still a lot to do before I'm totally 'moved', but I'm already holding brains, hanging out with @jakerawr, AND ready to film my next ep!
  45. ^ @tweetsauce (August 15, 2019). "Hey Vsauce! Maeve here!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  46. ^ Field Day (May 14, 2015). "Home Sweet Whittier: Vsauce's Michael Stevens Has A Field Day". YouTube. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  47. ^ Jen Kinney. "FIELD DAY – JEN KINNEY". Archived from the original on July 29, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  48. ^ "Judas - Behind The Awesome!!". YouTube. July 3, 2011. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  49. ^ Vsauce (July 14, 2012). "The show is #DarkMatters on @ScienceChannel Sat @ 10pm EST I make occasional appearences [sic]! RT @TimidoGeorge: what show? It's online?". @tweetsauce. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  50. ^ TomSka (February 9, 2013). "asdfmovie6". YouTube. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  51. ^ Head Squeeze. "How Does Glue Work? (feat. VSauce)". Last.fm. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  52. ^ "America Declassified". TV Tropes. 2013. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  53. ^ James Patrick Casey (January 25, 2014). "Super Brainy Zombies – Review". Wordpress. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  54. ^ Evan DeSimone (June 18, 2014). "Blinding Us With Science: Vsauce Drops Knowledge Bombs on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'". New Media Rockstars. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  55. ^ "VSauce Sauce: Jamie Oliver & Michael Stevens". JamieOliver.com. March 1, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  56. ^ 2Paragraphs (August 3, 2016). "Who Is Guest Judge Michael Stevens on 'BattleBots'?". Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  57. ^ HUMAN CAKE, retrieved September 11, 2019
  58. ^ "VIDEO VISIONARY AWARD – EDUCATION RECIPIENT: VSAUCE". RealPlayer Video Visionary Awards. 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  59. ^ "2014 People's Voice VSAUCE". Webby Awards. 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  60. ^ "4th Annual Streamy Awards Winners & Nominees". Streamy Awards. 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  61. ^ "5th Annual Winners & Nominees". Streamy Awards. 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  62. ^ "2015 People's Voice VSAUCE CHANNELS". Webby Awards. 2015. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  63. ^ "2016 People's Voice VSAUCE NETWORKS". Webby Awards. 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2017.

External links