Rebecca Parham: Hello, my geeks and peeps, my explainers and entertainers, my little oo-de-lallies, Rebecca Parham here! And oh my gosh, I have to thank you all so much for half a million subscribers. You guys have helped make a dream I've had for the past four years a reality and I really cannot show my gratitude enough, but I'm gonna try by making a video that has been requested a lot. This is my official, draw my life. Well it's gonna be a little bit of drawing and a little bit of animating, but we'll just call it a "draw my life" for simplicity, and just to clarify this is gonna be a broad look at my life without going into too much detail, because I got a lot of stories that I want to make into future videos, and I wouldn't want to ruin them for you. Anyways, let's just jump on into the complicated mess that is my life. Here we go! The year was 1987 in the city of San Antonio, Texas, two army veterans who already had a daughter, Rachel, we're expecting another baby. My mom and dad had just started a business together as partners and even had two employees to think about, but as money is often tight in the first few years of any business, my dad stayed to run the new company and my mom went out and got a real job to make ends meet. She worked with those big giant 80s computers that were the size of a room and had the mag tape drives and the big flashing buttons. Yeah that was my mom, shoulder pads and all. Anyways, December 4th 1987, at about 2:14 p.m., I made my grand entrance into this world very loudly. I didn't even need to be pinched or anything, I just came out screaming, so yeah I have always been this dramatic. I was taken home to our house in what was basically typical middle-class American suburbia, neat little houses, all in a row with front yards and tall wooden fences, lots of neighborhood kids to play with an elementary school I could walk to and from and even a bully kid that lived up the street. The complete American childhood experience. For six years, it was just me and my sister, then one day mom and dad sat us down in the living room, showed us a kids book about babies and said that we were gonna get a new baby brother or sister. Rachel and I secretly wanted a brother and we ended up getting our wish,because soon after, my little brother David was born and he completed the Parham Five. All throughout my childhood, I showed an interest in the creative arts I'd put on plays in our living room for my parents and I would cast myself as the star my sister is the support role and our stuffed animals is all the other parts. I would use anything and everything I could get my hands on to build sets and props and costumes and it was a really early lesson in resourcefulness and thinking outside the box. My family also loved music and I took to singing very early on. I belt out any Disney song you did or didn't want to hear but above all, I loved cartoons. I grew up on Disney movies and shows on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. In fact, it was Nickelodeon showing the behind the scenes of their cartoon shows during commercial breaks, they gave me the initial idea that I could maybe one day be an animator, a dream that I carried in the back of my mind for the majority of my life, but it would be many years before I acted on it around the time. I was about to go into the fourth grade, the family business was really kicking off and my mom went back to work full-time as my dad's business partner, they were moving the family business closer to the country side of town which meant we had to move to. And on top of all of this, my parents enrolled me and my siblings into a new private preparatory school, you know, the kind that offers better education and you wear uniforms. The school was small and I mean small. They had grades pre-k to 12 and there were maybe 200 students, in all. So that meant you stayed with this same general 15 people in your class every, single, year. The kids in my class, well they didn't like me. I mean I was this really weird dramatic kid coming into a class that already knew each other, so I was destined to be the oddball but with how small the school was, it pretty much meant I was alone and my personality changed because of that I went from a happy spontaneous shamelessly creative kid, to a shy socially awkward overly emotional weirdo, and that's a recipe for disaster when you throw puberty into the mix. Middle school is a tough gig for anybody at that age and like many, it's when I developed major self-esteem and anxiety problems. I was bullied a lot and the adults who ran the school didn't really do much to stop it. Oh, and there was this weird social pressure created by the staff and students to not pursue the arts as a career, particularly acting it's kind of hard to explain but the general consensus was the actors were horrible people and wanting to be one. Major horrible. Yeah, I don't know, it's stupid. But being the compliant child I was, I gave up all my dreams of being a Broadway star and momentarily shifted years into my marine biology phase. This was when I learned how to scuba dive. My mom got served with me and we still love diving to this day. Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, God rest his soul, was my hero in middle school and I was also into a lot of other obscure nerdy things like Pokémon and video games. And while my classmates were watching grown-up shows like Dawson's Creek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I was watching shows like Eddie and Eddie the Powerpuff Girls Courage the Cowardly Dog and Samurai Jack, not to mention I was one of maybe five plus-sized kids in the whole school and I believe that my worth as a person was directly connected to how I looked and what other people thought of my body. Well, it was gonna be a demon that I have to fight for a long time, but don't worry, guys, I eventually won that war. So from grades four to eight, I was completely miserable at this prep school. But as I was going into my freshman year of high school in 2002, I had finally had enough and I begged my parents to let me go to the local public school. This was the first time I ever experienced culture shock: I went from a heavily sheltered school environment of 15 people per grade, to a school of over 2,000 students, where I was periodically offered drugs and kids got drunk at parties every other weekend. Definitely not my thing... As hard as that first year was to adjust to, it was also the reawakening of my creativity. The school's curriculum required art credits so I chose two old loves of mine: theater and choir. And for the first time in forever - I just realized that that's what I wrote into the script, sorry. - But like I said, for the first time in forever, I felt that joy, that passion, that spark for performing again. But as some of you may recall, my high school theater club was where I met my, well, my mentally unstable vindictive theater teacher. There'll be more on her in a later video. The theater kids were kind of a rough group, too, and though I was a contributing member of the club, I still didn't get along with most of them. So once again, I was the shy socially awkward weirdo with no friends. But still, it was better than the prep school. It was also my sophomore year that I began drawing for the first time in years. I mostly drew cartoons I watched on TV and some bad costume designs for theater. Nothing I took too seriously but it's worth noting now. By the time senior year rolled around a certain event regarding my emotionally abusive theater teacher happened and I finally decided that I'd had enough of her in January 2006. I quit the club and dropped out of all of her classes. With the theater club no longer being a thing to me, I had more time to myself, and I spent a lot of it at home on the Internet, where I do have headfirst into the marvelous world of fandom. And I was up for all of it: fan art, fanfiction, cosplay, roleplay forums, and this was when I really began to draw. Just buried my head in a sketchbook and a copy of Photoshop Elements Six. I posted all my fan art to deviantART calm and reveled in the fun I was having one day. While fiddling around on deviantART, I clicked on a random link that someone had posted and it sent me to this strange new website called YouTube. After days of exploring this new wonderland, I made my first YouTube account under the username "Grizabella626" and posted mostly fan-made music videos about my favorite show at the time: Ed, Edd and Eddy. I'm pretty sure you can still find them floating around the internet. But eventually, I had to put high school behind me and look forward to college. I got accepted into a local private university and chose to major in theater. I also join choir for good measure. All the while, I was still drawing fan art and posting it to deviantART and I was even starting to explore my own original ideas for cartoon shows. After a year in the theatre department, I came to the cold realization that theatre was probably not gonna work out for me, so I talked to my parents about doing something different, and finally, someone suggested it: "What about animation?". My mom was on board, but my dad needs a little convincing that the talent was there, so I showed him a piece of fan art I had drawn of the grim adventures of Billy and Mandy, and that convinced my dad to send me to animation school. Mom looked around online for schools and found Ringling College of Art and Design on Pixar's website, though it's not there anymore. They took down their list of schools. We visited the campus and I showed a Ringling advisor in my portfolio, and oh boy, did she rip me a new one? I learned that I was gonna have to make an entirely new much better portfolio to even have a chance of getting in. So I went back to my university, dropped out of theatre for the second time in my life, and took nothing but art classes for a semester. I built up the portfolio and sent it off to Ringling a few months later. Mom and dad called me in the middle of my painting class and with tears in their eyes told me that Ringling had called and I was accepted. In 2008, I moved to Sarasota Florida and started my first year of computer animation school. I was in for a reality check, because the first day of class, I was sitting next to a fellow freshman animation major and she started doodling Disney quality drawings in her sketchbook, and I went back to my dorm room and called my mom in a mild panic, telling her: "I could not compete with these kids" but she and my dad encouraged me to keep going and do my best, and I made it through that first year pretty well. But the summer before my sophomore year, my grandmother died. She was basically another parent to me having lived with our family for 12 years. It was a really bad loss for us, so I went into my sophomore year, already an emotional wreck. To make matters worse, it was the first time we were working with the 3D animation software Maya, and I struggled very badly to learn it. I passed the first semester of sophomore year by the skin of my teeth, but the second semester, I failed my computer animation class, despite having given it everything I had and with the way Ringling's curriculum was set up. It meant I was kicked out of the computer animation major entirely and I had to wait half a year for a chance to get back in. This was the biggest failure I had ever faced before, and I felt completely worthless, but my parents believed in me and they said: "I could stay enrolled and try again in half a year". So while waiting to get back into the computer animation major, I took classes towards my business minor. The business students and faculty were incredibly uplifting and supportive. I felt so empowered and by the time that I got back into the computer animation major that spring, I was confident and ready to excel, which I did. Now, for all this time in school, I wasn't really paying attention to YouTube and how it was changing. But the summer before my senior year of school, I rediscovered the YouTube scene and practically overnight became a fangirl for many creators. Around this time, I also got into Twitter and I started relentlessly bugging the first YouTuber I ever subscribed to: DaneBoe. Funny enough, we would eventually become good friends and his success on YouTube was a huge inspiration for me. So much that I began to dream of maybe becoming a YouTuber one day as well. But no one at my school think it was a good idea, so I kept it to myself. After all, I was supposed to be applying to the big studios like Pixar and DreamWorks, making everybody proud. Anyway, senior year when I finished my thesis film and in 2013, I graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design with the BFA in computer animation and a minor in business of Art and Design. At that poin,t my plan was to go back home to Texas, rework my portfolio and resume some apply to major studios like Disney, Nickelodeon, Blue Sky etc. and hopefully get a job and move to California or wherever the work took me. But things didn't really work out like that. My parents started encouraging me to go into business for myself, you know exactly what they did, and don't get me wrong, I love the idea of that but maybe later on down the line, not fresh out of animation school having never worked in a studio before. But before you can say Bob's your uncle, my sister and I had combed with the name "Let Me Explain Studios", my dad helped me apply for the LLC, and I was suddenly a businesswoman. I had no idea what I was doing, so with the creation of my new company, I decided to make a new YouTube channel to coincide with it, and thus on February 17 2014, this channel Let Me Explain Studios was born. However, I didn't upload my first video until June 21st 2014, entitled "Beefwee! (A Pokémon Parody)". Now you would think this would be an exciting time for me, but really, it was probably the most anxious and stressful time of my entire life, because I wasn't out there getting big studio jobs like all my friends from school, I started to succumb to what I call the post Ringling depression. It's a real thing that I've seen in some of my friends when they feel like they're not living up to the expectations that Ringling put upon them. It's kinda like graduating from Harvard and not being able to make it as a lawyer and everyone knows it. I felt like I was being pulled in so many different directions and no matter what I decided to do with my future, I would be disappointing someone. My anxiety was really getting the better of me, and I felt this darkness beginning to well up inside. Like at any moment, something would tip me over the edge and I would just snap I would lose my mind... And then November 18th 2014 at 9:30 a.m., dad was just.. gone... He started having chest pains in the middle of his morning meeting with his employees, and when my sister took him to the hospital, he was just.. gone..... Died of a massive unsurvivable heart attack. I suppose this should have been the thing to tip me over the edge and send me into a spiraling depression, but surprisingly, it wasn't. Strangely enough, I think it had the opposite effect. There were many factors at play, mostly to do with the strength and courage of my mom and sister and the kindness and love shown to me by everybody else, but what I had been given was the ultimate excuse to feel sad, and no one was going to judge me for bursting into tears and saying how devastated and heartbroken and scared I was, because everybody else was feeling the exact same thing, and that that pulling of the emotional pressure release valve in my head as what saved me. But the biggest thing that losing dad taught me was that when you live through something that you previously thought you couldn't survive and you make it out okay, the world doesn't seem as scary anymore, and you're always a lot stronger than you think. I picked my life back up, and I continued to run my company, which was basically just me doing freelance animation and illustration work. But with better tax breaks and in my spare time, I made videos for this YouTube channel, which turned out to be the best therapy for two and a half years. I freelance and made YouTube videos, freelance and YouTube, freelance and YouTube... I built up a small very kind and loyal YouTube audience and made a fair few YouTuber friends as well. And one day in January of 2017, I got the idea of putting some of my YouTuber friends in a video, an alt satirical video idea that I'd written maybe two years prior, and it was called "How to Creep Out Your Favorite YouTubers at Conventions". I asked TomSka, DaneBoe and Jaiden Animations to lend me their voices. They sent me the lines I got to work and I finished the video just in time for season on May 5th 2017. I uploaded "How to Creep Out Your Favorite YouTubers at Conventions" to this channel and something happened: I started getting subscribers. A lot of subscribers, in a very short amount of time. And just shy of 2 months later on the night before I was flying out to VidCon 2017, I hit 100,000, and that was only the beginning. The numbers kept climbing and climbing and by July 19th of 2017, I emailed my last client for the final time and officially became a full-time YouTuber. Since then, our community of explainers and entertainers has grown quite rapidly. I mean, as you can tell by the beginning, this video was supposed to be a milestone for half a million subscribers, but you guys haven't slowed down a bit. So, you know what, this video is now just one big thank you to all of you. You are the reason I get to wake up and do what I love for a living and you're the reason that all the hard work and struggles were worth it. So thank you. Thank you for changing my life. Thank you for helping make a crazy pipe dream come true, and thank you so much for tuning in but now I gotta tune out. Bye!