Sam Bashor was into YouTube pretty early on, when the culture around it was just emerging.
“I feel like I was pretty on, noticing that there was a community of people there that are doing this for a living, and YouTube was actually rewarding them for making it a good platform,” said Bashor, 25.
He saw they were making genuinely good content, so he was inspired to try it for himself.
“It was very hard — I didn’t know what I was doing,” he said, laughing about his earliest efforts. “So I try never to watch those videos because those are embarrassing.”
Bashor eventually gave up on that idea, and instead went into college looking to get a degree in music therapy. But he quickly realized he’s not good at that, either.
“You can’t accept certain things when you’re younger, and this was definitely a hard thing for me to accept,” he said.
It was around the time that he realized he didn’t “have the chops” to pursue a music career effectively that he found out that SourceFed, YouTuber Philip DeFranco’s brand-new news channel, was in search of interns.
“I didn’t have a resume, I didn’t have a reel, I didn’t have anything,” Bashor said. “So I had to build everything out of anything I had.”
He got the internship, and decided to accept it mainly so he could take some time off and figure out what he wanted to do.
“It was a dream come true,” he said. “In there, I realize that this love I had for YouTube growing up could be something, and I realize that there’s something special about being able to go on camera and share your opinions.”
Bashor’s father was a videographer and editor and he grew up watching him create videos, but it took him awhile to realize he was interested in that as well.
SourceFed gave Bashor the opportunity to learn how to make YouTube videos.
“Honestly in the beginning, I was so nervous that I was very bad at it,” he said. “But (DeFranco) kept giving me opportunities — he probably shouldn’t have, but he did. I worked really hard at trying to be better on camera, be more outspoken and how to articulate what I want to say because I’m definitely a very quiet person, so I had to find what my voice was in that.”
They started letting him make his own SourceFed videos and be on group shows where it was easy for him to grow.
“From there, I worked for every channel that Phil had ever made, and eventually it just evolved into being a host for SourceFedNERD,” Bashor said.
In that, he found his love for comic books, which oddly enough he had never read as a child.
“I started reading them and I was like, ‘Oh, I understand now why people are passionate about it,’ and I get that this is an art form,” he said.
This ultimately led to the creation of “Only Stupid Answers,” a “nerd news” podcast Bashor and coworker DJ Wooldridge did almost “by accident.”
“We wanted to talk about nerdier stuff and not annoy everybody else so we wanted to find somewhere to channel all that energy and enthusiasm,” Bashor said.
When SourceFed was cancelled, they had been doing the podcast for a year so they decided to continue it.
Now, three years later, the podcast airs every Monday and has 3.28 million listens on Audioboom alone.
It has evolved into a segment where Bashor and Wooldridge are able to talk about the things they love most, according to Bashor.
They not only talk about movies, TV shows and comic books but also interview people, answer questions, travel and go to film festivals.
Just this month, they launched “Might Be Awesome,” a new “deep dive nerdy channel” that’s an animation-based educational offshoot of “Only Stupid Answers” that already has more than 225,000 YouTube subscribers.
“We use animation sprites from different video games and animate them into the video to help illustrate our point,” Bashor said. “We’re really trying to put a lot of effort behind it.”
These videos go “down the rabbit hole” into tackling the biggest nerdy questions, including topics like the effects of violent video games or what would happen after the newest Avenger movie where half of all life is gone.
Now they’re working on a video that’ll try to figure out which Pokemon would be the easiest to live with, which has Bashor looking Pokemon stats and researching insurance policies.
“It’s just silly and imaginative,” he said. “But it’s hard to find your angle and not get washed out by everyone else. We have to stretch our creativity and figure out how we fit into all this.”
Bashor’s created a community where he is able to introduce people to this unique nerdy news network.
“What I love the most is that some people are able to find a home within our community where they’re able to share what they like and find other people who like it as well,” he said. “Keeping that community going and giving people some place to learn, grow and share what they love is definitely worth it.”
On top of all this, Bashor also does coverage for other shows where he creates research-heavy videos, some of which look at movie trailers frame by frame to see if there are any hidden Easter eggs, for example.
Now, Bashor has more than 84,000 followers on Twitter and 78,000 on Instagram, and he even recently did a paid partnership with Jack in the Box in which he was featured in a social media Super Bowl commercial.
“I’m just trying to make sure I say ‘yes,’ and when a cool opportunity comes, I can’t pass up on it,” he said.
Bashor’s goal is to continue fostering a positive community where he can share what he loves. “This is definitely not what I thought I was going to be doing, but I’m very honored and very fortunate to be doing it now.”
For more information on Bashor or his channels, visit onlystupidanswers.com.