Olan Rogers

Short Interview

Olan Rogers telling his story “A Midnight Claw” on his channel on YouTube

Olan Rogers is a YouTuber and human being worth knowing. Firstly, he is a bit of a Renaissance Man. He is a YouTuber with a range of talents. For example, his YouTube videos fall under a range of content categories, including: life, stories, video series/passion projects, sketches/shorts, Rollin with Olan/A conversation between two friends, Admit One, music videos, and experiments. Not to mention, he also acted the role of Walt Disney in the family-oriented As Dreamers Do (2014). However, he is best known for his comedic stories he tells on YouTube.

Photo of poster taken by me of As Dreamers Do at a May 2014 UCLA Screening of the movie

His story “Ghost in the Stalls,” for instance, currently has over 11 million views. Not to mention, Rogers’ channel currently has over 800,000 subscribers. He also acts as an entrepreneur who sells uniquely-styled merchandise, such as apparel that say “Master Commander” (I, actually, own one of these) or are decorated with cartoon battle bears — both thematically connected to the stories he has told.

A battle-bear on a canvas tote that is part of purchaseable Olan Rogers apparel (Source: Olanrogerssupply.com)
Photo of my faded Master Commander t-shirt which is one of much purchaseable Olan Rogers apparel

However, Rogers is not simply a funny man; he is also a fan-dedicated creator who attempts to avoid selling out. Although it sounds cliche, Rogers does actively turn down offers that he perceives could tarnish the integrity of his content. For an example of this, a Netizen would have to look no farther, than to a recent tweet of Rogers’:

Rogers’ sincerity and dedication to not selling out is also evident from his video “The Soda Parlor” that is not a comedic story like “Ghost in the Stalls,” but a story about the lessons of failing and starting again. Ultimately, “The Soda Parlor” is a story of optimism, but it demonstrates a vulnerability and complexity to the figure of Rogers himself that is usually ignored by fans of celebrities. In this case, the ability to refrain from ironic detachment, expressing vulnerability and imagining other human beings complexly is celebrated. Rogers, too, says a memorable line in “The Soda Parlor” that demonstrates this. He said:

I don’t know why you guys support me so much. I made goofy videos on YouTube — there’s no reason why that should even happen… When I see a person light up, it makes me want to know that person, and that’s why I started the Soda Parlor. It was to know the person behind that smile.

And that is the spirit of Rogers’ videos — to see him light up telling stories of acting in his do-it-yourself-made series, so that his feeling of wanting to know the person behind the smile of a fan becomes reciprocal. Empathy is a two-way street, and Rogers makes his content as his way of giving back. It makes you want to understand the goofy yet complex individual of him behind his smile.

(He also just really loves his cat, Starscream.)

Vine from Olan Rogers showing him asking for an ice cream cone from his cat, Starscream, who is in his backpack (Source: Vine)

Rogers was also generous enough to answer ten short-interview questions after I reached out to him digitally. The topics range from influences to As Dreamers Do to advice for upcoming generations.

1) Why did you originally start the Olan Rogers YouTube channel? What did you think it would become? 
I started it mainly because I enjoy making videos and after Balloonshop ended (sketch comedy group I was in) I wanted a new place to continue doing what I love to do. Honestly nothing I just focused on having fun

2) How do you like being apart of YouTube? Do feel like you are a part of a community? Are you friends with other YouTubers? And any channel recommendations?

I have been apart of YouTube for about 10 years. I started in 2005. Yeah, a few of the middle range YouTubers. The top ones keep to their inner circles. Check out Kickthepj and Crabstickz.

3) You hold movie screenings in Nashville now as a part of the Soda Parlor and Summer Nights? What has been one memorable experience doing that?

The Grand Opening of the Soda Parlor and Summer Nights were the top moments here in Nashville.

4) Any favorite novels? If so, what are they? 
I’m currently reading Stephen King’s The Gunslinger. I’m loving it so far.

5) How did you like acting as Walt Disney in As Dreamers Do (2014)? What was one memorable experience you had doing that?

It was a interesting experience. It showed me a lot on what not to do and how it feels to be a actor.

6) What are you most grateful for?

The people around me.

7) Any favorite bands or albums? If so, what are 3–5 of your favorites?

Mumford and Sons and Augustines

8) Are you optimistic about the future of the Internet and Net Neutrality? Why or why not?

I think it will remain the same.

9) Any favorite movies or directors? If so, what are 3–5 of your favorites? 
Sunshine (2007), Interstellar (2014), Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back (1980)

10) If you could give one piece of advice to young people today, what would it be?

Life is too short not to be having fun at what you love to do.

Below are the two aforementioned Olan Rogers videos, “Ghost in the Stalls” and “The Soda Parlor.”

Olan Rogers telling his story “Ghost in the Stalls” on his channel on YouTube
Olan Rogers discussing the impact on him from the failures and successes that led up to the creation of the Soda Parlor and Summer Nights

If you liked the article, then hit the ❤ button below, and, if you cannot get enough, here are links for more about Olan Rogers:

You can subscribe to his YouTube channel here.

You can follow him on Twitter here.

You can look him up on Facebook here.

You can follow him on Tumblr here.

You can follow him on Instagram here.

You can follow him on Vine here.

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