We had the pleasure of interviewing Alien Boyfriend all about his journey as a Vtuber!
1. What inspired you to become a Vtuber?
I’ve always wanted to be an entertainer, because I’ve always loved to make people smile. In high school I was your typical drama club kid, I loved to have the spotlight on me, and as I got older I moved into more online creative efforts. First it was video essays with a series of still images for an avatar — a project I do want to get back to eventually — but when writing scripts started to become nonviable because of my dayjob and hectic life, a streaming platform was the next step that seemed fitting. I was using no facecam for the first few months, because at that point, I had no idea what vtubing was, but when I got into a mutual following with a vtuber and found out more about it, I realized that that was kinda what I’d already been doing with my video essays! From there, I made myself a pngtuber model — a 2D still image that reacts to your voice — and a while after that, I commissioned the 3D model I currently use from @shiverjayart on Twitter. I’ve always had a more creative side, and I’ve always tended to see myself in a more “nonhuman” way for various reasons. I’ve had several avatars and sonas I’ve used to depict myself online, and in a way, my avatar feels more like “me” than my actual face does. Vtubing was a very natural fit for me because of that.
2. Tell us about your model!
He’s a little fuzzy blue alien! What’s not to love! No, haha, but, Alien’s basically designed to be as appealing to me specifically as possible, with a lot of elements that I love to draw, and I hope that that design appeals to others, too! I took a little bit of inspiration from my own style of drawing Andalites from the Animorphs series, made him bipedal, and gave him big sharp teeth and claws. That sharpness is balanced out by the otherwise very round shapes and all the fluff that he has, my goal with that being still giving off a very cute and friendly vibe while still keeping some more “predator”-like features. I’m extremely proud of how he’s turned out, and you can tell I am because the design’s stayed relatively the same over the course of five or so years! Alien started off as the mascot character for the Youtube channel I originally had; the idea was that since the channel was called Alien Boyfriend, he was the alien boyfriend. Eventually, before the channel even kicked off, he just became more a representation of me than anything else, and that’s carried forward. He’s an alien from Planet Cupid, a world where each Cupidian has their own special interest, and his interest is in human art, media, and storytelling.
3.What is the best part about being a Vtuber?
It’s a way to get very expressive and creative with streaming that you can’t do as easily with a regular facecam. I can put my model anywhere I want, I can have him wear whatever I want, and I can let chat throw fish at my head if I want! Like I said before, my online persona often feels like it’s more “me” than my actual face is. In a way, streaming through an avatar lets me feel more authentic to my own experience, and it helps me to be expressive without the worry and self consciousness I can get regarding my real-life face. Vtubing helps me to be much less anxious while still performing for people like I’ve always wanted to do.
4. What would you tell someone who wants to become a Vtuber?
Any advice? Take it slow. Whether you’re getting into it as a hobby or with the intent to eventually make money, if you’re not making your own design, model, or graphics package, the startup cost can be a lot, not to mention the cost of hardware and equipment, and it can take a few years before your view count on any stream or video even gets out of the teens. Anyone who got more viewers quicker got very lucky. Don’t be afraid to be bad at first, and don’t expect to look and sound like a professional from your first stream onwards. Grow and learn, and your audience will grow with you. You can start investing real money after a year’s under your belt and you really know if you wanna stick with it long term. Until then, a PNG, some free pre-made graphics and audio, and an affordable podcasting microphone are your best friends. On top of that, make sure to take time for yourself, especially if you still have a day job. I limit my scheduled streams to twice a week for that exact reason, because otherwise, there’s not a single day where I wouldn’t be working. Even then, I sometimes have to cancel scheduled streams to give myself time to breathe. Streaming is fun, making videos are fun, but they’re still work; you still have to be “on” during them. Creator burnout is real, and you can drive yourself very quickly to it even when you’re new if you’re not careful.
5. Goals for this year?
Just like any other online performer, I’d really love to grow my audience this year. I’m hoping to hit 1k followers on Twitch by my next streamiversary, which is in December, and hopefully by then I’ll have a community Discord server set up where I can interact more closely with everyone. I’d also love to reach out more to other Vtubers, especially other trans or LGBT vtubers, and actually set up some collabs! I want to get more involved with the Vtubing community as a whole.
6. Where can people support you?
I’m on Twitter as @alienboyfriend, on Tumblr as ali3nboyfriend, and on Twitch at http://twitch.tv/alienboyfriend ! I take one time donations and monthly subs through Twitch, but I’m honestly just happy when people stick around, hang out, and have a good time with me! I stream every Tuesday and Wednesday at 5:00pm CST, and my current rotating games are Deadspace, Bioshock, Wobbledogs, a handful of park building sims, Stardew Valley, and Destiny 2. I do a live play DND game with my close good friends every other Sunday called The Unchosen Ones, and that’s also hosted on my Twitch channel. I usually stream with a couple of buds on call regardless of what I’m doing, so if you like the vibes of hanging out with your friends and laughing over dumb and chaotic things, that’s exactly what I aim to serve! I hope to see you there. <3