So you might remember that, back in February, I wrote about the best channels on YouTube for listening to creepy stories and recommended the rather fabulous Phantom Librarian as the best storyteller there. You can check out my original ramblings here!
Since then, Phantom Librarian has been kind enough to have a bit of a chat with me, so for you, dear readers, here’s what he had to say.
There’s actually a lot of hard work that goes into researching the story content before the video recording even starts, so how does Phantom Librarian choose which tales to tell and what does he look for in a good creepy story?
“When looking for stories, the process is pretty simple,” he says. “The first thing is that the story has to be interesting to me, so it has to grab my eye and keep me interested throughout the reading.”
“Next, and probably most importantly, is simple shock factor. I try to imagine how well the story might relate to people watching, and predict how shocked or scared by the scenario they might be by imagining or putting themselves in that situation.”
“Generally speaking though, if the story is interesting to me, it’ll probably fit that criteria fine.”
Phantom Librarian himself has declared a fondness for the scary camping and ‘middle of nowhere’ stories, but are there any that he has more of a problem with?
“I have a weakness when it comes to creeper-type stories,” he admits, referring to narratives that generally describe strange people who lurk in the background without making any actual contact. “I find them hard to relate to in a lot of ways, because I’m still trying to figure out exactly how they ‘work’ for people, if that makes any sense. A lot of these stories seem very set in presumption rather than actual deed, so they’re tricky to me.”
Each video takes Phantom Librarian up to nine hours to make, but does all that talking take a toll on his voice and does he perform any vocal preparation techniques before he starts recording?
“As far as, say, traditional vocal exercises that some voice actors may use, I don’t have anything like that,” he says. “I do have a very annoying throat condition, though, which requires the constant clearing of my throat to keep my voice from suddenly changing or bottoming-out. I have to pause my recordings every fifteen to thirty seconds to do this, and if I don’t my voice gradually changes over the course of the day.”
Sounds tricky, but how’s that for dedication! For those of you who have listened to his videos you’ll know that he does have a great speaking voice. So does he have a method of coping with this irritating problem?
“I simply have to start clearing my throat as soon as I wake, and start recording as early as I can to keep the quality as high and consistent as possible. Oddly enough, the only thing I’ve found that I can drink which doesn’t exacerbate the problem is hot chocolate, I have no idea why! Other hot drinks don’t work, and anything but that just immediately makes my throat condition worse, even water.”
It’s certainly clear that Phantom Librarian puts a lot of thought into ensuring that the quality of his videos is first-rate for his viewing public, and with over thirty-five thousand happy subscribers he’s obviously getting it right. But what’s the best thing that he gets out of his channel?
“Honestly, the best thing about making videos is the sense of accomplishment and relief that comes after I’ve hit the ‘Publish’ button,” he replies. “Then the comments from viewers start flooding in, telling me how much they enjoyed the video or how much it scared them.”
“I’m a very easy person to unmotivate and I’m horribly self-critical, so during the entire creation process I am riddled with doubt and second-guessing myself. But when those positive comments and feedback start pouring in, it’s like having a giant weight lifted off of me and helps to alleviate whatever doubt I had, encouraging me to keep doing my best and try new things with my videos.”
“I value all the constructive criticism I get, and every time I make a suggested tweak, or experiment a little and it goes over well, it’s really encouraging.”
And Phantom Librarian does try to incorporate commenter suggestions into his videos. A few months back, he created a video with different transitions between the stories and invited everyone to let him know their favourite. This Viking was quite glad that he stuck with the spooky whispering and page-turning effect, I have to say!
He continues “I can honestly say that this channel is the first thing I’ve done in any sort of (semi) professional capacity that makes me feel like I’m truly accomplishing something and having an impact, and that means a lot.”
If you’d like to show Phantom Librarian some love (and you absolutely should!) you can subscribe to his channel and watch his videos by clicking here –
And tell him the Vikings sent you!