Mark Fischbach of Markiplier
Mark Fischbach of Milford, Ohio, makes a living playing video games. He then films his reactions to them and posts them on YouTube. So far, his videos have garnered more than 23 million hits and his subscriber base continues to grow.
He shared his entrepreneurial insights with Soapbox
When did you decide to pursue voice acting? What led to that decision?
Voice acting has always been something that I've wanted to do. I've been getting comments on my voice since puberty hit like a truck and I thought it was about time that I put it to good use. Oddly enough, I'm still not technically a full-on voice actor because YouTube has been taking up the majority of my time. But it's something that has always appealed to me. I want to do something that's creative and done on my own time as opposed to working a 9-to-5 in a cubicle.
Have you found success (outside of your popular YouTube channel) using your voice? What jobs have you landed?
Most of my voice acting "jobs" have been for other YouTubers. Almost nothing I have done for others has been for pay and it's mostly has been for the cross-promotional effect of growing my own channel. There are a select few smaller games that I have been asked to voice, but I can't talk about them just yet (as far as I know). I'm going to work on really getting my foot in the door in a lot of places outside of YouTube this year.
Who are some of your idols in the industry?
Most of the people who want to be a voice actor have at least a few people that they look up to. I couldn't really name a single one off the top of my head that I would consider my idol. I know of a few and would be able to match voices to faces but I'm not the type of guy that really looks up to anyone in that regard. There are quite a few YouTubers that I look up to though because they show what you can make if you dedicate yourself to your craft and allow creativity to flow unchecked. The person that I look up to the most on YouTube is Freddie Wong of the channel freddiew
He is probably the ideal YouTuber in my mind because he creates some of the most amazing videos every single week for everyone to enjoy. And he makes them with awesome visual effects and top-notch stunts, as well as some hilarious concepts. If I could someday do what he does, I could die a happy man.
Could you describe how you came to be a YouTube gamer? Could you give some insight as to how well YouTube compensates you?
In the beginning, YouTube really is a game of inches. You really have to struggle to get noticed because there are literally thousands of other people trying to get their content noticed. I had to trudge day by day with very little progress to show for it. I had a lot of free time when I first started, so I was really able to throw myself at it and scrape maybe 10 to 20 subscribers a day by networking about 10 hours a day.
Every single day I would be thinking about how to grow my channel and trying to reach out to get viewers without being obnoxious—people often advertise in poor ways such as commenting on bigger channels asking for viewers. That gets you the wrong kind of attention. But that's just getting noticed. The only way to keep followers is to improve your content every day, and obviously have something good to start with.
Either do something that no one has ever done before (nearly impossible with gaming channels) or do it better than everyone else. My voice gives me an edge compared to almost every other YouTuber and I'm glad that I chose to do it.
But it's a long and arduous process before you're going to be making any sort of return. It took me roughly two months before I ever got partnered and it was another five months before my paychecks were anything that I could remotely live off of.
I can't say exactly how YouTube compensates me but it's based off of how many views you get and how many ads play to your viewers. The more viewers, the more ads and the more revenue. I was just lucky enough that I happened to be in a position where I could sacrifice any sort of money for about half a year in pursuit of something that I love to do.
What advice would you give to an aspiring voice actor?
I would probably give them the same advice that I would give anyone that's trying to create something on their own. You have to believe in yourself and what you're doing.
Making videos and using my voice was a joy for me and I would leap out of bed every morning to start working and lose sleep at night thinking about how I could do better. I worked roughly 10 hours a day every single day to try to make a name for myself, and it's just starting to pay off.
Never give up no matter what may set you back and know that at the end of the road, you're going to have something that you can be proud of.
Interview by Sean Peters