Shuppert racks up views on hand-drawn animations

Evan Ponstingle | Staff Writer

Senior David Shuppert has put his art into action and it’s going viral.

Shuppert has maintained a YouTube channel under the alias “TNTSquirrel” where he posts his animated creations. His most recent video, “Enderman in Smash–Animation,” racked up over 1.7 million views in the span of one month.

While Shuppert only created his YouTube channel two years ago, he has been on the online animation scene for a little over five years, starting with making projects on the Scratch programming site. 

“I started playing around with frame by frame animations,” Shuppert said. “I started drawing, and I got a drawing tablet. Scratch [is] for children’s coding. It’s mostly for games, so I [decided] to switch to YouTube and post my passion projects there.”

Shuppert’s idea for this specific video came from the popular video game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. After the announcement that the popular Steve character from Minecraft would be joining the game in an update, Shuppert planned a video based around it, with a two-week timeframe to complete it before the update went live.

“I think I posted it a couple days after they put it into the downloadable content,” Shuppert said. “For the little [vignettes] in the video, I just see which game franchises I could kind of mock or mess with and see what I can do.”

Shuppert’s ideas for this video were larger than that of his other videos, which led to some challenges of doing a more ambitious project. “I haven’t done an animation that long before,” Shuppert said. “ I also had a bunch of sound effects, I drew all the backgrounds, and I did some special effects. I haven’t done that before.

Shuppert posted about the video on the popular Minecraft Subreddit to help drum publicity. What started as just a trickle of viewers suddenly started snowballing as YouTube’s algorithms started putting the video into more and more Recommended sections, much to the joy of the 37,000 people who have “liked” it.

“Usually when I post a video I just expect a thousand views,” Shuppert said. “That’s usually what I get.  This one was a little bit longer so I was like, okay, maybe [20,000 views] because I also posted it on Reddit. But then it hit a million. It’s just such a big number, I can’t even comprehend it.”

Shuppert’s video has been viewed by people all over the world. “It’s kind of surreal,” Shuppert said. “I saw some of the comments on there in French and Spanish. Most of the video does not have any dialogue– it’s all about this non-dialogue storytelling, [so] a lot of people outside of the US and English-speaking countries can view it and enjoy it!”

Despite the viral nature of the video, Shuppert will not be profiting from it. However, the success of this video has allowed Shuppert the opportunity to make money from ad revenue in the future.

“[The video] was copyright claimed,” Shuppert said. “I already knew [the song] was copyrighted. I wasn’t planning to make money off of this, but now my channel is eligible to make adsense revenue. I might be doing that [in the future], but animation is just a passion for me so I don’t think I want to monetize it yet.”

Shuppert’s main idea for his channel is to have fun, and utilize his animation talents for the public’s enjoyment. “I want to get my voice out there; I want to tell jokes,” Shuppert said. “That’s usually my number one [goal] because I’m not a very serious person. I just like to goof around but I don’t know, maybe [there are] some little life lessons in there…1.7 million [is] a big number.”

Graphic by Aadrija Biswas