NeverEnding caters to a different breed of creator
When most people think of YouTubers, they think of people standing in front of a camera sharing content everything about her life – from her favorite products to intimate details about her love life. But at a time when the internet is more invasive than ever, where are content creators who want a little more privacy? That’s why Jamie Van Doren is building NeverEnding, a platform that allows camera-shy creatives to share content through avatars and animations.
“My thought was, wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a platform where you could take control of your own narrative? Where you could bring your authentic voice without being in front of the camera?” said Van Doren in a Zoom interview with Passionfruit.
NeverEnding’s recently released early-stage beta tools create 2D and 3D avatars for social media and live streaming. With nearly 50 customization options, NeverEnding’s Character Builder lets you create and color billions of unique characters. Users can also bring their avatars to life with the platform’s webcomics feature, which gives them the tools to create a comic strip or an entire graphic novel based on their avatar.
“NeverEnding gives you the ability to create animated videos on the fly without knowing anything about art and without knowing anything about animation,” he said. “We use video game technology and, in the future, AI to help you edit and infuse high-quality cinematographic principles into the videos you create and share.”
What are the creators thinking so far?
One content creator who has already tried NeverEnding is Brandon Tharp, founder of tabletop roleplaying game community (TTRPG) The Cantrip Cast. The community, which also acts as an independent publisher for third parties Dungeons and Dragons Content, caters to people who are passionate about eTTRPGs, video gaming, streaming and content creation. In an email conversation with Passionfruit, Tharp said he’s eagerly awaiting the full launch of NeverEnding to harness the power of the platform’s mobile accessibility and functionality.
“As a TTRPG content creator, sometimes you need things that are fast to represent a scene that happened in a recent game so that you can show it to the audience,” he said. “A tool like [NeverEnding] would be of great help in this process. Additionally, the animation tools they are releasing/working on could really improve TTRPG Story type videos where we can animate parts of a story from a game!”
Additionally, Tharp added that the platform’s robust suite of storytelling tools will continue to enhance the experience for players and the audiences viewing their content.
“I look forward to using Neverending as a creator because it will be a great tool to add to our videos and even campaigns from a storytelling perspective,” he said. “Being able to have a character/scene creation tool will be able to add new visuals to our games for both players and viewers.
The breaking of the lens
It was Van Doren’s love of animation and cartoons that inspired him to create a social media platform that breaks the confines of putting content on his face. NeverEnding, he said, opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for content creation.
“I love animation and cartoons because anything is possible,” he explained. “I just wanted to put these tools in the hands of anyone without spending hundreds of hours learning how to use the technology. The problem with current social media and content creation—on every single platform, whether it’s Twitch, YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok—is that you’re fundamentally limited by what you can create. You are limited by what you look like, where you can go, and what you can do physically.
Increasing story time
According to Van Doren, more than 100 developers are currently using NeverEnding to create unique avatars and characters for games such as Dungeons and Dragons, scoutand vampire. But gamers aren’t the only developers drawn to this unique form of content creation. Users from other industries, including esports, video games, and comedy, are also using the platform to tell their stories.
“Many of us are natural storytellers. We tell stories all the time about what happened last weekend or bad experiences we had,” added the founder. “Stories are easy to understand and easy for us to connect with, regardless of our different backgrounds. We can still find similarities in history. I think that’s so critical because social media is isolating. We don’t feel like we’re capable of being our authentic selves and I hope that will be another option.”
Van Doren believes NeverEnding allows creators to stand out from the crowd of Get Ready With Me videos and fast food shows through high-quality, compelling and authentic storytelling. Crucially, he added, being able to give creators the ability to animate their stories amplifies their messages and reinforces the story’s content by distracting from its looks.
“I think one of the coolest things I’d like to show creators early on is sharing their authentic experiences. But when you share it as a story, instead of just being you sitting in your car with your phone in front of you, you’re literally animate that and share it in a way that takes the focus away from you and puts the focus on the story. ” he said.
Disconnect from your content
Van Doren launched NeverEnding in 2020. Today, his company has grown to 28,000 users and over $150,000 in revenue. He credits his early success to the platform’s focus on minority and marginalized creators.
“It’s really difficult to stand out – whether it’s on YouTube, TikTok or Twitter. If you’re anyone, but especially a minority or someone who’s marginalized, that focus is often on you,” he said. “People say terrible things. Being able to differentiate yourself and not be your content means there are fewer opportunities for people to make those very hateful, personal comments about you. It’s about the story you publish. I think it’s very liberating and allows us to try more things.”
Van Doren said the easiest way for developers to integrate NeverEnding into their brand is to experiment with different types of content on the platform.
“Animated content is so liberating because there’s so much you can do with it,” he said. “It can appeal to so many different people, and people can get into it and do things that are really unique. You can have parents who animate children’s stories. You can have a fashion influencer doing their own version of Emily in Paris. It’s unlimited.”
Not only does Van Doren help grow and diversify your audience, but it also gives you the tools to create standout stories that get noticed.
“For those creators who are struggling to create a brand and find an individual voice, perhaps this is an opportunity to do so because it will make a difference, especially in its early stages,” he said.
Ultimately, Van Doren’s goal is to release the 3D animation suite in 2023 and the AI video editing tools in 2024. To achieve this, he is currently raising funds to develop a full 3D animation suite – no animation studio or skills required.
NeverEnding will be rolling out more tools for developers in March with the goal of continuing to release new things for users to try while building their community and audience.
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