2020 Year In Review

Greetings fellow Observers! To summarize what all has happened with Oddities Observed over the past year, it helps to look at where we were going as 2019 ended and 2020 just began. Following such a strong end to the previous year, 2020 was lining up to be an incredible year for us as we looked at what we had planned already in the pipeline!

These were the things we had going for us at the time:

  • We were continuing to post fantastic articles on the website which brought in much needed engagement for TheFoundrycast.com.

  • Our Follows and Likes on Facebook were slowly rising towards 300, with some good commentary from our readers.

  • There were couple of big projects that were in the works for months that were poised for release after more editing and research.

  • The Oddities Observed YouTube page had been established, with a couple of views a day mainly on our Biltmore Estate piece.

We were keeping an eye on the world at large as the COVID-19 situation was continuing to spread and worsen, but its full effects were not yet being realized in the US, or in our local area, so it was difficult to know what was still on the horizon. January through March saw a series of 9 different articles coming out, some of the best we had written in a while, finding humor in the macabre and nailing down a little better what the voice and perspective was of Oddities Observed itself. There were a few professional issues going on behind the scenes, but it was a good time for content and our biggest work to date was about to debut.

The project we were dedicated to the most, with over 6 months of work, had finally been edited and finished, ready for release. Our Helen’s Bridge video was our longest and most involved project thus far, and we were so very proud to release it that we watched viewership grow into the several hundreds of views quite quickly. Plans for a follow-up video were being drafted, when several coinciding incidents completely took our momentum away.

Then, as the COVID-19 virus pandemic surged, the fallout affected everyone, everywhere, and Oddities Observed was no different. From several standpoints, including personal and career-wise, we had to slam on the breaks. It was such a difficult time that we were unable to produce the quantity or quality of content that we wanted. Some of the content we had planned at that time had begun to feel insincere or even in bad taste in respect to the greater national and global perspective. Personal motivation was also diminished, and so starting at the beginning of April, we went dark.

It was not until late in the summer months before we began to recover and the wheels of creation began turning once more. First, we released a short article on July 17th that narrated the standpoint of Oddities Observed throughout this crisis and why we were not covering anything conspiracy theory related. Looking at our workload, there were several large projects still on the docket that were too massive to get under and would need more time. Thus, slowly but surely, we dusted ourselves off and got to work on a few easier articles to attempt to build back that momentum we had in early March. Some pieces would be placed on the shelf to be revisited later, but one of our Strange But True articles came out in this time on August 19th.

In October, our 3 year anniversary came and went without any fanfare as our attention was placed more directly on getting our Doubles and Shadows video out in time for a Halloween debut. The more “observant” of you who have been with us for some time now might have noticed that this video was an upgraded revamp of previous articles which had been featured on the Oddities Observed Facebook page. After looking back through our little catalogue of content, it was some of the content that stood out the most that were deserving of a video relaunch. While it did not receive the same level of viewership as earlier work, it was a refreshing start.

Sometime in early December, we finally breeched 100 subscribers on our YouTube page. Achieving this milestone felt awesome, although it was a difficult climb. We began to put more thought into what our analytics meant, we began to post on Reddit, and we implemented a near 100% reply strategy to all comments, regardless of the remark.

There was another video which was drafted and scripted, and even had all of the audio recordings in place for the full and final edit, but it was pushed over into early January so that we could finalize another video. This alternate video about the fears of each state in 2020 was actually from an article published in early October, but we did not catch on to the material until several weeks later, and thought it would make for a fitting end of 2020 video for the Oddities Observed YouTube channel. While not a massive project, the video editing of the piece was some of the most involved to date. Having just been released, it will be interesting to see how it fares in the public eye over the next few weeks.

What do we have in store for 2021?

The Facebook page and the articles on our website will begin to shift into more supporting functions as opposed to featuring unique content. Some articles will still be released in written form, due to our love of the written word and because we do still grab some much needed viewership from our blogs, particularly regarding niche content. Yet, this format will better serve us in hosting more Behind The Scenes types of material, while our biggest press forward will be over on YouTube.

On YouTube, we have a really cool video coming out soon, with a special guest back to help with narration duties. It’s another relaunch of an older article, but enhanced and ready for prime time. We expect to have that out by mid-January, possibly with a supporting article on the website with some evidence to support the claims in the video. Also, we are really hopeful that our second hundred subscribers will come faster than our first hundred, but we will have to wait and see.

Moving forward into the spring months, we will be looking back into getting more POV footage at local haunted landmarks in Asheville, NC, if travel and local curfews allow it. The Biltmore Estate video is by far our most successful video, bringing in more viewership numbers and subscribers than anything else. So, an updated video about the Biltmore Estate with new video clips and personal stories might be upcoming as well.

And that brings us to the end of one of the most captivating and heart wrenching years in recent memory. It was incredibly difficult for Oddities Observed to continue with the production levels we had seen in the later half of 2019, but we are glad to say that it certainly did not break us. We have learned from the downtime and decided on a few ways to be smarter about the content we produce. We needed a more detailed look at what was working and what was not working. We began to ask ourselves, ‘What exactly was it that our viewership audience was enjoying the most?’ Yet, with all of the downsides and the loss of momentum, we still claim the year as a win and we look forward to bringing more supernatural and downright strange stories in 2021.

Cheers to you and yours!