Baelnorn’s Year in Review 2023

2023 is almost over, which means it’s time for me to reflect on my channel over the last year. It’s become something of a tradition that started in 2019. I’ve found it invaluable for seeing my progress over the past several years and this year is no different. I was feeling very down about my content till I looked at my past year’s data. Despite the end of the year being rather rough for content, the year was a net positive!

YouTube

Goals From 2022

2023 was looking to be the year of YouTube for me. By the end of 2022, I had been releasing weekly content since April of that year. I had also played around with YouTube Shorts, mostly giving up, till I had some success at the end of 2022. That led me to want to set a goal of releasing more Shorts in 2023.

I wanted to continue my Let’s LARP series, where I impart some of my knowledge or cover an interesting LARP topic in an informative video. I also wanted to do another season of LARP Chats, a LARP interview series, and do at least four more narrative videos.

How It Turned Out

2023 was certainly the year of YouTube for me. I managed to post weekly videos from April 2022 to October 2023. Even then, I only missed a few weeks hear and there during the last few months of the year.

While I did produce season two of LARP Chats, it had fewer episodes than the first season. I also didn’t do as much work on the Let’s LARP series as I expected.

The biggest impact on the growth of my channel was the YouTube Shorts. I have no doubt that it was due to posting two shorts a week that led to such an increase in watch time and views (See analytics below).

I do not think I kept the motivation I had at the end of 2022. It carried me far this year, but I didn’t see the personal growth in my content that I had been hoping for. I think the content improved and I learned, but I have been faltering the last several months.

I was just one video shy of my goal of four narrative videos. I had the fourth one recorded, but I won’t have it out before the end of 2023.

Goals For 2024

Till I compared 2022’s analytics to 2023, I felt like I was ending 2023 with zero progress and that is absolutely not true. I am not starting over from nothing, but I do need to build back up some habits.

In the first several months of 2024, I imagine I’ll be getting back into the habit of creating content on a faster cadence again. I want to create more Let’s LARP and LARP Chat videos.

I can’t think of setting any other goals beyond getting back on track with creating content. That is my first priority. This of course includes getting back to releasing YouTube Shorts on a regular cadence as well.

Streaming

Goals From 2022

I had a lot of hope for streaming in 2023. I wanted to continue streaming Baelnorn and Friends and add clips of the shows on my YouTube. That was my main focus but I also had some secondary goals

I also wanted to do more Dungeons and Dragons creation while streaming and get back to my writing streams. I also was considering moving my streaming to YouTube.

How It Turned Out

Streaming did not turn out all that well. I only managed to do a few Baelnorn and Friends streams before I had trouble organizing them. I also made the move to YouTube streaming, it was the right move. It has helped my channel’s watch time. I was also able to start making clips of those streams.

I also streamed several sessions of creating D&D content, but that petered out after the first few months. I don’t think I did any writing streams in 2023

Goals For 2024

My only goal for 2024 is to get back to streaming Baelnorn and Friends. I think it will be great for the channel and will help diversify the content further. Other than that I don’t expect to get back into the streaming sphere.

Writing in 2023

Goals From 2022

I was very optimistic for my writing in 2023. I wanted to finish the rough draft of my novel by the end of the year. I also wanted to finish a short story I had started in 2022 and finish another short story in 2023

Additionally, I wanted to start publishing D&D content on my Patreon on a monthly basis.

How It Turned Out

My lack of writing in 2022 followed me into 2023. I hardly touched my novel. I did one edit pass but didn’t do any writing. I also didn’t keep up on the D&D content. I published one supplement, although I did write enough for more than that. I just have managed to do the proper formatting and finding pictures I can use.

Goals For 2024

I would love to finish the rough draft of my novel in 2024. I think it’s possible, but I’ve also been pretty uninspired for a while now and I don’t now if that will change or not.

I will continue to write D&D, as it’s a natural byproduct of my running my two Dungeon and Dragons campaigns. Hopefully, I’ll get to the point where where will I publish more supplements. One of the big sticking points is getting artwork for them.

A Bit of Analytics

I thought the growth in 2022 was pretty good, but it has nothing on the growth of 2023. You can see below that there was 372 % growth in views in 2022 but in 2023 there was growth of 591% from the previous year. That has to do with the introduction of Shorts on my channel.

At the end of 2022 there was a growth of 337% in watch time from 2021. 2023 saw a growth of 140%. The growth wasn’t as big as 2022, but considering there was very little on the channel in 2021, this makes sense. Both the Shorts and moving to YouTube Streaming has helped grow the channel’s watch time.

I gained 44 Subscribers in 2021, 150 in 2022, and a whopping 322 in 2023. At the end of the year, I’m sitting at 618 subscribers. Less than 400 short of the goal of 1,000 subscribers, the amount needed for monetization of the channel. I think it’s reasonable that I will get to 1k subs by the end of 2024

2021 Year End YouTube Analytics

2022 Year End YouTube Analytics

2023 Year End YouTube Analytics

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Biggest Little Fur Con

I did something I’ve never done before, I went to a furry convention. Specifically the Biggest Little Fur Con (BLFC) in Reno, Nevada. Why would a LARPer, who doesn’t identify as a furry, go to one of the biggest furry conventions in North America? A wedding of course!

My high school friend Vincent (know as Hawk in the furry community) has been trying to get me to go to BLFC for years, but it’s been difficult to make the trip; he’s been helping run it for years now.. Then he he decided to get married to his partner Pony and they decided to hold the wedding at the convention. I couldn’t not go.

I think it was a big ploy to finally get me to attend the con, it had nothing to do with marrying the love of his life. No, he knew I wouldn’t want to miss one of my best friend’s wedding so he doubled up events so I had to finally see this convention he’s been helping to run for years.

Before helping run furry events Vincent was a big help in running LARP events with me, specifically feasts. For over a decade he was my right hand man. I don’t plan on going into it, but if you’re interested in learning more about Vincent’s time in LARP I did have an interview with him. You can find the video HERE on my YouTube channel.

I went to the con for the full time, Monday to Thursday, and had a pretty fun time. I had driven down with two friends, Dale and Riley. Dale didn’t spend as much time at the con as Riley and I, as he had to spend most of each day working from the Airbnb.

Despite being there every day we only attended one of the panels, “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra” a Star Trek panel that focused on one episode and how it was a metaphor for US-USSR relations at the end of the Cold War. I was surprised to see a Star Trek panel at a furry, con but considering Riley and I run a Star Trek podcast, we had to go to that panel. (check out our podcast at www.hightrekpodcast.com). It was a pretty interesting panel but I wasn’t 100 percent sold on the interpretation, but the presenter did a good job presenting his argument.

We spent most of our time just vibing, especially on Wednesday. That’s the day we stayed the latest, not going back to our place till 1am. Riley and I hit up the pool party and got our drink on. They went swimming while I vibed to the music and sipped on my drink. I was enjoying the music and the crowed. The dance floor was popping, although I don’t have a picture of it.

After Riley was done swimming in the pool and chilling in the hot tub we hit up the main dance party before heading back to our rental. The party was banging and the energy was infectious. I’ve been to several cons (running them usually) and this audio and visual set up was by far the best I’ve seen and heard.

The whole experience was very enjoyably and I was happy to have been there to support Vincent at his wedding. I even got a little watery eyed during the ceremony. Before the con I already had some idea of furry culture from talking with Vincent, but experiencing it first hand helped me understand it better. I came away with a new understanding of furry events and a rather interesting observation about the culture. There are a lot of similarities between LARP communities and the furry community, which might be the subject of it’s own blog.

Will I go back? I would most certainly consider it! Does that make me a furry? Na, but Dale Riley and I did spend some time talking about what our fursona would be. I’m not sure what people in the furry community would say about what I decided my fursona would be, but I did make a decision. I would be a werebear gnome.

If I were to get a fur suit it would be a bear suit and I’ d wear LARP garb and of course a gnome hat. When I took off the fur suit, I would still be wearing garb and again, of course a gnome hat. No matter what form I was in, I’d be gnomish!

Pictures

I also wanted to share the pictures I took at the convention. There aren’t to many, but I did enjoy taking the ones I did take. Most of them are from Wednesday, a few from the pool party and a few from the dance party.

My Own Trials in the Pacific

I’m not able to release my normal Monday YouTube video for the second week, but I wanted release something today, so I went with a blog. I’ve written about what I’ve been up to the past two months, with a particular focus on the Trials of the Pacific Mane event.

The Last Two Months

The last two months have been wild. In six weeks I went to three deferent LARP campouts. Two Amtgard events, Pacific War, and Northern Light’s Fall Coronation Campout and the third was a Belegarth Event, Trials of the Pacific Mane. While I had a lot of fun at these three events, it’s also been something of a trail of endurance for me.

Then on to of that, this last weekend I made another trip up to Washington to visit with Riley. While we had a lot of fun, much like the LARP event, the weekend was also about work. We recorded two episodes of our podcast High Trek, as well as two of our mid week shows, High Tea Time. It’s always fun, but very exhausting, especially when we record back to back like that.

Trial of the Content Creation Grind

All this extra events and travel has made keeping up with my content creation goals difficult. There is such a thing as post-event blues and I’m susceptible to that too, just like anyone else. Plus I’m still dealing with what I hope is the tail end of an increased depression spike (read about that HERE) adding to the difficulty.

This has been a lot of traveling and work for me! Between the four weekends I’ve traveled at least 1,200. Then, each weekend I spent time working on recording content. Granted I also had a lot of fun, but it takes a deferent kind of energy to add work on top of the fun, which in and of itself causes exhaustion.

Even at the Northern Lights event, where I ended up not working as much as I expected, I put in work each day. Sadly there was an equipment issue and the vlog of the event I planned on doing didn’t have enough clean audio. You can read more about that weekend HERE. There will be at least one or two knighting videos though. I’ll publish those even if they have some audio issues.

Trials of the Pacific Mane

I want to take a little extra time to talk about one of the events in a little more detail, Trails of the Pacific Mane I was really exited to check out the Belegarth event. It deserves it’s own blog and it will get it, I recorded enough content I’ll be able to put together a vlog for the YouTube Channel! Still, I wanted to say a few words here about it as well.

My only other experience with a Belegarth event is Western Wars. (Check out the blog of my last visit to the event HERE.) I’ve gone there several times throughout the years, but until this year there hasn’t really been another Belegarth camping event within my driving distance.

I enjoyed seeing the differences between the two events. Unlike Western Wars, Trials had more planned events. There were several tournaments, battlegames and arts and science classes, plus planned night activities. There was even a quest board!

Western Wars is a more relaxed event and from my experience. The primary planned activities at the event were line fighting and night activities. Fun, very fun, but not the most diverse experience when it comes to events.

Unlike most events, where I sleep on site, I had an AIrbnb. I shared it with Gustav, who drove up with me and Devry. This limited my time I could spend hanging out socializing at night, but I had fun watching the fighting, I even fought a little with Gustav. I also attended a class on Belegarth war braids, it was fairly interesting. There will be more about that in the vlog.

The event runner Dwarf made a point to say hello and check in on me to see how I was doing several times through the event. He made me feel very welcome and not only that, he asked about feedback on the event. I was happy to provide some. He was very receptive and appreciated my advice and observations, which I appreciated. I like talking shop.

On top of the vlog I also recorded at least one of tournaments as well as the Real Battle (For those in Amtgard, Realms is the Belegarth version of Holdings). The tournaments were ran differently that I have experienced. In Amtgard It’s usually a bearpit or a bracketed tournament. At the event people just randomly got into a line, fought who was next to them, then the winners got back into winners only line and it was repeated, until there was one winner. It was an interesting way to organize a tournament.

The Realm Battle was pretty cool, it was two big teams and a smaller team duking it out. They did three rounds, and I think the video turned out really well. People were hyped for the battle, there was a lot pre-game battle chanting. I got some of it on video and I’m sure going to try and incorporate it into something!

Where Is The Content?

I have videos from every event attended, so when is it going to come out? I’ve already started to release it! The videos will generally come out in order of recording. I have already released one PacWar video and one NLCC video.

The rest of the videos will probably come out in order, starting with the rest of the tournament videos at PacWar, I will then the release the knighting videos from NLLC followed by the fighting videos at The Trials of the Pacific Mane and ending with the vlog from the event. This will take several weeks, but they are coming! I also recorded some ditching at my local park of Silvermoon, so that might be thrown into the mix some where.

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