Introducing Rational Animations

Crossposted to LessWrong

Hello, everyone

In February, my girlfriend and I started Rational Animations, a YouTube channel with the long-term mission of producing high-quality animated videos about rationality and Effective Altruism. The aim is to spread these ideas to a broader audience, organize fundraisers, and animate rationality and EA ideas in general.

I’ve been reading and interacting with the EA and rationality community for a few years. I have other accounts on the EA Forum and LW focused on a niche topic. Still, I decided to start fresh with this account for talking about more diversified topics and crossposting relevant videos from the channel, either accompanied by the scripts of the videos or by an article more suitable for Less Wrong or the EA Forum. I will probably also post articles that won’t make it to the YT channel and experiment with different topics to see what is more appreciated.

My name here is “Writer” because I write the scripts for the channel. The videos you see uploaded right now are all narrated by me, but this will change soon. I also take decisions on the channel’s direction, advertise it, interact with subscribers, etc. In short, I do everything that isn’t animation and graphics, and I’ll outsource narration to someone else.

You can consider the first three videos as trials, in which I was testing the waters. Both the animator and I are still improving, but the following videos will be increasingly representative of our future uploads.

In April, we received a grant from the Effective Altruism Infrastructure Fund. We are using it for the animator’s equipment, salary for the next six months, paying our new narrator, and potentially pursue paid advertisement strategies. I already experimented with YT ads, but they were disappointing. I have more creative ideas that don’t rely on ads or third-party advertisers. For the longer term, the animator and I would really like to make a career with this project.

Suggest stuff!

One thing I would be fond of doing is to bring articles from LW to the YouTube channel. So don’t be afraid to message me if there is something that you consider particularly important or interesting that you would like to see animated. I will probably answer with a considerable delay because I’ll have plenty of videos already scheduled. But I’ll definitely consider your idea and get back to you if I decide to implement it.

It would also be cool to see some of the best “historic” posts adapted for YT and animated, or even recent posts that I really like. In the future, I might reach out to the author of a post to ask if I can bring it to YT.

Eternal Septembers: something to be avoided

What I won’t do is aggressively advertise LessWrong and the EA Forum. If the channel succeeds, I will organize fundraisers for EA charities. If I adapt an article for YT, I will link it in the description or just credit the author. If I use quotes from an author on LW or the EA Forum, I will probably credit them on-screen. But I will never say: “Come on LW! Plenty of cool people there!” especially if the channel becomes big. Otherwise, “plenty of cool people” becomes Reddit pretty fast.

If the channel becomes big, I will also refrain from posting direct links to LW and the EA Forum. Remind me if I ever forget. And let me know if these rules are not conservative enough.

Next video

The next video will be out on June 1st at 15:00 EST. I will post an accompanying article just on LW because it is about a rationality topic. The video after that will be about an EA topic, good both for LW and the EA Forum.

One of the many covers we’ll be using. Another version is in the LW article.