Calvin Campos is making a name for himself on the big screen. Or in this day and age, the little screen, via a personal YouTube channel he hosts about zoo animals.
Campos, a junior, has a special interest in zoology. His eyes were opened to the myriad ways he could showcase his interests after spending his summers at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, New Jersey.
Comparing himself to the likes of Steve Irwin and Jack Hanna, Campos hopes to share his fascination for animals with curious viewers. He just needed to figure out an accessible way to do so. And that is how his YouTube channel was born. “My mom and my aunt said that I should talk about [animals],” Campos said. “So I decided to do that.” YouTube gives Campos the flexibility to post when he wants, not on a strict schedule, which Campos emphasized was imperative, as his channel takes second priority to his schoolwork.
In addition to researching and conducting the voiceover for the information recited in his videos, Campos is solely responsible for his channel’s graphics. These graphics include his cartoon persona whom he has dubbed, CreatureCal, which physically resembles Campos. His videos are done with humor, but also have an educational value. The future National Geographic explorer has garnered 47 subscribers and an average of 114 views per video.
Campos currently has posted eight videos in the two months since the creation of his channel. Each video focuses on a new and different animal, with one of his most popular videos spotlighting lions, which featured a reference to The Lion King to encourage others to watch it. Another centers around the debate: Bison vs. Buffalo. “I want each video not to be about the animal, but something about each animal. I like to keep them short but I also like to have some information in them,” Campos said.
Campos’s video introductions are self-made, featuring a catchy song and a cartoon animation. Each cartoon shows zookeeper CreatureCal meeting animal after animal until he is finally surrounded by all the animals. CreatureCal, the cartoon version of Campos, is a likeable, funny, intelligent individual, much like Campos himself. Campos said. “I call him cartoon me!”
Broadening his usual style for videos is a skill Campos is trying to develop to improve his work. To produce his videos, he uses an app called Animation Pro. “It requires a lot of artwork and animation, I draw in the backgrounds and can also create body parts to create a figure.” Campos is quite proud of his graphic self. His graphics are reminiscent of children’s PBS shows.
Although Campos’ CreatureCal is a Youtube channel that would appeal to fans of Animal Planet, pet lovers, or zoo visitors, Campos, who will be posting more videos soon, thinks they are enjoyable to watch. “I’m going to try to keep working on these episode because it’s something fun.”