2016-08-18 / Front Page

Talent is no trick

Saco boys turn pastime into business opportunity
By Ben Meiklejohn
Staff Writer


Cameron Schaffer, 14, aims a Nerf toy arrow to knock cones off the heads of brother Christian Schaffer, 12, left, and cousin Mark Butts, 13, right. The three boys have developed a large audience with their YouTube channel, MCC TrickShots, where they post videos of trick shots, competitive challenges and comedy. (Ben Meiklejohn photo) Cameron Schaffer, 14, aims a Nerf toy arrow to knock cones off the heads of brother Christian Schaffer, 12, left, and cousin Mark Butts, 13, right. The three boys have developed a large audience with their YouTube channel, MCC TrickShots, where they post videos of trick shots, competitive challenges and comedy. (Ben Meiklejohn photo) SACO – A trio of relatives – two brothers and their cousin – are fast becoming a YouTube sensation. With more than 6,000 subscribers and at least one video with more than 925,000 views, the MCC TrickShots channel is helping the three Saco boys learn about business and video production while they exercise their passion for sports.

Brothers Cameron and Christian Schaffer, and their cousin, Mark Butts, have always played contests against each other in the backyard. One day, while shooting hoops in the backyard, the group decided to start video recording the contest.


Cameron Schaffer, 14, video records cousin Mark Butts, 13, with the football, and brother Christian Schaffre, 12, with the basketball, as part of a challenge to see which ball could be thrown further. The Saco boys gained popularity on YouTube for their channel, MCC TrickShots. (Ben Meikejohn photo) Cameron Schaffer, 14, video records cousin Mark Butts, 13, with the football, and brother Christian Schaffre, 12, with the basketball, as part of a challenge to see which ball could be thrown further. The Saco boys gained popularity on YouTube for their channel, MCC TrickShots. (Ben Meikejohn photo) Christian, who is 12 and will be a 7th-grader at Saco Middle School, said they were inspired by Dude Perfect, a sports entertainment group that is also popular on YouTube.

“They’re big and a lot of kids’ inspiration,” Christian said.

Mark, 13, and an 8th-grader at Saco Middle School, said they started out with two of them competing in a contest of trick shots while the third would record, but eventually they found a way for all three to compete and take turns holding the camera.

“Our first big video was a mini-hoops shot,” said Cameron, who is 14 and will be a sophomore at Thornton Academy. “Most recently we posted a baseball video where we show all the characters you would come across at baseball games.”

The video, titled, “Baseball Stereotypes (inspired by Dude Perfect),” is the most-viewed video on the channel with more than 925,000 views. Cameron said the channel got 4,000 new subscribers after posting that video. The channel was named MCC TrickShots, taking the first letter from each boy’s name.

“We’ve always played (sports),” said Christian. “If it’s football season, we play backyard football. In baseball season, we play baseball. We’ve always done contests where we compete against each other and see who comes out on top. Sports has been a big part of our lives for a long time.”

“People love to see others compete against each other, love to see people do amazing things that possibly they can’t do, to get a new perspective,” Cameron said.

“We like to be inspired, post videos and inspire other people,” added Mark.

Cameron said the group is always learning more about production and setting up props for video shoots. Filming a set of Olympic challenges took a whole day, he said, and it was very hot that day. The boys each competed in Olympic-style challenges involving soccer, biking, archery, swimming and basketball. They added points for gold, silver and bronze medals, and in the end, Mark won the challenge.

“Christian came back and just missed the shot,” said Mark. “It was probably the most interesting round. It was close.”

In realizing success on YouTube, the boys have had to learn about the business aspect of producing videos. Mark said the group has been compensated by YouTube in the past month, and the three boys split the pay evenly.

YouTube pays channel owners according to how many views their videos get and how many people subscribe to the channel.

“And it’s still growing, we still have future income to happen,” he added.

Mark said the trio try to produce three different types of videos – trick shot videos, comedy stereotypes and challenges. In the trick shot videos, the boys all attempt trick shots together, not in competition with each other. Mark said the comedic videos are the ones that get the most views.

Christian said the group sent a video to Pringles of them making trick shots with a ping pong ball into a Pringles container, as part of the Pringles Flavor Slam 2016 contest. Their video was selected for use in advertisements by the potato chip maker and the boys were compensated for the video rights. The family didn’t want to disclose what they were compensated by Pringles. To see the video, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUKE9dJmRew.

Cameron said the boys have learned important lessons also about aspects of the business side of things they would have never thought of. One video of theirs had to be taken down because a copyrighted song could be heard playing in the background of the video.

“If you get a claim, the person that writes the song can make all the money from the video,” Cameron said. “If I didn’t care about copyrights and the baseball stereotypes video got a claim with copyrighted material, we couldn’t make any money for the video.”

Now, Cameron, who does most of the post-production editing himself, using GoPro on his iPhone, said he makes sure to only use non-copyrighted music as part of their videos.

Cameron and Christian’s mother, Michelle Schaffer, said she has been impressed with how the boys developed the YouTube channel entirely of their own accord.

“I was excited for them although I thought it was becoming so consuming for them, but they evened it out,” she said. “There was some argument, some discord in the beginning, but they decided the only way to become successful was to put three heads together.

“The most exciting thing is to see these kids sort of maturing, not just in how they handle each other but how they come together to put something together for people to watch and now they’re making money from it. They did it on their own, they’ve come a long way from where they first started to now.”

Christian said the boys are now selling MCC T-shirts, and if they become more popular, may start a website where they can sell other merchandise.

“We’re talking about making hats,” Mark said.

Mark said they are starting to get offers for sponsorships.

Christian said on average, the group is posting one video every three weeks, and they may start including friends as special guests, but the group will remain the three boys.

Schaffer said the experience has taught the boys a lot and what she appreciates the most is that they are active, not simply sitting on the couch playing video games. While focusing on athleticism, they are also learning about entertainment, performance, business and production, she said.

Mark said he hopes to inspire others.

“Even though something may seem like it’s not working out, if you can continue that passion, it may work out in the future,” Cameron said.

To view MCC TrickShots videos, visit their YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/ MCCTrickShots.

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