YouTube Channel Breakdown: How VSauce3 Won Big With “Could You Survive the Movies?”

VSauce3 - Youtube Channel Breakdown


Whether we’re wondering if we could outrun a T-Rex or find a way off the Titanic, movies have always thrown up exciting scenarios. VSauce3 has created a brilliant series all about this
We’re taking a look at what’s behind the success of “Could You Survive the Movies?”
From hitting the sweet spot between education and entertainment to exceptional production value (backed by YouTube Originals), Jake Roper and his team certainly know what they’re doing
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How many times have you sat down to watch a blockbuster film, turned to your friends or family and explained how you would’ve survived the scenario playing out on screen because you would have done something differently? It’s a conversation that’s as old as cinema itself, and VSauce3 creator Jake Roper had the genius idea of turning this question into a whole series for YouTube Originals. The result? “Could You Survive the Movies?”

At a glance

Dedicated to fictional worlds and games, the YouTube channel “VSauce3” is a branch off from the highly popular and influential “VSauce” – an educational channel hosted by founder Michael Stevens. While still being owned by founder Michael Stevens, VSauce3 is hosted by Jake Roper, and it’s effectively his own channel at this point.

Jake was born and raised in Colorado, US, and used his film degree אם work in various jobs for television and advertising as well as Google, where he met Michael Stevens. Fast forward to 2021, and Jake is posting regular videos diving into the mysteries of science and many fantasy worlds, including those created in some of our most beloved films. He loves to address different myths and theories, explaining them with easy-to-understand science and reasoning.

This all led to him creating the YouTube Originals series 1 and 2 of CYSTM? which is essentially a “Mythbusters” for dedicated cinephiles. What’s not to love about that? The show has proven so popular it even won a Daytime Emmy Award for Educational or Informational Series in 2020!

Here’s what the channel description has to say:

Fictional worlds are amazing, and so is this YouTube Originals series. So let’s dive into what makes it so brilliant!

We’ve all asked the same question

One of the great things about that series is that aside from fitting well in a playlist format (great for YouTube SEO purposes), it addresses a question we have all asked when watching our favorite films. At some point or another, everyone has either asked or at least thought about whether they could survive the various scenarios playing out on screen.

CYSTM directly taps into this, looking to provide the answers we all want to know. Is it plausible that I could have survived Titanic? What would you do in a zombie movie? Tapping into this is a genius idea because it provides the basis for a fantastic title, keyword and thumbnail combination. Of course, this wasn’t Jake’s ultimate goal when he set out to make the show, but it’s certainly a winning formula that’s guaranteed to earn clicks.

The production quality is next level

As I always say, it’s one thing to win those clicks and another thing to then keep your audience watching. CYSTM manages to do this in multiple ways but what stands out to me most is the exceptional production quality. Yes, this is a YouTube Originals series, so you do expect a certain level of financial backing that enables this, but Jake and his team really outdo themselves.

Everything is exceptional, from the tiny details such as the color grading feeling the same as the film in question to the props, graphics, and special effects wizardry. The concept of Jake stepping into each of these worlds means each episode’s intro is always a brilliant blend of the movie in question and Jake partaking in one of the famous scenes. Because the production quality is so good, we feel like the 2 worlds have blended, and Jake really is in these fantasy worlds we know and love so much. Take the start of the Jurassic Park episode from series 2, for example:

Another example is the Top Gun episode:

Each intro is expertly edited to ratchet up the tension and have you hooked. You want to keep watching and find out the answers to these key questions. Could you really survive that? The quality on show here helps consolidate this series as one worthy of an Emmy award and much more. I’d choose to watch this show over most of the TV schedule any day of the week.

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Education x entertainment

I’m a firm believer in the theory that your YouTube video should aim to be at least 1 of 2 things: either educational or entertaining. If you can do 1 of these things, it gives your audience a worthwhile experience – a real, tangible reason to keep coming back and watching more of what you have to offer.

If you can do both of these things together? You’ve hit the jackpot, my friends. CYSM is a fantastic example of how you can both educate and entertain at the same time, and the results speak for themselves.

On the one hand, you have tons of witty jokes and writing that keep the show moving at a very fast pace, and in each episode, you’ll find guest appearances from some of your favorite YouTubers. Seeing these YouTubers running around with Jake in one of your favorite movies takes care of the entertainment value. It’s fun!

Meanwhile, the show also does a fantastic job at educating and explaining things to us. Using great props, real-life experiments (that are also fun to watch) and some really nice graphics and animations, we come away from each episode having learned something. Whether it’s how such a large boat as the Titanic managed to float in the first place or understanding the power and physics behind a T-Rex bite, you always come away with something you didn’t know before. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to see what a T-Rex would theoretically do to a human body?


So, are you subscribed? When it comes to science being taught in an incredibly fun and educational way, there is nobody better than Jake Roper and what he’s currently producing with VSauce3. With 2 series of “CYSTM?” already made and a couple of awards to show, including this year’s Streamy Award in the Scripted Series category, the future looks bright for the series with a practically unlimited supply of cinematic worlds to explore. The question is, which film would you love for Jake to explore next?

Cover image, filtered. Credit: Hank Green – BY 3.0

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Josh Edwards is an accomplished filmmaker, industry writing veteran, storyteller based in Indonesia (by way of the UK), and industry writer in the Blade Ronner Media Writing Collective. He's passionate about travel and documents adventures and stories through his films.

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