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Hello Internet! Welcome to Film Theory and the third and final episode of our short little foray into investigative journalism. Thanks for sticking with it! I know that this one was a bit of a departure for the channel, but honestly this was a personal passion project for me. After watching Shane’s series on Jake, there were three main topics that I wanted to address. First, as a creator on this platform for a huge chunk of my life I wanted to explore the ulterior motives behind this new generation of YouTuber and the way that they, and the corporations often times funding them, could be exploiting audience trust. Second, as a father and an advocate for child education, I wanted to raise awareness of the manipulation inherent in advertising to kids and why it’s so easy to do; whether it was intentional or not. and lastly we come to today’s episode, where as a viewer I wanted to take a step back and cover Shane’s trend of docu-series in general, to raise awareness to him and more importantly to you about the dangerous tactics that storytellers can use to sway your opinions about the characters and their stories. Now, as I’ve done these last few episodes I’ve seen a lot of comments from you all watching that reflected a lot of my own feelings when I was watching Shane’s series on Jake for the first time. “I kinda wish Shane didn’t hold back. He [was] too empathetic.” “I love Shane, but sometimes his videos in this category aren’t always revealing the entire truth or that he’s not going as in-depth as he could of when seeking the truth.” “He promoted this thing as nothing is off the table. [But] it was clear that some things were off the table.” I personally wanted to see Jake Paul answer for things like his business decisions and his merch, but instead it all just felt like one big redemption arc for him. Which raises the question: Should Shane have covered all that “business stuff”? Does it matter that he didn’t? And most importantly, are his docu-series actually dangerous because of the way he portrays the people in them? Almost as soon as the Jake Paul documentary started airing, Shane came under fire for giving Jake a platform, and then for cranking up the drama on his story by comparing him to sociopaths. And then, by playing dramatic music and using editing tricks to emphasize specific moments, and finally for making excuses for Jake’s bad behavior by shifting blame to his parents and his brother. So was the internet right to be leveling criticisms at Shane? Today, we’re gonna find out. Oh, and, uh, in case you were sick of the guy, this theory isn’t about Jake anymore. No. This time the whole bank of Shane Daw-sumentaries are under my theoretical microscope. Shane, “Oh, I’m nervous” MatPat: You probably should be. Or maybe not! The only way to find out is to dive in. The first – and perhaps, biggest complaint that Shane got in his coverage of Jake Paul was his use of music to overemphasize certain key moments early on in the series. Jake Paul might be a sociopath, *dramatic chord plays* he has a creepy dad, *eerie, high-pitched violin chord* It felt to many viewers disingenuous, manipulative. And in response, it’s something that Shane held back on as the series went on. But even shots like this, the final one of the series, *depressing, slow piano with just as depressing, sad vocals plays* in slow-mo with somber piano music playing underneath is manipulative, turning a simple walk away from the camera into something much more: a deep, meaningful, reflective moment where Jake’s fake persona is finally dropped. A moment that screams, “This! This right here, is the real Jake Paul!” When, seriously, he was just walking away from the camera. All of these things: the horror stings, the glitches, the slo-mo shots and sad music are all examples of the psychological principle known as priming. Just like you coat a wall with primer before laying down the paint so that the paint goes on smoother, You prime the audience so that they more easily accept what you’re trying to convince them of. *gradually more eerily* You know how you recognize that there’s about to be a jump-scare in a horror movie because you’re entering a scary place, and then a door starts creaking open and… the music changes? *normally* That’s a form of priming. But it’s not all about just about music and editing, Everyone has made the joke that it takes a looong time for a Shane docu-series to get started. All that time that Shane spends talking about how nervous he is and generally spending a lot of time self-deprecating. in both this series and in the Jeffree Star series. But why? Why is he so nervous? No one talks about this, but Shane has a massive YouTube presence. He’s one of the longest standing and best loved creators on the platform. He doesn’t need to be nervous with anyone, and yet he portrays himself as being insecure in front of his subjects. Well, whether he means it or not, he’s priming his audience to feel the same way he does, like he’s entering the presence of someone much greater. If Shane Dawson approaches Jeffree Star or Jake Paul like a guy who looks up to them or just wants to impress them, Up to him or just wants to impress him, well, it primes us as the audience to also think that those people are worthy of those emotions. His anticipation becomes our anticipation. He’s the audience stand-in when what we’re really seeing is just one massive online celebrity talking to yet another massive online celebrity. I mean, seriously Shane, you’ve been a YouTube star for over a decade; have a house in a really upscale part of Los Angeles. You’re a bigger deal than a bunch of your documentary subjects. I mean, sure, you might buy shirts at Target, but that’s because Target just sells really good shirts. Anyway, both Shane and Jake also use “lampshading” a lot throughout the series to get you thinking the way they want you to be thinking. Basically, lampshading is the technique of leveling criticism against yourself instead of waiting for people to use those criticisms against you. In the case of the Jake Paul docu-series, video one is dedicated to Shane acknowledging upfront that people will hate him for doing the videos. That they’ll “Unsu🅱scri🅱e” that they’ll accuse him of giving Jake a platform. Shane Dawson, “Shane, if you do this we will unsu🅱scri🅱e… …we don’t want to 🅱e a part of this.” I literally will stop watching Shane Dawson if he’s gonna try to sit here and make me feel 🅱ad for Jake Paul. And, sure, some people did all of those things, 🅱ut 🅱ecause Shane lampshaded us with those arguments, they immediately lost most of the power that they would have had if they had just come out of the 🅱lue. Jake Paul also lampshades in his opening call to Shane saying that people “hate him” and that Shane will regret doing this. Jake Paul, “People HATE me… …like literally they hate me…And… Jake Paul “I… …I don’t, If like, this is gonna hurt you then then like, I don’t wanna do it.” Acknowledging his own flaws or at least that other people say that he has flaws, which in turn deprives the haters of all of their ammo. I mean I myself lampshade all the time on the show. I lampshade that my jokes are 🅱ad 🅱ecause they are all the time. It’s time for your interview huh.. Uh… How a🅱out it’s time to not have a cringy intro joke at the expense of Markiplier personalities Oh Hwoh! *throaty laugh* And, what that enables me to do is defuse all comments about my cringy humor even me lampshading about my own lampshading is in and of itself lampshading. You can’t hold it against me if I acknowledge it and move on, so let’s move on. And then finally there’s Framing. Framing is essentially how something is presented to the audience that influences the choices that people make about how to process that information. The biggest piece of framing in Shane’s series is the entire discussion of “sociopaths” at the very beginning of the series. Just by asking the question, “Are Jake and Logan sociopaths,” it frames every interaction and video clip that happens afterward in a way that makes you think Huh.. maybe they ARE sociopaths by saying THIS: Shane Dawson, “and the more I realized and researched and the more I learned about sociopaths,” and then showing this, where Logan goes from pretending to be nervous to not Logan Paul, “…a big scene in my first big Hollywood movie.”… …and I just wanted… I’m just, Yo! Haa! *clap” …I’m just kidding y’all! I’m fricken amped!” Suddenly, it’s no longer simply just someone putting on a show for the camera. But, rather it’s implicitly saying, “Wow,” this person must have a facade, a lack of emotion. It must be evidence of sociopathy. Mentioning the word “sociopath” and using this treatment Shane, “He is a sociopath,” is a lot different than using this treatment, “He is a sociopath.” *kids cheering* And again let me lamp shade here I know this because I do it all the time. This kind of framing happens over and over along with priming to paint a picture of people, who can’t speak for themselves, before seeing any footage of Jake’s dad; we’re prefaced with the fact that Shane and his team have heard that he’s weird. Shane, “I’ve heard weird things about the dad, but I’ve never actually seen…” Andrew, “I’ve definitely heard stuff, yeah.” And yeah, okay sure he’s definitely weird But, Shane sets us up to already have these preconceived notions about characters around Jake Paul based on the way that he himself has talked about them in advance. One of the biggest framing decisions that any filmmaker has is how to end his movie. Shane could have ended his docu-series in any way that he wanted. Like say with Jake’s ex-girlfriend Alyssa Violet, a moment that as I understand it, chronologically seemed to be one of the last things that he shot. That would leave a very different impression on the overall narrative arc of the story than ending on that slow-mo, sad piano shot. And sure that’s a big decision, but even the smallest of things are subject to framing. Look at this: Shane, late-night, kitchen, ripped pajamas, getting himself a diet coke, excellent choice a drink, by the way. This shot seems like it does nothing, but, in reality, why it’s there is because it’s framing what comes next. Shane, “An update and also a disclaimer and also an apology. That’s a lot.” It rolls directly into him addressing the early criticisms of the audience leveled against the first parts of the series. This scene makes him sympathetic, downtrodden, and relatable. He’s been up all night. He drinks Diet Coke and has ripped pajamas just like us. This apology would look and feel very differently if it was framed like say in the vestibule of your mansion with your Jeep out front. I think that’s what my, and many other viewers’, biggest issue was with Shane’s docu-series. That it was meant to be an honest tell-all about this controversial figure. Shane, “I want to really be honest about it and investigate you…” But, in the end, it came off as biased in Jake’s favor and, honestly, that makes sense, right? Controversial figures aren’t gonna just agree to do expose videos on themselves. To get the level of access that Shane does, the subject matter of the videos needs to be confident that the story being told is gonna favor them. But, that just wasn’t how this thing was branded. And, it wasn’t just this one on Jake Paul either. How can you do an honest assessment of the hot mess that was TanaCon, searching for a person to pin the blame on, when Tana Mongeau herself, who created the ill-fated event in the first place, was the one who accepted your Streamy award in your absence. Tyler Oakley, “Accepting the Streamy on his behalf is Tana Mongeau.” Gabbie Hanna’s reaction right there, yeah, hashtag relatable, it was mine to. The person, who ripped off her fans and made them wait outside for multiple days and then got exposed by Shane, she’s the one who’s gonna accept his award? It’s an odd choice. Tana Mongeau, “I think we all can agree this is the only time I’ll ever be holding a “Creator of the Year” award. To be real here you guys, I wouldn’t even be doing anything if it wasn’t for Shane.” And then, Shane tweets about her being family. Shane, “I’m like way too nice, way too forgiving, way too loyal.” You can’t do that Shane! You’re a documentarian. We need you to expose the unbiased truths. You are the arbiter of these facts, is what I thought. But, in researching this episode, I learned that I was wrong and I couldn’t have been any more wrong. “Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong” When I, and I’m sure a lot of you, think about the term ‘documentary’, I think we all have a pretty clear image in our head of antelope running from lions in Africa, or a trip through the cosmos, or an informational doc about people like “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” or “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” all narrated by Morgan Freeman; Morgan Freeman, “I’m Morgan Freeman,” cuz it is always Morgan Freeman. Morgan Freeman, “We are all travelers on an unending voyage of discovery.” Documentaries are the things my parents used to watch on the History Channel and now Shane Dawson is doing a cool new take on them by using YouTube vlog-style with investigative journalism. But, here’s the thing, documentaries aren’t what you thought they were; there are a few really famous places that you can go to show off your documentary film skills like the Can or Sundance Film Festival’s. Both of them have entry definitions for their documentary film divisions that essentially boil down to the following five components: One, the use of artful film language and the ability to connect with an audience. Two, the use of effective storytelling. Three, originality Four, cultural relevance. And, finally, they have to inspire the audience to want to know more about their subject. And, that’s it! That’s really the list for criteria for a documentary film. Do you notice anything …missing? Right away, there is nothing that says that documentaries have to be truthful. I mean sure it has to meet the dictionary definition of a documentary, which is a film about a real person or event, but there’s nothing in these criteria about having to tell the whole story or portray your subject in a balanced way. All you have to do is talk about them. Documentaries are about being effective storytellers, not about being effective journalists. According to Bill Nichols, who’s one of the world’s top documentary scholars and theorists, (I’m not making up his title) is a genuine film theorist, the purpose of a documentary isn’t to educate you, it’s to persuade you. Nichol states, that quote, “Documentary films mount an effort to convince, persuade, or predispose us to a particular view of the world… it may entertain or please, but it does so in relation to rhetoric or persuasive effort aimed at the existing social world,” end quote. All those documentaries about penguins on melting polar icecaps, what they’re really doing is trying to persuade us to stop global warming. Those Neil deGrasse Tyson astronomy documentaries? Fund space research. “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”? Eat more Sushi! And, from the looks of it, Shane meets all of these criteria, too. The TanaCon exposé place blame and get attendees a refund. Interviewing Jeffree Star? Change the audience’s minds about someone who had been branded a racist and dumb beauty influencer. Investigating Jake Paul? Eeehhh…It’s a bit unclear. But, it ended up being rehabilitating his image and differentiating him from Logan. Shane’s got himself three documentaries on his hands. Just not documentaries in the way that I, and I think a lot of his audience, understood them. It’s interesting. When you step back and look at this whole series, this whole three part series have done on film theory, it all boils down to one core theme: Manipulation through the medium. In episodes 1 & 2, I gave Jake a really hard time because he and his corporate backers are exploiting the inherent trust that comes from the medium of digital video. YouTube is different than movies and TV, at least for now. Viewers expect more authenticity from it because it is literally people holding a camera to their face. On YouTube, there’s a perceived truthfulness that can lead people to believe creators don’t have their own agenda, when we’ve seen in the case of people like Jake, that they most certainly do. The same can be said of Shane, to a much different extent; we’ve just spent, however many minutes long this video ends up being, talking about how Shane’s just produced a textbook documentary using persuasive techniques like framing and priming that any good storyteller uses. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it except for the runtime because, seriously buddy, just make some tough editing choices and trim down the whole thing, for crying out loud. No, the problem is with us, the viewer. If it’s surprising to you to learn that documentaries are manipulative and biased like it was honestly for me, then the pro🅱lem is you and me. We expect our documentarians to be honest, but they’re not. And, according to their medium, they don’t have to be. So, what makes them dangerous isn’t the way they’re presented, it’s the way that we watch them. We expect the medium of documentaries to be truthful, but there is no requirement for that whatsoever. We watch YouTube and documentaries like we’re watching something that’s absolutely true when that couldn’t be further from reality. I know you probably thought this episode was gonna end with me bashing Shane, because I often times frame the episodes that way, but the truth is what he’s doing is smart, not just from a YouTube programming perspective, but from a cultural relevancy standpoint. The real takeaway from this episode in this whole Jake Paul series’ set of theories, “docu-theory”, huh-ha I like that, is this, don’t accept everything you see as fact and don’t expect people on YouTube to be truthful or unbiased, even your absolutely favorite creators. I can tell you that most of us try to be as honest as possible when we’re making videos. But, everyone, every one, has some kind of agenda. And, critical thinking is the only thing that stands between you and being taken in. Don’t be someone who passively accepts what you’re told, whether it’s to buy tickets to a 19 year old’s YouTube convention, or buying a t-shirt from someone who’s dabbing on their haters. If you think about it, or you don’t have to think about I’m just gonna explicitly tell you, this whole issue is the entire reason that Film Theory and Game Theory exists as channels; I learned early on to think critically about the stories I’m being told, and the underlying motivations that exist for why people might be telling me those stories, and that led me to do shows that look at things from a different angle that asks the question: Maybe they’re lying to us? If I can pull back the curtain and inspire critical thinking in some of you who watch, too, encouraging you to keep on asking questions, well then, I’m doing my job. But, hey, that’s just a theory, a film theory aaaaaand back to normal stuff later this week because I know a lot of you people are like where are the actual films and the actual theories? Oh, but lastly for God’s sake Shane, don’t make the next one a 13-part series. Though, if you’re looking for some good exposé material, I’ve seen you tweeting a lot about Defy’s MCN closing As someone who was a Defy employee and was in their network when the company collapsed and has worked in a lot of different capacities across the multi-channel network universe, I have plenty of fun stories to tell ya. Captions revised by DJ_WOLFF: Randomly uploaded memes™

100 thoughts on “Film Theory: Are Shane Dawson’s Videos Dangerous? (Shane Dawson The Mind of Jake Paul Docu-Series)

  1. idk why about after this and the James Charles stuff I feel like Shane Dawson ain’t genuine I feel like he’s a scam…idk he seems “real” but ._.

  2. you know what else is illegal t series they have violated copyright law on many ocasions for example there is the logo oddley similer to the tesla logo and the tesla series not to mention most of there songs are just stolen copyright music that they changed a few word and the language of the song so mat pat i chalenge you to dive deper into this turn it into a proper theroy rather than a micro theory held by a bunch of small facts so mat pat you have been chalenged

  3. When I saw the title of this video I was like “don’t you dare come for Shane” but then I saw the video 😂

  4. We all know jake Paul is a troublemaker, stupid and rowdy little buttface. End of. Don’t give him the attention.

  5. So, I watched this when it first aired, but after diving into archive-land and getting some ~education~ here are my thoughts now:
    Shane was very obviously trying to delve into a "social forces vs personal agency" type of analysis with the Jake Paul series. Looking at his family life, the competition with his brother, his mental health and how all the previous things affected it… but he glosses over most of the personal agency side of the situation. Jake exudes his personal agency by succeeding in his career to spite to rocky upbringing (this is discussed a lot in the videos); Jake fails to exude personal agency over the toxicity of his content despite it being pointed out to him multiple times. The first situation of personal agency (him taking control of his career) outshines the rest of the argument (being that he's irresponsible with his content and knows it). Shane didn't accurately depict how/why Jake makes his choices. He focused on a marco/positive light rather than discussing every potential argument/ storyline. That's why people were upset. Because Shane focused, as MatPat said, on everything that went wrong in Jake's life and how he's had to overcome that: people were expecting an even blend of that and the more negative decisions that Jake has made, and how those have affected his life. They wanted a confession, a formal recognition that he knew his previous actions were wrong and that he did them anyway.
    (This is a bit of a difficult idea to express through text, but I tried my best.)

  6. I feel like Spill would be great doing what Shane’s doing because she isn’t a biased person.

    By the way I like Shane but the Jake Paul thing annoys me.

  7. Matpat it isnt her fault nor is it Michael fault because tana kept asking micheal how tanacon was doing and asking question and details will there be food are the lines going fast how is the capacity while Micheal says its ok everything is under control and she doesnt need to be a tanacon so she didnt while celebrating her birthday and she never knew that her fans were getting sunburns and the bags were 4X the ammount if the tickets basically everything at tanacon was failing the security gaurds were just people in outfits who disrespect her fans she never knew that until shane told her omg my hand hurts from typing too much ;=;

  8. Good job lampshading. I didn’t want to throw shade so I complimented (I also make horrible jokes…)

  9. Can we please appreciate the baby photo of MatPat and his example of critical thinking. It's amazing. 😂

  10. Absolutely necessary very insightful this had to be told to people who don’t know better. Thank you for educating us and pulling back the curtain on what motives that drive these people. Great work!!

  11. I think, it's kinda great that he's teaching us to be skeptical bcuz ( based on my limited knowledge) parts of the world is surrounded by lies.

  12. Ooof
    Im mindblown, As much as I am a fan of Shane, sometimes things just dont feel right, especially this "documentary series" with jake paul.

  13. I hate Pewdiepie and people seem to attack me for it when I mention I don't like him. I have reasons if you look back on his history though I won't mention it since I already know I'll get bashed by more people saying he is innocent and pure.

  14. I'm glad you're here. I knew shit like this for most of my life, but I simply don't have the ability to let it be widely known. So thank you for maling this.

  15. No youtuber should use this tricks to manipulate people including u matpat. All of u should ignore the hate.

  16. I honestly wish Shane didn’t do the docuseries videos, I rather him post more conspiracy theory videos because I find the long series’s boring

  17. I'm distraught! I loved and somewhat trusted documentaries! I have to go rethink every documentary I've ever seen.

  18. so MatPat told us to not trust everything that we watch on Youtube. However, that means that MatPat indirectly told us to not 100% trust him. So, if we trust him to not trust everything on Youtube, we trust what we watch on Youtube. So… hmm…

  19. I mean honestly….Fox Mulder was the first to tell me to question everything lol. The truth is out there Scully!

  20. Me: Agreeing 100% that you shouldn't just passively accept whatever you hear as fact.

    Also me: Believes everything Mat Pat says in every video without questioning him at all.

  21. Ok tbh I don't get why people are asking things like "I wonder what will Shane's reaction to this" but honestly, just leave Shane alone to do his amazing documentaries. I love binge watching in my opinion his documentaries are amazing. I loved 'the truth about tanacon' & I ADORE Tana & Shane's friendship. Yes I know this is just a theory but, it can hurt people's feelings.

  22. Why is everyone going ape shit over this, Shanes documentaries are good and I wasn't really a fan of inside the mind of Jake Paul but maybe shane isn't really just a fakest as mat pat makes him seem. With the Jeffree star documentary he helped Jeffree open up and different side note Jeffree apologised about what he had said in that alley way years ago. Honestly mat pat does the same but so doses everyone else in the YouTube community. They all use affects 2 lore ppl in and Shane is not the only one 2 do so. Shane dose want people 2 get a different view point of certain topics but that doesn't mean people should attack him.

    Summary: I'm a fucking shane Stan and I got upset for no reason lol 😂🔫

  23. Just watched a video telling me what i already know but I'm not mad quality time spent. Might help that I'm an avid documentary watcher but hey.

  24. 1 of Shane Dawson conspiracy video gave me terrible anxiety and ruined me life a little but I'm more cautious of vids on this app

  25. Thank you. Finally someone says this, and says it logically, with clear evidence. I’ve thought this for soooo long. Thank you!11

  26. In my opinion shanes whole series is to help people with a large platform that are in a scandal So there for hes gonna try his best to persuade his audience. He whould not edit and post his stuff if he truly thought it was wrong or manipulative. But ya know.. go off

  27. I was actually diagnosed as a borderline sociopath and I think Jake and Logan Paul have ADHD and maybe a little anti social

  28. I'm sorry but documentaries have to be David Attenborough. If I said anything else I would be kicked out of England. He is the best though.

  29. this theory talks a lot about JPaul and LPaul. I never subscribed to either one of them just how manipulative they can be. I just watch a documentary series. I say it definitely made me smarter and to make good life choices. Mat, your awesome thanks to you and Film Theory. Watching this first and then watching the Docu-series made me a better person. I don't know what I would do without you or any of the work you have done. I seriously think that Shane Dawson is going on a dangerous path. I no longer subscribe to him either. Matt, you make the world a better place to live in.

  30. All these YouTubers are big shots with lots of money too…so all I'm saying is it's entirely possible that they paid Shane Dawson to do this for them

  31. That priming moment… It actually worked on me, Jeezus, That was well done! I actually covered my eyes because i generally hate Horror.

  32. Am I literally the only one that watches conventional (eg; shown on the BBC) history documentaries out of choice?

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