Frequently Asked Questions

Who are you?

We’re a group of scientists, writers, and illustrators with a passion for sharing our curiosity (and where it leads!) with the world. We’re also people - visit our About page to meet the MinuteEarth team.

How did MinuteEarth start?

In 2013, we decided to expand the world of online stick-figure science explanations, which Henry had stumbled onto with MinutePhysics, to tell more down-to-Earth stories. We’re amazed and humbled that MinuteEarth has grown, with the support of our viewers, into what it is today.

Yes! Both genetically (Henry and his brother Alex and father Peter are all on the MinuteEarth team), and in spirit (MinuteEarth came into existence, in part, to explore some of the more Earth-related topics that MinutePhysics doesn’t).

Where do the ideas for your videos come from?

Everywhere! Hiking, biking, sitting in traffic, talking with family and friends and pets and each other…our ideas usually start with questions we have about the world, which make us curious, which makes us start reading, which often brings up new questions and makes us more curious, and so on. The real trick, in fact, isn’t coming up with an idea, it’s figuring out how to tell the most interesting, informative, and fun story based on that idea.

I have an idea for a video!

Great! Want to share it with us? Even better. Leave us a comment on YouTube, message us on Facebook, Tweet at us…you get the idea. We’d love to hear from you!

How do you make your videos?

Besides the software between our ears, we use lots of tools both to produce our scripts and videos, and to help us communicate and stay organized across long distances (we live and work in many places and time zones). With the caveat that these are by no means the only available tools out there for doing what we do, here’s a quick list of our go-to tools: we research with the help of Google Scholar, write and edit in Google Docs, stay organized with a modified version of Google Sheets (which we affectionately call Little Skynet), record narration with Audio Technica AT2020 USB mics, and draw on Wacom tablets. For composing illustrations, and audio and video editing, we rely heavily on the Adobe Creative Suite: Photoshop for illustrating, Audition for audio editing, Premiere for video editing, After Effects for animation (and, well, effects). We communicate using (primarily) Slack and Google Hangouts, sketch out ideas with screen-drawing tools like Highlight/Epic Pen, share files using Dropbox, keep checklists using Trello…and keep our sanity using good old moral support. And most of us do it all on macbooks, although some of us are on the dark side and use PCs. Check out our behind-the-scenes videos to learn more about how we do what we do.

You made a mistake in a video.

Oops! We do everything we can to be as accurate as possible, and we pride ourselves on our rigor. But we’ve made a few mistakes over the years, and knowledge also evolves over time as people do more science and learn more things. If you find something you think is wrong in one of our videos, please let us know and we’ll see if we can address it. But because YouTube doesn’t allow swapping out of video files, the only way to fix mistakes is to delete and completely re-upload from scratch, so unless we’ve made a really egregious error, it’s likely that the video will stay there, just with a note in the description.

Will you collaborate with me?

Maybe! We usually do collaborations with other science-focused (YouTube) creators of similar size in order to cross-promote our channels, meet new people, and tell stories in fun new ways. Check out our Partners page to see the types of collaborations we’ve done in the past, and feel free to get in touch with us to share your specific idea for a collaboration!

I want to sponsor a video!

Great! We work with lots of different brands, nonprofits, and organizations. See our Partners page for more details.

How do you make money on YouTube?

We’re able to keep our computers charged and our team fed and housed through a combination of ads, sponsorships, crowdfunding, licensing, and merchandise. We’re most excited about crowdfunding from our viewers (like you!) on Patreon, which allows us to be less dependent on one-off sponsorships. Please support us there - it really does make a difference.

Should I study science? Is it a good career choice?

Are you curious about how the world works? When you have a question, do you like to delve deep and keep digging until you find the answer? Then, yes! Or you could pursue anthropology, sociology, economics, engineering, math, medicine, or another evidence-based form of study about the world. If you want to teach at a university, you should know that more people graduate with science PhDs than there are professor positions available at any one time. But there are also so many other things you can do with your degree/knowledge, like sustainable development or software development or public engagement or even making YouTube videos (a number of us have Masters or Ph.D.s, so we’re one example of how you might use a science degree outside of traditional academia). We’re biased, of course, but we think science is pretty fun…and totally critical to the future of our species and our planet. So, yeah, go for it!

Is our planet screwed?

Hopefully not! Humans have done a lot of damage to Earth’s natural systems, and it can be hard to stop that type of damage once it’s got some momentum (think climate change, soil erosion, and invasive species). But if we can change those trajectories - whether through large, concerted actions like reducing our carbon dioxide emissions, or through individual choices like planting native species in our yards - we can keep that damage to a minimum, and even reverse it. Being informed is the best way to start making a difference, so we’re glad you’re here!

Why didn’t you respond to my email/tweet/facebook message?

We’re sorry we didn’t reply! We try to respond to substantive questions and comments from viewers in most types of media, but we are limited by time and resources. Please try again or email us; we look at every email we get, even though we’re not able to reply to all of them either. And if you want to have a deeper, more co-creative relationship with us, please join our Patreon community, where we engage more extensively with our patrons.

Can I translate your videos into another language?

Yes please! If you are interested in translating and localizing our content, please fill out this form as a first step. We would love for you to upload translations of our subtitles/captions on our original videos directly in the YouTube player (see our how-to guide here). However, if you want to dub videos into your own language and re-upload to your own channel, we need to talk about how serious and professional you’re going to be about it, and maybe we’ll say yes, since we do want our videos to be available in multiple languages. If you just want to subtitle the videos and re-upload them to your own channel, then no, please don’t!

I have a business proposition for you!

We’re happy to hear it, but please be concise and let us know why you think it fits well with MinuteEarth in particular. We already have lots of side projects and hobbies on top of making videos and may say no, even if it is a very interesting idea. Check out our Partners section for more details.

Do you want to join our YouTube Network (aka MCN)?

Probably not, as we haven’t yet seen any real benefits of joining a YouTube network, despite getting emails every week for years from people trying to convince us otherwise. If you think yours is actually different, let us know.

Why don’t you (or I) start a YouTube channel called MinuteMath? MinutePsychology? MinuteLanguage? MinuteChemistry? MinuteFinance? Minute…

We would love to! But, we can’t. Not right now - we’re too busy. But you can! If you want to start your own YouTube channel about topic X, awesome! Go for it – but we can’t recommend strongly enough that you do it in a way that’s authentically “you”, with your own voice, style, show name, etc, rather than in a “Minute” style. Based on our limited experience, being true to yourself tends to lead to the most satisfying experience, best results, and greatest likelihood of success (however you define success) in YouTube and the world.

Will you come speak at my event/school/conference/show?

Sure! We really like talking in person with people, so send us an invitation and we’ll see if we can make it.

Do you have any advice about how to start a successful Youtube channel?

Yep! Read Henry’s article The Secret to Making Good Content. And watch these videos:

Can I re-upload your video or use it in my museum/conference/exhibition/TV show/school/translate it/etc?

It depends. If you’re looking to license the videos, please fill out this form. We generally allow non-commercial, freely available, educational use by non-profits. That is, if you want to use our videos (1) for educational purposes, (2) your organization is a 501c3 non-profit (or equivalent), (3) no money or financial transaction is required for people to be able to see the video and no ads are shown alongside the video nor is any other revenue being made off of its use in any way, and (4) you do no editing, other than dubbed translations, nor do you add other promotional material (ads, promotions, sponsorships, announcements, etc) to the video, then we will probably be happy to let you use the video for free. Either way, please fill out this form (and if for some reason the form doesn’t exist any more, get in touch via email but please don’t fill out BOTH the form and send an email - overwhelming us makes us less likely to reply). This FAQ does NOT constitute permission to use any of our videos.