By Holly Pilcavage - For Weekender

The NEPA Creative Series: Swoyersville youth finds outlet through Minecraft

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Elijah Stroud has found his creative outlet through Minecraft, a world-building video game that has helped him connect with thousands of people.
Submitted photo
After being featured by Minecraft YouTube star Dan Middleton — known as DanTDM — Elijah Stroud saw his own channel receive a significant boost.
Submitted photo
Swoyersville’s Elijah Stroud wrote his first book at age 8 and had his own signing night at the Barnes & Noble in Wilkes-Barre Township.
Courtesy of CoalCreative

Elijah Stroud, also known as Golden Ninja 50 to the online world, is the 19th #NEPACreative of the year. Elijah hails from Swoyersville and brings creativity to the area through writing books and playing Minecraft.

Elijah, 10, has always been fascinated with the video game Minecraft, so he decided to begin writing stories about the game. This ultimately lead him to then play those stories out for others to see through his YouTube channel.

At 7 years old, Elijah first began recording his gaming sessions. He wrote his first book at 8 years old and it quickly became an Amazon Best Seller. In May 2016, at age 9, Elijah decided to become more serious with YouTube and building his following.

“We would use my phone’s camera to capture him playing the game actually videoed the television screen and uploaded to my personal YouTube channel,” Elijah’s father, Chris, explained. “The videos were blurry, shaky and had me talking on them to help guide him. He was determined, although I hadn’t realized how important this was to him.

“It wasn’t until May of 2016, when Elijah was 9 years old, that he wanted his videos to look more like his idols — (Dan Middleton, known online as DanTDM), the largest Minecraft YouTuber in the world.”

At that point in time, Elijah had already written two books about Minecraft and his father realized this really could be something for his son. Chris began researching the programs, camera, microphone and lighting you needed to create a quality video. He even started watching YouTube video tutorials on how to make a decent looking video.

By trial and error, Chis learned the editing process while showing Elijah along the way. The videos got better and Elijah continued to draw in fans. He had a small following from the Minecraft books he previously wrote, which the father-son duo believe helped create a fan base in the beginning.

The videos got better, the subscribers grew and now Elijah has made friends with children all over the world. After one of his videos was featured on Middleton’s YouTube page with over 14 million subscribers, Elijah’s channel started to grow faster. He hit 100,000 views and is about to hit 3,000 subscribers in less than one year.

This entire experience has truly created a strong bond between father and son as they have become a team.

“He continues to record, design, edit and upload at least four videos a week with my help and live streams every Wednesday evening and on some weekends,” Chris said. “Live streaming is the new thing in social media. He hits some of his best numbers talking live to hundreds of children.”

In 2016, Elijah was invited to make a Barnes & Noble appearance where he was the first unpublished solo author ever to have his own book signing night at the store in Wilkes-Barre Township.

This year, Elijah will be a guest at Minefaire, the largest festival for a single video game, Minecraft, in the world. Last year, he was a featured guest, giving a seminar on his books and was also invited to do a second seminar at the festival’s YouTube Rising Star showcase.

The dates he will be featured this year are Aug. 5-6 in Charlotte, N.C.; Aug. 19-20 in Washington, D.C.; and Oct. 14-15 in Philadelphia. More information is available at Minefaire.com.

Fans of Minecraft or Roblox, or those with a child looking for some family-friendly, G-rated kid gaming videos, might want to become the newest member of the #GoldenArmy, as Elijah likes to call his fan base.

To Elijah, being creative means having a special gift that lets you create something that makes others smile.

When being considered as an NEPA Creative, individuals are asked to explain how they bring creativity to the area, how long they have been doing it and why, and finally what being creative means to them.

Once chosen, the next step is to bring each creative into CoalCreative’s studio space to be filmed for a 60-second video that is shared every Wednesday across all their social media platforms. The series plans to highlight all sorts of creatives throughout the rest of the year.

There are no limits to who could be considered. Photographers, musicians, barbers, magicians and improv artists are just a handful of the submissions CoalCreative has received thus far.

Elijah Stroud has found his creative outlet through Minecraft, a world-building video game that has helped him connect with thousands of people.
https://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_Submitted-by-Chris-Stroud-2.jpgElijah Stroud has found his creative outlet through Minecraft, a world-building video game that has helped him connect with thousands of people. Submitted photo

After being featured by Minecraft YouTube star Dan Middleton — known as DanTDM — Elijah Stroud saw his own channel receive a significant boost.
https://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_Elijah2.jpgAfter being featured by Minecraft YouTube star Dan Middleton — known as DanTDM — Elijah Stroud saw his own channel receive a significant boost. Submitted photo

Swoyersville’s Elijah Stroud wrote his first book at age 8 and had his own signing night at the Barnes & Noble in Wilkes-Barre Township.
https://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_Elijah1.jpgSwoyersville’s Elijah Stroud wrote his first book at age 8 and had his own signing night at the Barnes & Noble in Wilkes-Barre Township. Courtesy of CoalCreative
Swoyersvilleyouth developsonline following

By Holly Pilcavage

For Weekender

To be considered for the series, submit a consideration form at www.coalcreative.com/are-you-a-nepa-creative or send an email to [email protected]

To be considered for the series, submit a consideration form at www.coalcreative.com/are-you-a-nepa-creative or send an email to [email protected]