YouTube Trends Explainer: American Girl Stop Motion, or #AGSM

February 04, 2015

The most viewed AGSM video (4.7+m views): No School!?!?! by FiveDollStars

2014's top toy search on Google will feel like a throwback for kids of the ‘90s: American Girl dolls. But on YouTube today, American Girl dolls are bigger than ever thanks to #AGSM, or "American Girl Stop Motion": a steadily growing video trend that has given rise to a subcommunity of (mostly) young creators who use DIY animation techniques to create intricate, short films starring their dolls. The process of creating an AGSM video is laborious, requiring thousands of still photos and hours editing and splicing the footage together. #AGSM videos have covered classic motifs like the prom and the first day of school (and more transient ones like the Ice Bucket Challenge) but also veer into more hard-hitting material like cyberbullying, familial alienation, and even the very real perils of drunk driving (warning: this video contains doll reenactments some may find disturbing.)

Since 2011, YouTube has seen a steady increase in AGSM uploads and creators. Of the 62,000+ AGSM related videos uploaded on YouTube since 2008, more than 23,000 of them were published in 2014. And last year alone, AGSM saw more than 33m views (compared to 7.8m in 2008).

One of the most prolific AGSM creators is basilmentos (90k+ subscribers). The teenage creator has made a jaw-dropping 285 videos, racked up over 30M views, and been called "the Scorcese of doll film" by at least one YouTube Trends team member.

For more AGSM on YouTube, explore here.

- Claire Stapleton & Christine Huang