BAY SHORE : Bay Shore’s Social Media Renaissance Man

Marley Vaughn-Davidson
Bay Shore native son, Marley Vaughn-Davidson.
Courtesy of Marley Vaughn-Davidson.

Bay Shore has a new celeb resident: the social media star Marley Vaughn-Davidson. A proud lifelong resident of Bay Shore, Vaugh-Davidson started his professional social media presence when he was a freshman in high school in 2015, by opening his YouTube channel, “The Marley Show!”. Taking inspiration from varying content creators on YouTube and the now-defunct social media app Vine, Vaughn-Davidson began the channel to share his interests and passions with the broader world. Most of Vaughn-Davidson’s earlier content consists of live-action material, such as dramatized Nerf gun shootouts, spending quality time with his younger brother Caleb, or documenting events at Bay Shore High School, such as Multicultural Week.

“Currently my TikTok is at 58,000 followers, and I use that page to let my viewers know when there’s a new video on my YouTube channel, which has 1,650 followers,” said Vaughn-Davidson. “I usually get between one and seven shares a day.”

Vaughn-Davidson’s love for creating YouTube videos earned him a reputation among his classmates as a fun-loving and spirited person.

“Marley was always doing something creative that would ripple through the high school,” said Efrain Marquez, one of Vaughn-Davidson’s former classmates. “He joined so many activities and went over the top with it, not in a bad way or anything…it was entertaining to see that he was always up to something.”

Vaughn-Davidson even produced two-feature length films entirely for his YouTube channel. “Marley’s Summer Adventure” and “Marley’s Summer Adventure 2: The Search for Caleb,” which use Vaughn-Davidson’s summer activities as a framework to tell a story. Vaughn-Davidson and his brother Caleb made the films almost entirely on their own, with the two siblings shooting every scene and being responsible for every prop, using their family members and friends as extras. Vaughn-Davidson even composed and performed several original songs for the film’s soundtrack, and released it on Spotify.

“His movies are great,” said Quinn Zack, a “Marley Show!” subscriber who lives in a suburb of Buffalo. “You can tell that he has so much passion for what he does, and it’s so refreshing to see that!”

But after he graduated from high school in 2019, Vaughn-Davidson had to switch gears by entering the working world. “Though I’m grateful to have my job at Big Lots, and a few of my coworkers know about my Internet endeavors, it could never give me the same joy as making videos, especially because my schedule is always changing.” This is especially difficult for Vaughn-Davidson, who hopes to start doing YouTube as a full-time job in the future.

Even though he had to devote substantial amounts of time to his job, Vaughn-Davidson decided to try his hand at something new: animation. Starting in January of 2021, he started practicing on his iPad using Flip-a-Clip, an app his brother had introduced him to. “I thought it’d be nice if I made a celebratory animation for reaching 900 subscribers on YouTube,” Vaughn-Davidson recalled. “When it was finished, I put it on Instagram and TikTok, and to my surprise, the video got over 6,000 views, and I got an extra 1200 followers on TikTok!”

Vaughn-Davidson’s explosion in popularity didn’t stop there, though. As the days and weeks passed, he continued to receive consistent attention, with thousands of people following him daily.

“Since I wanted to keep doing animations while still keeping the original live-action vibes of the YouTube channel, I planned to bounce back and forth between live-action videos and animations,” he clarified. “But I soon realized that people favored the animations more than the live-action stuff, but there will be a few times now and then when I do a live-action video for TikTok, but only if I deem it worth watching.”

The skills Vaughn-Davidson had to learn while doing animation are also very different from those required to produce live-action content. “

They’re a lot harder to make compared to the stuff I used to do,” he explained. “There’s a lot more attention to detail that goes into it; you have to figure out things like postering a character’s movements, making sure that the animation lines up with the audio, and you need as much time as possible to work on it, since most animation is usually 18 to 24 seconds per frame, usually more.”

Despite being relatively new to animation, Vaughn-Davidson’s work has gained recognition, not just inside the virtual world. In early 2021, he made an animation for a presentation at one of Bay Shore’s elementary schools. He was even the recipient of an award at the 14th annual Luminaries Award ceremony at Five Towns College in May.

“I received the Audience Choice in Animation,” Vaughn-Davidson explained. “There was a viewing night before the ceremony, and my Christmas animation, ‘All Wrapped Up,’ was one of the nominations. At the night’s end, the audience got to vote on which animations and films they liked the most.”

Marley Vaughn-Davidson is a true Renaissance man, living and breathing for his art, and he never let anything stand in the way of his dreams.