SuperAMA with Suraj Boddu, Youtuber
A budding creator from bangalore with a passion for Youtube, tech, film & cinematography!
The core idea of this interview series is to dive deeper into unexplored areas of talented creators & try to find that nerve as in 'what makes awesome creators, awesome!'✨
What motivated you to become a creator?
We have to go way back for this one. Like 2013/14. I watched creators like Austin Evans and MKBHD and was quite inspired by everything they were doing. Back then, just the idea that I could create something from scratch and share it with the world appealed to me. And I knew there was a lot of opportunity in India because there weren't many creators representing India.
I wanted to make tech videos too but my 13-year-old brain did not have the knowledge or the correct mindset for it. So instead, I started by posting guitar covers. Those were relatively easier to produce. Since then, it's been quite a journey. I have created a few different channels, offended a ton of people through my reviews, met loads of amazing humans, and just had an absolute blast doing this whole creator thing.
📈 How did you build early audience on Youtube?
In 2014, Clash of clans was picking up a lot of steam. I really enjoyed talking about the game so I started making videos about it. I didn't get a lot of traction so what I would do is reach out to fellow creators and offer to make them outro cards for their videos so I could be friends and potentially collaborate with them.
I never promoted myself a whole lot to friends and family. I always found self-promotion difficult. It's something I still struggle with. Don't be like me. If you are just starting, please promote yourself. I'd much rather watch you put out a story promoting a video you created over a pointless 5-second clip from the pub you went to last night. There is nothing wrong with sharing with the world something you have created with your own hands. Especially if it adds value to the viewer.
A bunch of people who supported you during the early days?
Not a lot of people in real life knew about my channel in the early days. As I said, I wasn't great at telling people about it. But I did find a family on the internet. There were a lot of people my age doing exactly what I was. KDCloudy, Anubhav Roy, and Sam Barosso were some of my earliest YouTube friends and they made the journey much easier. All of us are still great friends and seeing each other go from the pre-puberty kids that we were to now almost entrepreneurs each running personal brands of our own has been absolutely incredible.
How did you manage to pull off "A COMMENT FROM MKBHD", damn it? 🤯
🙈.. I realllllly was not intending it. MKBHD has always had some of the best-produced videos. Specifically in his iPhone 12 review, he had this absolutely bad-ass intro. I found it really cool and wanted to try it for myself. So that's what I did. I documented the process and shared it on YouTube with no expectations whatsoever.
The next thing I know, everyone starts tweeting the link at him and I think a few hours after that, the legend himself watched the video, commented on it, and also retweeted it on Twitter. I don't think one can predict such a thing. You just have to keep creating without expectations and before you know it, something absolutely crazy will happen.
When not making Youtube videos, what do you do?
Until last week, I would've said college is where I spend most of my time. But, I just submitted my final project and completed my degree. When not making YouTube videos, I spend most of my time working on other film projects. I've been working as an assistant director on a Kannada feature film for the last few months. So that has taken up a lot of my time. Apart from that, I also offer video services to individuals and companies as a freelancer. I don't have a fixed routine but most of what I do revolves around making videos. What do I do for fun? I go out with friends. I watch good cinema and I also recently got into F1!
Who are some creators you look up to?
This is a really difficult one. There are so many great creators out there! Most of the creators that I follow these days are in the photography/film space. And specifically the smaller channels. I think that's where the real innovation is happening. Creators like Danny Gevirtz, Mumbo vlogs, Serr, and Grainydays are my favourite channels in this space. Amongst the Indian creators, I look up to Harsh Punjabi, KDCloudy, Anubhav Roy, Animesh, and Shrish Unscripted.
🖥 What does your studio setup look like?
It's nothing fancy. I work out of my bedroom where I have a regular desk with a 2016 Macbook Pro hooked up to an external monitor, a nice mechanical keyboard from WASD and a wireless mouse from Logitech (not the MX master). I plan on making some upgrades over the coming months but for now here's what it looks like:
📚 Top 3 favourite books & podcasts
I wish I had a fancy list of podcast and book recommendations but unfortunately, I don't consume either of those mediums very much. However, I do listen to the occasional podcast episode. Typically, it is Team Deakins, a podcast about cinematography and filmmaking, hosted by Roger Deakins and his wife, or, Against the odds, a podcast about personal growth, hosted by Akash Damodaran. Once in a while, I'll also listen to Maha Bharat with Dhruv Rathee.
📺 Top 3 favourite TV Series
Silicon Valley. The Office. Breaking Bad. In that order.
📱 How does your app stack look like?
For productivity and staying sane, I've recently started using Notion. It makes life so much easier.
For work, Final Cut Pro X.
For photo editing, VSCO and Lightroom.
For movie watching, MUBI and Netflix.
In terms of social media, YouTube (if it counts as social media), Twitter, Instagram, and Letterboxd.
💪 What are some things you do to stay motivated?
I think I inherently love what I do so staying motivated for me isn't that difficult. That being said, there are definitely days where I don't feel like doing anything. When I first started, I used to feel guilty for not creating or being productive. But now in 2021, there is so much more awareness around self-care and staying motivated. We have a lot of discussions around it so it feels like less of a crime to be unproductive once in a while.
I have the privilege of starting early and being young so there isn't as much at stake if I miss an upload or go inactive for a couple of months. But, I think what one should strive for is to stay disciplined over staying motivated. I don't think Picasso or Da Vinci were motivated all the time. That's not practical for anyone. They were probably just extremely disciplined. Showing up every day is what matters.
I don't think I'm extremely disciplined either but I'm working towards it. A trick that helps massively is just getting started. A lot of times I will detach my emotions and try to get just one simple task done. It can be a simple task that takes only five minutes. The goal is to get into the flow state and once that happens you automatically get tunnel vision and lose track of time.
Lastly, some pro-tips for new creators
I feel there is suddenly so much awareness about the creator economy, influencer culture, and all of that. On one end, I think that's great because everyone takes it so much more seriously now. But at the same time, most people who start now just seem to be thinking about it from a business perspective from day one. Everybody just wants to hit that 1,000 subscriber mark and complete 4,000 hours of watch time. When I started, it was all about making good stuff and having a great time. I think we need some more of that. We need to be able to create even when nobody is watching. Money and sponsorships will come in eventually. Trust the process, and just have fun!
Loved it? Follow Suraj’s work:
That’s all for today folks, we had fun doing this AMA - hope you did too. Subscribe to stay in the loop with upcoming SuperAMAs⚡️