Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
A man who started off as a kid with a bike and a dream is now one of the most popular extreme sports creators on YouTube. Adam LZ, a 21-year-old who originally hails from Connecticut, has now amassed one million subscribers on his personal channel. LZ, who has been partnered with the Xtreme Video Network since June 2016, is one of the most exciting BMX riders around, but that’s not the only thing he posts about. Among the 300 videos on his channel, viewers will find a variety of content; they’ll watch him explore his new favorite hobby, drifting, and learn about his relationship with his wife Nicole. Here are his thoughts on his digital notability:
Tubefilter: How does it feel to have one million subscribers? What do you have to say to your fans?
Adam LZ: It’s honestly crazy. I remember starting this channel in 2013 and being super focused on getting 60,000 subscribers. The fact that a million people out there chose to hit the subscribe button and follow our adventures is really mind boggling to think about.
To my fans, I would mainly just thank them for staying with us through the years. My channel has had a few dramatic shifts, and it’s really nice knowing the majority of our subscribers stayed with us through them all. With so many people out there making awesome videos on YouTube, I’m super appreciative they choose to spend time watching ours.
TF: What role would you say your YouTube channel plays in your life?
AL: I would say that my main focus right now is definitely on YouTube. It hasn’t always been that way; I used to spend more time on my clothing business or on school assignments, but I’ve managed to craft my schedule to make YouTube more of a priority.
I like to think of YouTube as a means to document our lives rather than doing challenges or crazy things to make a viral video. Fortunately, though, we do live a quite crazy life so it’s not as boring as you would think. One thing I like is that sometimes we’ll go out and do fun stuff that we normally wouldn’t because it makes the video better. I’m very lazy sometimes, but lazy doesn’t make good videos and I never regret going out and doing stuff!
We love interacting with our viewers, too. We view them as friends, and I think they view us the same. Sometimes when I’m having a bad day seeing all the nice comments from fans can be a real pick-me-up.
TF: Who do you see as your average viewer, and how do you appeal to that person?
AL: I would say our average viewer is male, age 12-24, and interested in either BMX or cars. It used to be more on the younger side and focused mainly on BMX, but over the past year as I got into drifting and incorporated my car-related life, it’s expanded our reach (and demographic) dramatically. I’m pretty sure we do have some girls that watch our videos too; couples tell us they watch our videos together all the time. I love it.
TF: How much time do you spend editing your vlogs, and why is a well-edited vlog important to you?
AL: Some vlogs will take me an hour to edit and others will take me five hours. It all depends on the mood I am in and how much other stuff I have going on in my life. If I have time and film the right clips, I love to get artsy and put together a well-polished video. On the other hand, sometimes timing is more important than editing, and I’ll put out more of a raw video.
The most important thing to me is always what I don’t edit. I find that choosing the right clips to include and the right ones to leave out is the most important thing that makes the difference between an interesting and entertaining vlog and one that is boring to watch.
TF: After filming so many vlogs, how do you keep the format from feeling stale to you?
AL: I literally change everything on a monthly basis. Sometimes I’ll get into a new hobby and start making videos about it (drifting). Other times I’ll get a new camera and experiment with a totally different format of vlogging. I get bored of things super easily, so I’m constantly switching it up, and I think that’s one thing that sets my channel apart from the rest.
TF: How do you strike a balance between your private life and stuff you share publicly in your videos?
AL: It has definitely gotten a lot more difficult lately. I love sharing our life with everyone, and I think they like it, too. The more you put out there, the more there is for people to relate to. It’s never really been an issue, but we did have a few incidents last year of people showing up at our house. That’s kind of like our safe zone and the place where we prefer not to interact with fans (at least unexpectedly). I’m pretty much comfortable sharing anything from our life on YouTube. I don’t really censor anything, and I pretty much present it like it is.
TF: A lot of the most popular extreme sports channels on YouTube are run by brands. Do you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing?
AL: I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, but it definitely isn’t the recipe for a strong YouTube channel. I think it’s becoming more understood that YouTube is based on individuals and personalities. The most successful channels have people you can latch onto, almost like characters in a TV show. These large brands sponsor so many athletes that it’s like a TV show that never has repeat characters. It’s cool, and it can be fun to watch, but you don’t get the same feeling as watching something where you know and care about the characters.
TF: You’ve traveled a lot in your videos. Where’s one place you’d like to go to?
AL: I am really itching to go to Japan. There’s a place called Ebisu Circuit that is literally like a giant, drifting playground with a bunch of different tracks. I’m pretty sure they even rent people cars! I also think it would be really cool to film and interact in a culture so different from ours.
TF: What’s next for your channel? Any fun plans?
AL: Right now I’m just focused on graduating college. It’s tough to travel and do crazy things when I have to go to class all day for half of the week. Once I’m out, there are a BUNCH of people I’m planning on collaborating with, a bunch of places I want to go, and some crazy ideas I want to actually follow through with. Just three more months!
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