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.

In recent years, Tristan Tales has established himself as one of the most notable storytellers on Snapchat and Instagram. Now, he’s beginning to make his mark on YouTube, too. His channel there, which he updates regularly and consistently, is full of vlogs, sketches, pranks, challenges, chronicles of his adventures, and collaborations with fellow creators like Tessa Brooks. Now that Tristan has more than one million YouTube subscribers, we decided to get a progress report from one of the internet’s most ambitious young creators.

Tubefilter: ​How does it feel to have more than one million subscribers on YouTube? What do you have to say to your fans?

Tristan Tales: I honestly can’t believe it. I teared up when I saw what me and the Trizzlers accomplished in such a short amount of time. It feels like yesterday when I was couchsurfing, sleeping in my car, and squatting in an abandoned mansion in Malibu trying to make ends meet just so that I could create every single day. I still remember freaking out over getting 10,000 views on a video. I’m so grateful for everyone who has followed me on this journey – from my 1st subscriber (shout out to mom) to my millionth.

To the Trizzler fam, you are my muses. And all I have to say is that I love you all and this is just the beginning. There’s so many exciting things to come and I’m honored to have you all on board with me.

TF: What do you think has been the key to your success on YouTube?

TT: The key is to stay true to yourself and make sure your unique voice is always shining through in everything you make. I know that sounds cliche but even if the majority of YouTubers have adopted the vlog style for example, it’s up to you to take a style and make it your own. Innovate, innovate, innovate!

TF: Where do you come up with ideas for sketches and how much time goes into a typical video?

TT: It comes rather naturally, I find myself in situations where I think, “hey this would make a funny sketch!” and then I find a comedic and visual angle for those situations.

With my vlogs, I like to try to create a narrative around my day, so I’m often brainstorming and filming most of the day. Then editing can take hours! Have I mentioned I haven’t slept in two years?

TF: What do you enjoy about being a part of the YouTube community?

TT: I am constantly inspired by how creative and talented other creators are, and to be able to team up and collaborate with them to bring something fresh to our viewers is so dope!

But the best part of the community are the viewers. I sometimes read the comments on my videos and I see how supportive and positive my fans are, and not just with me but with each other. I sometimes creep DM group chats they add me to (shh don’t tell anyone) and it always brings a huge smile to my face seeing how they’ve come together from all over the world through their shared interests.

TF: The feeling in the media world is that Snapchat is struggling and losing ground to Instagram. Why do you think that is and what can they do to continue growing?

TT: I think users want to be able to discover creators they aren’t following, which Instagram allows them to do. The interactivity of the comments, tags, explore page, etc make Instagram a community for fans, and a much more appealing platform for creators looking to grow an audience. For Snapchat to keep growing, I think it needs to open up new ways for users to connect with each other and discover exciting new content.

TF: Would you say you have different strategies for different social platforms or do you adopt a “one size fits all” approach to the distribution of your content?

TT: The viewing habits of the platform dictate the type of content that creators need to make for each respective medium. Since Instagram videos are watched on the phone, often without sound, and a shorter attention span, you need to make sure you hook the audience with visuals and fast pacing. A lot of YouTube is watched on laptops or even TVs, which allows for longer content that can be more dialogue-driven. You still want to hook the viewers early, but you can easily keep their interest for a ten-minute video, which isn’t currently possible on Instagram.

TF: You work a lot with brands. What’s a common mistake you think brands make when looking to partner with social influencers?

TT: The biggest mistake I think brands make is when they try to control the creative too much. No one knows our fans better than we do. The best collaborations are created when the brand reaches out early in the development phase rather than just sending a complete outline. For example, I’ve seen the most engagement on brand campaigns when I have been given some creative autonomy. I’ve been lucky enough to establish long-term relationships with the brands I’m passionate about and have yet to have a bad experience. These long-term relationships allow me to establish trust with the brand, which really winds up making it easier for both parties. I benefit from getting more creative freedom, while they don’t have to worry about holding my hand through the process.

TF: If you could go back in time five years, what advice would you give to yourself?

TT: Don’t eat a burrito before going skydiving, I learned that when I became the first person to snapchat while jumping out of a plane from 12,000 feet and landing at a beach party… Let’s just say I didn’t stay at the party for very long.

No, but in all honesty – I’d tell myself to not to worry so much, and that I was on the right path, and that all I need to do is continue pursuing my dreams confidently and I’ll find myself where I am today: The happiest I’ve ever been, doing what I love, and surrounded by the most creative, loving and supportive fanbase and friends.

TF: What’s next for your channel? Any fun plans?

TT: I have some big things planned for my channel! I’m going to continue pushing the boundaries with my vlogs and incorporate new storytelling techniques to create a unique experience. I also have a couple top secret projects that will be airing on my channel later this year so make sure you turn those post notifications on and buy my merch 😉

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