Welcome to Creators Going Pro, where in partnership with Semaphore — a creator-focused family of companies providing business and financial services to social media professionals — we profile professional YouTube stars who have hit it big by doing what they love. Each week, we’ll chat with a creator about the business side of their channel, including identifying their Semaphore Moment — the moment they truly went pro.
13-year-old Evan’s entire family lives and breathes YouTube. Together, he, his mother Alisa, his father Jared, and his 11-year-old sister Jillian manage five channels: their flagship EvanTubeHD (6.4M subscribers, around 20M views per month); JillianTubeHD (1.5M, 4.5M); EvanTubeGaming (1.5M, 3M); Jared’s channel DTSings (139K, 100K); and their shared channel, The Tube Family (3.7M, 15M).
The family produces at least one — but usually more than one — video per week for each channel, which makes for a busy household and full-time jobs for Alisa and Jared (who prefer to go by first names only). Not only does the family manage making hours of content per week spread across channels, they also manage unique content strategies for each channel.
Their strategymaking started in 2011, with the launch of EvanTubeHD. The channel’s first videos, featuring both Evan and Jillian, are catnip for kids — things like toy unboxings and detailed recordings of popular character rides at Disneyland. (It was so catnippy, in fact, that it inspired one of YouTube’s biggest toy-focused creators, Ryan Kaji, to start his own channel.) In 2013, Jillian got her own channel, where she too posted toy unboxings, but focused more on content about Disney princesses and hair tutorials. (Now she posts about popular shows and franchises like Steven Universe and Barbie, as well as DIYs and crafts.) By 2015, those two channels were bringing in millions of views and $1.3 million per year from AdSense revenue and brand deals. Their success prompted Alisa and Jared to expand the budding YouTube empire, adding The Tube Family (where they post videos chronicling family adventures) and EvanTubeGaming (Fortnite galore) in 2015, and DTSings in 2017.
2017 also marked a turning point for the family as a whole. They signed with kid-focused digital studio Pocket.watch, a deal that has since seen Evan and Jillian film starring roles in their own Pocket.watch-produced series. EvanTube’s Dollar Toy Squad is a an epic stop-motion battle show, and Jillian’s Mystery Craft Box follows Jillian as she tackles DIY craft challenges issued by YouTube slime queen Karina Garcia.
Evan, who’s our core featuree today, became a YouTube star before he understood what YouTube stardom was. He was six years old when EvanTubeHD launched. He didn’t know what AdSense revenue was, or when his videos were particularly engaging, or what a production schedule was. All he cared about was cool toys.
But now that he’s getting older, Evan has a hand in managing the business side of EvanTubeHD and EvanTubeGaming. Whereas in the past, Jared edited all of the family’s videos, now Evan does his own editing for EvanTubeGaming, and assists with some of the filming. Like most 13-year-olds, he still spends most of his time in school, doing extracurriculars, and getting through homework, but thanks to his own hard work and his family’s, Evan has already laid the foundations that could see him one day join his parents as a full-time YouTuber.
Check out our chat with him below.
Tubefilter: So first, tell us a little about you and your family! Where are you from? What did you do in the days before YouTube?
EvanTube: I’m 13 and have a sister who is 11. I started my YouTube channel in 2011, when I was six, so I didn’t do much in the days before YouTube. I just did regular kid stuff like going to school, playing with toys, and hanging out with my friends. Before YouTube, my mom was working as an elementary school teacher, and my dad was working as an actor and filmmaker/photographer.
Tubefilter: What made you choose YouTube as the place to share your content? What do you think it offers you, as a content creator, to help you grow your platform and build your career?
EvanTube: I used to watch music videos on YouTube and thought it would be fun to make some videos of my own. I saw all my dad’s camera equipment and asked him what everything did and if we could make a video for YouTube. He showed me how to make a stop-motion animation, and we decided to create a channel and upload it so my family could see it. We weren’t really thinking about it as a career. But YouTube is a great place to share things you like with people who have similar interests. You can find pretty much anything you can think of on YouTube.
Tubefilter: Your family manages multiple channels, including one for your sister Jillian. That must make for a pretty crazy situation behind the scenes! What’s an average day like in the Tube Family house?
EvanTube: Our average day is not too different from most kids’. We wake up and go to school. When we come home, we do our homework and have a snack. If we want to shoot something, we will shoot it at that time. We also have after-school activities (piano, dance, bowling), so we try and work around those as well. We don’t have a crazy upload schedule and usually only shoot a couple videos a week. My dad is the one that stays up until 3 a.m. editing all the footage. But I edit the gaming videos now, so he doesn’t have to worry about that.
Tubefilter: When did you get your first check for online video revenue? How much was it for?
EvanTube: It was so long ago that I don’t really remember. We didn’t even know we could make money from our videos when we started. We made videos for months before we even thought of clicking the monetization button. When we did, I remember my dad getting excited that we made $20 in a week. He said that if we invested it each week, it would help pay for college. I think we make a little more now.
Tubefilter: Have you had any partnerships or sponsorships for content on your channel?
EvanTube: Yes, we’ve been partnering with companies for most of our YouTube career. I think it works out great for everybody. Companies get to show off their products, our viewers get to see and learn about something new, and we get paid to have fun and make interesting content for our channel. It’s a win-win-win.
Tubefilter: You make different kinds of content for your various channels — like the gaming channel you mentioned. Do you have an overall content strategy for all your channels together? How do you decide what to film next?
EvanTube: It just depends what mood we’re in. Sometimes we like to do challenges, and other times, a new LEGO set will be released that I will want to build. We’ll also take a look at what’s trending and see if we can put our own spin on things. And if we’re not doing any of those, I always have time to make gaming content. My sister loves crafts and singing, so sometimes she’ll do a bit of that on her channel. On The Tube Family channel, we make videos about interesting things we do with our family.
Our strategy is to have fun, and try to make something people will enjoy watching. That’s it, really. Most of the time, we just do things we’re interested in. Sometimes we’ll take suggestions from our viewers, if it doesn’t sound too crazy.
Tubefilter: What was that Semaphore Moment for you — the first time you realized you were a professional creator?
EvanTube: For me, I realized I was a professional creator when I got to go on TV and talk about my videos. I didn’t really understand views and likes when I was younger, but I knew that being on TV was a big deal. I think I was eight when I was on Good Morning America in 2014. After that, Jillian and I got to be on The View, The Chew, and The Tonight Show. We voiced our own cartoon series, Evan the Epic, and I got to star in an animated feature film, Beyond Beyond.
Tubefilter: Speaking of starring roles, you and Jillian recently worked with pocket.watch to star in two series. What was that experience like?
EvanTube: It was very cool. It is always fun to do new things and work with a big crew. Usually, it’s just the four of us working at home. It makes things interesting when you have a bunch of people working on a show just for you. Jillian had a lot of fun doing her own craft show with a big set on a soundstage.
Tubefilter: What makes you love creating content on YouTube?
EvanTube: I like to be creative. And the best part about YouTube is that you are able to share your creations with the world. You basically have your own show and can do whatever you want (as long as your parents approve). It’s nice to get feedback from people who like what we create. Knowing there are people who like what you do is a good feeling to have.
Tubefilter: How long does it take you, on average, to put together a video, from scripting to filming to uploading?
EvanTube: It varies from video to video. Sometimes we can spend weeks on a single video. Other times, we can put together up in a few hours. For our skits, it takes a bit longer to plan and shoot everything, since we are usually moving all around the house and sometimes on location. Our challenges are usually a bit faster, because we shoot everything all in one place. My gaming videos are probably the quickest to make. I make commentary while playing the game, then make some edits, render, and upload. Oh, and make the thumbnail. My dad is more of a perfectionist, so the videos he edits take a lot longer.
Tubefilter: You mentioned that it’s usually just the four of you. Do you have anyone else working with you behind the scenes? A manager or network?
EvanTube: The usual crew includes my dad as the director/camera/editor, my mom as the production assistant/stylist, and my sister and me as the performers. Sometimes my parents appear in the videos as well. When they do, my sister or I will step in for camera duty. I edit most of the videos on the gaming channel. We also work with pocket.watch on some of the brand integrations on our channels, and on new show ideas.
It’s important to have somebody there to help work out the details or a particular deal. That leaves us more time to focus on making content.
Tubefilter: What do you think is the most vital skill you possess as a creator?
EvanTube: I think our most vital skill is our creativity. From the very beginning, we always tried to do things a little different and add something extra to make each video special. There are a lot of channels on YouTube, so you need something that stands out. Comedy is always a good thing to have when it comes to YouTube. People love to laugh. We often get comments from viewers telling us how watching our videos brightens up their day.
Tubefilter: What’s next for you and your channel? What are you building toward?
EvanTube: We’ve been doing this for a long time. We’ve gotten older, and so has our audience. I think the main rule to follow is always the same: have a good time doing what you’re doing, and your audience probably will too. I’m hoping to build up my gaming channel and get into animation. Jillian would love to make music videos and, of course, continue her crafts. My parents love making travel videos for families. So I guess you could say our focus is FUN!
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