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 creator has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments here.
For Jack Pop Productions, making-stuff days are chaotic.
It starts with a rallying cry: Jack Thomas gets a sketch comedy video idea, calls his best buds to his bedroom–where he’s got not one but two full studios crammed into every inch of space he can spare–and then comes the often all-night process of filming. By the time they’re done, his friends have either already spent the night or are about to crash out on his couch for the day, exhausted from driving one another to hysterics.
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Thomas doesn’t have a favorite part of producing. He loves the high-energy film bashes with his friends just as much as he loves the solo editing sessions that follow. He makes it clear his friends are a huge part of his creative process, but when it comes to polish and posting, he’s a one-man band.
For Thomas, every video he makes is a chance to learn something. And everything he learns helps propel him toward his ultimate goal: the film industry. He wants to make movies–and soon, that dream is becoming a reality: he’s making a 50-minute film based on his original characters Paul and Lawrence: Ghost Hunters. Producers for the project have already been secured, and Thomas hopes to debut the film by Halloween.
Check out our chat with him below.
Tubefilter: How did it feel for you to hit a million subscribers?
Jack Thomas: It was essentially one of the most surreal things to ever happen to me. I mean, I grew up on YouTube. I’ve been watching it since I was an actual baby. So it just feels amazing. But, I don’t know, at the end of the day, I really do feel like I’m making it for the content. I really just want to make videos that I can look back on and feel proud. As grateful as I am for an audience, I’m more happy to just have this creative outlet where people can give feedback. And honestly, it’s just really cool. It’s the coolest thing. I’m so grateful.
Tubefilter: Tell me a little bit about you for anybody who doesn’t know your content. Where are you from? What’s your background?
JT: I’m from Atlanta, Georgia. I’ve pretty much never left the state. I’ve been doing this for…pretty sure 10 years now. It’s my favorite thing to do. It is my escape.
I do sketch comedy. It kind of started as this thing that I did with my friends, way back in 2013 or so, where I would do, you know, drawing tutorials, stuff like that. I really was into Smosh. So that was kind of my main inspiration for a while. But more recently it’s been more like short films and just comedy whatevers. When I have an idea, I just kind of make it, throw it out, and if people like it, then great.
Tubefilter: Do you remember when you decided to start a YouTube channel?
JT: I remember the exact moment I decided on YouTube. I was sprawled out on my staircase at my old house watching Smosh with my Cheeto fingers on my iPad, and I was like, “I could totally do this.” And I was like eight, I’m pretty sure. So I just whipped up this garbage video with my mom on like how to draw SpongeBob Squarepants. And I just threw it out on my channel and I think two people saw it. [laughs]
Tubefilter: How old are you now?
JT: I just turned 17, like two days ago.
Tubefilter: Oh, happy belated birthday.
JT: Thank you.
Tubefilter: So when did YouTube become a serious pursuit for you?
JT: Very recently. I think it was the quarantine where it started to get kind of real. Like this might actually be something. I got this school assignment where I had to make an anti-bullying PSA, so me and my group came up with The Bully Busters and I wasn’t even planning to post it, but I remember I was around 1,000 subscribers at the time and I posted this garbage video—I thought—and someone stole it and it got like in the tens of millions of views on TikTok. So everyone just came flooding into my page.
It was the most overwhelming, most exciting thing. I was like “Holy…shoot. People are seeing my content. Insane.” And it just picked up from there. Now that I had an audience, I was more motivated to make stuff that appealed to the algorithm. Then I guess here we are.
Tubefilter: How has your growth been since? Any other big growth moments, or steady?
JT: It feels super fast, but I think it was pretty gradual. Here and there I’ll get these huge videos, videos I wouldn’t even…Like, it’s always the videos where I wasn’t trying that blow up. The really stupid meme ones get like 22 million views. I remember a few of them got Trending.
There was this video I did, like a classic for me, it was so dumb. It was skateboarding, but I edited the skateboards in and it looked so stupid and hilarious and that got on Trending. It was the craziest feeling in the world. Just another one of those surreal moments that just felt unreal.
Tubefilter: It’s funny what takes off. I think the first video I ever saw of yours was “Don’t worry, he’s friendly,” which I sent to my mom immediately because my mom is exactly like that.
JT: No way. Dude. Moms love me. I don’t know what it is, but all of my friends show their moms and then by the end of the night, they’re with their family on the couch, watching my stuff.
My favorite part of the whole thing is that it’s my friends who get recognized and it’s so funny. We only get recognized when we’re at Sky Zone, which is so bizarre, but yeah. I remember my cousin sent a picture of some little kid watching my videos at an airport or something, on their iPad. So it was kind of a full-circle moment. Cheeto fingers from the other side.
Tubefilter: That’s very cool. So you’re currently still in high school?
Tubefilter: Do you plan to go to college or are you just planning on doing YouTube full-time?
JT: I don’t think I’m gonna go to college. I think I’m going to try to take what I have on YouTube, because I feel like I’ve got this great thing going that I could turn into something bigger, something in film. At the end of the day, I really just want to be a director. I want to be behind the camera. I want to be, you know, editing and all of that jazz. I just want to be in the industry no matter who sees it or where it goes. I just want to make stuff that I feel proud of and like it’s really contributing to something other than just me.
Tubefilter: Do you do everything on your videos yourself right now? Editing, etcetera?
JT: Yeah. Most people don’t believe me, for some reason, but I don’t really have a crew. I edit everything and I make it a point to not hire anybody for anything, because I feel like too many cooks spoil a pot. You know what I’m saying? That was the most pretentious thing I’ve ever said.
Tubefilter: It can be true, though! Especially if you’re aiming to be a director, having your specific voice.
JT: Yeah. That’s another thing for sure. I do plan to get a crew for bigger things, because how else am I supposed to learn? But it feels very authentic to me and it feels more special, I guess, that I have it all myself.
Tubefilter: What’s your production process for videos? Where do you start?
JT: Sometimes it could go from like a day to like two months and it could still be just like a 30-second sketch. I’ve got this green screen studio right over there. That’s where I film everything. And I’ve got a separate studio right there—that’s all in my room where I have just an incredible amount of props, it’s disgusting.
Essentially I just write a script, I call over my friends, usually very desperately. They come over, if their parents allow it, and we kind of just do it up for seven hours. Sometimes they have to sleep over and we have to do it the next day, and by the end we’re like sweating, literally tears in our eyes from laughing so much. I throw it all together in editing and export it and upload it. It’s kind of a gamble, honestly.
Tubefilter: How much time overall does the average video take you?
JT: I like to think I can pull it off in two days, but it usually stretches over a week because I’ve got movies to watch. [laughs] Traditionally, two to three days is pretty fair.
Tubefilter: What’s your favorite movie you’ve watched recently?
JT: I’ve seen so much recently. Inglorious Basterds. Greatest movie I’ve ever seen. And I saw Everything Everywhere All at Once, which is my favorite movie now. Everyone needs to see that movie at least once. It’s like…ugh, I can’t even describe it. It’s one of those things you just have to see for yourself.
Tubefilter: It’s on my list. You mentioned your first channel and then being inspired by sketch comedy. How has your content evolved since you got on YouTube?
JT: When I was little, I wanted to do Minecraft videos, and then it was sketch comedy videos, and I just bounced around on all this stuff. I think I settled on sketch comedy group more recently. I like to think I’ve gotten better over the past 10 years. I like to think that I learned something new every time and I can take something away from each videomaking experience. I think in general I’ve gotten funnier with my stuff. I’m very proud the stuff I’m making right now.
Tubefilter: Do you have any plans for the next year or so? Is there anything you’re looking at doing or any goals you have?
JT: One big goal: 2 million subscribers.
Tubefilter: I think that’s doable.
JT: I’m going for it. Yeah. It’s really tough because once you’re kind of established, when you find your audience, now you gotta expand on it. You gotta come up with something new. So I’ve got some ideas that I’m not gonna say on here, but I do think that people are gonna love it.
I will say, I’m doing a movie. I’m making a 50-minute film. I’m gonna get fundraising for it. And hopefully it will come out this year. I’ve got producers working on it and everything. It’s about these two characters that I made a few years ago, Paul and Lawrence, Ghost Hunters.
And that’s all! The only thing I’m gonna say on it is that I bought a Vespa motorcycle for it.
Tubefilter: Oh, you’re committed.
JT: Oh yeah, I’m committed. So stay tuned!
Tubefilter: Well hang on, what stage is it all in? Is the script done?
JT: The script is still in progress, but I think we’ve got a very solid outline. There’s still some bits that I want to throw in, but hopefully we’re gonna be filming throughout fall. I want it to come out around Halloween. I feel like that’d be perfect. But I can’t make any promises. I just really want to…I’ve been waiting for something to really sink my teeth into, and I feel like this is really just a great opportunity. I’m very excited.
Tubefilter: Good luck! That is essentially all of my questions for you, unless there’s anything that you wanted to talk about, anything else you feel like people should know about you?
JT: Let me think. I’m trying to think if I could throw some wisdom in here somehow.
Tubefilter: Yeah, give me your top piece of advice.
JT: OK, sure. For young creatives out there who may be reading this: Just make as much as you can now, especially while you’re young. I’ll tell you why: Because I remember when I was little, it took me so long to work up that courage to just put something out there, or just make something at all, honestly. I had all these ideas, and I want you to know that those ideas do have a shelf life—and as bad as that is, if you don’t act on that, it can just die. And I feel like that’s just sad. I feel like it’s a waste of life. I feel like creative energy is peak human living. It’s just an amazing thing.
So if you’re young and you have an idea, make it. It doesn’t matter if it’s terrible, because you’re gonna learn from it. And then eventually, who knows? You might have a million subscribers.