Welcome to Creators on the Rise, where—in partnership with global creator company Jellysmack—we find and profile breakout creators who are in the midst of extraordinary growth.
For Joshiiwuh (aka Joshua Alden) and his sister Brandi Alden, content creation has always been a family business.
Joshua is the one who started his current YouTube channel back in 2010, but even when it was solely “his,” Brandi was a frequent guest star. Over the past 12 years, she’s gone from guest star to full-fledged co-star, and Joshua credits her–and their shared “same exact brainwave length–with helping to make his channel what it is today: a wild, weird, and wonderful menagerie of short-form skits.
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Back before YouTube Shorts, a lot of Joshua’s channel growth came from his impression videos–something he never intended to be a central part of his channel, but after one impression video took off and brought in viewers, he kept doing them. He can do hundreds upon hundreds of voices, mimicking everyone from SpongeBob to a whole smorgasbord of DreamWorks characters to the iconic characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But while he’s undeniably skilled at impressions–and while they both helped establish his channel and helped him snag a few voice roles in productions–they were never really his passion.
His passion is skits. And once TikTok became a thing and YouTube rolled out Shorts, he had a place to make those skits.
With short-form video, Joshua and his sister are able to show off their acting skills in bite-sized comedic skits that (and we say this with kindness) toe the line between hilarious and horrifying. The siblings seem to know this: plenty of their content satirizes horror scenarios like creepy kids and horror movie vixens. And then there’s Joshua’s especially unsettling edition of Dora the Explorer.
Since debuting on Shorts, Joshua and his sister have seen his channel shoot up by nearly a million subscribers, and have taken his monthly view count from a couple hundred thousand to, last month, more than 40 million.
Check out our chat with him below.
Tubefilter: Describe a little bit about you and where you’re from and how you got into making videos.
Joshiiwuh: Sure. My name is Joshua. I’ve been making videos on YouTube for more than 10 years now over a couple of different channels. I got pretty big on TikTok and that helped my YouTube channel come back to life especially YouTube Shorts. I originally started doing impressions on YouTube and those got me a pretty decent following. I was around mid 200,000s for a while but then the channel died for a few years and then in the last few months, all of a sudden it’s just skyrocketed with a bunch of the YouTube Shorts that I’ve been posting.
I do mostly comedy skits with my sister and impressions, characters and stuff.
Tubefilter: Very cool. I’m really interested, you said that you think your TikTok account has helped your channel come back to life. Can you talk a little bit about that because a lot of people that I’ve spoken to have said that their TikTok traffic just does not come over to YouTube at all?
Joshiiwuh: It’s not necessarily the traffic, I would say. It’s more so just with YouTube Shorts you can repost on TikTok because I’d been posting my Shorts which were just the videos I made on TikTok like short skits and everything. It wasn’t until two months ago that all of a sudden one of them just started doing really well. Then as soon as one of them started doing well, the other one started doing well.
It’s how YouTube algorithm works. If one of your Shorts blows up they’re going to start showing all the people the other Shorts. If they like those then it’s going to be a cycle and that’s just what happened.
Tubefilter: Do you know which video it was that took off? The first one?
Joshiiwuh: It was a Pokémon parody I did. I think it was how to evolve Eevee into a ghost type.
Tubefilter: I think that’s actually the first video I saw of yours.
Joshiiwuh: Oh really?
Tubefilter: Yes! Can you talk a little bit about what your traffic was like before that and then once that video went viral what was the difference in views? Do you remember?
Joshiiwuh: It was massive. Like what I said before after the impressions I got stuck in the mid to late 200,000s for years. My impression videos were just not really getting out to the algorithm that much anymore. I also made the mistake of never asking people to hit the notification bell. I happened to take a break from YouTube right around the time that they made it so that you only get notified if you actually do click the notification bell.
Since I’d never told any of my followers before to click the notification bell, I think that that’s one of the reasons my channel also died is because it just stopped on people. Before my channel recently blew up a lot, I’d gotten about 300,000. I’d gotten a decent amount of traffic from TikTok, like maybe 30,000, nothing intense. Not a lot but the videos then were getting a few thousand, maybe 10,000 at the most. Now I’m starting to get tons of videos hitting multiple millions, specifically the Shorts.
Longer-form ones still don’t get as much as the Shorts but they’re getting way more than they were before.
Tubefilter: It’s your content, obviously, but you attribute your channel coming back to being able to make short-form videos?
Joshiiwuh: Definitely. The YouTube Shorts. I’ve seen a lot of those people say the same thing, the Shorts are great for getting more followers. Obviously, if you want to be able to do YouTube full-time you’re definitely going to have to do longer-form content because that’s how you can actually make money off YouTube. They have the Shorts Fund bonus thing but you have to do really, really well to be able to live off of just the Shorts Fund.
Tubefilter: I’ve seen the staggering difference in pay. It’s insane. Let’s talk a little bit about your creation process then. Do you work with your sister to come up with ideas for videos or are they your ideas? Do you script at all? Can you take us through the production of a video from beginning to end?
Joshiiwuh: They’re all my ideas. I always write the scripts and come up with everything. A lot of times I’ll have 95% of it filled out.
She’ll fill in the last 5%. We do a lot of improvising while we’re filming as well. Stuff will change and get added but we always plan it out. I’ll write the scripts out. I get all the props instead of lighting and everything like that.
Even though a lot of them are only one minute long, with us both being perfectionists, we can be filming for hours. I think the longest I ever spent was between editing and setting up everything was 15 hours on just one one-minute video. They can be pretty lengthy.
Tubefilter: That doesn’t surprise me. I feel like your editing is really clean.
Joshiiwuh: I put a lot in there. Thank you.
Tubefilter: You don’t have any help behind the scenes, it’s just you and your sister?
Joshiiwuh: Just me and my sister.
Tubefilter: Gotcha. You said you started YouTube 10 years ago and there was a lapse in between. Tell me what went on between then and now. Did you go to college? Are you still in school, did you work?
Joshiiwuh: I actually started when I was in college.
Tubefilter: Wait, how old are you?
Joshiiwuh: I’ve been out of college for a while. I’m 33.
Tubefilter: Are you really? You have a very young voice.
Joshiiwuh: I know. I get that a lot, but that helps really because I’m trying to get to voice acting.
I was in college and the only reason there was a time lapse is because my YouTube was dying at that point because of the impression videos. I never wanted to be an impressionist. Like I said, my dream job is voice acting. I just happened to make an impression video one day and it blew up. I think that’s still one of my biggest videos I think is an impression one.
I got stuck into it then because people kept asking for more impression videos. You get that niche, you have to stay there because YouTube’s like, “People that watch your videos, they only want to watch this.” Originally I always wanted to do short skits. I think my very first few videos were mostly skits, but that one impression video did well. Then after a while on YouTube I slowed down and put more time into auditioning for voice acting stuff looking for jobs because I wasn’t really doing well on YouTube.
Then I started trying to do skits on TikTok and those blew up and I have more of a passion for doing skits than I do for impressions. Like I said, when that started blowing up I thought maybe I could have a chance to actually start doing skits on YouTube, which is what I always wanted to do, and luckily the Shorts allowed me to do that. Even with my impression videos, I wouldn’t just sit there and do impressions. I always overcomplicate it and do skits within the impression videos.
Tubefilter: Did you work any jobs between? I’m just very curious about your background. What did you go to college for and did you work any jobs afterward?
Joshiiwuh: I went to college for film study specifically. I always wanted to also direct or write my own series or something like that on top of the voice acting stuff. I didn’t get into it because of this really weird rule. Then I ended up majoring in creative writing, which is not a great degree to have as far as being offered a job. Since then it’s mostly just been us working multiple things at the same time now.
I’ve been working a consistent 30 hours a week at Target for almost nine years now. I basically have three different side hustles that all don’t make me enough money to live off by themselves.
Tubefilter: Do you have a set production and posting schedule?
Joshiiwuh: I’m trying to get there. I recently got a social media manager who is trying to help me get more on schedule and everything. I try to post at least once or twice a week right now, but there’s not set days or anything.
Tubefilter: Just curious. I’ve talked to some people who are like “I post every single day at 9:00 AM EST,” and then there are some people who are like “I post once a month and it works out.” It’s just interesting hearing people’s different takes on it.
Joshiiwuh: feel just whatever you’re most able to do without stressing yourself out where the quality of the video is still good because there’s so many different types of videos too. If somebody is into vlogging or if you’re gaming or whatever, you could film multiple videos in one sitting. Depending on how much editing you do, you can just drop a video every day. If you’re somebody that does stop-motion or animation, then that’s going to take a lot of time for just two minutes of content. I feel like it just depends on the type of content you make.
Tubefilter: What does the average day look like for you, since you’ve got all these side hustles and you’re balancing all these things? There may not be an average day, but what kind of schedule are you looking at in general?
Joshiiwuh: I work evening shifts at Target. Usually, that means either 2:00 to 11:00 or 3:00 to 11:00, which helps because I can film stuff in the daytime with my sister when it’s still light outside. Usually, I wake up in the morning and if I have time to work out, then I’ll work out. Most of the time in the morning is just planning out videos or filming videos. My sister and me only have one day a week that we can film something. I twant her to be in as many of my videos as possible because it’s easier when you have multiple people. I usually wake up, the first half of my day is just planning videos, editing, and stuff like that.
Occasionally if I have time, I’ll try to audition for stuff here and there because that’s just the third side hustle. Occasionally, I get small voice acting gigs and stuff like that. Just whatever on the agenda for the day. Usually, it’s editing or planning out videos before I go to work.
Tubefilter: Got you. How did your sister end up involved in things? Was she always part of the channel?
Joshiiwuh: Oh yes. I even have an older channel that she used to be on when she was really little. She’s always been in my videos. She’s an aspiring Broadway singer, an actor, so she just actually already likes acting and she’s been in it since she was a little kid.
Tubefilter: How old is she?
Joshiiwuh: She’s 22.
Tubefilter: Oh, big age difference, then!
Joshiiwuh: I’m the oldest. She’s the youngest sibling.
Tubefilter: How many siblings do you have?
Joshiiwuh: There’s four of us total.
Tubefilter: Are you all acting/musically inclined? What do the other two siblings do?
Joshiiwuh: No, not all of us. My other sister did do acting a little bit when she was younger, but it’s not really her thing anymore. My brother has been in some of my videos before, but he never was really passionate about it. They’re more behind-the-camera people if they’re ever getting involved. They’ve got their talents in other areas.
Tubefilter: What has been your favorite thing about the whole journey of making videos?
Joshiiwuh: Just interacting with the people who watch your videos and stuff. I was in school, I had bad social anxiety. I was having lunch in the back of the theater or in the bathrooms at times because I was so anxious socially. I think that’s a huge part of it. It’s just cool to have people support you and enjoy what you make. That’s my favorite thing to do, make people laugh.
I never did incredibly well in school or anything like that, just had really average grades. I wasn’t good at sports or anything like that, so it’s also cool to just feel you have something that you’re at least somewhat decent at. People are supporting you. I think that’s definitely the coolest, just interacting with people and making people laugh.
Tubefilter: I would never have guessed that you had social anxiety at any point in your life.
Joshiiwuh: Well, ironically, I don’t really have as much anymore because of the video stuff. That stuff helped me get over it.
Tubefilter: I certainly feel having multiple millions of people watching you probably gets you used to it.
Joshiiwuh: Yes. I’ve seen that some other people have channels too. If you go back to my YouTube channels and look at the older videos that I’m in, the lighting is really, really dark. I’m basically almost sitting in pitch black because I was just that uncomfortable with being on camera, but then as time went by, I started to just be like, “Why am I even bugging about this? It’s not even that big of a deal.”
Tubefilter: Do you have any thoughts about building an audience on TikTok versus building an audience on YouTube?
Joshiiwuh: I feel TikTok is definitely easier to build an audience because it’s definitely easier to get seen and have a video go viral on TikTok. If anybody is asking, I’d say it’s best to branch out to as many platforms as possible because– Especially the way vertical content, like YouTube’s got the shorts, Instagram has the reels, TikTok videos, you can literally just copy-paste stuff on so many different platforms now.
Tubefilter: What other platforms are you on? Are you on any other ones?
Joshiiwuh: The main three are TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.
Tubefilter: Do you Snapchat at all?
Joshiiwuh: I have Snapchat. I haven’t tried using it yet. I don’t know what would you call that, a creator on Snapchat. Is that what they call them?
Tubefilter: Yes. Snap Stars, they’re called.
Joshiiwuh: Okay. I haven’t tried that one yet, but I might be looking into that one pretty soon. I’ve heard people can make money off of that too.
Tubefilter: Yes, I’ve heard people are making quite a bit on it. I feel I’m on the cusp of slightly too old, like I missed the Snapchat boat, so…
Joshiiwuh: That’s something I think about sometimes too. I’ll stress myself out and be like, “Oh, I got to get to the point where I can do video stuff full time because I’m going to fall out of the age demographic where–” Because everybody seems like they’re always younger. Luckily I’ve got my sister, I could just make her the face of all this.
Then as I was thinking about it I’m like– but at the same time though like you’d probably be in the same generation too of people that started out watching YouTube in the early days, the people that are now in their late 20s, early-mid-30s or whatever. There was never a time where that age range was able to get popular on YouTube. It’s like uncharted territory. Maybe there can still be success for older YouTubers. I’m seeing a bunch of vlogging families now too, where it’s just the parents running it and they’ll be in their 50s or something. They’re doing really well, so.
Tubefilter: No, absolutely. There’s no age cutoff for sure. Do you have any advice for other creators who are looking to get into short-form content?
Joshiiwuh: Well, definitely try to keep it as fast-paced as possible where you can still be true to yourself. Always make stuff that you find entertaining or fun to make because you don’t want to get that kind of niches you’ll have to– trying to force yourself to be like other sounds because then you’re not going to have fun. Also never do anything because you feel like you have to, or something like that. Do it because you actually have a passion for making videos or entertaining people, or if you just want to have fun in general. You’re going to get stressed out if you’re not having fun with what you do. Even if my videos can get a lot of views, I still have tons of fun making them with my sister, and I want to get into the film industry, so it’s also good for resume and practice and all that stuff too.
Another technique, I don’t know if this is something that’s popular, but I also have recently stopped looking at views. I’ll allow myself to interact with people the first 30 minutes to an hour that I post something but then as soon as I’m done with that, I officially have tunnel vision and start focusing on the next video because how the algorithm is really random. You don’t want to get bummed out if one video doesn’t do as well as you wanted it to do.
I’m not saying don’t pay attention at all, because you also have to know how well your videos are doing, but it’s not necessarily like “Oh, this one video did well, so you should do more of those.” I do have my sister tell me if one video happens to do well, but you don’t have to say how many people watched it.
Tubefilter: She’s very, very involved with your channel then.
Joshiiwuh: Yes. Oh, that’s for sure.
Tubefilter: That’s cool. Were you guys always close as kids, or is that something that sort of developed as she got older?
Joshiiwuh: No, we were always close. Her friends always called her a mini Josh. A Josh clone. Then I went off to college and every single time that I went off to college I’d come home every weekend because she gets so sad every time I left. I just remember her crying as I’m leaving to go to college because it was only two hours away. Then I’d get there and she’d call me that night and she’d be all like in tears on the phone. I would feel so bad. Then I’d come home every weekend, two hours away.
Tubefilter: I feel like that kind of relationship really comes through in your videos too.
Joshiiwuh: Yes. It definitely helps you do it on the same exact brainwave length.
Tubefilter: Do you two have any upcoming projects or upcoming goals that you can share?
Joshiiwuh: Well, I actually just like doing longer-form skits on YouTube because I haven’t tried any of those yet. Hoping they’ll do well, but I also always wanted to direct horror, or specifically horror comedy. I’m trying to get a couple of friends together that are actors and see if I can do a short horror comedy film, in the style of those Scary Movie franchise this October. That’s maybe something cool.
Tubefilter: Yes. Very cool. Can you talk a little more about viewing your content as a resume or testing ground for being able to get to the film industry?
Joshiiwuh: Definitely, yes. I never looked at YouTube as “This is the only job chance right here.” I look at it as a possible career, but at the same time, like something for a resume. I want to get into film or voice acting because with my impression stuff I’d actually gotten a decent amount of roles just from people who saw me doing impressions and were like, “Oh, I like that one voice you did. This one character, I kind of need something like that for my short animation film.” Kind of half resume, half potential. Something I could do for a full-time job.
Tubefilter: How many projects have you been in? Do you know?
Joshiiwuh: The voice stuff?
Joshiiwuh: A lot over the years. A lot of it is more just for other creators, but there have been a couple of ones where I actually got to go into a studio, one I got to be in an animation. They’re still making it, but one of the main voice actors in the show is the guy that did Winnie the Pooh’s voice. Even though I technically never got to work directly with him, I just went to a studio and Zoomed from over California, I still like to tell people that I’ve technically worked on a project with Winnie the Pooh, which is huge for me.
Tubefilter: Huge street cred. You might not be able to say, but do you have any roles upcoming?
Joshiiwuh: Yes. The one I was talking about. It’s a series called the Nine Lives of Claw. It got in a little bit of production hiatus when COVID hit. They’re trying to get back together. They are putting together more of the other episodes, but they have the first few episodes up. There’s another one with somebody who’s doing his own self-funded animation and he wants me and my sister to both voice characters on the show.
That’s another one that’s coming up. I don’t know if I want to talk about that one too much. Then there’s another one that’s for an indie video game that I just got. And that’s it!
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