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In a far-off era known as 2006, Hilly and Hannah Hindi got the bug to start creating and sharing their own content. Not knowing exactly how to do so, they took a gamble on this new video sharing platform called YouTube. Cut to today, and the sister duo has amassed 1.71 million subscribers, all of whom clamor for episodes of “The Hillywood Show.” Their videos, parodying blockbusters and pop culture phenomenons from “Supernatural” to Lady Gaga, regularly notch millions of views—and the YouTube savants are telling Backstage exactly how they get eyes on their videos, and how you can, too.
How did “The Hillywood Show” first come to be? What was the initial idea for it?
“The Hillywood Show” was created as an entry for a contest that AOL RED held back in 2006. The contest asked teens to send in a three-minute video or sketch of an idea for their very own web show and the winner would receive their own web series produced by AOL. Back in 2006, this was an amazing opportunity, since creating your own “web show” wasn’t a possibility like it is now. “The Hillywood Show” took third place out of thousands of entries worldwide. After the contest, we started receiving emails from people around the world who had voted for us. They encouraged us to continue the concept on an upcoming platform called “YouTube.” Thirteen years later, the rest is history!
Why was YouTube the right avenue to pursue the project?
At the time, YouTube was just in its infancy and was the “new and best” platform where you could share and upload videos worldwide. There was nothing like YouTube at the time in 2006.
How did you initially find an audience? What are the specific ways you got eyes on your videos
Our first viral video was a musical parody based on “Twilight.” Before that, the most views we had on one of our older videos was 60,000. But when our “Twilight” parody dropped, we had 100,000 views overnight. That was when we knew we’d found our brand. This video grew organically amongst viewers and since then, thanks to our fans, our videos still grow organically. We are so thankful to them. They share “Hillywood” everywhere they go and every opportunity they get.
After your first few videos began to find success, how did you build on that to find a larger audience?
Each production has been a learning experience and we’ve grown along the way. We are massive fans of the fandoms we pay tribute to, so we focused on taking that love and putting it on screen. We’ve stayed true to our brand and never swayed from it and we think that’s helped maintain our audience. We never want to disappoint them. Our fans have told us that “Hillywood” brings them so much joy and we wouldn’t want to change that for the world.
Do you think the success of “The Hillywood Show” will help propel you to future projects? In what ways?
Yes! We have such a strong desire and passion to take “Hillywood” to the next level! We’d love the opportunity to begin pitching to television and streaming networks. We’re confident that we can bring a new wave of exciting content to the table for audiences around the world.
What’s one thing you’ve learned about YouTube that you didn’t know before you created the show?
It’s been conceived in a lot of minds that YouTube is a great place to make money and make a career. Unfortunately, that’s a bit of a challenge for us. YouTube has a revenue share of 45 percent of your earnings. For some YouTubers, that’s not an issue, but with “The Hillywood Show” specifically, it’s a bit of a challenge as our productions are not cheap to create. This is why many YouTubers—like ourselves—have turned to a few other platforms for help and we’re blessed to say that “The Hillywood Show” is completely fan-funded on Patreon.com/Hillywood. There is no sponsor or company behind us and we do not rely on YouTube for earnings. Currently, 90 percent of the funds received from our fans goes into the next “Hillywood” production and we donate the rest to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Our fans have helped us to create some amazing productions and without them “Hillywood” wouldn’t exist.
What advice do you have for those trying to find a YouTube audience?
The most important advice we can give to someone who wants to find a YouTube audience is really just to be yourself. We can’t say it enough. During our time on YouTube, we have unfortunately seen many users copying formats from popular YouTubers in hopes that they will gain the same attention. What actually helps successful YouTubers stand out is that they are one of a kind! We know it’s scary, but never be afraid to think of a new concept or an idea for your channel. You will see a growth because you’re different and your channel will stand out. Take a leap of faith and go for it!
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