YouTube is a proven launch pad for uncovering hidden talent and kickstarting internet personalities. Despite our distance from the rest of the world, with a good, reliable internet connection, anything is possible. Minnie Grace, Claris Jacobs, Robbie Nicol and sisters Sally and Elsie Bollinger are four young women (and a token dude) from New Zealand, who create fierce, funny, feminist web series on their YouTube channel, The Candle Wasters.
Their first two web series, ‘Nothing Much To Do’ and ‘Lovely Little Losers’, have been viewed more than 4.5 million times. They are now busy working on Tragicomic, a web series planned for release in 2018. We asked Claris Jacobs a few questions about how The Candle Wasters came about and what makes successful content on YouTube.
What led you to where you are today?
I’ve always been interested in film, and started out wanting to be an actress. I’m so glad I got behind the camera though! I love the process of watching a story go from an idea, through to scripting, casting, filming and editing. I have a degree in film from Victoria University. I’ve also learned a lot from just getting out there and making web series. We’ve made four web series so far and, in total, it’s over 15 hours of content. There have been a lot of late nights, cups of tea, tears and laughter along the way!
Tell us a bit about The Candle Wasters – how did the group come about and what are you most proud of?
We came together because we were friends at high school and loved the vlog series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (an adaptation of Pride & Prejudice). We thought the format was great for young filmmakers and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing would work really well. So we decided to make it! Four web series later and I’m most proud of the stories we tell. At their root, they’re about how kindness can be an act of bravery.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Filmic inspiration can come from anywhere – a quote from a friend, a beautiful dress worn by a stranger, or a piece of music. We also read books and comics, and watch movies, TV, web series and plays.
What advice would you give to aspiring content creators?
I think it’s important to make content that you would watch, rather than trying to please everyone. Because the fact is, you can’t actually please everyone. If you make something specific to you, it’s more likely to resonate with people because of the truth of the story. I relate to characters that look nothing like me, sound nothing like me, and live far away from me – all because of their emotional truth.
I also think success shouldn’t always be about numbers. I’d rather we had 10 subscribers who really loved our work than 100,000 subscribers who didn’t really care. I think a moderately sized subscriber base can be like a family, you can listen to your fans and understand what is important to them.
A good, reliable broadband connection with unlimited data makes all the difference when regularly streaming and uploading video content. What broadband connection do you use?
It totally does! We’ve had situations where we’ve been trying to upload a video to YouTube on a deadline, and because of a slow internet connection, it would sometimes take 11 hours to upload. Luckily we all have better internet connections now. I’m on fibre so it’s perfect.
If you want to support The Candle Wasters new series Tragicomic, check it out here.
Photo credit: Lucy Revill from theresidents.co.nz