Stylewhack presents Breaking the Box Series, bringing inspiring stories of people who are fulfilling their dreams following a different trajectory! In this series, today we bring forward the exclusive story of famous Youtuber from LA – Jaby Koay.
Jaby Koay is a famous YouTuber from LA who makes short films, trailer reaction/discussion videos, movie reviews and vlogs. He has a huge Indian following after he started reacting to Bollywood trailers. Identifying the nuances and appreciating the emotions that are the underlying prominent factors of Bollywood, Jaby has become quite popular for his opinions with Indian fans. With more than 200,000 subscribers for his channel, Jaby is going full speed through this virtual platform.
We approached Jaby Koay for an interview for the series #BreakingTheBox and he was very excited to give his tips and suggestions for all those who want to get into this world of YouTube. Here is what he had to say:
His extremely co operative demeanor and open, friendly conversation made the interview a brilliant experience. Have a look as he takes us through his journey.
Jaby Koay today has more than 200,000 subscribers! How does it feel?
(Smiles) Feels like I have work to do. It certainly makes me happy. But I start thinking that I have to go back and make more videos. What I appreciate about it is, that sometimes I get comments like, someone is going through a bad time and my video makes them feel good. So it has become a sort of a responsibility to these people who are like my family. So the bigger the numbers, my family is getting bigger, that’s how I look at it.
Tell us about your journey. Right from starting off with short films to now doing movie reviews and trailer reactions.
I opened up a YouTube account in 2006 in order to showcase my acting reel and my short films. Gradually with time I started using it to showcase the scenes from scripts that I wrote. I did not want to get into trailer reactions initially because I felt it was my brother’s thing, but he encouraged me to do it. I still held off until late 2014 when the Star Wars Episode #7 teaser dropped. It was a trailer I felt I HAD to do. Then suddenly a bunch of fans came to my channel and insisted I keep doing it.
In December 2015, I searched YouTube for new content to show my American/western audience, something they probably hadn’t seen yet. I stumbled across two Indian trailers, Neerja and Saala. My effort to show my American/Western audience something new resulted in a huge influx of Indian fans with many requests to look at other Indian trailers. Some people accused me of trying to capitalize on the Indian audience, but that wasn’t ever my intention. This was all a very happy accident. I am always appreciative of and respect my audience and part of that respect is doing my best to fulfill as many requests as I can. Most of the requests now are Indian trailers.
How easy or difficult is it to give an unbiased reaction to a trailer? And what is your process when you sit down to review a trailer?
When I look at the movie trailer even if it doesn’t have subtitles, I try to let it hit me raw. The point of the trailer is that it’s supposed to sell itself. And so only if I can’t gather enough information about it to help me make a successful opinion, then I go back and read about it to understand the imagery. I do my best to find the most positive aspects of any trailer or a movie that I am watching. And the stuff that I don’t like, I try to find subtle ways to put it forward.
Are you A One Man show?
The team is slowly growing. Pooja, who lives in India, helps me a lot with e-mail correspondence and organizing the request list. There are fans Pooja is in contact with that help her regularly by donating their time to add subtitles to trailers that have none. Occasionally, Dhara, another friend in India, helps me out as well. Recently, Achara has been assisting me on occasion with shooting and editing. Naturally, majority of the work falls on me as it should, but I am extremely grateful for the help I receive and hope to expand the team more with time.
Can you tell us a little about your initial struggles?
I worked in commercial casting for a long time. That was the time when I was uploading short films. In the beginning I did movie reviews because if I was having a conversation about what everyone is talking about, they are more likely to come to my channel and see what else is there. I was doing sketch reviews and movie reviews and still not getting many views. Here we are talking about hours and hours of work for one video.
On a good month I would get like a thousand subscribers. It took a long time to get to that first thousand. So initially it was a struggle. I was putting in a lot of time and work. It was like a 3 camera setup for a legit talk show. You can see it on my channel. It is called “Good thing Bad thing”. Every episode would take up a lot of time and work and if I was lucky it got 500 views. Once I started doing the trailer reactions, the subscribers started coming in. The trailer reactions were always the most successful thing.
Why do you think trailer reactions are so successful all over the Internet? What is the fascination behind trailer reactions?
People very much enjoy speculation on the Internet. People like to talk about the possibilities a lot more than reviewing what has already happened. For a movie, people have already made their opinions about it and they are less likely to be interested in hearing somebody else’s views. So my movie reviews on an average get about 67000 views, where as my trailer reactions on an average get around a hundred to 150,000 views.
But talking specifically about Bollywood trailers, there is something hilarious about this ignorant American trying to understand something which is mostly dictated by years and years of Indian culture. Like for example when I asked Ajay Devgan that question about who was his influence, my Western mind truly expected him to say that he was inspired by Jackie Chan. But he was like “My dad”. That was amazing.
What is the worst part about this Profession?
When Companies don’t see the value of what I am doing, and try to block my videos. Even though what I am doing is 100% legal.
Is this profession financially viable?
Here is how I always answer this question: I can afford to feed myself and pay my rent.
When people approach you for paid reviews, do you entertain that?
I haven’t been approached for a paid review, yet. But some companies are starting to take notice of me and send me requests directly, which is wonderful.
Stylewhack team had a terrific time interviewing Jaby Koay. We wish Jaby Kay best wishes for all his future endeavours!
Stylewhack team hopes, the wisdom Jaby Koay shares in this interview inspires and motivates our audience to try the less trodden paths and Breaking the Box in their own ways!