With YouTube becoming a widely popular and accessible creative outlet, it is no surprise that many Diamond Bar students are catching on to the trend. Among the video content created by the students, they touch on a wide variety of genres, ranging from beauty to short films.
Sophomores Jiho Kwak and Jun Ahn create short films under their channel, Kwak Productions, with over 2,000 views. Kwak’s longtime dream of becoming a director or an actor in the movie industry sparked his motivation to start creating video content, specifically short films.
He explained that YouTube is mainly a place for him to explore new things regarding film in preparation for his future goals.
“I just decided that I wanted to prepare myself early on so I have more experience. YouTube is just the start,” Kwak said.
However, making consistent short films is not a simple task for a high school student. Kwak and Ahn both pitch in ideas and go through the long process of bringing their ideas onto the screen.
They also recruit their own actors, and Kwak stars in his own films as well.
“It takes a while to think of something, but when I do, I tell Jun and we make it work. Then we picture in our ideas what [the characters] look like, and we get friends that look like them,” Kwak said.
Besides entertaining viewers, sophomore Solitaire member Stephanie Tang finds ease in creating song covers for her YouTube channel. Currently, her channel has 120 subscribers and over 3,000 views. Tang originally made her first cover in 2013, and had no intentions of uploading them to YouTube. She had it up on Facebook, but was urged by her grandmother to spread the word about her talent.
After years of singing, Tang developed the skill to learn songs by ear and utilized this skill to create her covers. She manages her videos and channel entirely herself, from singing, to accompanying her voice on the piano.
“I’ll sit at the piano and start playing chords. I’ll make little spins on [the song], I’m not going to copy the whole entire song because that’s just boring. I just do it by ear and whatever song I think suits my voice and sounds good on the piano,” said Tang.
Although she finds creating these covers therapeutic, many singers experience harsh comments and criticism of their talent, and it was no different for Tang. She was faced with teasing both online on video comments and at school, and took down some videos as a result of this. However, she soon realized that the comments were inevitable and was pushed by her peers to continue with her passion.
“I deleted all of it because I got teased for it and I really regret it. I stopped for a long time, then I just thought, ‘I’m going to do what I like to do.’ I realized that it wasn’t worth it to stop,” Tang said.
As well as teasing, she received harsh criticism from strangers online. Despite the heavy words, Tang took them as constructive criticism rather than insults on her voice and uses it to further improve her skills. She learned to accept it as a part of putting her talent out there, and is no longer bothered by them.
“I used to listen to [insults] a lot, then I ended up ignoring them. It’s to a point where you post and you know you’re going to get mean comments, so I expect it. Good comments really build me up,” Tang said.
While Kwak and Ahn focus on deeper, dramatic videos, sophomore Amelia Anijielo and senior Felicitas Anijielo film lighthearted beauty videos under the channel name FelAmi1225. They started their channel in December 2014, and have since gained just over one hundred subscribers.
“I think it was seeing all the different YouTubers, do these weird, funny, creative challenges, and just seeing that, I wanted to be a part of that community,” Felicitas said.
As well as getting inspiration from other content creators, the sisters noticed that the majority of the beauty gurus have fair complexions. They decided that they wanted to bring variety into the beauty community of YouTube, and started making videos.
“We wanted to bring something different, being women of color, especially as teenagers, there aren’t a lot of beauty gurus who have darker skin who help other girls know just with makeup, advice, or just stupid challenges,” Amelia said.
As their channel grows, Felicitas and Amelia realize that it takes time to slowly build up and achieve their personal goals for the channel. They hope to reach 500 subscribers by December, and are considering creating YouTube content as a serious career in the future.
“YouTube is a very competitive place… it’s become a market, a business, and you have to become an entrepreneur. When your major doesn’t work in college, there’s always being a YouTuber, but it’s going to take time to build up,” Felicitas said.
As of now, their main goal is to continue enjoying what they do and slowly build their viewer base.
“We just want to make people smile, we just want to make our viewers days brighter and happier,” Amelia said.