These are faces and voices we have come to recognize from YouTube. Regardless of whether you are their loyal subscribers or you stumbled upon their work whilst on social media, either way, their presence is undeniable. Even though the number of aspiring Nepali YouTubers has been consistently increasing, they have managed to maintain the buzz around their respective channels. The Week caught up with them to talk about their work and their videos.
What with 84,317 subscribers, Baniya’s videos have been known to garner 16,000-17,000 views on average. Personally, Baniya is pretty laid back about the process though. He says he doesn’t want to put out material just for the sake of it. Thus, as his followers know, unlike other channels, it’s common for uploads on Baniya’s channel to have some interval between them. At most, there has even been a month’s gap. Still, despite all that, he manages to attract views and followers and this is not only on his personal channel but also Paradygm TV, his other channel. Different people may have different opinions on why this is so, but we thought we would first ask Baniya about it.
Why do you think you have managed to get so many subscribers and views?
I have a lot of imperfections and I have always been honest about them in my vlogs. I think there is a certain honesty in my videos and that has, over the years, attracted people and views. All of this has been a slow and steady process. It wasn’t an overnight phenomenon.
It might also be my camera quality. I do have more sophisticated gears compared to other vloggers. I like playing around with the gadgets too. I was one of the first people to fly drones.
Do you remember the exact moment you decided to work on YouTube fulltime ?
I had always wanted to do something creative and YouTube always seemed like a good platform where I could have full control of the end result as well as the process. I had been working in photography as well as direction previously, but something didn’t feel right. The opportunities came with its share of restrictions as well.
So I decided to completely switch to YouTube in the beginning of 2017. I just wanted to go ahead and do creative projects. Thankfully, my family supported the decision as well.
What’s the most challenging thing about making vlogs?
I think the most challenging videos are the boring ones. When people have been waiting and it has been a long time since the last upload, there are times when I have to vlog. I usually talk about random things during these videos like pollution in the city and all. As it is, I have a high standard when it comes to my videos. There are only four or five of my own work that I’m fully satisfied with so, you could say, these were definitely the most challenging ones.
If you have such a high standard, what do you think makes a good vlog?
It’s all about the content. Even drones can’t garner as many views as a good story line can. One of my most viewed videos proves the point. This was one of my earlier works but people still remember it. It’s about a child delivering a photo. There is a good beginning, a mission and a story around the video and it’s the most popular one of my works.
What is your working process like?
I don’t think you get ideas when you sit down specifically for the purpose so inspirations for the content come about rather randomly. Luckily, we have a very efficient team of four. We can record a video and upload it within the same day, if we need it.
I also like to always know how we are going to go about the recording. I think the biggest mistake is to take too long to record things. So I always make sure there is an exact plan. We don’t always have scripts but a direction is necessary. We work extremely hard four to five days a week and then we chill. When I have done a good job with the videos, I like to reward myself by going to bed on time. Otherwise, I sit up late and continue with the work.
Which video of yours are you most proud of?
I think it is the one called the leap. Again, it is one of my early vlogs and I had talked about leaving my regular job, the good pay, and the security that came with a stable job to start with this journey. It was my first narrative video as well. I think it came out really well. Even now when I feel low or stressed, I go back to it. It helps me feel refreshed.
In case you still didn’t know, the man behind the Random Nepali channel is Rastra Bimochan Timalsena. By day, he practices law and gives lectures at university as well. By night, he tends to his current count of 66,918 subscribers. Timalsena says it is usually after six in the evening that he gets down with his YouTube work. And this work, following the recent launch of his series of the Random Show, has only increased. So we began by asking him, why?
Why do you bother to run a YouTube channel as a part time gig when you already have a career in law?
It’s about satisfaction. At the end of the day, it’s what matters. When you get caught up in work alone, life can get a little dull. But when I see people enjoying my videos, it adds something extra to my day. There is a lot of satisfaction in it so that’s why I run the channel despite my hectic schedule. You could even say I am addicted to that satisfaction.
What, in your opinion, is bringing people to your channel?
Looking back, I think people could relate to my videos. I used to talk about things like our city, reminisce about how we grew up and people responded to that. Now though, I think it is more about our take on current happenings, the sarcasm in particular as well. We did change the vibe of our videos just so people wouldn’t get bored.
These days there are workshops on changing trends of YouTube and attracting viewers. What do think of such strategies and analysis?
Honestly, I think we have to pay attention to these aspects as well. After putting in all that effort and extra hours, I don’t want my videos to go unnoticed. Having two people react to them before it is lost forever doesn’t make sense. I think if you are uploading videos on YouTube to build your portfolio or to get into media then the case might be different. For me personally, I do like keeping tabs on the trends and trying out things that are popular. Over the years, I think my channel has had 40,000 to 50,000 comments and I think I have read them all. My motive has always been to take my videos to more people.
How much time do you normally spend on a video?
If I have to bring out a video on Saturday, I start working on it from Wednesday. A very basic content takes about a minimum of 8-10 hours a week for me. So there are many long nights.
I usually am playing with ideas at the back of my head. I don’t write scripts but I do note down a few pointers. From there, I just go with the flow and talk about all that I think. The challenging part for me is the talking, the hosting, because if you slip up you have to go back and do it all over again or the editing will be a nightmare. The bit about recording a video is really the easiest part.
Which of your video are you most proud of?
It has to be the one where I analyze why Nepali girls and boys are single. I haven’t seen anybody come up with such a concept. It might be one of a kind and that definitely makes me proud. I had the idea in my economics class. The lesson was about demand and supply and it was getting a little boring so I drifted off in my own thoughts. I wondered if the theory applied to dating and from there came the idea for the video. It was really fun working on it.
And your new concept, the random show, how is it expanding your channel’s offering?
For the first time ever, I’m working with a team now. The production value with the random show is too big for me to handle on my own so now I’m collaborating and enjoying it so far. There is always a lot that you can’t do yourself. But when you are working in a team, you have help with that. I’m only now experiencing these benefits. It’s nice to go to office, just talk or share ideas.
How would you describe the life of a YouTuber?
It’s fun, I genuinely enjoy it but it’s also hectic. I say so because if I stop making videos today, people will forget about me. There is unlimited content on YouTube. They don’t need me as they can watch anything. You have to work hard at maintaining this consistency.