Why This Editor Started His Own Channel

How Mack Hopkins made the pivot from challenge content to character-driven storytelling

Good morning. If you ever need proof that giving people what they want works, here’s a story for you—TikTok creator Alexis Frost shared a Chipotle hack for fajita quesadillas on her account. The menu hack went viral. Then Chipotle made it an official online menu item. And now? Chipotle said quesadilla sales have doubled.

Airrack’s Editor Starts His Own Channel

Mack Hopkins / YouTube

Mack Hopkins, Airrack’s editor of four years and a regular cast member in Airrack’s videos, launched his own YouTube channel over the weekend. We spoke to Hopkins to understand his solo strategy—and how it’s panning out in the early days.

What’s different: Creators like MrBeast and Airrack make videos that are highly produced, largely challenged-based, and often similar to reality TV in format. Hopkins, though, aims to explore his love for cinematography and storytelling with a more lo-fi approach.

  • “I feel like YouTube’s been starved of emotional content. It doesn’t have to be sad content, but content that evokes deep-rooted emotion rather than spectacle,” Hopkins told us.

  • “We’ve seen spectacles over and over again, and my theory is that if you make something that’s more emotionally driven, it will stand out.”

The verdict so far? Hopkins’ first solo video about surviving 100 hours controlled by AI surpassed 1 million views in the three days following its debut. MrBeast commented on the video that he thinks Hopkins will be one of the greatest on YouTube someday.

What can we expect for the channel’s future? Hopkins doesn’t want to be motivated by an algorithm, scale, or high retention rate.

  • “I think if it became business-motivated, it’d compromise the whole thing that’s magical about it,” Hopkins said.

  • “I just want to make videos that creatively fulfill me, and they might not perform as well as that AI video did. I’m just excited about the fact that one day my kids are going to watch these videos and it’s going to be really cool to show them what their dad was doing in his 20s—running around and making videos.”

This Week in AI: TikTok’s New Disclaimer & a Big AI Warning

Miles Fisher / TikTok

Another week, another slew of headlines about artificial intelligence’s impact on creators.

  • A new TikTok tool allows creators to disclose whether they used AI in their videos. TikTok will likely add a simple disclaimer to videos—similar to sponsorship disclosures—that will aim to separate “real” content from content created with AI, The Information reports.

  • “The Godfather of AI” sounds the alarm after leaving Google. Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, who is credited with creating the foundation for generative AI (such as ChatGPT), joined a growing list of industry leaders and critics who are calling for a slowdown on AI-powered products after he quit his job at Google on Monday. “I don’t think [tech companies] should scale this up more until they have understood whether they can control it,” Hinton told The New York Times.

  • “What matters is how you make people feel,” Miles Fisher, creator of Deepfake Tom Cruise on TikTok, told Colin and Samir. Fisher said he believes creating is less about the tools that creators have at their disposal (like AI) and more about expressing an original point of view that resonates with an audience.

Sponsored by Spotter

A Page from Deestroying’s Playbook

Colin and Samir here 👋🏻👋🏽. We had Donald De La Haye Jr., AKA Deestroying, on our show last week. The sports creator walked us through his journey—getting his start vlogging about his life as a college football player where ultimately the NCAA forced him to choose: his football career or YouTube.

He chose YouTube.

Now he has 5 million subscribers, partnerships with the NFL, and guest appearances from the likes of Tom Brady and Cam Newton.

He shared his ultimate dream: earn $10 million by the age of 30. He wants to be in a comfortable enough place where he is in full control—he only does work that excites him, not because he has to do it to pay the bills.

A part of his path to get there: Partnering with Spotter on catalog licensing deals. He struck his first deal in June 2020, and has since signed on for two more. With the capital investment provided by Spotter, Dee has been able to:

  • Scale and incentivize his team. “A lot of my content isn’t so produced [so not a ton has] gone toward my content; but definitely towards my team by [upgrading their paychecks],” Dee told us.

  • Diversify his investments by getting into real estate.

  • And our personal favorite, retire his mom. “My dad’s up next.”

Hear it in Dee’s own words here and if you want to learn more about how Spotter is accelerating the creator ecosystem and what they can do for you, click here.

Creators Explained: Hank and John Green Expand into…Soap

John and Hank Green / Sun Basin Soaps

Last week, educational creators Hank and John Green announced their latest venture: Sun Basin Soaps, an artisanal soap subscription that will use all proceeds to fund a state-of-the-art hospital in Sierra Leone.

  • Background: The Green brothers have spent several years raising money for the hospital with the help of their community.

  • Following last week’s announcement, John published a video about his recent trip to Sierra Leone to check in on the project.

It got us thinking: The Green Brothers have launched a ton of different products over the years—we charted a (brief) overview to show their range.

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