How to Create a Video: Yuri Lowenthal’s Tips

Do you get to meet professional voice actors every day?

No… Unless you live in Hollywood.

Catching Yuri Lowenthal, a voice actor and Co-founder at Monkey Kingdom Productions, for a quick interview was a real luck.

Yuri Lowenthal, Helen Nesterenko

We are talking about creating a video that resonates and how to dominate in online entertainment.

So, yes, enjoy!

Helen: I’m joined today by Yuri Lowenthal – actor, award-winning author, producer and just a fun person to be around. How is it going, Yuri?

Yuri: I am doing great, thank you very much. I like the “fun person to be around” part. That works for me.

Helen: Great! We’re going to be talking about video creation today. Yuri, what kind of video do you think is most wanted for the companies to dominate online?

Yuri: I think we’re in transition period right now. Up until now very short videos have primarily been what people watch. I think we’re not quite to the time when a lot of longer-form videos will necessarily get the same numbers as shorter ones because people for some reason still have a very short attention span when it comes to web videos. They still like to go to their regular TV set if they know that it’s going to be an hour.

Even watching a movie or TV show on a mobile device is still different, I think, with their mindset than going to a YouTube video or something. I know at least for myself  - when  I click on it and I see it’s six minutes long. I think, “It’s long”, but I’ll sit down and watch a half-an-hour show or an hour show normally.

I think we still haven’t got to the longer ones but I think right now short stuff is good, and I find that people really tend to pass comedy around a lot.

Helen: How do you come up with an idea for a video? Is there a certain strategy?

Yuri: My strategy for the videos…I don’t know if it’s the best strategy but I go with what I like best. I found in the past that it’s hard to put something out trying to think of “Oh, everybody’s gonna like this” or “I know everybody will find this funny”. I’ve found that we have much more success when we do videos that we find funny first or that are a little more specific. So that’s really where inspiration comes from – it’s generally what I think is funny, then we go from there.

Helen: What kind of skills are essential to create a viral video?

Yuri: Anybody who sets out to create a viral video is already making a mistake because I don’t think that anyone knows exactly what makes a video viral. It just happens. There are some people who have better success rates than others. Anything with a cat falling off of a bed or a cat doing something crazy is likely to go fine.

Well, again, you see, you don’t know what’s gonna go viral. I see certain kinds of videos becoming…like a cat video seems to go viral more like a comedy sketch, for example. But we never could have known that Rebecca Black’s video would have gone viral. It was a bad music video. And everybody fell in love with it. Or hated it.

I think that’s also a key – if you have a lot of people who hate it, and a lot of people who love it. But it’s hard to set out to create something like that. If I knew how to make a viral video or a video that I knew was going to be viral, I’d be doing it all the time.

Helen: In what cases can you create a video in-house and when do you actually need to turn to a production company?

Yuri: We do a lot of our productions in-house because it’s cheaper for us and it’s simpler but recently we’ve expanded the show, and so we had to go to outside studios to help us out. So I think there’s something to be said for keeping it in-house and doing it yourself because you maintain control and it usually ends up budgetarily being better for you. But there comes the time when you have to ask for the people’s help. And I think it shows different – so each video’s different, and you’ll feel when it’s time to go beyond what your comfort zone is, and beyond your own resources.

Helen: You run a company, Monkey Kingdom Productions. Can you tell us more about it?

Yuri: Monkey Kingdom Productions came up because of my wife, Tara Platt. We’re both actors, and with acting you don’t always get to choose the kind of job you want to do. You audition for a lot of different kinds of jobs and hope you get as many as you can, and sometimes they’re more in your real house, and sometimes not as fun. So we wanted to be always working on something that we felt fulfilled by.

Like with acting or any kind of freelance work, sometimes you’re working for people and making money, and sometimes you’re not. So, during those times when we weren’t working for somebody else, we wanted to be creating something on our own. That’s when we formed the production company and started creating content.

Then we became addicted to creating content because it is extremely fulfilling – both freedom from the acting perspective and creating something that comes form you and that you own. And we both love writing as well. Producing is not on the top of our list of things but we’d much rather produce our own stuff than sit around. That’s how it came about, and that’s been great.

Helen: That was a great interview. Thank you for joining us today, Yuri.

Yuri: Thank you very much, Helen. Thanks for having me on.

What are your thoughts on how to come up with a great video?
Do you have experience coming up with your own video series?