3 evolutions from Vine to TikTok

(5 min read) How Yung Astroo is laying the groundwork for a transition from digital to traditional media. Featuring Direct.Me, My People Know, and Premiere Pro.

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Yung Astroo

I have long-form content, but I mainly prioritize shorts because that's where most of the growth is.

Astroo (pronounced “Astro”) is a comedic short-form Creator; he’s been in the game for a long time - since the Vine days! (More on that below…)

Astroo’s making moves to transition from digital to traditional media, and has a strong POV on the challenges short-form Creators face.

Let’s get into it!

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The Business

.Highlights.

.Breakdown.

.Observations.

It's all in the content. It's all in what you make. 

Astroo started making funny short-form content on Vine. 

Remember Vine? Until Twitter “unalived” it, Vine was the original short-form content platform.

Astroo feels a lot is different in today’s short-form paradigm:

  1. It’s less about raw talent today.

Back then, you had 6 seconds to be funny, so you either had it or you didn't. With that short amount of time, if you could make somebody laugh or feel some way, then you were pretty talented in my eyes. Now they give you even more time - like 30 seconds, a minute, now it's like ten minutes. 

Longer content means more craft. Acting, editing, storytelling all come into play more than the instant-punchline videos of yore.

  1. There’s a metagame now.

I don't think people were paying attention like how people pay attention to TikTok and YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels. I don't think they were looking at it as deeply and as seriously as they do now. They looked at it as like, “Oh, it's just 6 seconds, we're just making goofy videos for 6 seconds and we get followers” … people weren't really invested in it because they didn't realize, “I can make an actual career out of this.”  

Today, Creators like MrBeast, Colin & Samir, and even myself talk about how to make content that works, how to game the algorithm, how to generate revenue regardless of follower count…but that metagame didn’t exist back then. 

People just made content and crossed their fingers.

Can you imagine…?

  1. Today’s shorts ecosystem changes lives. 

On TikTok, you have people blowing up and changing their lives from 20 to 30 second videos - getting on billboards, TV commercials, Super Bowl ads, all kinds of stuff now. TikTok is better because they have more to offer… But I guess I can't say that without giving respect to Vine, because without Vine, TikTok wouldn't be here.

After playing the short-form content game for such a long time, Astroo’s achieved a certain level of success with over 3 million total followers. 

Now, he’s starting to think about his future aspirations - in Hollywood!

My plan has never been to just stay here. It's always been to expand and create something that will last forever. 

He isn’t just sitting around waiting for his big break. Inspired by the recent transition of YouTubers Danny and Michael Philippou (aka RackaRacka) to motion picture directing via their debut project, horror film Talk to Me, Astroo’s laying the groundwork to set himself up for future opportunities:

  1. Putting content creation on autopilot

First, I have to find a better posting schedule. I'm working on consistency right now.

  1. Diversifying his content and audience

I'm trying to get into Facebook…because that's where the older people are at, and older people have a better attention span than us…the way that I make stuff, they've never seen it like that. I know for a fact that they're going to watch it because it's new and it's going to intrigue them. 

  1. Building out a team to make a transition possible

I can't do all this stuff by myself. I'm actually building up a team that can help me transition from where I am now into where I need to be in the future.

  1. Upskilling in editing and directing

According to his manager, Mikayla:

We've been continually working on his editing prowess so that we can actually get him in front of the right people to show that not only does he have skills as a comedian and as a writer, but also as a director, as a post editor, like color grading, etc. 

Despite big audience numbers and bigger aspirations, short-form Creators haven’t had much success - yet - in traditional Hollywood. For example, the Hype House show (which I helped put together at Wheelhouse) didn’t get a second season. 

(The D’Amelio’s give us some hope - 3 seasons released and not canceled yet…)

Short-form off-platform audience engagement has been lackluster, a fact highlighted by last year's VidCon. There, in an unprecedented scene for regular attendees, top TikTok Creators faced starkly empty meet-and-greet lines.

It was the talk of the industry, and Astroo has a strong perspective on it:

I'm going to just say this, man: it's all in the content. It's all in what you make. Is it impactful? Is it really entertaining? Is it amazing? Is it different? Can you tell a story?

...Anyone can dance. Anyone can hold their phone up and talk. There's people who got hella followers from doing that, but those followers are not actual die-hard supporters.

Most YouTubers have those die-hard supporters because they have really good personalities, they are talented, they know how to tell stories, they can edit well, they can relate to fans in all kinds of ways. 

There's a lot of TikTokkers who don't have that. They're just here for the moment.

For his part, he believes his audience is passionate about him for how he expresses his point of view.

I view social media as a canvas for expression, where I can present my perspective. I create in my own way and share it. When people see my content, they think, “I've been through this before, but not this way. This way is actually cool and different, I’ve never seen it before and I want to see more of it.” 

That's how I stand out.

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The Stack

I have an idea, I write it down, shoot it, edit it up, post it. 

If it goes viral, it brings opportunities. 

If it doesn't go viral, it's still good because people want to see what I'm making anyway!

Link in Bio - Direct.me

When I spoke to Astroo, he didn’t have a bio link. Turns out he usually uses Direct.me, and just happened to have removed it for a brand deal…then forgot to put it back.

That was an honest mistake. I do think that's very important because people are very lazy, so they're not going to feel like going over to YouTube and typing in my name and all that stuff. They probably just want to click a link. YouTube channel. Now I'm there.

Project Management - My People Know (management - they use Notion internally)

Astroo:

I use my manager to remind me when it’s time to post something. 

His manager, Mikayla:

On my end of it, I have a pretty in depth CRM. I use Notion, but I use it pretty in depth to make sure that all the campaigns, all the deadlines, dates, timelines, contracts, etc. are all readily organized. They’re also syndicated to an open Google file for each of my content Creators that they each have access to, so that they can track over time, for example, go live briefs or their financial sheets at the end of the year or their brand contracts, etc. 

But most of them prefer to just have me let them know about everything, so that's typically how we run it.

Finances - Traditional banking

Video Production - iPhone 13 + Sony A6400 w/ G Master lens + Premiere Pro + After Effects + CapCut + iMovie 

My iPhone 13 - I shoot my videos on it.

If I'm feeling real nice, I'll pull out my Sony A6400 and slap the G Master on there. 

Video Distribution - Native to apps

Representation - My People Know

Astroo met Mikayla at VidCon Baltimore last year. He was already managed, but his old manager basically f*cked it up:

I left my old management because he was actually at the event, and he didn't even bother to meet up with me or ask me how my panels were going. The only panel that he showed up to was the one that the guy was hosting, and it's not like after that, he pulled me to the side and was like, “Yo, good job!” Or anything like that. “If you need anything, let's go get lunch.” None of that! 

So I left, signed with Mikayla, and fast forward to now. We've locked in some pretty amazing opportunities!

Relevant Previous Interviews

LinkedIn Roundup

I write about the Creator Economy on LinkedIn through the lens of my 15 years as a Creator, agent, manager, marketer, producer, and executive at companies like Patreon, Wheelhouse, and WME.

Here are a few highlights from the last week!

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Written by Avi Gandhi, edited by Melody Song,
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