Florida's Top YouTube Stars
Four Floridians are among those making a living from YouTube.
For an introduction to the paths to YouTube stardom, you won’t do better than Tpindell’s parody “Types of YouTubers.” In its first 24 hours online, it drew 81,688 views. Within a month, it was up to 240,556 views. Troy Pindell covers the basic genres along with the necessities to success, such as constantly reminding people to subscribe, sign up to be notified of new uploads and to hit the like button.
Attention to those details, skill at skit comedy and knowing what draws laughs propelled Pindell to 2.25 million subscribers on his namesake channel and 173,686 subscribers on a separate channel where you can watch him play video games. He has 77,000 subscribers on his fitness channel and 420,000 on TpindellTV.
Pindell, a Maryland native who came to Florida as a teenager, played football as a defensive back for one of Broward’s high school football powers, American Heritage School in Plantation. He went on to play under the legendary Howard Schnellenberger at Boca Raton-based Florida Atlantic University, where Pindell studied criminal justice. He spent “2½ hours” with Canada’s Edmonton Eskimos and then cast about for a living. He was a substitute teacher (a good source of material for future videos) in Broward schools and then worked as a school behavioral specialist dealing with troubled teens.
Bored and missing the days when he made teammates laugh, he made videos in his spare time. He went at it full time three years ago. It took 2½ years, he says, to reach 100,000 subscribers. By year three, he hit 1 million. Like other YouTube stars, he’s self-taught. Unlike others, now that he’s made it, he remains largely a one-man operation. A night owl, he sleeps in, but then works to nearly dawn.
His YouTube stardom has enabled him to travel the world. He’s moved into merchandise, personal appearances, entertaining at high school and college events. He’s branched into short films. He cites artist Issa Rae, whose web series
“Awkward Black Girl” graduated into a well-received HBO series. “There’s going to be more people that are going to do that in the future,” he says.
Pindell says the keys to YouTube success are quality content, responding to the audience (70% of his viewers are 13 to 24) and uploading consistently to keep the audience engaged and the revenue flowing. He creates two to three videos a week for his main channel and as many as six for his gaming channel.
“You can’t really take a break,” he says. “It never stops.” Then again, he says later, “I wouldn’t ever want to stop what I’m doing now.”
Income: Pindell could be earning between $5,000 to $20,000 a month on YouTube ad revenue alone, according to Social Blade.
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