In a virtual Generasi YouTube (Gen YT) themed “Sembang Sejuta”, YouTube creators Afiq Aiman from AAC Dream, Zarol Zarif, Ecah Daud, and Amri Aziz from Cikidot Channel, as well as Ekram Mahat from Kupi Kupi GO share their YouTube journey and insights towards their recent achievement of YouTube’s 1 million subscriber milestone.
Afiq Aiman, a Bachelor’s degree student at UiTM majoring in creative animation technology is known for his 3D animations, CGIs and visual effects inspired by viral popular games and films. He is largely self-taught, citing global animators such as Corridor, Shutter Authority, Rate VFX as well as local ones like Sofyank and VS GAG as inspirations who’ve helped him along the way.
Afiq’s channel, AAC Dream, stands out for his perfect blend of creative storytelling, technical sophistication, and trend spotting. Whether it’s homegrown characters or popular superheroes, Afiq picks up on what’s trending and breathes new life by reimagining them in different scenarios – what would it look like if Titan Colossal were placed in the ‘Godzilla vs Kong’ trailer? Or what would the captivating mobile game Temple Run look like in real life?
“There is so much of the same content out there – you really need to think about how to go above and beyond so that your content doesn’t drown in the ‘sameness’. The multiplayer online game ‘Among Us’, for example, was such a hit a year ago and many were doing content around it – what I did was 3D animations of this popular game and because no one was really doing that, it wasn’t long before my content was
noticed,” shared Afiq.
Also speaking about pushing creative boundaries were creator cousins Zarol Zarif, Ecah Daud and Amri Aziz from Cikidot Channel. Despite coming from a completely different genre, they too attributed a big part of their success to picking up current trends and really going to town with it – the more novel, challenging, or outrageous it is, the more fans love it.
“You have to put something out there that others would not think of doing – you’ve got to be the ones to think ahead of the curve and introduce these new ideas. We try to keep with the trend – for example when people were into Samyang noodles, we jumped on the trend too, but we took it further by doubling and even tripling the heat while eating it before our audience. I think being daring and experimental is what keeps our audience curious about what we might do next,” shared the trio.
Individually, each has had their own following. Zarol for example, was a former Akademi Fantasia contestant while Amri has enjoyed hosting and acting stints on TV. But the trio expressed that while artists and famous personalities might have an edge if they choose to go onto YouTube, it does not guarantee that they will continue to be successful. They would have to think like a content creator, bearing in mind that the YouTube audience appreciates consistency of posting and content that allows them to get up close and personal with the creators.
Also on the panel was Dusun Sabah creator, Ekram Mahat from the channel Kupi Kupi GO whose strategy is to focus on his community. Whether it’s being attentive to his audiences’ reactions to his content or doing giveaways, establishing a unique identity for his followers (known as GOers) helped give them a place of belonging.
“For me, the key is focusing on your community – because your community will be there for you and support you even when you go across different platforms. When I had trouble being accepted on mainstream platforms in the past, it was my community who stood up to defend me against negative comments. It’s not something you should overlook and is a critical part of YouTube,” Ekram shared.
Ekram’s infotainment channel explores the bizarre and the unusual. What got him started some years back was a natural interest in digital entrepreneurship. Observing that people in the US were making money from the platform, he saw an opportunity to try it out for himself. It took him two years before he saw a steady stream of income coming in, but he is happy to see that his efforts are bearing fruit.
The creators were also asked about things they did to push the envelope and keep their content fresh for subscriber growth. For Afiq, it was working on video elements such as carefully titling his videos to match animations and creating attractive thumbnails to appeal to new audiences.
Besides upping the game in their content, Cikidot Channel shared that doing more collaborations with other YouTube personalities and artists helped. Their appearance on other channels and platforms gave them increased recognition among a wider audience and drew in more interest to their channel.
For Ekram, his approach was to continue paying attention to his content and community to appeal to relevant audiences. While he may have started off having challenges being accepted by the mainstream market, his viewership is now overwhelmingly local, with 70% of his viewers from Peninsular Malaysia
The success of these three channels are not without challenges, but they were quick to learn, adapt and respond to what was not working for them. Head on over to their channels to check out their latest creations: AAC Dream, Cikidot Channel, and Kupi Kupi GO.