A teeball coach makes an artsy Vine. A son tries to tell his Dad some jokes before being interrupted with some grave news before the punchline. A beautiful Coldplay song…to the image of Guy Fieri. These are just some of the many wonderfully weird, mainstream-90’s rock-filled, and strangely funny six-second pieces Aaron Chewning has given the Vine community.
The Atlanta-native has quickly shot up on the app with 198.2k followers, and now collaborates with other Viners. But before Vine, he was another recent film school grad ready to get his foot in the door. So how does this now comedian freelancer come up with these short bits, and why does incorporating his love for karaoke make them ten times more hilarious? Aaron was kind enough to let CreatorUp ask him about his own origins, and his advice for other freelancers and creators.
CreatorUp: After you finished school, what challenges did you face? Did you feel overwhelmed?
Aaron: The main challenge was just breaking into the production circles here in Atlanta. It took a while to get my foot in the door. I asked people I wanted to know out to lunch and I volunteered on sets constantly. I definitely felt overwhelmed at times but I think that’s just part of the scary world of freelancing.
How did you discover Vine?
Like most people, I downloaded it when it came out in 2013. I just didn’t delete it after a week like 99% of my friends did. I’d just post nonsensical clips of concerts and dogs for the first year or so. I didn’t really start putting thought and time into it until about a year ago.
Has the 6-second format helped you develop creatively? What have you learned?
It has. I’ve actually learned a lot about joke writing. I’ve done stand up for about 5 years now and with stand up, it’s easy to ramble and make a joke longer than it should be. With Vine, you gotta set ’em up and drop the hammer in 6 seconds. That’s translated well to the stand up world for sure.
When did you first start to notice that you were building an audience? Did you notice that you got more likes on a certain type of Vine than others, and did you kind of roll with it?
I noticed things starting to pick up last summer. That definitely inspired me to take it a little more seriously. There are absolutely certain types of Vines that I know will be successful, but I try to mix it up. I don’t want to be limited to just one schtick.
You built up a huge audience (you have 190K followers right now), how did you incorporate yourself and your audience into other social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube?
It’s hard to cross advertise without looking like a mega tool. Nothing gives me the creeps more than people saying on Vine, “tweet me a screenshot of you favoriting my Vine page and you may or may not get a DM.” That’s slimy and awful and I hate it. I plug the other platforms when it feels appropriate but try to avoid spamming my feed with cross promotion.
I love how you incorporate all that post-grunge music everyone, for some reason, listened to back in the 2000s. Where did that idea come from?
Karaoke is where I shine. When someone get’s up there and sings Adele from their heart, I throw my beer at them and curse their loved ones. I want to see people dance to Salt N Pepa or passionately growl a Creed song. The more ridiculous the better.
Same goes for Vine. If you make a Vine about your dog getting run over, don’t use Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again.” That’s dumb. If your dog get’s run over, throw on some Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” or “Un-Break My Heart” by Toni Braxton. I think mixing nostalgia with absurdity is so much more fun than just the basic fastball-down-the-middle song.
How do you maintain your audience?
I think posting consistently is important. I try to post at least once a day just to remind people I’m not dead.
You’ve collaborated with a lot of Viners recently. How have you built this network with other creators?
Vine’s a super weird, supportive little community. If you like someone’s content you just organically start commenting/messaging/interacting. If I’m in a city where Vine friends live, we’ll meet up and have a good time. If people come through Atlanta, I’ll take ’em out. It’s not as weird as it sounds. I’ve yet to be Catfished or murdered even slightly.
What opportunities has Vine recently thrown your way? How has Vine helped you?
A lot of my recent clients have mentioned my Vine’s being pivotal in their decision to hire me. It’s hard to gauge the ROI but Vine’s definitely helped get my name out there more. Another thing is just being connected to the huge network of creatives on Vine. I know so many talented people that would love to collaborate on a project at the drop of a hat. That’s something I’m hoping to make happen more in the coming months.
Why do you love being a comedian? Why did you decide to follow the comedy path?
I remember being entranced by Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live when I was young. I’d go around school saying things like, “EL NIÑO IS SPANISH FOR… THE NIÑO.” People like Farley, Dana Carvey, Tim Meadows, and Phil Hartman were who I looked up to growing up. Once I realized I too could make a career out of making people laugh it was settled. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
And finally…what advice would you give to others who are trying to get their foot in the door, whether it be freelancing on their own or trying to build an audience with Vine/YouTube?
Something that I think is important for any creative, regardless of your platform of choice, is the ability to get out of your own way. I heard a talk a few years ago that really altered how I viewed work and the creative process in general. It was about how your ideas might seem obvious or average to you, but might be extraordinary to someone else. I remember seeing an interview with the Beatles where they confessed that some of their most famous songs almost didn’t see the light of day because they weren’t confident in them. I think you’ve got to trust your talent, have enough balls to put yourself out there, and let everyone else be the judge.
Thank you again to Aaron for talking to CreatorUp’s Grace Michaud! Check out Aaron on his Website
and his other social media platforms:
Tags: Aaron Chewning