About the episode
If you choose a topic you love, you’ll build an audience that you love. Discover how Gibi, one of the most followed ASMRists on Youtube, creates ASMR video content to serve a growing audience that she’s passionate about.
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Jay: Check one, two, check one, two. Dammit. Come on, dude. What does it take to be a great creator of...what does it take...what does it take to be a great...what does it take to be a great creator of anything? To truly hone and make a living off your craft, to truly hone and make a living off your craft? Making anything that people love is just the culmination of lots and lots of tiny decisions. These decisions go unnoticed by others, even those who consume the work, but to the creator, those decisions...these decisions are everything. Even if they lead to just small differences in the work, that could make all the difference in the world. What does that look like? What does that feel like? What really goes on when a world-class creator creates a favorite project? That thing they point to and proudly say, "I made it. I made it. I made it." Hey, I'm Jay Acunzo. I am an author, a speaker, and a maker of more than 10 shows now, kind of hard to believe. Ten podcasts or video series about creativity at work. And I'm partnering with Podia to bring you this show. Podia sells tools to help creators earn a living from their craft, selling courses, membership sites, and digital downloads all without needing to code anything. On this show, some of the world's best creators go deep inside the making of one favorite project all to share the tiny decisions, the hidden turmoil and the emotions, everything that goes into making something truly meaningful for their businesses. Today's guest is Gibi. That's G-I-B-I, Gibi. Gibi is a YouTuber with more than 2.3 million subscribers and she's built a huge community away from YouTube too across networks like Twitter, 94,000 followers, Twitch, 140,000 followers, Instagram, 239,000, and I'm sure a lot on Facebook, but since I deleted my Facebook account earlier this year, because Facebook is a terrible company ruining everything, I can't quite tell you what I'm sure is a very big number of people who follow Gibi on Facebook. But anyway, Gibi is the creator of ASMR videos. What the heck is ASMR? Glad you asked because the project we're deconstructing today with Gibi is her video titled, "What The H*ck is ASMR!?" All right, let's play a clip because I want to know what the heck is ASMR? Woman: ASMR? What the heck is ASMR?
Gibi: I'm glad you asked. Woman: Who are you?
Gibi: My name is Gibi, but everyone calls me Gibi. Woman: Oh. Hi, Gibi.
Gibi: Don't call me that. Woman: Sorry.
Gibi: ASMR is an acronym standing for autonomous sensory meridian response. Woman: Oh...What?
Gibi: It doesn't tell you much, but essentially, it's a pleasant reaction to certain stimuli. And it's believed that ASMR is something people have or don't have. Woman: You mean like a condition? Am I going to die?
Gibi: No, no, no, not that sort of condition. More of a characteristic, an ability to feel a pleasant tingling sensation that can be triggered by acoustic or visual stimuli. That's ASMR. Some people describe it as a brain massage, but you can feel ASMR in different parts of your body such as your back or limbs. People experience ASMR in different ways, but almost always it feels good. Woman: So, it's like a superpower?
Gibi: Sure. Woman: Nice.
Gibi: ASMR videos are videos that are categorized to intentionally help trigger that ASMR sensation in people. Woman: Intentionally?
Gibi: Yes, many people's ASMR gets triggered by unintentional stimuli such as a teacher with a soft voice, getting their eyes checked at the doctor or childhood friends drawing on your arm. There are many, many different types of videos you'll find using the tag ASMR. Some are very trigger-heavy, focusing on just making sounds specifically to trigger your ASMR. Others are more casual role plays, or might just be whispering or soft talking. Woman: This is weird.
Gibi: YouTube is weird. Woman: Fair point.
Gibi: At its core, ASMR is an extremely positive genre aimed to aid others. Woman: So, what exactly do these tingles feel like?
Gibi: You could compare it to the feeling of this head massager. Woman: Oh. ^Jay: So, Gibi you made a thing. What did you make?
Gibi: I made a video finally explaining what ASMR actually is. ^Jay: There's such a fervent fan base around this idea to the point where I'm like, it's almost like sports. It's like this irrational love that people have and they have their favorite ASMR...ASMRtists. Did I say that correctly?
Gibi: ASMRtists. Yeah. Flows off the tongue. ^Jay: All right. All right. Yeah. There's such passion behind it. So, why do you think it appeals to people on that visceral level?
Gibi: I think we're in such a stressful time. We've grown up just being so competitive and just tacking on more and more and more. And as there's so much news coming at us, and a lot of bad news, and a lot of very stressful news, I think that people are very passionate and very protective of their right and their ability to just relax and chill for a second. ^Jay: So, when we mentioned that video specifically explaining what ASMR is to people, the way you phrased it to me was, "I finally made a video explaining what it is." Why did you phrase it that way?
Gibi: I was making videos for, I think, well over a year until I finally made a video actually trying to explain the definition to people who might stumble upon the channel or my community and just don't know what's going on. So, I just got so many questions from people who were unfamiliar or uneducated with ASMR. And I felt like it would just be easier to make a video explaining it and try to put it in my own words. ^Jay: And just to get this out of the way for people listening right away, in case anybody is skeptical, the science supports that this is a real thing if people are wondering, and it's kinda like synesthesia is a real thing. And so, for people who don't know, right, that's a psychological phenomenon that happens to a very small number of people, where the senses essentially crosstalk or they cross collaborate maybe. Like, when you taste something, you might see a color. And it's visceral. It's not like, "Oh, this evokes yellow." It's like, "No, I see yellow because I'm biting into this whatever, sandwich or something like that." So, synesthesia is a real thing. It's just that it's hard for people who don't have it to convince themselves that it is because it seems like it's a little like science fiction. ASMR is definitely not so far out there that it's that hard to believe. But I think there's a lot of skeptics that maybe question it. So, I did want to put that out there. I did a little research. I'm lucky that my wife has a Ph.D. in psychology. And so, she has all these psychology friends, one of whom hosts a great podcast called the "Savvy Psychologist," Dr. Jade Wu. And she did an episode right before I talked to you, Gibi, it was perfect timing, about ASMR. And the first thing she laid out was like, "Yes, this is a real thing." But I imagine you get that skepticism quite a bit, maybe even from family and friends who discover what you do. I don't know. Talk me through that.
Gibi: I do. We just ask people, "Oh, do you feel the tingles?" And that is, to a lot of people, the definition of ASMR. But the beauty of it is that you don't have to "have ASMR to enjoy ASMR content." It's really kind of convoluted and interesting and hard to explain. But it is something that certain people can feel and some people might never feel. And we're not sure if everyone has the capabilities. We do compare it to a couple of things that maybe are more relatable. Like, it's similar to when you get the chills when listening to a really epic soundtrack or, you know, people will compare it to a brain massage. So, it's not something you can see, but it's just something that's really pleasant and that you can feel. And so many of us connect on this, "Oh my God, you feel that too? Oh my God, I thought it was just me. Do you really like when, you know, people do this?" And I'm like, "Yes, I do, for some reason. I love when people tap on paper." And I'm like, "Why?" So, it's been this huge kind of just collaboration of people coming together and being just, I think, surprised that other people feel the same way. ^Jay: If you consider the opposite of ASMR, I don't know if there's a name for this, but it's almost like if somebody scratches Styrofoam, I cringe. I can't stand it. I have a visceral reaction to it.
Gibi: Misophonia. ^Jay: What's it called?
Gibi: Misophonia, I think it's pronounced. It's like, yeah, when you get literally like a physical horrible reaction to a sound. So, most people, like nails on a chalkboard. A lot of people have it from people chewing, makes them really mad. ^Jay: So, okay. I think more people would probably readily say, "Yeah, I have that." So, I don't think there's any reason to be quite as skeptical as some folks are on the more positive side, the pleasant side of it, you know, reaction to a sound.
Gibi: Exactly. ^Jay: So, if you consider it that way, I think it's maybe easier to get on board with. I do have that sensation, that tingling sensation. It's really awesome. It's like, I kind of feel like lulled to this total relaxation. I do feel the tingles like on my skull if there's certain voices. You know, it's almost like if I stepped outside, and took a deep breath, and felt at peace in front of nature, that same kind of like almost like state of peace, but it feels like flow. Like, if you ever get into deep flow with your work, that's almost like what it feels like.
Gibi: Yeah. That's a great comparison. I love that. ^Jay: So, I do have it. But before...we can talk about ASMR all day, but I do want to dive into your video in particular. I'm sure there are lots and lots of videos that you're proud of. So, this one is called "What The H*ck is ASMR!?" You mentioned why you decided to make it. What do you remember about making this particular video?
Gibi: It was very different for me because I was now in more of an educator role. Usually, I'm just more in an entertaining role and you know, I just need to relax people, distract them, whatnot. But I was like, "All right, like, I actually have a message that I want to get out to people and try to explain it in a coherent way." And when something's so...it feels so unexplainable, I wasn't sure how I wanted to go about it. But when I thought about making it a little more lighthearted and with like little twist of comedy, which is what I tend to do anyway, I was really excited. So, I wrote out the whole script. I knew that I wanted to basically act the part of, you know, the person asking the questions and the person answering the question. So, I was like, "I'm going to be, you know, like the voice of God and then also have, you know, my face asking the questions as the confused person that I usually get in my comment section all the time." ^Jay: Right. So, you just...for listeners who haven't seen the video and we'll link to it in the show notes, but the voice I hear, the narrator is you, the person who understands ASMR.
Gibi: Mm-hmm. ^Jay: And then you on camera is kind of us, the people who are trying to figure out, what the heck ASMR is. And so, it opens with you, I think, on your phone and you're kind of confused about what this is. You've heard about it, or you're acting like you've just heard about it, and then you hear this voice, it's Gibi teaching you what the heck this is while you, the person on camera plays this role of us. So, that's just the construct you created. You mentioned writing the whole script. Is that the first thing you do for your videos, is you script it all out or what's like step one, if you have like this vague notion, how do you go from vague notion or gut instinct to, I'm actually starting the process?
Gibi: Right. Of course, everything starts with the idea, but I have so many Google Docs, notes, everything, just everything's written out for me. It has to be or else it doesn't exist. Like, I have to absolutely write everything down. So, I wrote out a whole script and I will do scripts if it is something like this, where I want to make sure, you know, I'm getting exactly what needs to be done, done. And, when I'm talking to myself and filling in the blanks, I mean, that's just technically necessary to know exactly what you're going to be saying. A lot of my videos are off the cuff. They're just more relaxed. So, I'll just get in front of a camera and talk. I know what I want to do, but it's not scripted. But anything like this, anything that's super structured character-wise, if I'm doing a Daenerys from "Game of Thrones," like you better believe I'm doing all my homework and making sure I'm not getting a thing wrong. So, a lot of that will be more heavily scripted. So, it really depends on what video I'm making. But something like this, that's scripted down to the word. ^Jay: Do you remember...because there's an exchange between you acting on camera and the voiceover which comes in, I'm assuming later, but that means you probably...I didn't see any rough cuts here. So, I'm assuming, how did you navigate this tricky dance of like recording you, the person on camera, and leaving enough space where you, the person is listening? Like you don't have...did you have somebody off-camera like reading the line that you took out later? How does that work?
Gibi: I did. I had a person, that's my trick. And it's a great one if you can grab someone to help you out. It was my cousin, she's standing offscreen, and reading my lines at me. And then I just cut out the audio and placed it with my own voice. ^Jay: See, these are the kinds of things you don't hear about or think about when you're watching a final product type video.
Gibi: That's right. That's right. ^Jay: What's your technical setup look like?
Gibi: It's very simple because it's almost always just me, so it has to be something that I can handle on my own. In terms of filming, I have, you know, my camera and my tripod, I've got a couple of lights with some smart bulbs in it, if I want to make it look fancy. And depending what sort of video I'm using, either a single standalone binaural microphone or two microphones, one on either side of the camera. And then once I'm finished filming, the SD card gets popped into my computer and either I'll edit it or I actually have an editor now that does a lot of my work for me, which is amazing for, you know, just time purposes. It's been a godsend. But no, I went to school for film. I was on the editing track, so I was very comfortable with the computer. Did everything in Premiere Pro and just upload it to YouTube. So, it's very doable. Everything's so accessible now. ^Jay: I know. It's great. And I feel like there's a mental barrier more than a technical one now that causes people to withhold from creating and self-expressing.
Gibi: Absolutely. ^Jay: And I think in some small way, maybe not small, hopefully, not small, but in some way that's what we wanted to do with this show, is try to address that mental barrier that some people might be feeling. And then for the rest of the audience, you know, if they're already creating, give them some insight and catharsis. But yeah, you mentioned like there's no gatekeepers. The technology is a lot more intuitive, and available, and even cheaper than it once was. And so, the last hurdle is sort of the self-talk you have.
Yeah. Just put it up. Make something that you like, make something that you're proud of and put it online. It does not have to be perfect. ^Jay: Yeah. When you do anything today, I feel like you do look at the Gibis of the world. You're like, "Look at how many views, and comments, and she just created an app with all these other YouTube creators, and she's building a business and a life." And there's this bigness to it that you feel when you're just starting out and if you encounter somebody that you admire or draw inspiration from. And I think the temptation is you disassociate from those people because you're seeing the sum total of so many choices, decisions, and moments, and time and you're starting out from you know, moment one, not quite because you've become who you are and you can use that when you create a new project, but you haven't yet put out that first video, first episode, first article, or what have you. So, you look up this mountain peak and there's Gibi and you're like, "I can't do that." So, I'm just not going to start at all. And I think there's some solace in realizing a very hard truth. And I'm wondering if you experienced this yourself when you first started an ASMR, that first thing you put out, nobody's going to care about it. So, put it out. You might as well, right?
Gibi: Mm-hmm. And even better, if it's bad, then it's funny to go back to. I mean, it's all about baby steps. My first video's on a secondhand DSLR and a $100 mic, you know, and that's it. And you just keep making things, and things change, and you figure out what you like, and where you go from there. You know, people ask me like, "When did your channel blow up?" I'm like, "It never blew up. It was just baby steps going up and up and just keep posting." ^Jay: Yeah. I mean, if you zoom way into the line, I assume all creators, you know, I saw this with my shows, you do have this zig-zaggy like, mini peaks and valleys. And every so often, you have maybe an inflection point here and there, but I also think people overvalue the big inflection points. So, I'll give you an example, and I wonder if you have any from your career that you can share, but just to tee it up a little bit. I put out...so, my second ever podcast was actually for me. My first one was for a former employer. So, I was actually inhouse as an employee back then, which seems like I could probably never do ever again as a creator. So, my second one was kind of what launched me into building my own business and career called "Unthinkable." And the second episode of "Unthinkable," a friend who had worked for a startup I'd worked for prior had gone over to Stitcher, which is this big podcast ecosystem and player. And he saw my show, he liked the second episode, he told the editors at Stitcher, they featured it on their homepage. So, I go from a couple of dozen of downloads that were mostly people that already knew me in reality to this massive spike second episode out the gate. And then you look at the line over time, and almost none of them stuck around because it was this passive curiosity play. And I think that's the commonality when you go "viral", most of those people wash away. And so, you're better off focusing on like your true believers anyway, the people that really want to go deep with the subject or with you over time. And if it's a small number, just serve them increasingly better and they'll win you more and more fans, followers, subscribers, you know, the audience you're seeking through word of mouth.
Gibi: I so agree and you want to like your audience. So, that's actually what I tell people. I'm like, "Make things that you like because you'll attract people who like that and you're going to get along with your audience just fine." ^Jay: Exactly.
Gibi: A lot of people, yeah, they'll try to appeal to, you know, people that aren't there or don't exist. And I'm like, "If you get some people to stick around, then you're going to have to keep doing what you're doing. And if you don't like it then you're not going to have a very good time." ^Jay: So, speaking of making something you like, if we go back to that video quickly, what I'm seeing, what I'm consuming is obviously the final cut, the final edit. Are there moments where you have a look to camera or a line to camera, where you're doing it two, three, four times? Like, are there multiple takes or?
Gibi: Absolutely. ^Jay: Yeah. Okay. So, walk me through like how you sense in the moment, we got to do that again.
Gibi: It was helpful because I've been making videos for so long. I'm used to talking to the camera, you know? But yeah, you know, I'd be delivering my lines and then mid-sentence I'd be like, "Oh, I didn't like that. Wait, one more time. One more time." Then I'd wait for a second. And then I do it again and I'm like, "Oh, that felt weird. All right, one more time. Okay. All right. We can keep going." Because I know that, you know, editing is your friend. ^Jay: Most people don't realize this. So, a really easy example from my world is when I introduce myself as a host and narrator, I have this little intro sting to my personal show, the same show I mentioned before. I had this little intro sting, where I tell you the concept of the show in one line and then at the very end of the music playing, it drops off a cliff. And then I say, "I'm Jay Acunzo." But you will catch me in my own office, like a psycho, just on repeat. "I'm Jay Acunzo. I'm Jay Acunzo. I'm Jay Acunzo."
Gibi: It's gotta feel right. It's gotta feel right. I totally get that. ^Jay: It's maddening. It's ridiculous. But that's what I think makes our work exciting. It's those hidden tiny moments, like you came out of editing, for example, when you're an editor, it's all hidden. I mean, you find joy in things that others may not know you did, but they just experience it washing over them and think that was great. But you know all the tiny minutia that went into it.
Gibi: Yeah, I'll finish a video, I'm like, "That was trash. That was horrible." Because I felt like I was messing up. I felt like...you know, I'm like, "I don't even know if we're going to be able to piece together anything." And my editor will be like, "That was fine. Truly, everything is okay." And I'll see the final product. I'm like, "Oh, oh, that was good. Okay. All right." So, yeah. Even now, you know, as soon as I end whatever I'm filming, you know, I definitely have doubts sometimes. ^Jay: So, we've gone down this rabbit hole a little bit of, you know, you came out of editing, we're talking about do stuff that you like, and we're talking about all the moving parts and pieces, the retakes, the redubs. And now you said you're actually working with an editor. So, I have always had this barrier, where it's such a specific style of edit that I can picture in my head and the movement from, it's in my head to now it's in a second person's head, and they get the vision, and they can execute the editing for me, that's always felt really daunting to me. So, can you just walk us through your transition from doing it all yourself to actually trying to find somebody who could almost like mind-meld with you? Like, how did you get an editor on board and work with them in such a way that the final product is what you were looking for?
Gibi: It was very interesting actually. I think a lot of people will be pleased to know that it was just a nice email that got him the job. You know, I think that people underestimate, you're like, "Oh, I'm not going to bother reaching out to her. You know, she's so big. She's not even going to see my email, whatever." But you know, he hit me at the right time. It was professional, it was clean, it was straightforward. And again, you'd be surprised at how many emails are not that. And he's like, "Hey, I watch your content. I have free time. I do editing and if you ever need help, here's my information." And he hit me at such a time where I was just flooded with videos to edit and get done. And I was still a student at the time, so it was just very overwhelming. And I was like, "You know what? You could help me actually, I would love your help." And he started editing one or two on the side. If there was, you know, a special effect that I wanted to do, but didn't really have time to figure out on my own, I would send to him. And when you work with somebody for so long, in the beginning, you know, you do have to micromanage a bit, and you know, let them know what you're looking for, and do re-edits, and things like that. But it's gotten a point where you just sort of settle into the flow and he sort of knows what I'm looking for. And if there needs to be changes, then that's fine and you sort of figure it out on the way. But it's definitely interesting having somebody edit for ASMR because if I ever do a different type of video, something that's a little more on the comedy side or on my second channel I do a lot of gaming and things, I have a different editor for that because people have different styles. ^Jay: That's so interesting. So, now you're bringing on the second person, they're not just extra calories, they're an extra person. So, they have sensibilities, and taste, and you know, the more you feel like a partner, the more their opinions are helpful. So, do you remember like this first editor that you hired, the one who emailed you on your main channel, was there like a specific thing that you always did personally that you had to really go back and forth a lot for the editor to kind of fully understand it and execute on it?
Gibi: Well, he's great because he'll do things that I wouldn't have done on my own that makes it better. So, it sort of is like a give and take. ^Jay: Oh, like what? Do you have an example or?
Gibi: Yeah, he gets really into the sound or something little will bother him and he's like, "You know what, I'm figuring it out. I'm going to look into it." He's like, "This thing is buzzing and I want to figure out how to make it not do that and I want to make things..." So, he has really made my setup better. He goes right into the tech of it all and he's like, "I need you to test these settings for me. I need you to like look at this." Because he gets very invested in the work, which is awesome to me. And so, he's half my tech guy, half of my editor. And it's awesome. ^Jay: Were there phone calls, things that you wrote out for him? Is there any kind of...or things you would have done that were more processed-driven if you look back that other people might want to try, if they're at the point now where they're bringing on an editor or an assistant or somebody to help with their vision, are there things that you can kind of point to or things you would have done that feel like this is just good process to help accelerate that onboarding?
Gibi: We do spend a lot of time messaging back and forth. I would definitely say learn how to use Discord. It's just the best app in the world because you can screen-share, you can video chat, you can message. And so, that's been really great to have everything in one spot. I feel like we're constantly talking and it's very easy to access him, and for him to show me what he's working on, send me files, that sort of thing. And I would just say just, you know, get to know them. That was very helpful. And just sort of, he kind of gets my vibe, and what I'm going for. But it definitely depends what project you're working on. ASMR, in general, is to me just a very different editing process than maybe some other people are used to. ^Jay: When you're on camera, and we mentioned doing retakes in the moment, and obviously there's stuff you do in post too, how much are you aware that there is a little bit of like a souped-up version of yourself? Especially given the fact that you're trying relax people, I don't mean tons of energy. I mean like, you're sort of embellishing certain traits of yourself to appear great on camera. I remember listening back to my early podcast episodes, I sounded so bored. I sounded so quiet. I was like, what was going on there. But now I'm the same energy level and yet the voice coming out feels a lot more energized and a lot better. And there are certain techniques I tried, and technologies I tinkered with, and you know, I can go into that rabbit hole in a behind the scenes episode for our listeners. But how much of that is conscious for you where you're like, "Okay, now I'm on camera, I gotta bring it" versus it's now muscle memory for you?
Gibi: That is so interesting. ^Jay: And walk me through how you got there.
Gibi: Yeah. Because when I look back at my old videos, I know I do ASMR but I'm quiet. And it is so funny because I think I was more self-conscious and self-aware and I was like trying to, you know, make...do something that I wasn't quite comfortable with. You know, I didn't spend a lot of time doing ASMR in my day-to-day life. So, getting onto a camera, you know, it was a new experience. And like you say, a lot of it is muscle memory because it's truly, it's confidence and experience. I've made almost 500 videos and I like what I do quite a bit. So, when I do get onto the filming process and the camera turns on, you know, I'm happy to be there and that helps a lot with the energy. I know what I want to make. And it is a confidence that you just sort of build-up just by making more and more content. And I think no matter what point you start at, when you're making more and more content, you'll look back and you'll see that you've gotten better just from practice. But I do feel like I get into the zone. I'm like, "Hey, I'm in ASMR mode." You know. And even though I'm quite loud and quite energized in real life, so a lot of my family members were very surprised that I relax anybody. But it does come from a very genuine place. It comes from a very genuine place of I am ready to do ASMR and I'm here for the viewer. ^Jay: I like in a lot of the entertainment value, you know, I do business content, so on one hand, a lot of business content is just dry and educational. But I believe that entertainment value matters perhaps even more than just the nutritional value. It has to be nutritious and delicious.
Gibi: Oh, yeah. ^Jay: Right? Like anything, you're doing...
Gibi: I love that. ^Jay: ...if it's teaching. Yeah. I'm Italian. So, everything I do in life has to come back to a food analogy or actual eating of food.
Gibi: Oh, yes. ^Jay: Yeah. So, when I'm thinking about that entertainment value, I think about when you've mastered your...God, I don't want to say it this way, but like persona on a stage, on camera, on a microphone, when you've figured out how to use the medium to express all of what you're trying to express, and not hold back, and not sound bored. It's almost like if you figure out how to cruise in a nice sports car and you know how to shift all the gears, you're like not thinking about it. You're making these micro moves and micro motions, but it's just kind of smooth. You just do it. And I find that...you know, one example is with my public speaking, I probably do about 20 to 25 keynotes a year and that's a big part of my business. And so, I found that early on, I would either be too up or not up enough and that would change the performance, especially the first few moments. So, now I have this little tick. So, I want to share that tick and I'm curious if you have one too. The tick or the exercise is, I call it...I have to get emotionally crossfaded. You know, it's almost like you take it up, or take it down, or take a smoke, take a drink. It's like getting crossfaded. So, I do it emotionally, so I have to say to myself, "Wow, I get to do this. This is incredible. I get to make stuff, I get to speak, I get to present stories on a stage that I've gone, and found, and researched." Like, it's humbling. So, that sort of settles me. And then as I'm getting announced, it's almost like I look to nobody in particular and give them a little fake grin. And in my head, I'm like, "Hey, watch this." Right? Like, "Check it out. Watch me go." You know? So, I have that, "Oh wow, I get to do this." And then like, "Hey, watch this." And it kind of gets the right blend. I'm like in the right zone. So, this sounds so ridiculous, I know, but it works for me. Do you have things that like gets you in that creative flow before you go on camera, or make a video or, you know, any little routiney things that feel so specific to Gibi that you know, you're not recommending others try it, but it just works for you?
Gibi: I do, actually. I do. I smile at my audience. And what I mean by that is, when I look into the camera, I know that I'm looking into people's eyes and that's how like I...you know, all of a sudden, it's so awkward that you're just talking to a camera in a room. And I'm like, "I truly do not feel that." Like, I know that people are watching. You know, even though it's edited and they're not going to see it for a couple of weeks. When I like catch the camera's eye, I find myself smiling because I'm like, "I know I'm looking at you." Like, I know that sounds weird. But it's very genuine. I feel like I connect with my community when I'm alone in a room. ^Jay: That's amazing and a lot less weird than mine. So, that's even better.
Gibi: Are you sure? ^Jay: Maybe not, I dunno. It depends. One of my favorite comments I saw on a video of yours was...actually, I think it was the video we're talking about. Do you guys realize the level of trust we place in ASMRtists? They could yell at any time, but they choose not to. And I do feel like that's a funny comment, but it does speak to this kind of implicit trust that as people return to you or spend time with you that it's going to be a good investment of their time. And on the one hand, you're self-expressing. You're doing things you want to do. On the other hand, you're also putting it out in the world for consumption. So, now it's the audiences', and they can judge it, and consume it, and share it as they see fit. This is an incredibly broad question, but I think every creator grapples with this. So, if those are the two sides, the two circles, and you're trying to find the Venn diagram overlap of what you love and what others love, how do you navigate that?
Gibi: That's a great question. I really love requests. I love reading comments and I love listening. And I also know that sometimes the audience does not know what's best for them. They don't know what they want sometimes. And I think that sometimes it's important and it helps when you make a lot of content. I put out three videos a week. So, I can do something that just popped into my head at 2 a.m., they have no idea it's coming because they don't know to ask for it. And I just know, I'm like, "Oh, they would love this." And that's just intuition and sort of one, doing things that you love. Again, you'll build an audience that also loves things that you love and they'll keep coming back. And so, if you love it, they'll probably love it. So, anything that gets me excited, I'll just try. I'm like, "Oh, it'd be funny if I did this." And I'll try it. And sometimes it takes off. Sometimes it doesn't. But it was good to try. And then the other thing is literally word for word, taking someone's suggestion. I could get 100 requests and one request really sticks out to me. And I'll just go for it. Somebody said, "Oh my gosh, Gibi, you should make a video where you're getting us snacks at 2 a.m." And I'm like, "Okay." I did. And it was great. I'm like, "That's such a good idea. I love it." So, a lot of people request things over and over again. And I'm like, "You know what? I know you. And I know if I make this video, you're not going to actually watch it." So, it is filtering out and by trial and error, I think, honestly by looking at numbers, figuring out what your audience truly might like. So, you do have to be in tune with the commenters, but not solely relying on requests and on things. Because you do know what's best for your own content. ^Jay: Right. Right. Like the classic feedback I get, where I lament publicly that a lot of podcasts and video shows about business or people's career paths, it's just a whitewashed version. It's what Brené Brown would call gold plated grit. It's like, Gibi wanted to be great and do creative work. Then she hit this one snag, but then she got over it and now everything is amazing and look at all the success. It's gold plated. And people are like...the feedback I get is, "Why don't you do a show or a miniseries inside your show all about people's failures. Like, we really want to hear that." And I think to myself, "No, you don't."
Gibi: No, you don't. ^Jay: Because what we want to hear is that simpatico feeling of, you're struggling and they're struggling. That's great. You don't need a whole series on that. You want to feel that people are revealing true lessons learned, that it's not gold plated, that they go deep into their failures, and teach you something. But if you had a whole show, where the whole emphasis was about how they failed, end of story, you would tune out after three or four episodes because you'd be so fricking depressed. You don't want that stuff. Or the guests would never really reveal that stuff. Or the people who are revealing that stuff are so successful that it does look gold plated now. Right? So, they're willing to tell you about that. So, I'm like, "You think you want that, but no, you don't."
Gibi: Take everything with a grain of salt. ^Jay: Right. So, why is this work meaningful? You know, I understand it's not always easy. It's something that you're kind of...maybe there's more precedent today, but you've been paving this path since leaving school. And it's something where the onus is on you all the time. There's a lot of pressure. There's certainly some critics of ASMR. There's the comments issue that always goes on with any YouTube celebrity. I know you don't use your real name to protect your identity. There's all these things that it's on the outside looking in, you're like, "Man, that is really hard." And yet you're pushing forward. So, clearly, there's something driving you. There's some core beliefs, some meaning you're drawing from this work. I'm hoping you could share what that is with us.
Gibi: Yeah. ASMR is literally my life. And I think that some people...you know, they think that I...I don't know what they think I'm doing. And then I just go film a video and go on about my day. But it's consumed my life in the best way. And I think a lot of that has to do with the community growing. And I am so gung-ho about, you know, I'm here to explain, I'm here to help people pave the way. I'm here to, you know, get opportunities for myself, for others and meet up with other people, and talk about what we're making, and things like that because it is a new community even though, you know, it's been around for almost 10 years now. It's just grown in such a manner that I think we have to take care of it and make sure that it's, you know, treated accordingly. And I am so happy doing it as my job and as my career and the fact that people tell me that it helps them. And that's something that I knew helped me. I felt the same way about ASMRtists that I watched six, seven, eight years ago. And I'm so grateful for them that I can finally get a night's sleep, that I can finally relax and, you know, disconnect from all these stressful thoughts, all this anxiety of, you know, just trying to get some sleep. And it's just become so much more than getting some ASMR tingles. And I think a lot of people will tell you that they watch ASMR for different reasons and no matter what the reason is, I want to be there. Like, I want to make sure that I have content three times a week like I promised. And I love my community so much and it sounds so like, obvious I suppose. But just knowing that people are relying on my content, means a lot to me. And I'll always be there. ^Jay: I love that. To me, it's easy to get too caught up in a negative comment, a negative review, or article, or things like that. And we do have that biological reaction because that's danger. That's the saber-toothed tiger lurking in the woods. That's, you know, pay more attention to what could harm you than what's going well. But I do feel like as a creator, when you put things out publicly, whether you're teaching accounting through a course or you're doing ASMR videos on YouTube to millions of people, I feel like you need almost like a rainy-day fund. Right? Like, you bank some of the nice things that people have said about your work to you directly. You know, I have this in my Gmail, where I have a little label that says, super fans. And if I get a nice comment, I'll just bank that in Gmail. And sometimes it's a social media comment I link and send to myself. And sometimes, it's somebody writing something nice about my show to me over email, and I know the next person that says something nasty, they could be the first in 30 comments. And I'm going to spend more time with their nasty comment than the last 30 bits of praise. It's ridiculous.
Gibi: Yeah. Why do we do that? If you're going to believe the bad comments, you better believe the good ones. We're not allowed to just believe the hate comments and brush off the good ones. ^Jay: We end with a quote about creativity from Charles Mingus as read by Gibi, but this reading comes with a twist.
Gibi: "Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird, that's easy. What's hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity." All right, I'll get a little closer and do some ASMR. "Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird, that's easy. What's hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity." Charles Mingus. ASMR out of context. ^Jay: Brava, that's a new series on your channel, ASMR out of context. Thanks so much for listening. If you're like me, you're obsessed with creativity and turning your craft into a career, into a life. And if that's you, I'd encourage you to check out your show notes because we put something together just for podcast listeners. So, this is the official "Podia" podcast and I was privileged enough to be invited to host and produce it. And together, Podia and I put together a newsletter just for listeners. On the newsletter, you're going to find all kinds of stuff like transcriptions, and summaries, and links to everything we talk about on the show. But you're also gonna get invited to periodic live video calls with me and Podia's CMO, Len Markidan. Not only are we going to talk about the behind the scenes of making this show, we're going to talk to listeners about building their businesses and turning their passion into income. So, check your show notes to subscribe. I'm Jay Acunzo and this is what I made this week, but here's to whatever you're making, keep going and let us know if we can help. See you.