So the secret’s out.
Our Shoot the Future competition is currently accepting digital content pitches from eager applicants across the globe. At SiM, we’re dedicated to stimulating (and supporting) the next generation of content-minded creatives, and we’ve established some serious incentive. Contest winners will be cut a fat $20,000 check to fuel their innovative brainchild from inception to full-on inspiration.
Additional enticement includes some one-on-one mentoring from digital media queen, self-made influencer, and Snapchat golden child YesJulz. (If for whatever reason, the name doesn’t ring a bell, reach for your nearest device and scan a social media platform of your preference.)
Combining her celebrity-esque crew, knack for club culture’s next and best, entrepreneurial energy (be it on stage or via social media), YesJulz is snagging the attention (and admiration) of fans and mega-brands such as Beats by Dre and Red Bull alike.
We recently caught up and chatted all things Shoot the Future, what makes compelling content, and why “cool” and “conscious” can totally coincide.
How did the whole process go from “you being you” on Snapchat and various other channels, to brands reaching out and asking to join forces?
It basically started as me as an events promoter in Miami. I became this go-to person for folks looking for the next best party, and eventually decided rather than keep making all this money for clubs and marketing agencies, I’d launch my own. I wanted to be in charge of curating my own events and parties—I wanted to book the artists that I was excited about, and not have to convince a club who or what was cool. As these relationships continued, their fan bases and an online following came with that. When brands started to take notice, I knew that was another avenue for revenue. Things really started kicking up this last year though. Everything just fell into place.
How do you navigate through choosing and/or refusing what brands you’d like to work with?
The whole reason I started (using) Snapchat was because I felt we needed people who are more organic in the spotlight. My little cousin was watching a TV show, thinking she needed to get surgery to make her lips look bigger and her butt bigger, and I was like “These people are not transparent and not real, and I would prefer that you don’t look up to them.” I realized girls needed a different kind of person to look up to. That’s why I started (creating content) so I could be on a screen, with my pimples and imperfections, and be like “Hey look! I have pimples and I have cellulite! Look at me, I’m okay with it, you should be comfortable too.”
Are there specific “traits” or “characteristics” you look for in a brand before agreeing to team up?
It just depends. If a brand is cool and conscious and they care about the world and they’re giving back in some way, shape, or form, then I want to work with them. There are people and brands that I feel are taking from culture, and not really giving anything back. If that’s the case, then I’m not really interested.
What are some personal philosophies that fuel the work that you do?
My agency’s tagline is “bridging the gap between cool and conscious.” The party thing just fell into my lap, and really, so did the brands, but my dream has always been to work with underprivileged youth, and help them develop their artistic talents and entrepreneurial skills and what not. When I say “bridging the gap,” I mean I want to make it cool to have a party on Saturday and then give back on Sunday, like with #HashtagLunchbag. I want to be a part of that shift, and really move the needle for those kinds of things.
“To me, Shoot the Future means we’re giving the youth a voice. And really, that means everything.”
What attracted you to Skype’s Shoot the Future project?
I heard about it and thought it was such a cool opportunity! To be able to give somebody that might be a loyal follower of mine $20,000 to make their dreams come true? That’s sick. I wanted to be a part of that. I wish I had done something like this when I was 20 — come up with a really cool idea for content and gotten a budget for it, you know? I’m excited to see what people pitch.
To me, Shoot the Future means we’re giving the youth a voice. And really, that means everything. The millennial generation is the largest generation to date. We have the most human beings in our generation than any ever before. So we’re the people presidential candidates should be speaking to. We’re the people brands should be addressing. We have the power of numbers. So I think it’s really important to be reminding and encouraging youth of that. I love that brands like Skype are taking notice, and I love that I can be a part of it.
Any personal tips for creating sharable, engaging content?
My advice is “just be you.” Don’t pay attention to what anyone else is doing, because you’ll often get sidetracked. You can get inspired, but I think it’s really important to just be yourself. And no one is going to be able to do that better than you can. And own your content. Know the value of your material. Snapchat is cool, but I basically built a career off of Snapchat, and it’s not even my app. They could disappear tomorrow and then what? Own your content, and find a way to do it so you’re monetizing on fans and followers, and you have your own email list.
What’s coming up that you’re excited about?
I’ve been collaborating with 070Shake—she’s an artist based out of Jersey. They make music, and recently finished a project that we’re going to be releasing soon and taking on tour, and we have a big announcement that we’re about to make that I can’t speak about yet, but I’m super excited for. In terms of what’s next, the sky’s the limit. I think we’re going to disrupt the music industry and the film industry and you’re going to start seeing young people in places of power, in terms of digital entertainment. I’m really excited to be at the forefront of that.
Could your idea be the next big thing? Send us your pitch or trailer and you could win $20,000 development funding and expert advice to turn your content idea into a reality skype.shootthefuture.com #ShootTheFuture.