Secrets from Tyler Oakley to Increase Your Subscribers and Followers

With almost 200,000 YouTube subscribers and over 100,000 followers on Twitter, Tyler Oakley must be doing something right with social media.
Tyler Oakley Headshot

Recent alumni of Michigan State University, Oakley now lives in San Fransico, California fully supporting himself on the money he brings in from being a YouTube star.

So how does he do it? I skyped him to gain some insight about his path to social media fame.

The Start

Oakley started his YouTube channel his freshmen year of college to stay connected with his friends who went to other colleges. “I wanted a way to keep in touch with friends and show them things and stories,” Oakley said. His very first video was showing his friends around his dorm room.

The Switch

“The first time I noticed that maybe people were watching that I didn’t know, I noticed one of my videos had 100 views and I was like, okay I don’t have 100 friends so someone else must be watching.” Oakley discovered that there were communities of people out there on YouTube and started communicating with them and doing collaborations with other YouTubers.

The Rise

It was a slow progression to gain the amount of subscribers that he has now. Several of his videos went viral which did cause rapid rises in his numbers, but they were never the videos he expected to be most popular. There is no master plan to making a viral video, but knowing how to build a stable following on those videos is important.

Oakley started building relationships with people who kept coming back to his videos and commenting. He says that it is very important to have all social networks intertwined. “Go to my YouTube channel, first thing you see are all my links to other channels. I never want there to be a question that I’m not everywhere. If they want to find me on twitter, it needs to be so simple and obvious.”

Oakley's YouTube Channel

His Advice

Remind people about subscribing and sharing.

“As much as I hate saying, ‘Hey can you retweet or reblog this?’, I feel so tacky saying it, but people just need the reminder. A lot of people aren’t internet people, so as stupid as it sounds when you spell it out, you have to be like, if you click this subscribe button you will get a reminder.”

Use Tumblr.

“It is my fastest growing network and fan base. The best thing about it is the whole thing of Tumblr is to share, so as a content creator, no matter what you are making, it has to be where you put your stuff. If I ever have something go viral, that’s where it goes viral.”


“Try not to take any days off.”


“Every week I ask I question. Before I ask them to comment, I usually tweet and tumble the questions. So I have good examples, and show that these are some of my favorite responses. I ask them to comment below with your response. It’s a shameless plug and gets them to interact with Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.”

The Takeaway

So what have we learned from Tyler? It is important to persevere in your social media networking and intertwine all of the major sites. Keep in tune with new sites that pop us as well, since the social media environment is constantly shifting. It can start out a slow process, but if you put in the work, post with consistency, and interact with your followers, it will pay off.

What are some ways in which you work to gain followers? Comment below!

Oh, and subscribe to this blog! (See, I’m using his advice already!)


Featured Young Filmmaker: Ryan Patrick Walsh

“Never be too big headed and never think that you know everything. Everyone has something to teach you.” Ryan Patrick Walsh

Well hey, that’s the point of this blog, right?! To learn from our fellow filmmakers. Which is why each month I will be featuring a young filmmaker!

This month’s young filmmaker is Ryan Patrick Walsh.

Ryan graduated from Michigan State University several months ago with a degree in Media Arts and Technology. He also earned a minor in Film Studies and a specialization in Fiction Film Production. He plans to move out to New York City in several months to start his career.

Why New York instead of the typical destination, Los Angeles?

They are both on the list for sure. The bad thing about New York is it’s more writing and TV focused than it is on film. But it’s still a big market for doing video work. It’s not something I’m interested in doing forever but starting out it gives you this wealth of knowledge working with other people, either doing music videos or spotlights. It helps to build up your name for when you want to be a DP in a film later on. You’ll have more clout in the professional world.

What has been your biggest challenge in filmmaking?

Producing your own material. Because no one is going to be as interested in your own material as you are. And it’s really hard just to put together if you don’t know what you are doing and working on a limited budget. It can be both daunting and disenfranchising.

So when looking for people to work with you on your films, do you consider their passion for the project?

Oh yeah, hugely. I would rather have someone who is less experienced but more like-minded to me or at least to the project and willing to work their ass off. Especially when you don’t have money to pay them, to work their ass off for free. That they believe in you and in the project.

What’s the biggest mistake that you learned from that you’ve made in working on a project.

Everything is a lesson worth having learned. Perhaps there have been times when I could have enjoyed the process more.

If you could give advice to other young filmmakers, what would it be?

Number one is don’t rely on your teachers or your school to teach you everything about film and filmmaking. That’s a big one.

Number two is find a good community either locally or in your college or wherever you are making films. Or find a good forum online. I’ve found countless number of times where I’ve brought questions to people online or in my film community and it has really come a long way. (Ryan recommends this online forum when looking for help).

A third one is never be too big headed and never think that you know everything. Everyone has something to teach you.

Check out this short film from Ryan Patrick Walsh. (He recommends using headphones because of the audio mix).

Send me an email at if you would like to be considered as another featured young filmmaker!

Directing Actors – Don’t Give Line Readings!

Do you sometimes wish that you could play all the parts in your own movie?

Well you can’t. And frankly, it’s probably better that way.

It’s easy for a director to think that they know the absolute exact way that each actor is supposed to perform their character. Well I’m here to tell you that it’s time to get over yourself.

This video discusses the dangers of giving line reading to actors and suggests more effective alternatives.

Look for more posts in the future in this “Directing Actors” series!

What are some ways in which you guide actors without giving line readings?

Tips for Marketing your Movie and Building an Audience

“If you build it, they will come!”

No they won’t. 

And if that’s your marketing strategy, no one will ever see your movie.

Getting people other than your family to watch your movie is hard work. It takes a lot of time and creativity. In no way do I intend to cover movie marketing in a single post. This is just the beginning of a series of posts on the topic, so check back for more! Today I am going to give you a few overarching tips to help get you started:

Have good content

Duh. Moving on.

Nurture your audience

Your first fans are the most important. Don’t be frustrated that only two people are commenting on your videos. Talk back with those people. Let them know they are appreciated. Make them feel like part of the family. Then those fans will start to tell other people who will tell other people and pretty soon your audience will be multiplying like bunnies on ecstasy.

Watch this insightful (and humorous) video about congregating followers. The video talks about leaders gaining followers, but the same principals can be applied to building an audience.

Local marketing

Start local. No one in LA or at the Sundance Film Festival cares about you. But your neighbors do. Your local mom and pop cafe would be thrilled to screen your movie. The high school you went to would love to advertise (free of charge) the great things its alumni are doing. Your neighbor with an awesome sound system will gladly lend you speakers for a concert fundraiser.

Again, build a loyal audience first. And the best place to do that is locally.


Another way to get people to advertise for you for free is finding an organization that supports a cause related to your movie. For example, if you are doing a documentary about the benefits of eating organic, talk to health food stores about it and see if they will promote your doc. And why wouldn’t they? Your movie will bring them business! If you make a fiction film that has a bullied gay character, get ahold of organizations that support LGBT causes or that work against bullying. They can send the link of your movie to their mailing lists!

Great book on building an audience in the digital age written by Scott Kirsner

Get other people talking about you

According to the blog post “100 more social media statistics for 2012” written by Cara Pring, there are over 1 billion Facebook posts per day, around 175 million Tweets per day, and 70 million WordPress blogs worldwide. Find blogs, twitters, and facebook pages that would be interested in your movie. Submit info about it to a blog. @ a twitter user that might retweet you. Post on a facebook page. You can get people to share information about your movie FOR FREE! And it will be better than any paid advertisements.

While these suggestions just scratch the surface, they are good things to keep in mind when trying to build your fan base. The best thing for an independent filmmaker is to gain and keep fans. And if you start now while you are young, that will give you all the more time to nurture your first loyal followers and you will be bursting with fans several years down the road.

What are some creative and interesting ways you have built your audience? Comment below!

On Being a Young Filmmaker with Big Dreams

Young artists are filled with immense passion and drive. They are bursting at the seams with a desire for life and to achieve a significant existence and presence in the world. I often feel overwhelmed by all of the dreams that I wish to fulfill and all the barriers that make them seem impossible to reach. Breaking into the film industry often feels like an insurmountable goal. There is so much to learn and everything is moving at lighting speed.

This blog is designed to help fellow young filmmakers achieve their big dreams. It will be a relevant resource as well as a discussion forum, where other filmmakers can contribute their own advice, ideas, stories, or questions. This blog will be a valuable tool for anyone trying to get their foot in the door of this amazing but challenging industry.

What are the new trends in filmmaking? How can you beat the competition? How is your youthfulness beneficial? What can YouTube do for you? How do you embrace the changes in filmmaking that the 21st century brings? How do you get people to watch your work? How can you utilize the vast amounts of social media? What are the best ways to connect with other filmmakers and potential collaborators?

How do you find your unique voice as a filmmaker?

Let’s embrace our youth and pursue our dreams with a fiery passion!

For some inspiration on embracing your youthfulness and inexperience, read this brief article: Why Being Young, Inexperienced and Weird Can Help You Get Ahead.

I recently bought this book and started reading it. I’ll let you know if it is worth purchasing and I’ll share some of the knowledge I gain from it!

Please comment with topics that you would like to see discussed on this blog. And let me know if you think you have something important to share with the community (because I know you do) and I will contact you to write a guest post!

Follow my twitter @YoungFilmmaking