Those who thought the secret to fame and fortune was being big on YouTube might have to reconsider that position, given Ryan Higa’s comments during this morning’s fireside chat with Liz Gannes at NewTeeVee Live.
Creator of the now No. 1 most-subscribed channel on YouTube, Higa still shoots his videos, some of which stretch to 25 minutes, on a small unfancy Flip camera — when asked if he was saving the money for college, he admitted that he was “just saving the money.” Higa downplayed his earnings via YouTube ads and product placement deals as “better than a part-time job… definitely not enough for my mom to quit her job.”
Higa said YouTube is currently his “number one priority,” and he pays close attention to his community and the feedback they give him when creating content. When he approaches issues of product placement, he’s definitely concerned about selling out; his Carl’s Jr. video came when he was doing a series of shorts spoofing commercials, so it fit in with his previous work and no one seemed to mind. He also shot down any rumors that there’s any hard feelings between rival YouTube stars: “We all know each other and like each other.”
Higa is currently a film student at the University Of Nevada-Las Vegas, and he eventually wants to transition into making films; if he could work with anyone living, his first choice would be Will Smith. To Higa, success means being both rich and famous. He does not think he is there yet.