Culture from the Inside Out

I Did It My Way: Behind the Scenes of Jacques Slade’s YouTube Channel From getting fired to being a host on NBC, Kustoo shares the highs and lows of his journey

I Did It My Way: Behind the Scenes of Jacques Slade's YouTube Channel

I Did It My Way: Behind the Scenes of Jacques Slade's YouTube Channel

coiski: Where and how would you say your best ideas come about? Is there a method to the madness so to speak?

Kustoo: I watch a lot of content just to see what other people are doing to see what I can do better, or what I am doing wrong. A constant thing for me is finding ways to make it better and better, even if the audience doesn’t necessarily see it. You know, it’s something as simple as trying a different angle for this b-roll shot as opposed to this angle that I have been doing for the last six months. I am always experimenting in some kind of way to see how the audience responds, and to see if I even like it. It’s one of those things where you never stop learning and you want to make the content better and better and that’s the way that I look at it as far as inspiration goes. It’s finding new ways to present the same content, just making it better.

coiski: If budget and accessibility was no barrier, what would be the one video or piece of content you would like to do but haven’t yet?

Kustoo: I’d love to do like a traditional television series; kind of based around a sneaker shop.  The sneaker shop is the meeting point, kind of like the barber shop, where there is all these stories that go on around that. People see it and think sneakers, sneakers, sneakers, but there is so much going on around it. I would like to explore those stories and help tell those stories through the lens of sneakers.  Obviously make it funny too, but that’s the ultimate goal for me is to have a Big Bang Theory, or a Brooklyn 99 style show for sneakers.

coiski: What has been the best moment you’ve experienced so far while making videos?

Kustoo: That’s a great question. I mean there have been tons of moments, so it’s tough to just pick one.  Obviously going to Jordan’s house was a big one.  Being able to interview Kobe is another one.  The moments that made me proud are when people believed in me, even when I wasn’t typically what they would use for something. I think for my first Kobe interview, I maybe had a 100,000 subscribers, and I got a sit down, 1-on-1 with Kobe, because the people I worked with at Nike believed in the vision of what I was, or as they say these days, “ they f*ck with the vision.” It was one of those things where they kind of believed in me early on and allowed me to do that.  The same thing with flying me to New York for the innovation summit; like all those moments where – it might not be the case – but I saw it like, ‘I put in the work and they were willing to take the risk on me when there is all these other people that they can be doing this with.’  Even this year when Kobe did the Kobe A.D. there were three people that got 1 on 1 interviews with him: it was me, Entertainment Tonight and Sports Illustrated.  So for me that’s a big deal, and those are the moments that make me most proud.

coiski: What do you shoot with and how has your setup evolved over the years? 

Kustoo:  Well, I started out with a small point and shoot camera, and a green blanket from JoAnn’s Fabrics, and lights from Target. I eventually moved to a DSLR, and still use the same lights and everything. Now, I have a slightly more complicated setup. I have a three-camera set up and some professional lights. It’s a little more complicated now, but by no means is it unattainable.  I could do what I do for the most part with that original set up, and it would look just as clean.

coiski: If you could give anyone reading this just one piece of advice when embarking on creating something what would it be (a brand, a business, an idea, or a piece of art)? 

Kustoo: It would be to create; just to do it!  There’s so many barriers of entry that you have to create for anything to happen. I can tell you to believe in yourself and do all of these things, but nothing will matter unless you create. That’s the key. The content is the key; that’s the motivator and that is what will get people to believe in you. That’s what is going to get you started. Don’t create, thinking this one thing is going to put me on because that isn’t going to happen. You have to hone your craft, and work towards your goal. Don’t be afraid to create, hate it, then create again.  You’re going to learn something from what you just created, and learn from doing it as opposed to just thinking about it.  No matter the equipment, no matter any of those things, just create. I can’t stress that enough; just literally create it. It’s so cliché, but you have to do it, build it, create it. You may be horrible, but be horrible and use it as a tool to make things better. I think about this all the time – none of the things that have happened to me in the last four years would have happened to me if after I got fired I didn’t create that first video. I was literally like, ;What am I going to do?’  I am going to do this on my own.

Bryant Coffey

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CULTURE FROM THE INSIDE OUT

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