Dan Dobi [Interview]


YouTube often times feels sort of like a gift and a curse.  A curse to honchos like MTV who can no longer play music videos because everyone is watching them on YouTube (while everyone complains about the generally shitty stuff they do play), which in turn is a gift for us!  But as we all know by now, YouTube isn’t simply a place you can go when you are drunk, alone, and desperately want to hear “Party All the Time” by Eddie Murphy.  No, YouTube has essentially become its very own universe which, rightfully and obviously so, has its own stars!  YouTube channels are watched more often than the same old re-runs of Seinfeld or M*A*S*H you consistently find on basic cable.  Folks who are practically average Joes have the ability to become stars!  So much so that, on some occasions, the folks are able to quit their full time jobs to focus on their “art” of managing a YouTube channel.  It is truly marvelous and endearing.

And filmmaker and acclaimed music video director Dan Dobi wants to tell you all about it with his new film, Please Subscribe.  Dobi profiles some of the biggest stars in the YouTube universe in his debut documentary about this world that is absolutely astounding with brilliance of these, our modern times.  We were fortunate enough to be able to steal a few words from Dan to discuss Please Subscribe, his past works, and what the future holds for not only YouTubers, but for the man himself.  Enjoy!


What inspired you to make Please Subscribe?  Are you a YouTuber as well?

I’ll answer your second question first.  Yes, however I feel anyone that uploads videos on YouTube could be considered a “YouTuber”.  A lot of people upload to YouTube and call it a full-time gig which to thousands, it is.  A lot of people on the outside of the bubble don’t really understand it and view it as more of a hobby than a career.  I wanted to make the film to educate the bigger percentage of the population that doesn’t understand what being a YouTuber is like.

Were there other folks you would have liked to speak with but didn’t get a chance to?  

Yes, absolutely.  To my own fault, I think I left out the musician and beauty guru side of YouTubing however I DID reach out to a good amount of them and heard nothing back so hey, I tried!  I do feel that the final cast we assembled was perfect.  If I had to do it again and had my pick of the litter, I would still go with who I chose for the final cut.

What was your favorite moment in the process of making the film?

Majority of the time I spent with each YouTuber seemed more of “just hanging out” rather than an actual shoot.  I think doing a documentary yourself (IF you can), is the most personal, most intimate way you’re going to get the truth and real life situations out of people.

Have the folks you profiled in the documentary watched it yet?  If so, what is the general consensus? 

Yes and they love it!  All of them have all had super positive reactions to the film and have been helping promote it to get the word out.  For Hannah Hart (who was featured in the film), I shot her JUST when she made the move out to Los Angeles to take her channel to the next level.  I think for Hannah, looking back on this film (already) is an awesome time capsule of her life.  Mitchell Davis shared a very personal, intimate secret on camera and I know at first he was iffy about.  Shortly after the film went to theaters, Mitchell thanked me for encouraging him to speak about his issue on film.  He told me that he’s received so many positive messages via twitter and Facebook that allowed a lot of fans to relate to his situation.

As a fellow Kickstarter campaign success grabber, I know how stressful the campaign can be.  How was the experience for you raising over $12,000 to get this film made?  Much stress?

It’s a lot of work!  You think “oh, it’ll just HAPPEN” but no, the project wasn’t fully funded till about 2 hours before the deadline!  A lot of people have immediate success with crowd funding sites, but some of us have to work/promote/ask people for favors and at the same time, not get too spammy about it.  I was stressed for a little bit, but a lot of people came out of the woodwork to help promote the campaign.

I have come to understand you have worked with the likes of Jason Mraz, P Diddy, Gym Class Heroes, and many more.  What do you believe to be your most prized work on a personal level (besides Please Subscribe, of course)?

I was the editor of a feature film (that was actually SHOT on 35mm) that I spent roughly 4 months on.  It was a company from Brussels in Belgium that had seen my editing work and hired me on for it.  The film was in french and I don’t SPEAK French so I had an English Script and a French script and I just figured it out!  I would call that my most prized work, because it not only came out great, it really changed the direction of where I wanted my career to go.  For the longest time I was focused on music videos and commercials, however after doing cutting the feature, it made me JUST want to do features from here on out.


What is next for you?

Speaking of my last answer, I’m actually in preproduction to direct a narrative feature in the summer.  I can’t speak TOO much about it, but hopefully down the line, you’ll hear about it 🙂

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My dog just licked my arm 10 seconds ago… there’s your answer

Check out the trailer for the film on, you guessed it, YouTube.  Also find out how you can get your own physical and digital copies of the film as well!

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

One Response to Dan Dobi [Interview]

  1. Pingback: Two Years of Trainwreck’d [Exclusive!] | Train Wreck'd Society

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