Will Shepherd and his boyfriend RJ are the cutest vlogging couple you’ve ever seen. On their YouTube channel “Shep689, Will and RJ create daily videos chronicling their lives. At first you might think, “Wait, I’m just watching two people doing normal things. How interesting could that possibly be?” But after watching a couple videos you can’t help but be hooked on the personalities and chemistry of the pair. As they put it on their website “Not Adam & Steve,” Will and RJ are “on a mission to show the entire internet just how normal a homosexual couple is.” The couple see their daily vlogs as a way to show the world that gay relationships don’t have to conform to societal stereotypes of what they’re supposed to look like. As they see it, they are just two normal guys who fell in love and are now sharing their lives through YouTube for the world to see.
You release a video every single day — do you ever get drained and worried that you will run out of new, creative content? How do you stay refreshed and energized about the channel?
Will Shepherd: Sometimes I wonder how I do it myself, but then again it’s remarkable what an individual is capable of doing once they’ve made something a habit. Honestly, it doesn’t take that much effort — I just need to remember to engage our audience daily, so if I have anything I’m concerned about or wondering or if there’s something exciting that happens (or doesn’t happen), I’ll share it with our audience. It makes it easy knowing that our subscribers are so awesome. I’ve had many conversations with other YouTubers who are jealous of our audience because they are so dedicated. It’s made the job a little easier. <3
Your videos are incredibly personal and you are really inviting people into your life. Are there some things that you won’t share? What are the advantages and disadvantages to vlogging about your own personal life?
Of course. There have been plenty of things I’ve left out that I would LOVE to include — namely my job. I’m an instructor at a local university and I wish I could share the stories there, but it’s just not a good idea. I’d have to say the major disadvantage is the amount of information people know about you, because some subscribers like to use it against you — but that’s a reflection on those subscribers. At the same time, there are some awesome subscribers who enjoy being a part of your life and are pleasant to interact with, so it’s give and take.
What is your idea of a “perfect day”?
Anything with RJ that includes a functional computer, camera and internet access.
If you could have anyone, dead or alive, make an appearance in one of your videos, who would you pick?
Probably Charles and Alli Trippy. They’re the couple that inspired us to start daily vlogging, so it would only be appropriate. I recently met Alli and had a minor freakout when she followed me on Twitter.
Which video could you rewatch all day on repeat?
Of ours? “Nov 17 – Happy Birthday AJ!” Celebrating RJ’s most recent birthday with all of our friends. We had SO much fun. On YouTube in general? Just anything with a cat. Or maybe a “Slender” gameplay reaction.
Would you rather live in a small apartment in a vibrant city or in a large house in the countryside?
Small apartment in a vibrant city definitely. I’ve done the whole large house in the countryside for the first 20 years of my life — time to change it up.
If you could own any wild animal as a pet, what would you pick and why?
Wild pet? I dunno, maybe an owl or a billy goat. Owl because it would kill mice and I would train it to kill insects too. Billy goat because they’re just funny.
What have you learned from your first video till now? What have you learned in your time in the NextUp boot camp?
Since posting my first video, I’ve learned how much YouTube can change lives. Some people (not us) make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month from simply posting videos online, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around that. And I’d say the best thing I’ve learned from NextUp is to not to be afraid to interact more with our audience, especially since they are the reason we are where we are today. YouTube, after all, is a social community so it makes sense that the more we interact, the better the experience will be.
About the piece:
Out of YouTube’s thousands of creator channels, 30 promising creators are picked every season to participate in the YouTube NextUp Creator program — a sort of Hogwarts Academy for the very best of the YouTube best. They spend a week training at the YouTube Creator Space in Los Angeles, attending seminars, learning advanced filming techniques and interacting with some of the YouTube greats. In short, it’s a pretty cool honor. Since YouTube thinks they’re worthy, NMR thinks you should know about them.
So we’re featuring the Winter 2013 class of Nextup participants — 2 a day for the next 15 days. Learn about these fresh faces, love their content and then subscribe to their channels, because these are the next generation of YouTube innovators.
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