Mia Resella and Omar Najam first met during their undergrad at U.C. Santa Barbara, and upon graduation, moved to Los Angeles together to pursue their dreams of writing and directing. After cancelling their cable in 2012 and becoming obsessed with Netflix, Mia and Omar decided to take a stab at YouTube and began creating videos about their love of movies, TV, comics, and tips and tutorials for living the broke geek life. After submitting their channel 2 Broke Geeks to the recent Geek and Sundry contest, Omar and Mia were chosen, along with nine other YouTubers, to vlog about geek culture on the Geek and Sundry YouTube channel. But the best part for them: meeting Felicia Day. During a lunch break on their day jobs, Mia and Omar took the time to talk with NMR about being the new faces of the Geek and Sundry channel, meeting their YouTube hero, and why they’ll never stop using YouTube.
Why did you decide to start 2 Broke Geeks channel?
Mia Resella: Well basically I had never done any kind of YouTube anything before — Omar had done a little bit of it for fun — but we decided to start working on something together because when we moved to L.A. we had to cancel our cable and we had no T.V., and we were just watching a lot of Netflix Instant Watch all the time, and so we decided like, hey, wouldn’t it be nice to let people know what is on Netflix and what to watch and have a show about it, and also wouldn’t it be nice to spend time together and work on a project together, ‘cause we’re both creative types. So we started our channel 2 Broke Geeks in terms of it was just going to be for Netflix Instant Watch reviews and then maybe add stuff later, which we ended up doing and it became more like not just Netflix stuff but Broke Geek stuff for everything.
What do you guys geek out most about?
Mia: So many things.
Omar Najam: Let me see if I can cover the common ground because we also have our specifics but —
Mia: Dr. Who, films, film series [laughs].
Omar: Those are the big ones. You’re definitely Pixar.
Mia: I’m like animation and cartoons and Pixar geek.
Omar: And I’m a really, really big X-Men fan and also I guess British TV [laughs].
Who doesn’t love British TV? It’s the best.
Mia: I think we like to geek out about things [laughs]. Like there have been a lot of things that are even not really you’d think of as geeky, I think we just like to be geeky about them.
Omar: I feel like both of us also geek out about science days even though we probably don’t have the strongest scientific background [laughs]. Maybe more than an average American but like yeah, science.
Mia: But more related to our channel I guess a thing we have in common that we geek out about is that kind of broke, low budget aesthetic to things.
Mia: DIY cardboard.
Why did you originally decide to enter the Geek and Sundry contest?
Mia: Okay well we really liked Geek and Sundry already; they’re actually the channel that inspired us to start doing YouTube shows just because we didn’t really think we were the type of people to do YouTube shows and thought, oh, if they can look like that then oh I want to do that! And then I didn’t even know they were having a contest but a bunch of our viewers tweeted it to us saying, “Hey did you know Geek and Sundry is going to be adding new vloggers and they have this content?” We checked it out and totally geeked out [laughs], and we were very excited because we loved Felicia Day and we felt like that’s the whole reason we started the channel was to do something like that, so people being really nice and telling us about it.
Omar: It came up through a subscriber base and the more we were looking at it, the more we realized a lot of people we either knew or admired were a part of it, like Drunken Moogle.
Mia: He’s one of the new vloggers now.
Omar: And our friend Alyssa [Onofreo] was like in the leader board. We realized half of our online community was also doing it [laughs].
When did you find out that you have been chosen, and what will you now be doing on the Geek and Sundry channel?
Mia: I don’t remember, but it was announced at VidCon, and we were surprised we got to go up on the main stage. It was totally just, “Hey come here. Alright you’re going on stage now,” which was really cool, and now I guess we’re going to be making videos that will actually be featured on their vlog channel, so we’re going to be making two vlogs for them a month and all the other vloggers are going to be doing the same, so there are going to be I think two vlogs a day.
Omar: Yep, two vlogs a day. But the main thing is we got to meet Felicia Day [laughs].
Dream come true?
Mia: Positive energy just radiating [laughs].
Omar: We had seen her at several conventions and stuff like that, and then when we were at VidCon, we were at the Geek and Sundry booth and we turn around and she was walking up and just gave us a hug, and it was just like, wait … this isn’t real! You don’t know who we are!
Mia: She actually knew what we did and who we were and watched our channel, and I was really thrown for a loop ‘cause I didn’t think she knew anything remotely specific about it. I just thought, you actually watched it?
Omar: She made me cry in “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” and that is what we do.
What do you hope this partnership with Geek and Sundry will help do for your own channel?
Mia: Well, they’ve been really helpful so far; they have an awesome team. They just didn’t say, “Here,” and give us the videos and then leave. We’ve been in constant contact with them and we get to link back to our own channel which is really nice, and they also give us advice, and offer to help so our channel can grow and we’ll have more opportunities to do shows. And also, by being on their channel, we have opportunities to be on their team and meet lots of other cool vloggers and hopefully collaborate with them.
Omar: There is a cool sense of focus from being on the Geek and Sundry vlog channel because before, when we were solely focusing on our channel, it was like so much opportunity, we could do stuff with our comics, we could do stuff about literature, writing, photography, but now, because there are other vloggers that are specifically focused on that stuff, we’re like, nope! We can just focus on being frugal and exactly what our channel does so that’s a nice sense of community there.
Mia: Plus you feel like a bad ass ‘cause you’re like, “I’m a Geek and Sundry vlogger.”
And you both have full-time jobs outside of your channel?
Mia: Yes, that’s sadly correct [laughs].
Omar: Everything is tied back to YouTube in some way.
Mia: Yeah, we both have day jobs and then we both are also in addition to that, doing the whole L.A. thing where I am trying to pursue writing and Omar is trying to pursue directing, so it’s kind of like three jobs.
How are you balancing everything?
Mia: Yeah, well you know Felicia does it [laughs]!
Omar: Yeah, that’s a great question.
Mia: I don’t know … coffee!
Omar: We have a really good friend circle where everyone is doing the same thing, so I have a co-writing buddy so when it’s so hard to come home at 7 p.m. and work on a script, we can do that [laughs].
Mia: We’re all in it together and our friends are really supportive. It helps that we live together too. I don’t recommend that all people that work together live together but since we don’t have to commute and factor that into the day, we can just wake up, and let’s make our video now!
What are your plans looking forward? Do you think eventually you’ll want to move away from YouTube and focus on working with solely television and movies?
Mia: I like traditional media, but for me, I don’t think I’d want to exclude one from the other or move away from YouTube. YouTube is really fun and more interactive, and I have fun with Omar doing it so I mean I think we could do both. Maybe that’s a crazy thing to say [laughs].
Omar: I love film and I love everything film is and I love the film scripts and dealing with it and cutting it up, but I don’t think I can ever get away from YouTube because you get comments instantly, like you make a film, you work on it, you put it out there, it’s a whole different experience than YouTube. You can choose to put it up, someone is like, “You know what? I did like ‘Daredevil.’” It’s just like that, and I’m addicted to Vine right now, like I don’t think I’ll ever get off that platform.
Mia: You know if you’re a writer or a storyteller or filmmaker, I guess it doesn’t seem like you need to necessarily exclude film or TV channels. These are all just awesome mediums that can fit with whatever idea fits them, so 2 Broke Geeks, it was like, that’s definitely YouTube and we could do that, and then we might have an idea for a story that doesn’t make sense to be on the internet or something like that.
Omar: A viewer was like, “Get ready for the 2 Broke Geeks movie,” and I was like, “What does that mean? That’s not anything [laughs]. It would just be a really long vlog.”
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