Interview with an Influencer: Neel Kolhatkar (@neelkolhatkar)

Genevieve Maslin

February 3, 2019

Genevieve Maslin

February 3, 2019


Take moment to delve into the comic mind of Neel Kolhatkar and see what it takes to go viral. With a short film with over 13 million views on Youtube, a massive following on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, Neel knows what it takes to cut it in social media world of today. 

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We sit down with Neel to see how he got to where he is, what it takes to go viral and how to stay relevant in today's media climate. Keep reading to find out more!

Tell us about yourself and why you decided to start a YouTube channel?

I'm 24 years old and from a very young age, I loved performing, acting and film-making. Youtube was just kicking off in my teenage years and it was the perfect platform for me to work my craft.

You are everywhere; TV, touring, YouTube, what do you think was your breakout moment and how did you get to where you are now?

There were a few moments that come to mind. I won the national class clowns competition in 2009 which is a search for Australia's favourite teenage stand-up comedian. This gave me plenty of confidence to pursue comedy full time.

I then had two substantial viral videos, 'Australia in 2mins' and 'Modern Educayshun' both put my name on the digital map in Australia and then worldwide respectively.

This year I was lucky enough to get a break on the TV show Street Smart which I'm hoping will lead to more TV opportunities.

Do you have a background in video and production or did you learn along the way?

I did a lot of short courses when in high school but I mostly learned along the way.

How have your Youtube videos changed since you got started?

I find it very stifling to get into a repetitive creative routine so by no accident my videos are always changing. They go through periods of likeness but I started off with more sketches and short films, then moved into character vlogs then eventually posted more stand-up and short films.

What is your favourite video that you have posted and why?

I can't go past 'Modern Educayhshun' or my recent stand up special 'Neel Before Me'. ME really hit a nerve worldwide and let me harness my full film and acting repertoire. Neel Before Me was a large project two years in the making that I am extremely proud of.

Where do you get your inspiration from for your hilarious videos and skits?

Mostly from the people around me and the current media/cultural trends. Despite my profession, I can be quite an observant introvert, I enjoy satirising and deconstructing various people, thoughts or behaviours and that's what I tend to do with my comedy.

You have a huge fan base that has gained you millions of views, how do you keep them engaged?

As I mentioned earlier I like to keep the content fresh, I'm always trying to change and experiment with new ideas. Constantly trying to improve and deliver new, unique videos and content.  

What equipment do you use (Camera/software/editing apps)?

Right now I have a team that film on Sony A7's. We use basic rhode mics and a boom. Then our editor tends to use Premiere Pro.

What technical tips do you have for aspiring Youtube marketers?

Always keep updating your skills, in this environment, it helps to be a jack of all trades, particularly when you're starting out, so learn as many skills in front and behind the camera as possible.

How do you go about choosing the brands that you work with?

If they have a firm grasp on my content and give me the right balance of creative control I am usually happy to work with them. I like brands that don't mind their marketing to be a bit tongue and cheek and self aware.

What has been your favourite brand collaboration to date and why?

Still the collab I did with Playboy fragrances three and a half years ago was great. I am very happy with the end product that came about.

CREDIT: @neelkolhatkar

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