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[HanCinema's Interview Corner] Eat Your Kimchi Surrenders to the Land of the Morning Calm.

2012/09/15 | 10300 views |  | Permalink

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With still 35 days on the fundraising clock to go, EYK has managed to receive more than $94,000 in pledges. Were you two just lowballing everyone because your followers have spoken and they rejected your modest $40,000 and have more than doubled it! How does this massive response from fans factor in on what now may be possible moving forward?

Well, for starers, we really did not expect us to reach our goal of $40,000. We didn't even think we'd reach half that. We put on a long deadline because we thought that we needed all the time we could get. Wow. We were quite mistaken. Holy crap were we ever mistaken.

As for how this has factored in on our future, it's difficult for us to explain, but we have a different feeling for Eat Your Kimchi now. Before, it just seemed like us behind the camera, viewers behind the screen, and we each were separate. Now, we feel so closely connected with our fans and supporters that we need to find a way, somehow, to include them more in this. Eat Your Kimchi feels like it's as much theirs as it is ours now. Or...that could just be the overwhelming emotions speaking for me now. I don't know.

At what point did you realise that taking this leap was both what you wanted, and that it was achievable?

When we were at the Google MBC concert, after the show, we were swarmed by people asking us for pictures and autographs. People were wearing our shirts. They had posters with our names on it. We felt so...oh hell. I don't know. So overwhelmed (I'm gonna use that word a lot, by the way). It took us something close to 45 minutes to get back to the car, when it should have taken 2. That was when we realized that we wanted to make Eat Your Kimchi something bigger than just us two blogging, and that's when we wanted to make Eat Your Kimchi a permanent part of our plans in Korea.

As for when we wanted to take the step into crowdsourcing, I don't really know for sure. There were several factors at play. We've been saving up for a business Visa, which set us back a lot of money, but which still wouldn't be enough for us to set up a studio (it'd only be enough for us to move into Seoul, and continue what we're doing as we're doing it right now). Getting a studio, though, an official setting, is the next step for us. We just didn't know how to go about doing that.

It was probably after our video on how we became Full-Time YouTubers. People felt guilty for using Adblock (ha!) but lots of people were asking us how they could support us more. They didn't want to buy t-shirts. They wanted to donate. So, we put the need for a studio with people's asking us to donate together. We just had no idea that so many people were interested in donating.

The success of EYK seems to be a direct result of the positive relationship and level of communication between yourselves and your followers. Relatively new additions to your content, like the live video chats, have really made the two of you accessible to your fans. Is this something you've always tried to pay attention to? And how will your plans to move influence that relationship in the future?

Being accessible isn't something we're paying attention to. I can't imagine NOT being accessible. What would make someone inaccessible? I think of celebrities that have snobby attitudes, or people that think themselves above others, and it's not something I can ever imagine being. We're not better than anyone else. Nobody is undeserving of our attention. People are spending their time in watching our videos. We owe THEM thanks.

So, I guess this feeling of wanting to thank people, to never take them for granted, is something that we don't plan as a business strategy, but it's just something we genuinely feel. In turn, we're trying, for our website and videos, to get people as involved as possible. We do the Kpop videos they vote for. We cover the Indie songs they request. We answer the questions they want. We're trying to do as much as we can to get our audience involved more in our videos.

Leaving behind Bucheon must be a strange feeling as that's where you both spent so much time blogging about Korea. What are you going to miss the most about daily life in Bucheon? Also what excites you two the most about the prospect of living and working in Seoul?

You're asking this right after we filmed our Goodbye to Bucheon video. DAMN I'M ALL EMOTIONAL AGAIN. What we're going to miss the most is how the local shops took care of us, how we - even though we're customers - felt like part of their family. The coffee shop owner's mom would come over from time to time and bring Spudgy some liver from her dokbokki shop. The fish restaurant beside it would notice how we're doing on our diet and would compliment us. The Yakkitori place beside it would show us new things on their menu and would ask us what we thought. The Samgyeopsal restaurant would show us how their stray cat, that keeps on hanging around there (probably because of the free meat) just had kittens, and how those kittens are hanging around them.

Anyhow, we just feel so connected with the people around our area, and we're worried that, moving into Seoul, where the vast majority of the shops around our new apartment are franchises, we're not going to have that same connection with the indie shops in our part of Bucheon.

As for what excites us most about living and working in Seoul, we're at a really good hub now, and we feel like so many things are more accessible to us now. Before, traveling to and from Bucheon at night is exceptionally stressful, since Taxi drivers after midnight are as utterly dishonest as anyone we've ever met. In Seoul now, we'll be able to stay out later, to explore new areas, and - thanks to this fundraiser - we'll be able to set up our studio and explore a world of new video opportunities.

With the money coming in thick and fast, it will seem as though you will a nice safety net for whatever ventures you decide to go for. But are there are aspects to this decision that you are cautions over or are minding as potential obstacles?

Well, the one thing that makes us worry is that people are going to expect more of us now. It's a good pressure, and we're extremely motivated now, but we've also got the fear that people will be like "WTF did Simon and Martina do with all that money, exactly? Are these videos any better?" We're hoping that things will get better, that we'll be able to produce better content (now that it looks like we'll be able to hire an editor full-time!) and potentially start new shows and segments.

It goes without saying that this big decision involves and requires both of you, but outside of the EYK brand what does this step mean for you both as a young couple looking/moving ahead?

I think, for us outside of EYK, we're going to just feel so much better about everything. While before we felt a cloud of uncertainty, now we feel like our future's a lot more clear. While before we felt like we were just slaving away at videos, now it feels like we're going to be able to work decent hours if we can get that video editor, you know? Before we were feeling exhausted. Now, we feel rejuvenated.

If you could choose your first interviewee(s) in your new Seoul studio, who would you want on couch and why?

Psy. For sure. When we're watching him now in the US, with all of his enormous success, we see in him something we see in ourselves: gratitude and surprise. Sure, our success isn't as vast as his, but the way he seems to describe himself, as just a guy who made a song and dance in Korea and someone who's totally taken aback by everyone's interest in him, we feel the same way about ourselves. We're two dorks that make cheesy videos in our apartment, and we're shocked by the support by everyone else.

If we could interview Psy, we wouldn't do what everyone else is doing. "Do the dance again! Hahaha! That's so funny!" We'd want to have a sincere chat with him, you know, and ask him about all his feels. Sounds lame, we know. Probably not something people would be interested in watching.

I have to ask, is "EatYourSushi" still on the table?

Ha! If you'd have asked this half a year ago, we'd say yes. Now, we're not excluding all possibility of it, but I can't see us leaving Korea anytime soon.

Well I don't think anyone would be able to stop the two of you if they wanted to! Do you have any thing you would like to say to all your fans, followers and supporters from around the world?

Thank you, every one, for watching our videos and for supporting us. We're exceptionally grateful and profoundly moved by you all, and we'll never take you for granted. Oh geez. Did that sound really cheesy? How can I say that in a less cheesy way? WE LUV U GUISE!!!

* You can support EYK and their fund rasing campaign over at indiegogo.com or catch them on their website at www.eatyourkimchi.com

- C.J Wheeler (chriscjw@gmail.com)

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