With the rise of social media, many people have created a name for themselves and built a career path using social media platforms like Vine, Instagram, and YouTube.
We took some time to connect with Esa Fung, Toronto’s rising social media influencer that has taken a non-traditional career path. Fung has created many Vine and Instagram viral content and funny videos that has been viewed and shared by followers around the world.
Check out his in-depth interview below to learn more about how he got his rise to becoming one of the next biggest stars on the internet.
JACKFROOT: Where were you born and where do you currently reside?
ESA: I was born in Edmonton, Alberta and currently reside in Toronto, Ontario. I moved to Montreal, Quebec when I was 6 and resided there until I was 23.
What inspired you to start creating videos and at what age did you start?
I started making videos in 2014 when I was 21 when Vine first came out. I’ve always wanted to make YouTube videos when I was in high school but was too broke to afford recording equipment back then. When Vine came out, it was perfect and convenient because everything was easily accessible through the phone.
Asian parents usually want their kids to go the typical career route of becoming a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. How did your parents first react when they found out about your career path and how do they feel now?
Now this is interesting, my mom is from Hong Kong so she has a more traditional kind of perspective in life. She wasn’t as stereotypical as some Asian parents but she did want me to go to University and get a degree. I wasn’t forced to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer fortunately. The only thing stereotypical I’ve done was getting a black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do.
My step-dad on the other hand is Italian, I consider him my real dad since I never met my biological one and he’s been there for me since I was 6 years old. He’s been a huge part of my life and because of him I was able to really pursue my dreams. I love my parents dearly and I know my mom only wants the best for me, but her initial reaction when I told her I wasn’t going to a University wasn’t very pleasant. Thankfully my dad was a bit more understanding. I know they were disappointed in my decisions at first, but that didn’t stop me from doing what I wanted to do.
Because of Vine and social media platforms, I was able to buy a place for my grandparents in Toronto, and I will continue to support and give back to my family no matter what happens.
Now my parents support me 100% and wish the best for me! I have to admit it was shaky at first and I moved out to focus on my career, but now everything is going great.
Would you say this is your full time job? Do you have any other jobs or are you doing anything else when you aren’t producing videos/online content?
Social media is my full time job. When I’m not creating content I am focusing on other ventures that will benefit me in the future.
What is the biggest video project that you’ve worked on?
I have done a 10 episode web series with CBC Comedy, one of the biggest networks in Canada and you can watch them on the CBC website or my Facebook page Your Everyday Canadian. This project was the closest I’ve ever been to acting with a full production team which is what I am aiming to do in the future.
Who are some people that you’ve worked with and collaborated with in the past? Who do you want to work with in the near future?
I used to collaborate with pretty much all the big Viners such as: Kingbach, Lele Pons, Jake Paul, Rudy Mancuso. I would love to work with Seth Rogen’s crew and the cast of Fresh off the Boat one day.
What are some tips/advice you would give someone someone that wanted to become a YouTuber or Social Media Influencer?
Honestly, be yourself and don’t ever care about what people think about you or your content. Social media in my opinion is easy to succeed in as long as you are persistent and passionate about it.
We all know some horrible content creators but you have to respect their hustle. One of the main reasons people fail in this industry is because they care too much about what others think, including their parents. They hold back on doing what they love.
Be consistent and passionate and you’ll succeed. Remember it’s not a competition to be better than someone, you’re only competing with yourself to become better. You don’t need to be the best to be successful, you just need to be passionate. Doing social media as your job is already a huge leap for a lot of people. Keep at it and don’t give up.
What was the toughest obstacle you had to overcome to get to where you are now?
Toughest obstacle was dropping everything and doing this full time. I was already on a roll and I wasn’t going to let anyone hold me back, which includes my parents.
Some people may get writer’s block and get stuck on ideas for videos and new content. What are some things you do to overcome writer’s block?
Take a break once in a while.. You don’t need to force yourself to make content if you don’t want to or need to. People aren’t going to forget who you are if you take a small break, remind your fans that you’re human, disconnect from the digital world for a brief moment. It helps a lot.
I took over a month long break after Vine died just to figure out what I’m going to do. I may have lost some activity from my fans but that didn’t stop me from creating content. It motivated me more to get back to where I was before.
What are some tools (apps, software, camera gear, etc) you use in your daily life that others should be using also?
I use my Canon G7X Mark ii for my videos. I’m very different from a lot of creators since I like to make more “raw” content meaning lower production quality, better content. I like shooting 5 videos for example in one day rather than 1 super highly produced video in one day. People like to see that we are still human and can relate to us. I edit my videos myself as well and use Adobe Premiere and Movavi video editor.
What are you up coming projects we should look out for?
I have started a new team and it’s a secret for now. I basically want to start a movement in the east coast of North America, it’s not fair that LA is the only spot for everyone to meet up, there’s no reason why aspiring creators can’t reside in NYC or Toronto to become the next Nigahiga and etc…
Thanks for tuning in to this exclusive interview with Esa. Make sure you guys check him out and connect with him on his social media accounts.