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Garrett Watts: A YouTube Star is Born

DYLAN JADER: Introduce yourself to our readers:

GARRETT WATTS: My name is Garrett, and I’m a very lucky guy who gets to make thing for a living. Also I really love thinking about ghosts and also outer space because oh man... outer space is nuts. I also love r&b music and I think bugs are very cool. I don’t think I’m very good at introducing myself, but all the same, hello.

DJ: How did you first get your start in YouTube?

GW: Well, I started taking it seriously in 2016 when a wonderful friend and OG Youtuber, Shane Dawson, help me realize that I could do it full time. but I’ve been uploading since 2012. I used to make videos for a drag queen named Coco Peru who’s a legend. I guess technically my first video was in 2009 and it was a very strange “tutorial” on how to turn an old, damaged library book into a kindle case. Yikes. It was very strange. Luckily it’s buried deep in the past under billions of videos on an ancient, dusty channel. My advice, don’t go digging it up! That video is sort of like the book of the dead from “The Mummy” but instead of birthing an undead army if discovered, it would just birth the realization that I am actually very lame. Also, I’d like to add that I could talk about “The Mummy” all day cause man I love Brandon Fraser.

DJ: Was there a turning point in your YouTube career? Or was your growth steady?

GW: Oh this is cake, my turning point was having just gotten laid off, severely unemployed, deep in the red in my bank account and working weird freelance jobs then having a very good friend (Shane) knock some sense into me and be like “You can absolutely make Youtube a job” which I loved the idea of. I think I romanticized it a lot back then. Ha, I already had pretty good following on Vine, but we all know where Vine went, god rest his soul, but that might have helped me a little bit.

Anyways, I got started making my strange little videos, Shane helped point people to my channel which I’m stupid-grateful for and luckily, I guess people liked my vibe enough to subscribe and encourage me and that’s where I’m at now. It’s weird how new it still feels to me.

DJ: How would you describe your channel to someone who's never watched?

GW: The more I answer this question the worst I get at answering it, ha, because everyone who finds out what I do asks me this and I hate to say stuff that sounds like a “script”... but I get it cause that’s easy to do, to repeat stuff. It’s like when Lady Gaga had that “100 people in a room” moment. That was funny for sure, but part of me (even though I’m nowhere near what Gaga is and has to do every day) understood that and felt kinda bad that people were teasing her about that. Sorry I talk a lot and I’ve not answered the question at all.

I describe my channel as just a guy being curious about the world and showing people what that looks like according to me. Just sort of inviting them into my mind for a bit and kinda’ showing them what it feels like in my head. What I do on YouTube isn’t reinventing the wheel, but I’m not trying to do that. I like what I do and think it’s cool that I get to do in my own way.

DJ: You've been quiet on social across the board as of late. Are you working on something special or just taking time to yourself?

GW: Have I been quiet or is everyone else just very very loud? There’s no rule book for doing what I do, and I’m deeply aware that I am not constantly visible to those that love me, but maybe that’s ok?

I remember when I was a kid, my uncle Mike would visit and it was the coolest experience in the world. He was (and still is) the dopest uncle on Earth. But as a kid he’d bring all those incredible things with him from Japan, New York and Los Angeles to share with my siblings and I. Incredible alterna music like Jurassic 5, Bjork, Fatboy Slim, underground hip hop &, Anime, movies, video games. Everything that helped shape who I am today. We saw him maybe once a year and that was enough. I cherished those visits so much. I didn’t need to see him everyday to appreciate his cool. I need time to stew. To show people things that I think are worth their time. Having said that, I also want to add that yes I think I am working on something special.

DJ: Public figures share so much of themselves on the internet. Do you think in 2019 there is too much pressure to share every aspect of your life? How do you decipher what to keep private and what to share with your followers?

GW: Oh for sure, yeah that pressure is real, and I want to be seen as someone who can start to normalize another way to be a creator on the internet in hopes of saving some future creators from feeling like they have to fit that mold. There are so many who are leagues ahead of me in this respect and who do it with more grace than myself, but I feel like I’ll get to a real happy medium, and I hope people are patient with that process of finding that happy medium. So far they have been... shockingly so. I’m grateful for that everyday and I’m trying to do this better everyday.

DJ: You have a close relationship with fellow YouTubers including Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star. What can you learn from other big names in the industry?

GW: What I’ve learned from Shane could fill a novel, but I’ll focus on one thing in the name of brevity. Work ethic, first and foremost. I tend to be really laid back and let procrastination get the better of me. I know this isn’t great; but I am just as happy watching anime or sitting around a firepit with friends as I am being #1 trending or something.

I’m my own boss but I am way too laid back of a boss. I don’t fool myself, I know I need to get better at what I do and I truly want to because sometimes I feel like people haven’t even seen what I do yet... and the only person who can show them that is me, and I am endlessly stoked to show people my finest side. So ultimately, I gotta be a better me and that’s a cool and humbling process.

DJ: If you could collaborate with any public figure (celebrity, influencer, actor, literally anyone) for a YouTube series, who would it be?

GW: Oh that’s a huge question. Every fiber of me wants to scream JESSICA LANGE! or JAMES BLAKE! cause these are my favorite artists in entertainment, but truth be told it would be a man named Tyler Cassity who is a fascinating cemeterian that I’ve been deeply intrigued with for the better part of a decade. He owns a place I consider to be sacred and completely magical called Hollywood Forever Cemetery and I’ve always wanted to talk with him. I could spin that into a video so quick and would be deeply honored to explore that subject with the legend himself.

DJ: Favorite channel to binge watch?

GW: Kurzgesagt and Defunctland! Those are two channels I have huge respect for. Kurzgesagt explores all facets of life through gorgeously animated and narrated videos. My introduction to them was a deeply touching video called “Loneliness” that I highly suggest. Defunctland makes incredibly detailed video essays about theme parks, with a particular focus on exploring the failure of particular attractions.

I fall down so many weird wormholes on YouTube of watching old movie clips, serial killer interviews, music videos... but outside of that side of YouTube I love Corridor Crew, CalebCity, Alex Ernst, Seth Everman, Simply Nailogical, Ranton, Alex Aiono, Gabriel Gundacker and Chloe Moriondo. Also a lot more but I’m gonna chill on that.

DJ: Outside of YouTube, do you have any side passions that fans may not know about?

GW: Oh very much so! I have not done a great job of nurturing some of these passions but I love so many things! To name a few, fencing, video games, exploring cemeteries, vinyl collecting, crafting, meditation, lucid dreaming, hiphop, and also I love casting jewelry and little metal statues in silver using a technique called lost wax casting. I really get back into that. I gotta stress, I’m a huge, huge gamer and often dream of starting a nerd focused movie/gaming channel.

DJ: Where can we follow you on socials?

GW: I’m @garrett_watts on...everything! Ha, whatever social you like just type that in and there you’ll find me. Hey big love to you for reading this and be good.

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Wardrobe + Cover Concept: Michael St. Michael @michaelstmichael

Creative Direction : Mike Ruiz @mikeruizone

Assistant to Mike Ruiz: Ozzie Gutierrez @ozzie__g__

Interview: Dylan Rubinstein @thedylanjader

ED: Andrea Allison @_andrea_allison

Photo: CiNava @cinava_photography

Hair: Johnny Stuntz @johnnystuntz

Groomer: Donald Simrock @dsimrock

Assistant to Michael St. Michael and Andrea Allison: Shannon Duffy @westcoastduffofficial

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