INTERVIEW WITH YOUTUBER AND TRAVELING OPTOMETRIST ANDREW NEIGHTBORS

Instagram : @andrewgoesplaces

I've recently moved from Denver Colorado. It's been a bit of a change, and I'll always love Colorado, but the entertainment industry and my optometry work are easier to do from Los Angeles. I have been living in LA since October 2018. However, I am a Traveling Optometrist and am licensed and practice at localized temporary clinics across several of the states in the US including Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois.

I started my own YouTube channel back in August 2015. I finished my 3rd and final didactic year of courses in optometry school and was about to begin my clinical rotations, where you get to travel to different parts of the country to practice patient care. I watched a lot of YouTube as a way to learn about anything from traveling to how to style hair to relationship advice. I knew I had some experiences to share so I decided that the traveling would be a good kick off part for me to start my own YouTube channel; I also decided around that time to put on some muscle mass, and I wanted to video the journey.

I love so many of my old videos, especially travel videos and fitness videos, which I can see where I went and how far I have come. I do watch some of my old videos, and they are hilarious to me! I am and have always had “stage fright,” and it's funny to see how I have developed to cope with talking to the camera over the years. It seems so easy for me now that it's fun to bring guests on who are camera shy and watch how they change in front of the camera.

I have collaborated with quite a few YouTubers. As to who was my favorite? That's a tricky question. I interviewed Griz, a popular DJ, who had recently came out. It felt great talking to someone in an industry where there were not many icons who were openly gay until he came along.

My most memorable video is probably my set of New Zealand vlogs. It was a dream destination for myself, and I love the scenery that I was able to capture and show. When I watch it back, I can still feel the breeze and the smell of the crisp air along with all of the memories I get from it.

As a YouTuber, I do share every part of my life to the world. However, you know – I don’t feel like I have ever shared too much; everything I say is carefully thought out and edited by me. I watch each video a few times and make sure it is what I want to say before I publish it; sometimes I tell dating stories or work stories where I worry for the people involved, such as me telling their secrets, but I am generally good at masking their identity by changing small details to the story. So don’t worry, us YouTubers still have secrets.

Your video 'How to tell if a guy is gay' has over 1.6 million views. How do you feel about that? Are you surprised?

1.6 million!? That’s crazy – I had to look to be sure! Yes, that’s very surprising; I saw it when it hit 1 million, and that baffled me; I tried to make the video with a spin that discourages stereotypes and encourages people to let people decide their sexuality, so the fact that it has spread is a warm feeling for me.

Getting viewers is probably one of the most important tasks for most YouTubers. I have always felt the pressure of needing to get more views than the previous videos. I have this discussion with my friends quite a lot. I'll get better opportunities to create content with sponsorships and traveling/work if my channel is more popular. And if more people are tuning in it means more people are interested and so it feels more worthwhile to spend days and hours editing and filming. Viewers make the channel; I will always produce content for myself at my own speed, but having viewers encourages me to make it better and more frequently.

YouTube is not my full-time job. Optometry is my career. I love seeing patients and caring for people. There is really not a better feeling for me than helping people see. YouTubing is so much fun, and I really enjoy it and would love to do it more. My favorite part is everything that happens in front of the camera. Telling stories as myself is so much fun, but I intend always to practice optometry in some way. However, if I could get more into the acting part of film/video, I would jump on the opportunity.

When it comes to the amount of time I spent on creating my content; filming is easy for me. I love doing it, and I have a lot to say, and I spend some time researching facts to make sure I know what I'm talking about. Generally, this is the easiest part. Editing and posting, however, take some more time. I am not a video editor, so it takes me about twice as long to edit as it does to film. Posting is all about finding the right way to post and encouraging channel growth; this part also takes some time.

Between working as an optometrist, going to the gym, filming and editing my videos, I do manage to find time in a day to relax and chill absolutely. I love watching fantasy film and TV. I am a HUGE Game of Thrones and Harry Potter fan. I spend time playing video games like League of Legends and World of Warcraft, and I love playing the piano. Most weekends I am in town, and I'll find a few hours to have drinks with my friends as well.

Making money as a Youtuber is tricky. Personally, I have student loans from my doctorate which are more of a burden in that aspect. If I was a full-time YouTuber, I would have to post almost daily with a lot more ads to make enough for me to pay my bills and student loans.

Lots of YouTubers get paid in the way of sponsorships - it is a piece of pretty common knowledge. It is US law for any endorsements to be disclosed, as far as I know, that’s why when you see #ad on something it means they were paid for it. I’ve worked with a few companies that pay depending on the work put in and how many new customers they get. For example, sometimes you see coupon codes attached to the videos. If a lot of people click and buy then, the YouTuber makes more money. Personally, I would never endorse something I didn’t get to try first and ensure that I liked the product before mentioning it to my followers. As far as freebies go, there are definitely some perks! Some companies send stuff just to make sure you like their brand and get a chance to try it. Some companies hope maybe you will take a photo or get seen in public in their shirt, and that will get them new customers. I don’t generally have access to many of these because I don’t give out my address, but I know some people get a lot.

If I have children of my own and their ambition is to grow up and become a YouTuber as a career, as long as they are passionate about it, I say go for it. I would always say it is a huge game of luck as to who gets discovered and become popular. For me, I knew I enjoyed acting and social media the most but wanted something more stable and helpful for my career, so I chose optometry as a job and YouTubing as a hobby. And if I can do both and enjoy both – why not! Do whatever that makes you happy.

Currently, I love doing YouTube. I like that I can look back and watch a video of myself traveling or hanging out with friends or talking about an experience. So for that reason, I would keep doing it. I started the channel making videos for myself, and I want to keep making them for myself. I'm so happy other people like to watch what I do, and it is hugely encouraging. But if you're not doing it for yourself, I don’t think it will last.

Fitness is part of a reason why I started my channel. Up until now, it has taken me a TON of work to develop the build that I have, but it is doable for anyone. When I was twenty-two, I was in school eating garbage and not working out. I was 131 lbs and very skinny. One day I stood in front of the mirror after a long day of studying and decided that I wanted to look bigger. I started researching and decided to eat right and to work out consistently. When I decided to do it for myself and not for a boy or anyone else, It became something that I could stick with. I started with small changes like easier workouts and easier healthier diet changes. I don’t have a perfect diet or exercise routine, but I have made small changes toward the goals that I set. Is anyone ever happy with their body? I know my body is better than it was, but I will always want to improve.

YouTube has been running anti-LGBTQ ads alongside videos by LGBTQ creators, and also demonetizing content that discussed LGBTQ+ issues. As a creator yourself, how do you feel about that?

This is insane, isn’t it?! This bothers me so much. My videos have personally been demonetized by YouTube for including the word “gay” in the video, and then when approved they play ads for people who are strongly anti-gay. We have come so far with our rights but still, have a lot to fight for as far as equality. I think YouTube should work harder on their focus for LGBTQ+ creators.

For the future of my YouTube channel, I would love to get more into film and show that side of things as well. Being an actor is a career that I am considering to pursue. So far, I have taken about two years of coursework in acting. I have participated in a few short films and was a character in a popular soap opera.

I have always been a huge fantasy film nerd as I have mentioned before; Harry Potter, Narnia, Game of Thrones, etcetera. When I was a small town gay boy living in the South, these shows encouraged me that there was happiness out there. I would listen to the soundtracks and escape thinking about those worlds. When LGBT films started becoming popular, I used those to picture a happy life as a gay kid. These movies and actors encouraged me to want to participate in them. Through my channel, I can offer someone to tell their experiences and stories, and through acting, I can be creative and encouraging as well. I hope to leave a legacy of positivity and encouragement for self-growth. I love life and I hope I can help other people do the same.

HUFMAGAZINE

A publication for and by the creatives. Celebrating creativity through content, support and recognition.
© 2020 HUF Magazine, a publication of InternetAmi. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms. The content on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached, or otherwise used, except with the prior written consent of InternetAmi. HUF Magazine may earn compensation on sales through affiliate programs.
All rights reserved.
envelope linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram