(originally published on December 4, 2017)
I’ve been a fan of Alex’s for quite some time now. I feel like he has some of the most intellectual videos on the platform. At the same time, Alex has done plenty of comedic videos like going through Yahoo Answers.
Alex’s Channel clearly stands out from the other videos on YouTube. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve been tuning in for as long as I have. While they are clearly a lot of popular YouTubers that I feel as though they’ve earned their success, we can agree that others……Eh!
I hope that more people will continue to come across Alex’s videos and will end up sticking around because we need more originality and not everyone trying to cash in on the latest trend. So, now is the time to present my interview with Alex Meyers. Let’s go!
You did a very informative video in which you described growing up in a strict, religious household and later moving to Japan once you turned 18. I want to first ask you about your life growing up in such a strict environment. Do you look back on any of the rules your parents set and find yourself thinking that at times they were right while other times they may been a little too strict?
Haha well I see you’ve… watched a lot of videos. Yeah, my parents were pretty strict. I’m the middle child in my family, so I was pretty independent from an early age. You know, the oldest is always special and the youngest is always special but for middle children it’s like, “Oh yeah, you’re here too…”.
The rules in my house growing up were like what you could expect from any strict religious house, I guess. Can’t watch any movies with sex or violence, pray before every meal, we had to read the bible every night as a family, that kind of thing.
But, it extended even outside the house. I could never go over to my friend’s houses, or “go out” really at all. Only church friends were allowed, everyone else was “untrustworthy and a bad influence”. I guess my parents assumed I would come home with needle pricks in my arms and cocaine all over my face if I hung out at the mall or something.
This experience actually left a pretty bad taste in my mouth about “family”. I mean, sure I appreciate my parents giving me food and all that. And the whole “giving me life” thing is great, though not without its flaws.
But, since I moved out to Japan, I don’t keep in contact with any of my family. Moving out at 18 and living on my own was probably the greatest feeling of freedom I’ve ever had. I’ve never felt homesick or anything because I finally felt I was somewhere I could be myself, without having to constantly look over my shoulder or having my parents lecture me about how I’m “making Jesus cry”.
I now want to ask you about moving to Japan. You seem to be very happy with your decision and feel like you’ve truly grown as a person. How do you feel being a minority in Japan has changed you for the better?
Hmm… that’s a very complicated question. I like Japan because its very safe and, for the most part, very calm. Tokyo is a huge city where you can find anything at any time, but I’ve never felt unsafe walking around at night and/or by myself.
A lot of people think I like Japan because people treat me special. It’s actually the opposite. I hate being singled out or people assuming I act a certain way because I’m American or white or whatever.
Being a visual minority has really opened my eyes to a lot of things I would never be able to learn any other way. I mean, no one is burning a cross in my front yard or anything, but there are always people who dislike you or don’t trust you just because you don’t look like them.
Like if I sit down on the train and the person next to me stands up, there’s always that moment of, “did they stand up because they are getting off soon, or is it because they don’t want to sit next to me.”
Like I said, I’ve never had anything major happen to me. But, there are little daily things that I think help me, in a small way, understand what minorities in America, for example, probably go through every day.
Do you think you’ll ever move to a different country in the future?
I don’t think so. I’ve been back to the US a few times over the years and it just never feels right. I haven’t been to many countries, so obviously I can’t say I would NEVER do it, but it would be highly unlikely. Unless I retired somewhere super cheap like Thailand or Malaysia.
You did two excellent videos about working for a company that was a complete scam, and about being homeless for 3 weeks and how you not only got out of it, but also how you were able to get a job working in IT. What advice/warning signs would you tell to young adults on their own for the first time looking for a job?
Oh man the stories I could tell you.
I mean, the simplest advice, and maybe the most cliché, would be “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is”.
Now, all this happened to be before this whole “internet fame” thing was considered normal.
Nowadays on Youtube someone can get a viral video and make thousands of dollars overnight, so the concept of what is “normal” in terms of money/career has definitely changed over the last several years.
But, I will say this: 99% of the time, taking shortcuts isn’t worth it. There really is no replacement for hard work. Even people online who seem to be an “overnight success” have been grinding and working for years and years to finally get that break.
I mean, I made crappy videos for 18 months before I got any kind of break, and that helped a little but I’m back on the grind again.
You and your girlfriend are an adorable couple and I enjoy the videos of the two of you! How did she respond when you first told her that you do YouTube? Does she enjoy appearing on your channel?
Haha when she first came over to my apartment and saw lights and a camera she was probably like “what have I gotten myself into…”
She is really camera shy, so it was a struggle to get her on camera. As I recall, she liked it, but then she started reading comments and it turned her off to it pretty quick.
I do want to do more with her, so I’m thinking of started a second channel where it’s just us doing typical “Youtube” things like eating weird candy or stuff like that. Now that my channel is video essay-type videos, it’s probably a good idea not to mix content too much.
I love it whenever you do film reviews and when you talk in depth about certain celebrities. (Your video on Amy Schumer continues to be a favorite of my husband I’s to this day!) Have you always been a fan of pop culture? Do you have any plans to do these types of videos on a more frequent basis?
That Amy Schumer video was my first real break, but I’m still not sure why haha. That video was kind of my first try making a video essay entirely with motion graphics, and compared to my recent stuff I think it sucks haha.
I still don’t know if people want me to do “celebrity videos” or if it was criticizing Amy Schumer herself that people liked. I’ve done some other celebrity videos, but obviously they weren’t as successful as the Amy Schumer one.
I have a series on my channel called “the biggest problem with…” where I talk about problems with a certain movie or series, but that only works if there’s a reason for it.
13 Reasons Why was about suicide, and I felt it didn’t do a very good job. Spider-man was rebooted, again, and was now part of the Marvel Universe, so everyone was wondering what it would be like. Netflix made a Death Note movie, and everyone was curious how it would turn out.
But, I feel like if I just made videos where I criticized movies over and over again, it would get stale after a while. Or maybe not, who knows. Maybe I should try that more often haha.
What direction would you like to take your YouTube Channel in the future? Do you have any other career/life plans you would like to achieve?
I actually do have some big plans. I really like those recent animation channels, like TheOdd1sOut or Jaiden Animations, and really want to try to make those kinds of videos. You asked about doing more film reviews or whatever, and maybe that would be a perfect fit.
A comedy cartoon style review of a movie or TV show. Then I could keep it on my main channel, since it still kind of fits.
I mean, a simple goal I have is to someday make enough money to survive only from my Youtube channel, merch, patreon, whatever. Chances are it will never happen, but that is the ultimate goal.
I’ve had to accept the fact that I’ll never hit 100,000 subscribers, but 50,000 would be nice.
But honestly, and I know this sounds suuuuper cliché, but I make videos really just because I love doing it. I currently get no money at all from my videos, so if I didn’t do it for the love of the craft, I would have quit a long time ago.