Best friends J and Mike started out with a $60 Kodak flip camera and a love of 90s horror films.
Their energetic reviews, parodies, and Halloween Updates won the hearts of the horror community, and now their channel ‘We watched a movie’ has become a full-time gig.
Mike sat down with us and discussed their channel’s growth, and their dynamic working on videos as a duo.
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How long have you guys been friends for?
We’ve been friends for around 25 years! Holy sh*t we’re old!
When did you decide to start the channel and where did the idea come from?
There was a period where we were hanging out together more often than we had in years past, playing a lot of Halo and talking trash and laughing with people on the game. J said “Man, we could probably start a Youtube channel or something doing this. It’d be hilarious”, and somehow that morphed into “but yeah, we like to talk about movies more than anything else”. So, it was J’s idea and then I kind of beat him over the head with it to get him to actually do it. I could never get him to show up for a movie at first! I finally called him and was like “Dude, if we’re going to do this let’s do it already. I don’t wanna half-way it.” So we finally went and saw a cr*p Mark Wahlberg movie called Contraband, set up our $60 Kodak flip camera and made a video.
So you both focus on horror, why did you decide to specialize in this genre?
It came to us more than we came to it, to be honest. We’ve always been huge Halloween fans. Sitting around in our rooms as kids or in bars as adults talking about the best masks, etc. So naturally that seeped into us talking movies. At the time we were trying to cover all the Superhero stuff and everything in the movie world. But we always had a soft spot for Halloween. Our channel at the time wasn’t successful whatsoever so we could do whatever weird stuff we wanted to try and it wouldn’t hurt anything. So, we started making Michael Myers skits because they made us laugh and some of those took off.
Then we did a Halloween special called “Halloween Horror Month” all through the month of October and the horror community really responded to us. Naturally as such big Halloween fans when rumors of a possible movie started to come out, we were making videos about it and those became “Halloween Updates”. Which, I could be wrong about this but I’m pretty sure we were the first ones to ever start doing those. Which, I’m proud of because they came from a pure place of love and interest. There were no views to chase for that topic when we started. The horror community welcomed us more than any other. They are a special kind of people.
Would you say you have different tastes?
As people, sure. Not really when it comes to movies. We almost always tend to agree on them. Which, thank God because we’ve been known for our legendary arguments with each other. We scare people sometimes on livestreams and we have to be like “No wait! We weren’t actually fighting! This is just how we talk to each other!”. I think it’s why we work so well is because we can say the meanest stuff to each other and we both know it comes from a place of love and honesty.
We’re not afraid to be truthful with one another and there’s a trust in that. But as people, sure. J likes sports a little bit but I’m a sports nut. J likes RPG’s and the only video game I ever play is Madden. We have COMPLETELY different tastes in music. I like going to punk rock shows. J would rather walk in broken glass. I like to try different beers and J thinks anything other than “the superior beer” Michelob Ultra is disgusting. J’s favorite band is Savage Garden. I’d rather take a blowtorch to my face. We’ve always dressed completely differently. J likes to look nice and wears button ups and polos. While anything with a collar makes me feel like I’m being slowly choked to death by Satan.
Do you think that it’s easier teaming up on a channel as opposed to going solo?
I think that we are more successful because there are two of us but I also think it’s harder because there’s two of us. We wouldn’t be where we are without J’s natural charisma and comedy. He’s just that type of dude that people wanna be around and he’s so hilariously talented it makes me sick. While I’m a really hard worker with a good vision and I love to grow things. . We have different lives and I have kids and we live an hour apart from each other and are on different sleep schedules. So, when you’re talking news or being first to a trailer reaction or review? It can be ridiculously hard. There’s people on Youtube who (God bless em) have their shit ready to go and when something drops they turn on the camera and are first on the scene. That’s impossible for us. Then there’s trying to get your visions aligned. J and I are very lucky because we have 25 years of experience knowing each others ticks, etc. I couldn’t imagine trying this with someone else. They’d probably murder me.
What are the main hurdles you face reviewing movies on camera?
Anything technical. I hate technology. I hate camera tech speak. Getting lighting and all that crap together is really a chore for me. I wish I could just #1 Sit down and talk movies and #2 Market us sitting down and talking about movies. Also, I hate it when you did the damn thing and you know you can’t do it again but you hate the way you said something or the way it looks. You always feel like you could have been funnier or made better points or maybe said the f word a few hundred times less.
If you could give any advice to yourself when you were both just starting out, what would it be?
This is going to sound like bullshit but truthfully, my first instinct is to say “absolutely nothing” because I feel like some of our success has been a happy accident. Don’t confuse that with luck. We’ve worked our faces off and made a ton of content over almost ten years, and really crawled our way up the hard way. But as far as what exactly happened that made it to where we could quit our jobs and do this full time? I couldn’t really point to anything specific. It’s kind of like when someone asks you if you could go back and do your life differently and you think “Yeah!” but then you also realize “Oh wait. If I did that I may have never have met my Wife here and my children wouldn’t exist. I don’t want to take that risk. So I will do everything exactly the same.” But to actually answer your question, I’d tell us to have done everything sooner. I wish we were on Youtube two years before we were. I think that really would have made a difference. Patreon, too.
Any tips or recommendations for creators that are struggling to get views?
Most people get started because someone they liked to watch inspired them too. That’s great but it leads to them just doing the same thing that others are already doing. If you want to stand out you have got to do something different. A “Avengers Movie Review” just won’t get seen because everyone and their mom has already done it. Freaking huge corporations are doing movie reviews on YouTube because they can rank at the top and make money off it. Talk about whatever in the world you want to but package it in a way nobody has done before. Then be really, really fucking patient and just focus on getting better. Don’t worry about promoting a damn thing until you are really, really happy with what you made. And don’t listen to anyone telling you to stop. A lot of people in your life think that success happens overnight or not at all. They think you’re either Justin Bieber or a total failure. What they don’t realize is the giant space in between where you can make a modest living doing what you love every single day. But it takes a lot, I mean A LOT of patience and hard work. But again, when you love what you do the work is the reward. Thanks for coming to my Tony Robbins Ted Talk. I apologize. I’m passionate on this topic.
I got stuck in a time machine and found myself in Blockbusters in the late 90s-early 00s. What movie do you recommend I pick up for rental?
Goldeneye, Billy Madison, Halloween 6, Fight Club, Gladiator. Just off the top of my head. I feel like I rented those a lot.
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