Digital Content Creator Caleb Farrell, also known as Caleb Digital, creates vivid storytelling videos on various platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and Tik Tok. However, it was the viral video of Grammy Award-Winning Recording Artist & Acclaimed Actress, Mary J. Blige, which catapulted his digital presence to more mainstream content creators. In the video, social media followers saw the celebrity doing her infamous “bop” dance but with a flare, actually a lightsaber like in the classic Star Wars films. Since then, Caleb Digital has been improving his content and I had a chance to chat with him candidly about what’s next for him.
KK: Thank you so much for interviewing with Substantial Magazine. How did your journey begin?
CD: I started really around the age of seven doing a lot of testing and stuff with the effects. When I was a kid, I would see all these movies and TV shows. on my own. I want this to be real so bad but I can’t. So the closest thing to doing that is by making it digitally. I remember I was on YouTube and I saw this video of a dragon chasing a car or something. It was some guy who did it for an amateur award but I thought that was the coolest thing ever. I said, “what is this?”. I looked into the software and I found out what the name of the software was. I downloaded it and I just did tests until I got to where I am right now. I really started taking it seriously around four years ago and that’s when I really started a business. Beyond that, I’ve been practicing the effects since I was seven until now. That’s kind of how it all started.
KK: That’s amazing that you started so young. When did you know it went from being a hobby into a business?
CD: I think it was like when I was in high school. The first day of high school, actually, I met a group of people. We started talking about films. I showed them some of my work and we were like “Yo, let’s make a YouTube channel”. Alright, cool, let’s do it. So we did and immediately the first video started picking up some attention. I got the attention of King Vader, who is now one of my good friends, and at the time he was growing in popularity a lot. I was just like wow, this is really cool. I remember seeing this guy. We worked together, our videos blew up, and I mean hitting millions of views. I was getting a lot of followers around that point in time. I decided to take this seriously and make this my own. I don’t want to be an editor for somebody, but I want to have my own type of content that I can post. So that’s kind of what I did. I took my own stuff, I stopped really working with other people for a while, and in between that section I made my own videos. Those blew up on their own as well and those got millions of views. To this day, sometimes people repost it. It got a million views but I don’t even get credit for it. Hey, you know, it still works. In between that time, that’s when this company called Comedy.com messaged me. They were like, “Oh yeah, let’s do a video, let’s do this, and we will pay you this amount”. I thought it was fake because it just seemed weird, but no, it was real. I got the call and we set it up. That was my first viral video. That’s when it really, really hit me. I was like, “Okay, I gotta really make this a thing”. My first viral video was a video of Mary J. Blige. She had a Star Wars lightsaber in her hand, she was dancing, and people blew it up. We got 11 million views. I was like, “Yo, this is crazy”. I think that is what really made me realize that I got to think a little more seriously. That was my first project that I did by myself that blew up.
KK: What would you tell people who want to start a YouTube channel? Are there things you wish you would have known beforehand? What tips or things would you wish that you would have known prior to you when you started?
CD: I will definitely say and I always say this everywhere I go. I know it sounds corny, but I came from this high school where there are the “Three C’s of success”, which is creativity, collaboration, and consistency. Those are the three things that pretty much get you up to the top. If you have all three of those things, then no matter what, you’re going to get somewhere. You’re going to move to where you want to get in life. As long as you’re creative and it’s something different where no one has seen it before. It’s like, “Whoa, okay, this is cool” if you’re consistent with it. Also collaborate with other people, you can bring in more people from their audience, and also bring in your own audience at the same time. So that’s one thing I would definitely give advice to a lot of people. Consistency is a huge thing when it comes to social media and I’m still struggling with it right now. The type of content that I make, you know, has a lot of effects. I don’t get to pose as much as I want to, but I’m figuring ways around it right now.
KK: Tell us how you created the name Caleb Digital.
CD: I was going through a lot of different name changes at the time. However, I needed something that was final. I looked at channels that I really like, like “Rocket Jump” and “Cord or Digital”. I’m just like wait a minute, it’s just usually two words, it is what they are and what they do. My name is Caleb, I do digital effects, cable digital boom, and that’s kind of what I put together. I just looked at a lot of successful companies and I realized that their formula is something very simple for people to remember. It’s something about what they are and what they do then they mix that together.
KK: How do you find a work life balance with nontraditional work hours? What is it like for you working as a digital content creator with that schedule and finding balance with it?
CD: Really, it’s like a double life actually. I usually always compare it to one of my favorite superheroes ever, Spider Man. He’s Peter Parker and Spider Man at the same time. He’s doing all of these amazing things, but he also has people in his life such as his family and his friends. So that’s kind of what I see it as. Personally, making time and free time is harder than it seems. People think that I can just be free every once in a while but I can’t. Sure, I am my own boss. I do make my own time and stuff like that. But there’s a time and place for everything. I know I need to get “X, Y, and Z” work done and I set a time for that. I have a little schedule that I go by. I’m working on a project and I’m working on two projects right now for clients. I’m working on another project that randomly popped up today. My own project I got to finish up because I’m filming tomorrow. So there’s a lot that goes into balancing that is a hard choice especially when you first started you just got to figure out your schedule.
KK: What advice would you give someone starting a creative business?
CD: Make everything marketable. Everything you got when it comes down to your YouTube, make sure that links to your Instagram or Tik Tok. On Instagram, you can get brand deals. On Tik Tok, you get paid per month for certain videos if you reach a creative status and then link back to your store. You know everything has to be in a circle pretty much so they’re watching you on Tik Tok then link something to your store so they can buy stuff on your store. Then on your store link them to your YouTube so they can watch YouTube videos. So I would definitely say that make sure all your pages show what you’re selling, your marketable point, and also make it worth their time.
KK: How has Covid-19 affected your business work or has it not affected your business work?
CD: It’s actually made it a lot better not going to lie. It sounds crazy but, a lot of people are on their computers more. They’re on their phones more. So that brings more views to the content creators. That brings in more eyes to your business now because people don’t have anything else. Things are kind of easing up a little bit. So people are going out more, but we don’t know it might go right back down to a lock down again pretty soon. So either way, it still works, especially for digital creators and stuff like that it helps a lot of time. Whether there’s a pandemic or not, but hopefully it clears up.
KK: Is there anyone creatively you have not gotten the chance to work with?
CD: I would say Drake. Drake or Jamie Foxx, one of those. Those are two of my favorite people, like ever, so I would like to work with them. That would definitely be something to knock off the bucket list.
KK: Are there words of inspiration you would like to add when it comes to using your creativity to create a business?
CD: I will say one thing that is a motto of mine, that I got from my mother is she always told me when I was a kid, just to never give up no matter what it is. Whatever you’re doing, just don’t stop until you get to that. It could be a software not loading but, I would literally spend as much time as I can fixing the software. I get it because the guarantee or the reward at the end is always better because you know you worked hard for it. Another thing is I would definitely say to aim higher, because if you don’t, then you’re always going to stay in the same spot.
Stay Connected @CalebFarrell-Instagram and @CalebDigital – TikTok