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Comedian Bigg Jah Charters His Own Path Into Entertainment Industry

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3.3 million followers on Facebook. Over 423 million views on YouTube. 4.2 million TikTok likes.

 

Bigg Jah (real name Jahdai Pickett) has put up those gaudy social media numbers with no studio or agency backing and a relatively small team. The do-everything entertainer — who can write, act, direct, produce, and everything in between — has been posting content online almost nonstop for the past five years, doing what he calls “hood good comedy.” It’s all paying dividends now.  

 

He’s built a synergy map that extends past his wildly popular social media franchises like “Inner Thoughts” and “The Lesbian Homie.” There’s also merch (with a new piece dropping almost every month) and with the world re-opening, perhaps comedy shows again.  

 

Next, Bigg Jah is trying to parlay his massive social media success into feature films. He originally studied film in college and planned to take the traditional route into the industry — shooting a short film, winning movie festivals, and signing with an agent. But the rise of social media gave Bigg Jah an alternative AND independent route into the business.

 

You’ll want to listen to my interview with Bigg Jah to get more insight into his creative process and meteoric rise on social media. Here’s everything we covered in this Trapital episode:

 

[3:14] What Does “Hood Good Comedy” Mean?

[5:36] Lasting Impact Of 90s Comedy Movies 

[7:36] Navigating Different Entertainment Mediums (Social Media, Film, Comedy)

[11:49] Being Forced To Go The Independent Creator Route

[14:59] Acting Vs. Directing Vs. Writing

[18:18] How Bigg Jah Chooses What Type Of Content To Make

[21:06] What’s Behind Bigg Jah’s Success On Facebook?

[23:19] How Bigg Jah Has Leveraged Other Social Networks

[26:25] Bigg Jah’s Revenue Breakdown

[29:05] The Struggles Of Creator Burnout 

[33:56] The Key To Bigg Jah’s Success 

[43:55] Upcoming Projects For Bigg Jah

[45:44] How To Follow Bigg Jah

 

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS

 

Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co

 

Guests: Bigg Jahh, @biggjah

 

Enjoy this podcast? Rate and review the podcast here! ratethispodcast.com/trapital

 

Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo

 

Transcription

 

[00:00:00] Bigg Jah: I’m not pressured to keep the series going, because I know that it works. I’m in it to create new stuff and see how it goes. I’m not a slave to the, “Well, this is what works. So let me just keep doing this only.” No, I’m gonna push the envelope and push the line and I’m gonna see if they like this too. And what about this?

[00:00:15] I’m going to grab this and what if I do this? You know, so I don’t have a problem with that. Plus I’ve done so much. I’ve done the series thing to a degree now I wanna move on to something else. I want to challenge myself to do another character or another storyline that see if people like that.

[00:00:36] Dan Runcie: Hey, welcome to the Trapital podcast. I’m your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip-hop culture to the next level.

[00:00:56] Today’s guest is Bigg Jah. He’s an actor creator, filmmaker, comedian, and one of the funniest people on the internet, I was first put onto Bigg Jah’s work because I got to know Damien Ritter, shout out to Dame. He used to run Funk Volume, and he’s now chief operating officer at BeatStars, but he also manages Jah.

[00:01:16] And Jah is someone who I think has definitely been one of the more successful, independent creators that I’ve seen being able to leverage social media, to grow his platform. And now accrue millions of followers on Facebook. And on YouTube. And we talk a lot about how he’s built his career. He’s someone that first went to school to study film and how he transitioned eventually to wanting to be the person behind the camera.

[00:01:43] But realizing that there was a lot of value from him being the person in front of the camera as well. And that’s when things really started to take off for him. And we talked about how he approached his comedy, some of the most successful franchises and series that he’s had and his bigger ambitions to still be able to do more motion pictures, and do more stuff behind the scenes.

[00:02:02] And we talked a lot as well about just how much of a grind it can be for creators to always produce content nonstop and how that’s what the algorithms ultimately want you to do. And that’s definitely something that I can relate to. I know a lot of people listening to this can relate to as well. 

[00:02:17] We also talked about how he looks at running his business, what his team looks like. And so much more, if you are interested in the different levels of the creator economy, there is this essay that I wrote a couple of months back, that overlooked levels of the creator economy. And I talked a lot about the success at each stage.

[00:02:34] Jah was one of the people that was featured and mentioned in that article. So I definitely recommend you check that out and Pete this episode, because I think that anyone that. The landscape. You’re trying to love a love determine. When do you partner with other companies when you don’t? This is the episode for you I had a great chat with him.

[00:02:51] Hope you enjoyed it. Here’s my conversation with Bigg Jah. 

[00:02:55] All right. Today we got the one and only Bigg Jah. He’s a comedian, an actor, a filmmaker himself. Jah, welcome to the 

[00:03:02] Bigg Jah: Thank you for having me, bro. Appreciate it. 

[00:03:05] Dan Runcie: Hey, I’ve always been a big fan of you, how you’ve built up your platform, not just on social media, but through touring and putting everything out there.

[00:03:14] And one of the things that stuck out to me is your brand. You’ve referred to yourself as putting out hood good comedy. Can you talk more about that and what that means? 

[00:03:23] Bigg Jah: Yeah, man, have a good comedy, bro. Is this I’m from the hood, bro. Hood good means good things come out of the hood, and I’m one of them. So it’s just sometimes you being from the hood or growing up in that environment.

[00:03:36] It’s humble beginnings, tough times. Things that a lot of people wouldn’t want to go through, but if you’re from here and you grew up this way and you end up, you turn out good, you turned out. Okay. I loved my, I love my upbringing. I love even the hard times. Yeah, it’s almost like making lemonade out of lemons..

[00:03:52] You know what I’m saying? So it’s hood good comedy. A lot of the times, the stuff I like to talk about or display on camera are things that if you’re from the hood, you can relate to, you don’t even have to be from the hood to relate to it. But for sure if you’re from the hood. You can relate to it. You know what I’m saying?

[00:04:07] That’s kind of what I make it for everybody, but I make it for specifically, for folks in the hood, 

[00:04:12] Dan Runcie: And I think what helps you as well as that, of course, there’s a lot of black content that is out there now with Netflix and all these other streaming services. You’re able to tell stories and talk about things that aren’t going to get covered in those spaces.

[00:04:25] And I think that just shows that even though people may think that there’s this abundance of content, that’s everywhere. Now, you’re telling stories through your comedy and through your sketches that you know are not going to get told elsewhere. So you have a good niche for yourself there. 

[00:04:40] Bigg Jah: Yeah. Thank you, bro.

[00:04:41] It took me a minute to do it consistently. I’ve always wanted to do this type of stuff, this type of content, but growing up, watching Martin, you know, the Jamie Fox show or the woods, Don’t Be a Menace to Society, all those different shows and movies, Harlem Nights, Eddie Murphy, like Boomerang.

[00:05:01] Those films definitely influenced me into doing what I do now. And so I feel like you watch Friday that Friday show the movie Friday is specifically for the hood. Anybody could like it. Anybody can find value in it and find humor in it, but for sure the hood is going to love it because it’s exactly where we come from.

[00:05:18] It tells the story, it tells our story. When I had the opportunity to do that, I wanted to do the same. 

[00:05:23] Dan Runcie: Yeah. And those movies you mentioned, and the TV shows too, they all hit this error that I feel like a lot of us grew up with that we saw on TV, right? The nineties had such a Renaissance for not just black entertainment, but comedy too.

[00:05:36] I mean, thinking about even you mentioning the way, a lot of people may not think about that as a traditional comedy, but it’s a coming of age story. Everyone remembers what it’s like going to prom or going through any of those experiences. 

[00:05:48] Bigg Jah: For me, for sure. A hundred percent for that boy. It was it’s funny because I remember going through almost every single thing in that movie I experienced as a kid growing up.

[00:05:57] So yeah, that’s why the woods is a classic for me. I would love to create something like that for myself, for the people in other versions of. The Hood Good stories and stuff like that. So, yeah. 

[00:06:10] Dan Runcie: Yeah, because now we’re in this space where they’re starting to make sequels of all those right. Cause best man came out right around the same time as the wood and that best man holiday.

[00:06:19] And I think I saw something they’re trying to put out another one of these know 

[00:06:23] Bigg Jah: that series is dope. I think that cast is so strong. They can do a part three and as long as it’s just that. And then the next thing someone else is getting married or someone’s going through a divorce, or if someone’s having a baby shower or something, I think you can do more, are turned into a TV show or something about that.

[00:06:39] Cash is so dope. I think, I think a baby could do it. And I think all the actors in that movie wouldn’t mind doing the series. You know what I’m saying? Because they all doing their thing, but I’m sure that’d be a great opportunity for them to really get back on camera together and consider. 

[00:06:56] Dan Runcie: Yeah. Yeah. One of the things about your career that I think is a bit more unique from maybe that generation of stars is they very much were trained to perfect how they were on screen, right.

[00:07:08] They’re either going to be in TV or in movies. Your career’s a little different because you have to. Be a face on social media, you’re doing your stand-up. You have your specials, your movies, and then even your own touring. And I got to imagine that there was a bit of maneuvering there between each of those areas.

[00:07:25] You’re not trying to get pigeonholed, but you also know that you need to have exposure in each of those. What has it been like navigating each of those areas, but knowing that they’re all part of how you run and do what you do 

[00:07:36] Bigg Jah: It’s still a challenge. it’s lovely. It’s a beautiful struggle, man. That’s crazy.

[00:07:40] Cause I went to film school to learn how to make films. And then I started doing comedy. Then I went and did comedy. I started pursuing comedy when I moved back to LA. And I was trying to make it as a comic, still trying to make it as a comic and, you know, get on tours, open up for different comics, get the, be, become a stronger comic, get my hour going.

[00:08:04] And it was moving by the snail’s pace. I was growing as a comic. But I just wasn’t professionally growing as a comic. And then it dawned on me, like once I started reaching back and grabbing my film information, my film degree, and working on films and sketches and just doing content like that, it took my comedy and it boosted it.

[00:08:23] And then fast forward, a lot of things are, are, I wouldn’t say fast-forwarded. I think it brought me up to speed with my comedy, you know, because the biggest thing about comedy, no matter how funny you are, if you can’t get butts on the seats. No one cares, you know, promoters don’t care and you don’t care either.

[00:08:38] If you throw a show and no one comes then you don’t really have a show. Cause you probably still gonna perform. But you know, it’s just being a filmmaker and a comedian at the same time allows me to A. Interchange both. So if I think of a funny sketch, a lot of the time I’ll put that sketch on stage and talk about the sketch as the comedy bit.

[00:08:58] But most of my sketches come from comedy. Anyhow, come from my stage work. So I have a joke about certain things word plays. The whole crew is stupid, came from a joke on stage. The lesbian homie came from a joke on stage, you know? Yeah, man. So I think it worked in my favor at first. I was doing one or the other.

[00:09:15] Now I’m doing both, you know, so 

[00:09:17] Dan Runcie: yeah. And I figured what that, to each of these, it gives you an opportunity to just get that quick feedback. You can then turn that into however you’re going to make the actual longer form content itself. You put something on social media, you see the engagement, that’s your feedback.

[00:09:32] You’re doing something on tour. You see how the crowd reacts. You see, okay. There are differences with the crowd in this city versus that city. And then each of those things I’m sure gives you the confidence. You’d be like, okay, if we’re going to spend several weeks or several months putting this project together.

[00:09:47] I know this is going to hit because of what I saw from the responsible people. 

[00:09:51] Bigg Jah: Right? True. Yeah. The social media is great for that, you know, instantly whether or not it is funny or not, or you can find out instantly whether it’s funny or not. And even if you don’t find it, that it’s funny right away doesn’t mean it’s not funny.

[00:10:04] I refuse to believe. Social media is the only way to gauge whether a joke is funny or not. It’s a good way because the people laughing at me and it’s funny. And what I’m saying, if people don’t laugh, I mean, they’re not laughing yet in my opinion, but yeah. So I navigated through both, you know, stand up comedy, sketch comedy, and then I’m moving on to feature films.

[00:10:23] Eventually that’s the goal. That’s the immediate goal, you know? So yeah.

[00:10:27] Dan Runcie: let’s talk more about that immediate goal. People could probably look at your career from outside it and be like, oh, he’s killing it independently. He’s doing his thing. He has things in motion and you’ve definitely hit one of those higher levels of being someone that has their platform and being able to just do bigger things with it.

[00:10:47] But you’re still like, no, you want to be able to do the feature films and you want to be able to do bigger, bigger things. Can you talk about that? The difference there, because I know. There was likely a stage maybe from where you may have been several years ago, where the point you’re at now would have been like, oh, this is where I really want to be able to get to.

[00:11:04] Right. And then now it’s about what it looks like for that next level of being able to do more motion pictures. 

[00:11:13] Bigg Jah: And so my goal was to, in a perfect world, create a film, enter into a film festival when it wins several film, festivals, booking agent, you know what I’m saying? That, and then getting to the point where I’m in a position to create, write and direct my own films.

[00:11:29] And that’s the typical way I believe, you know, but then this thing called social media came and it took me a while to really buy into it. That’s what changed my world and my mindset. A lot of the time I was trying to be an employee. I was trying to be a writer for sketch comedy network or a writer for Fox or writer for ADD or something like that.

[00:11:49] So I was trying to pitch me. I was pitching myself to, you know, what the funny was back in the day, which is the Waynes Brothers and whatnot that was sitting in the offices, just trying to say, oh, look at the sketch. I did look at this, read my script. And no one really took hold of it. No one really long story short note, and everyone said, no, they didn’t say no. No, we not going to mess with you, but they didn’t hire me.

[00:12:10] They didn’t put me in a position in their company to thrive or just become a team player. So eventually I got to the point where I was like, I got to do this myself. And so let me start a page from scratch, put my name on it and started making them for the first sketch and the second sketch and the third and fourth and keep it going as opposed to, because most of my sketches, especially in the first year, Most of my sketches were sketches that I wrote for ADD or for other platforms.

[00:12:35] And there was a rifle with me at first, you know, and so a shout out to them. I said, I know a lot of people over there and so I love it. But, it was a blessing in disguise me not like selling my, my scripts over there or getting hired to be a director over there, forced me into doing my own thing. And I’m much rather we would be doing this than anything else.

[00:12:54] So, uh, the feature film thing. I also still want to state, I would love to be independent, an independent filmmaker that makes what I want to make. And at the times, and the pacing that I wouldn’t make it. But my goal was to always make films and TV. So I went to school for that.

[00:13:09] And when I came across social media, it was, it’s not, I would say it’s a step back, cause it’s not, it’s a step across. It’s another way of getting to where I want to go. And it took me some years to figure that out. But, uh, I did so myself putting sketches or sort of spending months of making a short film or many months trying to make a feature and trying to get the funding for, to produce a feature or short.

[00:13:34] let me just take this camera that I have and my equipment that I already have and start shooting the small vignettes. So small sketches cause people doing anyways, small sketches and it’s keep doing that until something happens and something happened. It was a fan base and a fan base is the most important thing to any entertainer.

[00:13:51] Singer writer, poet offer dancer. You build a fan base. That’s the most important thing, in my opinion. Because at that point you have people who love what you do, you know, and you don’t need, you don’t need a producer or a studio to say yes to do what you want to do. I can move right now by myself.

[00:14:09] And it took me a while to get to this point. It’s a blessing that people do, like what I do, and they do support. Like I said, it’s, it’s way more gratifying than making someone else’s dream come true.

[00:14:20] Dan Runcie: It’s powerful, especially to be able to do it on your own. And you saw it, it was like you tried to break out initially and they weren’t feeling it at first, but now that you have a bit more clout and leverage, you can do the same thing yourself.

[00:14:34] And in that space, I’m sure it’s a bit of this distinction where you’re wearing multiple hats. You’re the lead person as the comic and the creator and the face of the brand. You also want to be the filmmaker, the person that can direct and put everything together. Do you feel as if people are always seeing you in that light or do you feel like you may have to remind people?

[00:14:55] No. No. I’m also interested in this other aspect as well.

[00:14:59] Bigg Jah: As far as acting and producing and directing. Okay. So one thing I will say this, when I will create different things, whether it was a short film or, or just a piece of content, a lot of the time I was writting it and I was directing it and I was shooting it, and that was getting other actors.

[00:15:15] To begin it and building it that way. And no one really out would put it online. Nobody would really follow it or watch it. And maybe because it was just too soon, then back in 2017, I decided, let me put myself on camera, have someone from me doing all the funny stuff I’m writing for other people. Let me do, let me do the funny stuff.

[00:15:32] And that was already an actor. I have an agent and I’ve been acting since 2009. So it was not like I was just a director writer. I was after as well, but I didn’t care when it came to my projects, I was seeing other people play these roles. And I was working under the hat of writer director. And then it got to the point where, all right, you can’t really rely on people, especially when you have no money and limited resources and limited time.

[00:15:56] So you have to start doing things yourself. And so I said, okay, cool. I’m gonna have to find somebody who rocks with me, who cares about what I do and asked him to shoot me, just hold the camera, push record and just make sure it’s steady and I’m going in front of the camera and then I’m going to be the funny, and that’s when things start picking up, that’s when things took off.

[00:16:12] So to answer your question about reminding people that are, yeah, I mean, honestly, I would love to, as much as I love being in front of a camera and telling jokes and being funny and being silly. I would love to just write and direct sometimes, sometimes to where it’s a project that’s produced by me directed by me, but I don’t have to be the lead star.

[00:16:32] I can just literally sit back and direct the actors and make some dope. So eventually I put on, get into. I think this year, the remainder of this year, I’m wanting to start putting more projects together where I’m not the focal point, but it’s the focal point is where people come to see at this point, it’s me.

[00:16:48] So I would love to get to the point where people would love just to see my content, whether I’m in front of the camera or the main character or not, they just are interested in seeing what I put in. So that’s the goal. 

[00:16:59] Dan Runcie: That reminds me of something I heard recently from Quinta Brunson from Abbott Elementary.

[00:17:04] She had said when she was first pitching the show, she actually did even have herself as the lead in the role. And then the people that at ABC were like, ah, we didn’t buy this project without you in this. Like you have to be in this. So it was interesting to hear her experience through that. And I think similarly with you, it’d be interesting to see what.

[00:17:24] Continues to do a backpack. Cause I do think that there’s this thing where yes, what people may most respond to is seeing the person they’re most familiar with. But as the thing expands and grows, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. And I think one of the ways that you’ve done that, and I think it continue through is that you do have consistent series throughout your content.

[00:17:45] You have the lesbian Hovey, you have inner thoughts and some of these. Sketches. And I think in a lot of ways, these are the franchises that you have under your umbrella. And in thinking about that piece, do you ever think about the balance of content, whether you want to continue making shows in those series because you know how popular they are versus tried new series out and doing things, how much do you balance the content play between what you know is already proven versus testing new things?

[00:18:18] Bigg Jah: Honestly, I will say over the years, I’ve gotten more comfortable with this. I’ve been going back and forth. I’ve been going, like, for example, when I first did my first big project I did, or my first sketch that really did numbers and really got me some notice was Tiberius, The Hood Man. And then that kind of spread fast and it was going to share it a lot.

[00:18:38] And I was like, man, this is dope. And so I did another one. I did a part two. Then I got like an episode three. and episode four and I kept going. I was like, all right, let me fall back and not just do this one character, this one type of a piece of content. Let me do something different. I’m coming to, that was my second, like non-sequitur series.

[00:18:56] You know what I’m saying? It just, it was just episode for episode here and there, but I was doing that. So that was a totally different room. It was still Hood Good, but it was, I was a different type of character in Tiberius. I’m this big Debo type character in the I’m coming to.

[00:19:08] I’m like this big guy too. You can’t hide my size, but pause, but you can. My lady is the bully. My lady is the one punking me and stuff like that. So that was like a two different dynamics there. And, it did well. And then moved on. So I forget the next one. I think that might’ve been lesbian the next one, but then the whole crew was stupid.

[00:19:26] I keep trying to, I was still doing episode one, two and three of this series, one, two, and three of that series. And I was adding on the whole crew was stupid. My inner thoughts, the roommate pays all the bills I kept doing. So I don’t have a problem with doing something new because I feel like. I feel like if I’m blessed enough to make these go to the next project, the next different ideas will go to, you know, so that’s what I mean about like, yeah.

[00:19:48] I’m not pressured to keep the series going, because I know that it works. I’m in it to create new stuff and see how it goes. I’m not a slave slave to the, “Well, this is what works. So let me just keep doing this only.” No, I’m gonna push the envelope and push the line and I’m gonna see if they like this too. And what about this?

[00:20:04] I’m going to grab this and what if I do this? You know, so I don’t have a problem with that. Plus I’ve done so much. I’ve done the series thing to a degree now I wanna move on to something else. I want to challenge myself to do another character or another storyline that see if people like that.

[00:20:25] Dan Runcie: Let’s take a quick break to hear a word from this week’s sponsor.

[00:20:28] Yeah. And that follows with what you said earlier in terms of if you’re only doing things for the response. You’re not taking into account that some things may not take off on social media, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not funny. It could be the algorithm doing whatever it’s doing that day. You still got to have the confidence in what you’re putting out that it’s good, and that people are going to resonate with that truth.

[00:20:50] One of the other things too, that stuck out to me is that Facebook has been a pretty big channel for you in terms of where you have had a lot of your audience on social media, where there’s been a lot of the growth that attraction there. But I also know that Facebook hasn’t always been the easiest platform

[00:21:06] For a lot of creators to be able to navigate, even though they have the biggest user base out of anyone, how have you been able to make the platform work for you 

[00:21:15] Bigg Jah: Well, let me start by saying shout out to Facebook. Facebook has been amazing. It’s been a blessing for sure. And I agree with you. They’re not the easiest to navigate through. If I had to critique them, which I would say they, the customer service needs to be much better.

[00:21:29] Their customer. I think for someone like myself and others, We should have a little bit more love. We should get a little bit more love from them. A little bit more support from Facebook on the do’s and don’ts and more and more clarity, you know, and I think that it should be more, we should be handled better, to be honest with you, as far as how that helped my channel go.

[00:21:48] And for me, a hundred percent honest with you, I’ve never strategized. I literally just. I do all the work on my end and I post I don’t and well, I will say I do have times where I will. I do strategize in the sense, I will say I’m going to post every day between eight and 10 o’clock 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM. I don’t post in the evening time that I posted in the morning and I’m on the west coast.

[00:22:10] So if it’s. Here in the morning and in LA was that 11 o’clock in the morning in New York. So it’s still morning. And I posted that. I’ve been doing that for years. So, and because I’m not really clear on what to do and what not to do with Facebook, it’s not very clear. I just do me and hopefully it works.

[00:22:29] So, uh, I do have some hangups here and there, but for the most part, I’ve been pretty successful as far as getting my content out and they’re being overloaded. 

[00:22:37] Dan Runcie: Yeah, it’s interesting because especially at your level, having millions of followers on the platform and through your page as well, having some type of custom service for someone at your level would make a lot of sense.

[00:22:50] Cause I know that that’s something that is existing on a lot of the other platforms. And to your point, I don’t think any of these platforms have necessarily been perfect. They’re always having challenges, but some of them have been more catering to others, but yeah, it’s been fascinating to see. With that after Facebook, which other platform would you say has been the most beneficial for you?

[00:23:11] I know where your followers are, but more from your perspective, which one have you enjoyed? Both from an engagement and a performance perspective? 

[00:23:19] Bigg Jah: Believe it or not. YouTube was my first platform that really no Instagram Instagram was where I started putting my one minute videos on my 15 second videos on first 15, second videos.

[00:23:29] And then they gave us a minute. I started doing one minutes pieces of work. And then I started going on YouTube and then Facebook, YouTube IG, and then Facebook. IG and Facebook at the same time, I think they’re together. At least they are now, but I didn’t see much. I didn’t get that much love on Facebook initially.

[00:23:47] It was, most of my success was coming on IG and I think maybe because it’s more personal, it’s closer. It’s right there in your hand. And it’s just a little bit more popular than Facebook and YouTube. Ideas, but I started there and then I started really focusing on YouTube first. And then you then Facebook started coming along strong.

[00:24:06] And so now I will say Facebook and YouTube, but then IG as far as my success, Tik Tok is there as well. I’m not as strong on Twitter as I should probably be, but it’s whether it was there, but mostly. Facebook is my biggest platform. Then YouTube, in this instance, Tik Tok actually, then there’s YouTube, then there’s Instagram.

[00:24:25] So Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram. Those are my four biggest platforms and Facebook and YouTube are my biggest. Yeah, 

[00:24:32] Dan Runcie: it’s interesting because I do think that for. Anyone that is creating content using platforms. There’s normally going to be a few that you gravitate the most to, for what your strengths are and where you think works the best for you.

[00:24:45] And I think in past interviews you had talked Vine saying like, Hey, there’s certain people that are good with six seconds, but that just didn’t necessarily work for what I was working with. But. When IG had expanded you at 15 and then 30 seconds of the whole mini you’re like, all right, bet.

[00:25:01] This is exactly where I need to be. And I think even Twitter, to some extent with that, right? I think that Twitter probably is something that leaves itself a bit more to people reacting to whatever the current thing is. And I don’t necessarily look at your comedy in that type of way. Right. So I do feel like you’ve definitely found the places where you can perform the best and where your audience.

[00:25:24] The other question that I had for you though, was around given everything that you do with what you do on social media, what you may do on tour as well. For other people that may be looking at you or where you’re at at least independently, what are the rough breakdowns of where your revenue comes from in terms of, from touring, you know, versus other areas.

[00:25:45] And it doesn’t need to be like specifics more so from a percentage perspective, but how you run the business and where you expect things to come from. 

[00:25:53] Bigg Jah: Well, my biggest income, my biggest sources of revenue are from Facebook and YouTube. And then any given month, it would be merch and or brand deals like sponsorships.

[00:26:04] So Facebook and YouTube. And then depending on if I have a shirt that I’m selling or has a shirt that people really like. Or as a piece of it is a hat or some type of piece of clothing that I have that people really like at that, I try to come up with something every month or something like that. So depending on the month, it could be, my third revenue could be merch or it could be sponsorships depending on if I, I landed a deal with a brand, with a company and they want to, you know, get this product promoted and they pay me this amount of money.

[00:26:31] So it could be brand deals, which are very important too. Especially if your brand deal fits. If it really working and be creative, you can keep that relationship going for awhile for a long time. And that’s the goal is to get a working relationship with these, with these companies and let them confide in you and you respect what they do, where they’re doing and what they’re willing to give and you, and what you’re willing to give as far as your expertise and your talent and stuff like that.

[00:26:55] And hopefully I’ll come to an agreement and get it going for that for the longterm. So I will say merch then brand deals or sometimes brand deals then merch YouTube and Facebook or my business platforms. 

[00:27:07] Dan Runcie: Where does touring fit into that? 

[00:27:08] Bigg Jah: I haven’t toured the 2019. So 2019. This is before the pandemic that it fit in there.

[00:27:13] It was good. I had a great time. I loved the tour. My goal was to go back on tour in 2020. I was going to go into every year, but pandemic hit and 2020 was a blur. It was a down year. I caught COVID before the lockdown. I called it before the lockdown. I was in bad shape and then I got better and then it was still, the city was unlocked.

[00:27:33] So no one was going anywhere. Then people started touring. But at this point I got to get back to the shooting. That’s the other thing is the balancing the two, going back to that first question. I know the first couple of questions you asked about navigating between like comedy, standup comedy and filmmaking and sketch comedy.

[00:27:49] The creating it’s tough when you. One thing about sketch comedy, our social media creation, it’s different from TV and movies because there’s off seasons in TV and movies, you can really make movies all year round. Yes. But like with this pilot season, there’s like, especially for TV. There’s off seasons.

[00:28:08] You know, sometimes the city of Hollywood shuts down for a few months, a year, right during the holidays and whatnot as a social content creator, social media content creator. There’s no off days. Really, really you have a lot of times you find yourself I’m victim to it too. And it’s like racing against the algorithm.

[00:28:25] That’s the problem. We don’t have a network deal where you’re getting paid this amount of money to create this. Then, you know, everything’s set in stone. You’re good. Come to work, do your work. And the season is wrapped. You go do something else. You go to another project and are you going on vacation with social media content creation, you have to create your own vacation and it’s tough, but then you look at your numbers.

[00:28:45] You look at your pages and your pages. Aren’t really going because you’re not putting content. That’d be because you’re taking a break. It’s hard to take a break. Yes. That’s one of the biggest challenges I’ve been any social media creator feels and really relates to like, yeah, that’s something that I think everybody can relate to and the constant need, or once our pressure to create.

[00:29:05] Social media. It never gets tired of you, or they might get tired of you, but they’ll never like they ask enough, they want more, this gets, it’s funny. What’s next? You know, when the TV show, you know, you got 13 episodes, 10 episodes, and then you got to wait for the off season for them to reshoot some stuff.

[00:29:22] And then get back to showing your season two, season three, season four, with episode, whether it was social media content. Hey Jah. That was funny. Hilarious. When’s the next case coming? When’s the next Lesbian Homie. When’s the next Roommate Pays All the Bills. When’s the next, you know, Tiberius And then once those down, 

[00:29:36] Dan Runcie: it’s a grind.

[00:29:37] It is, I could speak to that myself and the algorithms don’t know you want to take PTO, right? They’re not going to be favorable to you when you come back and that’s what can make it so tough with it. And I’m sure for you, that’s probably a lot of. Thought behind wanting to eventually shift to being less the main person in front of the camera and do a more behind the camera, because then that just frees up a bit more of your time to still be able to leverage what you created, but not need to be as on-demand. .

[00:30:06] Bigg Jah: I don’t mind it. I love acting. I love creating and I love being in front of the camera, but at the same time, I feel like I could be, I could be even more effective all this love. I see other, I see a lot of talent around me that might not get the recognition unless they’re in my video. I’m the, it’s my video.

[00:30:22] I’ll create a storyline and I pull them into the storyline and try to showcase them. And tried to show how talented he or she is and show that to, hopefully they can build their own following off of it or continue building their following. A lot of them already have a following, but they wanna increase it.

[00:30:37] So a lot of times I have to take them and put them in my video for them to get as much known as, as they want to get. As opposed to these people are so talented, I would just love just to work with them. I don’t have to necessarily have them in my video. I can just, if they have an idea. If they want to do all with my producing it, I would love to eventually my goal is also to create my own films and my own TV shows, but also produce content for other strong creators, other strong actors, actors.

[00:31:03] That might not be directors. I see a lot of talented people that put content out and I’m like, I don’t like it because I’m very particular about how they convey a story, how to perform dialogue, how to really put a dope, strong scene together in a series of scenes together to make us.

[00:31:21] To make a short film, to make a film, to make a TV show episode. And I see a lot of funny, talented people that can act. I can do these things, but they’re not director. So it kind of falls flat. I would love to be, I would love to build some kind of conglomerate to where it’s me, along with other directors.

[00:31:36] That they have access to these strong actors that will help tell their stories. You know what I’m saying? 

[00:31:41] Dan Runcie: Yeah. You definitely have the network and the access to these people and being able to create that platform makes a lot of sense. And what it makes me think of is just how people are structuring.

[00:31:54] Their team or what their group of people look like. And I’d be curious to hear what that is like on your end. What is your team look like? How many people are working with you on a regular basis to put out your content, to run the business, and what are some of those roles that people currently have with where you are right now?

[00:32:14] Okay. 

[00:32:14] Bigg Jah: So I could tell you how I started. I started by myself. And my room on my phone, my iPad, and I had cameras. I had cameras equipment cause I was a DP, none, not a professional. I mean, I was a professional DP, but I wasn’t in for Hollywood, but I was a DP. I was directing music videos and being hired to shoot weddings, music, videos, short films, sketches.

[00:32:36] I was all those things by myself. I had a truck full of equipment, a lot of DIY. And then when I decided to do stuff for myself, like the Bigg Jah brand, I’m pushing big jock. I’m the first guy I had was my boy, Ken Edwin. I ran into Ken. Ken is another comedian, another actor and writer. I’ve known him for years, but I didn’t know that he did content.

[00:32:56] So I ran into him about five years ago. I’ve known him for about eight and then we didn’t become real friends until five years. And I saw that he created too, and his stuff was dope. It was super, super creative. I was, I was not when I first saw it and I was like, maybe we need to work. And he come to find out he’s just a selfless as I am, anytime I needed someone to shoot, he was there to shoot.

[00:33:18] If I needed to use his house. I can come to his house and shoot at his house. If I needed to go to another location, he’d be there with his camera and my camera, and we’ll put them together. And he’s working. He was the first guy that really supported me in this as far as shooting, even before that, when I was a standup comedian and I just got my first camera and I was on to start shooting for other comedians, my boy, Kraig Smith.

[00:33:40] Kraig is like the first guy that really supported me had my back. And it was a team. It was a team of two, me and him when I was writing something directly to him, he was after or whether or not he was trying to network and tell people that we can shoot your projects. And me and him first started doing like a comedy specials, like short comedy specials.

[00:33:58] We would have like five, six comics at a time. They would come to a comedy show and we would film them doing their sets. And we did that. I’m talking about almost 10 years ago. So we’ve been doing this for a long time, and then it kind of evolved into me doing the big stuff and then add into the team. So Ken, my boy, Kraig, my boy Troy around, I ran to Troy working at a sketch house.

[00:34:20] We were all creating at this place called the sketch house and he and I were the only ones that actually were doing. On cameras, not just cell phones, everyone else is doing cell phones. He and I were shooting on cameras and we needed somebody to shoot that we didn’t have, we had cameras. We didn’t have anyone to shoot for us because no one knew how to shoot cameras.

[00:34:38] They were all always on their phones. And so we decided to you shoot for me, I shoot for you. And that’s how we built that bond. So me, Troy, Kraig, Ken. So I met a lot of these guys doing the work as sketch artists, and we just clicked and we just decided. Okay. Is a group of us. Now is 1, 2, 3, 4 of us.

[00:34:59] When you need them at the time where you just shoot, we got one of us gonna shoot for you. One of y’all gotta shoot for me, and that’s how the team formed. And that’s when we sort of started growing I’m shooting every day. I’m shooting a couple of sketches a day. I’m dropping two or three times a week and my platform is starting to grow.

[00:35:14] Cause now I’m flooding. The followers on flooding the supporters that are just, if they love this, you’re gonna love this. You’re gonna love this. So I was coming out with so many different pieces of content, so many different stories. Cause I had guys that will come bring lights. They were inexpensive.

[00:35:29] They were the cheapest lights you can get, but they were there and we just, none of us really had any real money we had. And we had loyalty and that’s really the only reason why I got to where I’m at right now, honestly speaking is that the team and, and it wasn’t like I had a professional casting, uh, cast director, casting director, or a professional DP or a gaffer.

[00:35:50] I just had the homies and we were just supporting each other, shooting all of our sketches together and we was putting out stuff. And then it got to the point where we were all making okay money. We were starting to make a little income from it. And we start, we had to meeting, we had a recent meet every Sunday, every Sunday we used to meet.

[00:36:09] And then we got to the point where we were saying, we got to find our individual teams as a team. We had to branch out and get our own shooters, our own editors, our own, this, that, and the other. So we don’t have to be balled down weekly. This doing work for you. You know what I’m saying? It’s the officer, their stuff, his stuff today, his stuff tomorrow, I Vista somebody showed my stuff on Wednesday and then I’m shooting this stuff on Thursday and vice versa.

[00:36:30] Now a week we’re all working as grind is great. We’re grinding, but we need time to do something else too. You know? And so now I had to regroup my team. I had to rebuild my team. These guys are still around. They’re still my brothers. They was at the house today. I mean yesterday, but I had to find my own guy.

[00:36:46] That’s going to shoot for me as opposed to. Always relying on them because now they gotta be there, but we’re all busy. We all got our own things. We’ve built our platforms. We have our fan bases. We have our algorithm, the race against, you know what I’m saying? So instead of having him take the whole day to fill my stuff, he needs to feel his stuff.

[00:37:02] And now we need more than one day each we need 2, 3, 4 days each for the week. You know what I’m saying? So now to answer your question, I have to give you that quick basketball, that long story. My team now is smaller. My glamour, their friends that are there, that I create with they’re still here. It’s about five of us.

[00:37:20] The whole crew was stupid is the show that I was doing. I was on the live show December. I mean, November. October October, November, December of last year, I did a one monthly Inglewood, California. I did a live show where I was so fat. I was so sketches and I was shows that we would do stand up comedy in between the sketches.

[00:37:41] And it’s about five. And yeah. Five. Yes. So that’s the crew, the whole crews who that’s their crew. But as far as me shooting now, I have a DP and it’s really just me and another guy, me and my boy, Anthony. He was also a director. But once again, you run across people who are selling. And just loyal to the cause.

[00:38:01] And he’s a director first arrived a director at first that has a strong with the camera and strong with lighting and strong with editing. And he does a lot of those things for me. He does basically, sometimes it’s like, for example, we just came, we just finished shooting the second season of lesbian homie.

[00:38:18] And he helped me write that he co-wrote it with me. He co-wrote it with me. He de Pete the whole. And he’s editing the whole season. So he’s really a person that is doing four or five guys jobs. You know what I’m saying? All in one. And it’s a blessing. I met him a few years ago. He loves my content and we met basically him as a fan of the content come to find out he had this wealth of knowledge of filmmaking and we became a team.

[00:38:43] So he and I together created this whole season two of lesbian homie. And it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done producing. Written, and he has a lot to do with it. He was, he’s an inspirational dude and I’m all about organic relationships. And our relationship is very organic, even though he came to LA and he wanted to meet me because he wanted to let me know what he can do.

[00:39:07] And once I’m, once we met clicked, we had the same type of style. So my team is small. Still. My goal is to branch out and delegate some of those, uh, roles that he does to other people. But to be honest with you, I’m particular. You know, I have a certain style that hood good style and how I edit, how I write.

[00:39:27] It’s hard for me to like, have other people write for me or other people edit my stuff, but I don’t have time to do all of this stuff. I’ve written over 400 sketches. You know what I’m saying? So it gets to the point where I got to delegate some things. So I can’t be doing everything myself. My team is small, but I know over the years I’ve worked on bigger projects and I’ve done.

[00:39:48] I’ve hired. I do have access to other people who, like I said, I grew up, I came in in this game. Directing and DP work. So I know a lot of other DPS that have camera year and have experience. So when it comes time for me to shoot my actual film, I can have a cast. Wardrobe VP camera assistance, gaffing crew.

[00:40:08] I know I have enough resources and a Rolodex of people I can contact when I need to do a full production. 

[00:40:13] Dan Runcie: It’s impressive. What you’ve been able to do with the small team. I mean, outside in someone could look and see, I go, I’m sure he has a whole crew of people that are working with this. But like you said, you have people that are wearing multiple hats.

[00:40:25] They’re shipping in here and there to do things, and that’s ultimately how you build. And I think you ultimately do get to the place where. Things kind of continue to expand, but there’s also no reason to make things bigger than they need to. Part of the beauty is you being able to be nimble and having a team that appears bigger than it is.

[00:40:42] I feel like that’s the most powerful position to be in. And for you with that, what’s on deck for you for the next few years. Now that things are opening back up now that the pandemic is starting to subside. What do you see for the next couple of years? What are you most excited about? I know you want to get more behind the camera, but is there any specific projects or anything else that we should keep an eye out for? 

[00:41:04] Bigg Jah: Yeah. Yes, sir. I don’t know when, because I’m still assembling. It’s still being written, but I’m wanting to do a film wrapped around the character Tiberius. I’m doing a Tiberius film and I’m excited about that. I think that’s going to be a big thing. I hopefully the, I haven’t brought Tiberius out in the long run.

[00:41:21] And maybe, I’m praying that the supporters, fans, supporters, I call them supportive. Most likely, usually it will still let the idea of becoming that with a movie for type area. So audition still have an agent I saw audition for other roles. And I’m open to do other projects for other companies, other studios, but as far as my stuff, even one or two at one of the two are going to happen.

[00:41:44] I’m either going to shoot the film this year are going toward this year. And if I don’t shoot this feminist year and I still do go on tour, I want to be, I don’t want the film with within the next year. The defendant would be, we made it in the film. So whether, and I can do it independently, like I said, I’m at the point now where I’m, it’s a blessing to be able to say, I can just do this myself.

[00:42:06] I know how to, I know how to create film, just do it myself. And I have enough people around me, good people who are, are good at what they do to make a dope film. 

[00:42:15] Dan Runcie: That’s exciting, man. It’s good stuff. Good stuff. Hey, Bigg Jah this has been great. Before we let you go, though, where should the chapter audience follow you to keep posted with what you’re doing and everything that you got coming up?

[00:42:28] Bigg Jah: You can follow me everywhere @Biggjah. B-I-G-G J-A-H. As YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, I’ll be on Tik Tok doing all kinds of stuff. I’ll be dancing around. Naw, I’m not doing too much, but I do a little. I’m on all platforms at Bigg Jah. My website’s Biggjah.com.

[00:42:51] The Hood Good Store go get your merge. If you want to support, it’s all love you. It’s love anyways, but go to thehoodgoodstore.com. That’s T-H-E-H-O-O-D-G-O-O-D-S-T-O-R-E.COM. That’s the https://thehoodgoodstore.com. You can get almost most of the stuff I wear in my sketches.

[00:43:09] This is my own company is my own brand and I sell it myself. Much love to you all. If you have any more questions, I got answers. 

[00:43:16] Dan Runcie: Good stuff, man. Good stuff, Jah. Appreciate you coming on 

[00:43:19] Bigg Jah: Thank you so much, bro. 

[00:43:21] Dan Runcie: If you enjoyed this podcast, go ahead and share with a friend, copy of the link, text it to a friend posted in your group chat,

post it in your slack groups, wherever you and your people talk. Spread the word. That’s how Trapital continues to grow and continues to reach the right people. And while you’re at it, if you use Apple Podcasts, go ahead, rate the podcast, give it a high rating and leave a review. Tell people why you like the podcast that helps more people discover the show.

[00:43:49] Thank you in advance. Talk to you next week.

Dan Runcie

Dan Runcie

Founder of Trapital

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