YouTuber Adam Shamil unplugged

By Danielle Sendou Ringgit
@sendouringgit
danielleringit@theborneopost.com

“Do you live on trees?”

“Is this your first time in Malaysia?”

These are perhaps some of the questions almost every East Malaysian student faces when they arrive in the peninsular.

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Adam (kneeling, sixth left) with his fans at Unimas during the YouTube Broadcast Box Roadshow

For 22-year-old Sabahan Adam Shamil, he found his first week as a student in University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Selangor frustrating as people would constantly ask him if he was from Indonesia.

“A lot of people, especially the ones from Semenanjung (peninsular) would ask me ‘Are you from Indonesia?’ just because of the way I speak Malay,” said the bubbly and chatty Adam during a sharing session on October 5th at Unimas’ Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts.

“I was so frustrated that I said, ‘I need to do something about this.'”

Hence his humorous video series ‘Get It Right’ where he highlights Malaysian idiosyncrasies in a creative (and sometimes cutting) way through vlogs, skits and song covers.

Among the issues highlighted in the series are the perceptions of those speaking English and geographical confusion between cities in Sabah and Sarawak.

Even though he is a young YouTuber – Adam only joined YouTube in March and started uploading content in May – he has already gained success and recognition through his Youtube channel AdamShamil, garnering 584, 838 views and nearly 15,000 subscribers.

It seemed only natural then that Adam be invited for a sharing session during the three-day YouTube Broadcast Box Roadshow event.

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Adam and Partner Manager, Online Partnerships for Southeast Asia, Su Zen Low during a sharing session.

During the sharing session, Adam explained that he takes about a week to make a video, releasing one every Saturday or at least once a week.

“Mondays and Tuesdays are for brainstorming, Wednesdays and Thursdays are to do the video, Fridays are for editing and Saturdays uploading,” he said.

Fast-talking and a natural conversationalist, Adam said that he does not usually do a lot of takes as he works spontaneously and his work is not scripted.

“I have guidelines like I know what I want to say but I do not have a specific script. But I do make mistakes and I try to rectify it here and there,” said Adam.

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Adam gained success with his video series ‘Get It Right’, highlighting Malaysian idiosyncrasies with humorous social commentary.

As an international broadcasting and film studies student from University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, he admitted that it was a struggle trying to balance his studies with producing video content.

“At the end of the day, you just have to manage your time. It is really up to you, your priority. Education comes first, but I do not think that you should put your passion aside as well. You need to be able to balance them,” said Adam.

“But I think if your passion oversees everything else, you will always find time it is just a matter of priority.”

Becoming famous is not without some consequence. Adam sees his fair share of haters and criticism as some may not always agree or appreciate his work.

According to Adam, from the titles of the video of the ‘Get It Right’ series such as ‘Sabah & Sarawak, Living In The Pokok?’ and ‘Speak English is Minta Puji!’, some critics tended to comment first before even watching the videos.

“When I first started uploading my videos, I received a lot of criticism. People have been telling me that I should not be doing it and I have stopped making videos for a couple of weeks now,” he admitted.

“But one person left a comment asking – ‘When is the new video?’ – and somehow it motivated me because it means that people appreciate what you do and acknowledge your content. So, it is not about the money but about people appreciating your content and people appreciating you for creating content and probably putting a smile on their face,” said Adam.

While his family members may be supportive of what he does, Adam admitted at times they were not wholly enthusiastic about his video-making, preferring him to focus on his studies and constantly reminding him to be careful.

“However, for me, YouTube is today’s medium and I feel more people watch YouTube than television. I want to make this as a platform where I can use it for my passion and share it with people from all walks of life, because that is the great thing about YouTube.”

With more than a billion active users worldwide every month, research conducted by TNS Research and Google Malaysia found earlier this year that 16 to 34-year-old Malaysians watch more YouTube than TV on a monthly basis.

“So, I really want to make use of this platform and it really is my passion to be able to create content as well as be able to inspire people,” said Adam.

“I can’t please everybody, but I realise that if you love what you do, then just keep on doing it.”

While he may receive success from his video contents, Adam stated that getting a head start is not always easy as he admitted that he himself cringes watching his first few videos.

Adam advised new YouTube creators to have a firm understanding of their own concept and direction as it plays a vital part in their video content.

“For the first few videos, it is normal to not know what your direction is, but if you want to be a creator, you have to be passionate about it. Don’t just make videos for the sake of making one. It has to be of passion, dedication, and commitment,” advised Adam.

“Secondly, I feel that it is important to have a lot of motivation. When you want to make content, it is important to have support from people, but I realise motivation should not only come from people, because trust me there are also the people that could bring you down.

“I also believe that motivation should also comes from yourself, because when you are at your lowest, you know that you have yourself to back you up.”

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Don’t just make videos for the sake of making one. It has to be of passion, dedication, and commitment- Adam Shamil

Adam plans to make a new series called ‘Grandson Pranks Grandmother’ with his actual grandmother when he flies back to Kota Kinabalu in October.

To know more about Adam, check out his YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdx0rPAh_q14CvIfnrRaT7A

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