You know a ProZD video when you see one: they are nerdy, hilarious and short, and steeped in the kind of deep geekery that has recently become fashionable. He launches anime tropics, common frustrations about the role play (think: that one character who only has one line of speech for a specific action) and the intricacies of game mechanics. The experience is perfectly viral; which means that if you are completely familiar with the topics being treated, it feels like someone has reached your brain, is a little rooted and comes back for air with a thought that you have felt but never said noisy.
What's different about ProZD, also known as the voice actor and YouTuber SungWon Cho, is how everything it makes is just nice. Online gaming and anime spaces are notoriously toxic – think of Gamergate and Twitter anime avatars – and it is really refreshing to come across work that feels authentic nerdcentric, but without the attributes of, say, Trainwrecks & # 39; fandom. On YouTube these have brought him around 2 million subscribers; Cho & # 39; s voice work has appeared in games and animated series (such as Netflix Tuca and Bertie). And he has also worked as a live actor, especially in "Anime Crimes Division, "Those spoofes anime and detective tropes.
"I think I'm just a nice guy," says Cho. "I don't want to be a sort of cornerstone that tries to offend people, it's just not in my nature," he says. "I just make what I like to make." He is proud to be sincere. "There is no reason to be a dick if you can help it."
Cho & # 39; s video & # 39; s are deliberately and remarkably low-budget – "I use my phone because I don't care," says Cho, although he notes that he could get a nicer setup if he really did a wild one. "Who knows, maybe someday that will happen, but I just notice that I am lazy, and it is almost a bit funny that it is just beaten up." Shooting takes less than an hour for a short split, although it can get much longer if the idea is more involved. But editing takes forever. "Something that many people don't realize about YouTube is that if you don't hire your own editor, you're doing all the editing for each video. So it's just hours and hours of editing," Cho says. He also plays just about every character.
Most of Cho & # 39; s video & # 39; s are also low-brow / high-funny: there is the harem anime parody ("The Tomoko Chairem Anime"), The role-playing game send-up ("king dragon"), And the many, many sketches that distil everyday scenarios to their essence. (To name a few:"when a song comes on shuffle, it is more intense than your current mood""when a friend starts watching a show that you love""google your symptoms, "etc.)
Even with all the work that goes into it, the storylines are not planned. King Dragon and the Tomoko Chairem Anime were both ideas on the spot – although in each of them the videos connect to form a larger, interconnected world. "My canon is very solid," says Cho. And it is. The King Dragon RPG, which began with a discarded Vine, loosely revolves around Dennis (the player's) quest to save Prince Horace from King Dragon (and of course the death of Archibald, betrayed by the mean Lysanderoth). In the Tomoko Chairem anime, the titular character Tomoko is surrounded by a couple of cute boys who are also furniture – Lamp-senpai, Refrigerator-senpai, Bed-chan and The Twins (two chairs) – until Refrigerator-senpai Lamp kills- senpai. & # 39; I had no choice, Tomoko, & # 39; says the fridge immediately after the murder. "You have no idea how high this is."
"I make sure things work within what has already been determined. And I like to throw things back," says Cho. "It's just building and building with absolutely no plan. Who cares? They're just stupid little videos & # 39; s." Although, he notes, people will follow the themes & storylines that happen to be released – and that is exactly what Cho wants to make happen. "I get a kick out of it. Because I just think it's funny to make a story out of nothing. & # 39;
And those stories are mostly from the kind of material that conclusively proves that the nerds have finally won. Think about it: Game of Thrones – a television series based on an unfinished collection of high fantasy novels (of course a tropic in high fantasy novels) – is by far the most popular show in America, even after its much maligned end; Avengers: end game, the conclusion of a ten-year superhero legend based on Marvel's comic books, had the highest opening weekend cash ever; and these days it is even cool to play Dungeons and Dragons. Jocks are out, man. ProZD has arrived.
Nowadays, YouTube is the main task of Cho – although that was never his goal when he started posting videos that he made with a friend while in high school. "YouTube frankly, as a career, was a kind of accident," he says.
Cho started making video & # 39; s on other platforms, such as Tumblr, Twitter and Vine. Eventually, he says, it snowed. He remembers because it was Christmas Eve 2016; the subscriber numbers started to rise and did not stop. "It was just like a nice Christmas gift," says Cho. "I just thought it was very surreal." The reason, he believes, was one video he shot where he jokingly tried to sing all (infamous high) treble in A-Ha & # 39; s song "Take On Me". "I didn't think so. I just threw it for fun," he says, though he thinks it might have been boosted from somewhere like Reddit.
The success he has found has happened in the way the internet usually does fame: people tell each other, and then they follow. Cho says his fans are usually between 18 and 35 years old, and nerdy – because & # 39; my video & ns contain a lot of nerdy jokes and content. & # 39; And that is the rule: Cho does many different things, but they all relate to each other at the nerdery level.
However, putting things online can be difficult. And, as Cho says, it's the same with voice acting. "I think a lot of people don't realize that a lot of it is just about rejection. Because you don't get 90 percent of the auditions you choose because so many people you're competing with are so good," he says. Rejection is the most difficult thing in that room. YouTube, on the other hand, is a completely different beast. "I think burnout is something that many people struggle with," says Cho. "I try to limit that as much as possible by making things that I am interested in and not just producing content that satisfies my audience." Many major video makers are raging because they feel stuck with the same material they are not passionate about, he says. Balancing the needs of your audience with the wildness of creative development.
That is a real concern, because nowadays most of Cho's income comes from YouTube – mainly sponsorship and then advertising revenue. He gets voice-activating performances that pay well, but those with advertising partners are where the real money is. "I'm actually in a pretty happy position, where I can make some kind of video right now if I feel like it," says Cho, adding that there was a time when he felt he should post every day . "But I've certainly been slowing down lately, just because it went well. And since I moved to LA, I've had many voice actors, & # 39; which, as he notes, has been his focus.
"If I reached a point where YouTube was just another hobby, yes, I would," Cho says. "If I do enough acting, where I don't have to worry about YouTube at all … if I don't worry about that? Yes, I would certainly do that." He doesn't feel stuck. What he is doing however, feeling is grateful.
"Ideally, I would like more and more people to know: & # 39; Oh, he's a voice actor who also does YouTube & # 39; & # 39 ;, says Cho. And he gets there." But at the same time I am very grateful to people who like my YouTube stuff. And you know, who cares? Whatever you know me for, I'm just happy that you like what I do. "