AMA: Lulato Pt. 1
Designer, vlogger and creator
It is hard to pinpoint what it is, but meeting with Lulato means getting a bit of happiness injected into your life. Our interactions are short but provide enough energy to go through the day with positivity, like a shot of Cuban "cafecito". Lulato is also an interesting individual, a designer at heart, dedicated to his craft. He follows a "show-don't-tell" lifestyle that becomes very apparent as you talk to him and understand how he works.
I got together with him to ask a few questions about his process – what drives him? what inspires him? Here's what he had to say:
Who are you? Give me a little bit of background about yourself in general.
Yeah… Well… My name is Luis La Torre. Lulato for short. I went with Lulato just because I felt it’s a little bit shorter and more appropriate for the internet. I'm a designer – an art school kid. I graduated with a graphic design and advertising major, but after I spent a little bit of time working for an agency, I got bored so I decided to start my own path as a UI/UX designer.
Is that what you do for a living now?
Yeah... Lately, I've been focusing on prototypes. So whenever someone has a really cool idea for an app, but don't have a big budget to build it out, they hire me. I then create prototypes for them to show investors, raise money and eventually build them out.
That's awesome and I’ve seen that you've documented some of that through your vlog. What prompted you to get into video/vlogging? And when did you get into it?
I first edited a bunch of videos when I was in high school – just for fun. YouTube was exploding back then. I saw some of the videos gaining popularity and I thought "maybe I can do that". So I dumped some footage in Windows Media Maker and put a few videos together.
Then in college, I took some video classes and in the back of my mind thought that I wanted to create short 15-minute movies, but didn't really know how to do that. Like, I just knew how to edit basic videos.
Cameras back then were mediocre, so you sort of had to rely on school cameras and borrowing from friends. So, I never really got into filmmaking until I saw Casey Neistat, the creator on YouTube. What he was able to do with found-footage, with just regular tiny little camera… it just made me realize that the potential was in the editing room. One always has this idea, "oh you need a fancy camera to create". People rely too much on that rather than going into the editing room, which is where things really get created.
So about a year ago, I decided to get into it more seriously. I didn't even tell anyone about it, just created my first vlog which included a lot of my friends. I didn't want to vlog just by myself as I thought it would've been hard for people to watch me for more than 10 minutes. Including my friends meant having someone that would watch my videos for sure and share honest feedback, like "oh it was a little boring", which would allow me to edit and try out other things.
I think that's the beauty of vlogging for me – I don't have that constant pressure of "this has to be an amazing movie". For example, last year I created 60 videos… only 5 of which I am proud of. If I wasn't vlogging, to begin with, those 5 wouldn't even exist.
Yeah… You're like a glass-half-full type of guy. You've answered a lot of what I was gonna ask which is great. Let's talk about software and hardware. What do you use?
I use mostly Adobe Premier and a MacBook Pro nowadays. I was using this big DSLR that was super hard to haul around. Then I broke the microphone attached to it. Now I have this tiny little RX100, which is an amazing camera.
What I got out of that experience is that there's always a camera somewhere around me. However, if I don't have it ready and in my hands at all times and realize I've lost the moment once I review my footage from the day, it means I won't complete that video. So for me, what's important is having a camera that is easy to use and fast enough to pull out at any given time.
That's interesting… So your personal criteria is that the events have to happen within the span of one Lulato day?
It’s way easier to edit that way. Otherwise you loose the story. Similar to UX, if you remove a step, you end up loosing the flow. Similarly, for me, editing footage from different days means loosing the flow of my story and becomes more complex.
You mentioned a little bit of what you hope to accomplish with your videos, which is getting better at editing. But is there anything that you have as an overall goal?
If I started my video journey with any sort of vision, then I've forgotten it by now.
Last Christmas was a revelation though. I felt really bad because I forgot to buy a present for my little cousin. So I grabbed some Legos I had used as props for one of my vlogs as a stop-motion animation. When I gave those to her, she was like "Oh! this is from the video you made for YouTube!". It became instantly clear that I wanted to start creating videos and animations for kids. I want to encourage them to not be intimidated by code for example, so by doing animations and videos about that, I could help them get into it. She's only 8, but told me "I'm going to make my own movies" and I think that's really cool.
So I think that's my overall goal. I also have certain numbers I want to hit [views, likes and shares] but I don't want to get frustrated over that. I have to let go of that.
So you mentioned 2 things which bring me to my next question: You mentioned younger kids and numbers. Looking at your backlog you're your biggest video has been a younger version of Lulato unboxing his his brand-new PS3. I always wondered if you ever use that video as a benchmark, you know? Do you ever think "I have to get my new videos up to that number of views"?
Not really… That's the type of scenario that if you have the device before anyone else and you do an unboxing video, you will get views. I even thought about doing an unboxing of the iPhone X, but it feels a bit more like click-baiting. I might eventually do more videos like that, but I want to be at a place of comfort when I finish the edit. And unboxing is one of those things that everyone is doing, just because they have access to the device early on…
Yeah… You were one of the lucky people to get early access back then… But it also sheds light into how the numbers are less important to you as you grow into the craft [of creating videos].
Your videos follow you through many different scenarios. There's one where you went with your mom to the supermarket. That was so sweet!
Yeah… my mom gets me a lot of views, haha… She plays a big part on the vlog, like, every time she's in one of my videos, I get a lot of likes.
Oh, so she's the influencer! You also have videos hanging out with friends, cooking tutorials, events, and Miami in general… What is your your favorite subject, if any, to create videos around?
I would say all things Miami, and I got reminded of this during a trip to Italy. I was in this tiny little city… So every time I mentioned that I was from Miami, people would instantly say "MIAMI! Oh, wow, so cool! I LOVE Miami!". I kept thinking that people here [in Miami], all they want to do is leave… But I think Miami is awesome! I've lived in other places, like Ohio for example, and other parts of Florida. But I think Miami is a place you really get to appreciate when you spend time away from it and realize that this place is awesome.
For instance, I keep thinking about my friends who are Miami-Peruvians, or Miami-Venezuelans. There's a difference between a Peruvian from Peru, and a Peruvian that lives in Miami. You sort of get inter-connected with all these different people from other cultures and it is very real. For example when you talk about foods, like arepas, or Chilean ceviche versus Peruvian ceviche… it's real and also really cool.
Also I don't think I can live anywhere cold anymore.
To be continued…
Come back next week to read the rest of our interview where Lulato shares his thoughts on the current state of YouTube, his inspiration to continuously produce content and advice for people who want to start creating their own video.
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