The Youtube thundering Greek

Mr. Kovalakides your origins come from Thessaloniki, if I’m not wrong. Where did you grow up? 

Yes, both grandparents came from that area, my grandmother from a small place called Neos Skopos.  I grew up in a Maryland suburb, just outside Washington D.C.  My father grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, where his parents arrived from Greece in the 1920s and opened a grocery store.

Did you grow up in the typical as we say, Greek family, with all the traditions and smells from the grandmother’s cooking?

I wish.  My Greek grandparents died before I was born.

Do you speak Greek?

Unfortunately not.  Growing up, my father was set on becoming as “American” as possible, so he embraced English and slowly lost the Greek language.  As a result, I was only taught a few words.

You became worldwide known through your YouTube channel, would you like to share the secrets of your success and how you started uploading videos?

I started making content for YouTube because I realized the audience was enormous, and there were no gate-keepers blocking my way to getting to them.  It was a chance to get my voice out as a filmmaker/story-teller.

Many of your videos have more than a million views! When your first series reached that number of views, how did you react?

I was astonished and thrilled.  But it’s an odd feeling because all you see are numbers.  You don’t see the actual faces behind them.

At what age did you realize that the movie business was your calling?

When I was 13 years old.

How difficult is to succeed in Hollywood?  

If you mean traditional TV and film, it is extremely difficult.  There is no clear ladder to climb like there is in most other professions.  Success is rare, and based on three factors: 1) tremendous talent, 2) connections, and 3) luck.  If a person doesn’t have all three of these, eventually they will move back home and/or try another career.  Sad but true.

Tell us more about the “Subscriber Magnet”

Subscriber Magnet is a private YouTube training course available on my blog.  I made it for two reasons.  One, because I felt that YouTube’s Creator Playbook, while very helpful, didn’t answer the question of, “What kind of videos should I make?”  And secondly, I wanted a product to sell on the side to help support myself as an independent filmmaker.  Ironically, as soon as I finished making the course, it was seen by YouTube and I was hired there full-time.

Recently after the success of your YouTube channel, and the “Subscriber Magnet”, even YouTube decided to make you a job offer. Was it a dream come true? Can you explain to our readers what do you do exactly in YouTube?

It has indeed been a dream job.  Google (which owns YouTube) is a wonderful company to work for as they truly care about their employees.  I’m basically a Content Strategist.  My role involves advising some of YouTube’s most important and successful channels.  In Hollywood terms, the role might be compared to a Creative Executive.

What are your dreams and plans for the future?

I’d like to continue to tell stories with the camera, and working with people who do the same.

Do you follow the news concerning Greece and the economic crisis?

I keep an eye on it, yes.  Certainly disconcerting.

Have you ever been in Greece? Do you have a favorite place?

My wife and I travelled to Greece a few years ago.  Our favorite places were Nafplion, and Chania on Crete.

What does Greece mean for you?

Even though I didn’t grow up with much Greek culture, I’m proud to be from the lineage of such a prolific people.  When I visited, I very much felt a connection to the land.  Crete especially felt like a magical place.

If you could address a question to all Greeks, what would you like to ask them?

What sort of videos do you like to watch on YouTube? Is there any way I can help Greece’s recent troubles by using my audience?


The Youtube thundering Greek

Matt Kovalakides –best known as Matt Koval- has gained worldwide popularity via Youtube. He’s the creator and director of videos uploaded to his personal Youtube channel and he was hired to work with the major video-sharing website. He is currently YouTube’s Lead Creative Strategist.

Kovalakides’s roots are in Thessaloniki. His grandparents migrated to the United States and resided at New Jersey. He graduated the Film Studies Faculty of the University of Towson and he later relocated to Los Angeles and Hollywood to pursue his dreams to build a career.

“I grew up outside Washington D.C. My grandparents came over on the boat from the Thessaloniki area.  My grandmother was from a small town called Neos Skopos, in Northeast Greece. They met in the United States and started a grocery store in Princeton, New Jersey.”

He started out as a Hollywood screenwriter, director and filmmaker and decided to make his videos public via Youtube, in an effort to experiment beyond the limitations of cinema. He uploaded short comedies on Youtube that earned him huge popularity.

Matt has worked with television networks, like Discovery, CMT and GAC. His Youtube channel has over 130,000 subscribers and several of his videos exceed 1 million views! The Fuplers became an extremely popular series with thousands of hundreds of views on Youtube, initially created by Koval for a film contest without earning him back the expected success.

“I decided to enroll as Matt Koval rather than Kovalakides, my proper last name. I thought that Koval is easier to remember and that it would protect my identity during the competition”, he mentioned in a former interview.

Together with producer Robert Green, Koval created the web series 8 Dates, telling the story of a girl pursuing true love.

In 2012, Koval finished off Subscriber Magnet, an educational series about turning the Youtube uploaded material into an effective tool, where he offers viewers the experience and techniques he used to become popular, successfully managing to appeal on Youtube management that hired him to work in the Department of Strategic Planning.