A YouTube video editor who works with David Dobrik’s Vlog Squad told us what it’s like to film top creators, from private jets to quick turnarounds

  • Joe Vulpis, 29, is a YouTube video editor and creator known for appearing in and working for several members of David Dobrik’s Vlog Squad. 
  • Vulpis, who runs his own YouTube channel with 580,000 subscribers, shared what it has been like to work for some of the top creators on YouTube. 
  • He said working freelance as a film editor and videographer for YouTube creators is completely different than what he thought a career in filmmaking would be like when he was in college. 
  • He also revealed the most important form of currency as a editor who works for popular creators: a shout-out.

Joe Vulpis went to college for filmmaking and thought he would pursue a career in TV production — but he ended up becoming a go-to editor for some of YouTube’s top stars instead.

After graduation, Vulpis, now 29, packed his bags and with friends drove from New Jersey out to California to find a job in video.

“I took a gamble on LA, and within the first month I ended up shooting video for this app release party, and I met Jason Nash,” Vulpis told Business Insider, referring to the popular YouTube creator with 2.5 million subscribers. “He was kind of my ‘in’ to this whole social-media world. From there, I was able to bounce around to different people and film videos.”

Vulpis said he became obsessed with the exciting environment that comes with working around YouTube influencers and that he quickly grew relationships with other creators, even appearing in their videos and comedy sketches. He hasn’t looked back since.

Since meeting Nash — an entertainer, comedian, and member of David Dobrik’s popular YouTube group, the “Vlog Squad” — Vulpis has edited and helped creators like Dobrik (15 million subscribers), Liza Koshy (17 million subscribers), and Josh Peck (an actor and YouTube creator with 3.5 million subscribers) with their YouTube videos.

He’ll film and edit videos for creators on a freelance basis and is known for helping Dobrik with his videos (he recently helped with Dobrik’s annual rewind video, which has 7 million views) and podcast episodes. Vulpis has edited several episodes of Dobrik and Nash’s podcast, “Views,” and sometimes appears on the show for his own 25-second segment, “Joe’s Teeny Weeny Podcast.”

Vulpis also has his own channel, “Ugh it’s Joe,” with 575,000 subscribers.

Vulpis is a part of a group of YouTube-specific video editors who have gained popularity online for their association to top creators — like Andrew Siwicki, a full-time video editor for Shane Dawson, the YouTube star with 23 million subscribers. 

‘It’s a completely different environment than what college taught me filmmaking was like’

Unlike shooting video for a traditional film, many successful creators on YouTube with millions of views and subscribers prefer a simple camera: a smartphone.  

Vulpis said finding that out surprised him and that many of the YouTube creators he’s worked with use just their smartphones to film clips, rather than an expensive camera. 

“When I first moved out to LA I would bring my $5,000 camera,” he said. “But I soon found out that was overkill and unnecessary because these creators were getting millions of views shooting video on their iPhones.”

Another thing that surprised Vulpis was how important a mention or shout-out from a popular creator would be for his career and business.

In the YouTube community, shout-outs — or when one creator links to another’s YouTube page, or Instagram profile in the description of a video and asks their viewers to follow or subscribe to them — is one of the highest forms of currency, Vulpis said. Having his name in the description of a YouTube video acts like a work sample for securing more clients, in place of passing around a demo reel or resume.

In the description of Dobrik’s recent YouTube video, “SURPRISING MY FRIENDS!! MY 2019 REWIND!!,” there’s a link to Vulpis’ YouTube channel and a call-out to subscribe to it.

“If you get your name out there more, people see your work and want to hire you,” Vulpis said. “That’s what I would do in the beginning. Everything I get is from word of mouth.”

Like other YouTube-focused editors, these shout-outs have also helped Vulpis gain popularity and followers online (he has 393,000 followers on Instagram), as well as his occasional appearances and mentions in videos. 

Overall, he said having this as a job is different than what he thought being a video editor would be like because of the people he’s surrounded by and working for. 

“It’s a completely different environment than what college taught me filmmaking was like,” he said. “Right now, I’m shooting with Brandon Rogers for Comedy Central and we are doing it at his apartment. The other day I flew to Miami (with other creators) in a private jet.”

Vulpis said there were “Lamborginis waiting for us when we landed.”

This has been my favorite year out of my 23 years of existence on this planet. Happy birthday jesus

A post shared by JOE VULPIS (@ughitsjoe) on Dec 25, 2019 at 11:56am PST on

A day in the life

From helping with one of Dobrik’s wild stunts or surprises (which gain millions of views), to editing and appearing in a food mukbang video for Josh Peck’s channel, Vulpis said working with YouTube creators is all about quick turnaround and getting videos up right away.

Vulpis is also more likely to be hired to help with a YouTube video if the video is sponsored by a company and is a part of a brand campaign, he said.

On an average day, Vulpis said he shoots around three videos for different YouTube creators, usually at their houses, he said. Then the second half of the day he’ll edit footage or work on his own videos.

To edit videos, Vulpis said he uses a mix between programs like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, and iMovie, depending on what software the creator uses.

“I don’t have time outside of YouTube to do anything else,” he said of his packed schedule. “But I’m so happy about it because it’s what I love.”


For more on how to become a successful influencer, according to YouTube and Instagram stars, check out these Business Insider Prime posts:

SEE ALSO: Inside the life and career rise of YouTube star Shane Dawson’s video editor, Andrew Siwicki

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