While the University of Georgia University Union’s Q&A event wasn’t the four minute and 20 seconds that David Dobrik is used to with his popular online videos, the Vine-turned-YouTube star was all smiles as he answered questions posed by UGA student fans.
The hour-long event was moderated by three University Union members who asked Dobrik questions submitted by students. The event was attended by over 700 students, Dobrik said, and questions ranged from inquiries about his editing process, favorite videos he’s produced and the experiences he’s had during his TV-hosting gigs. Some even tried their luck at asking for a Tesla, a regular giveaway item for Dobrik.
Throughout the webinar, Dobrik was joined by different members of the Vlog Squad, a group of friends that are regularly featured in Dobrik’s vlogs. Guests included Ella D’Souza and Taylor Hudson, his assistants, and friends Ilya Fedorovich and Jason Nash.
“I just love seeing how much of a real person he was,” Daya Hernandez, a junior human development and family sciences major, said. “You kind of forget that watching his videos. Yes, he makes so much money and gives away cars, but he’s actually just a real person. And I love how much thought goes behind each video.”
Dobrik said it takes about 12 to 14 hours to cut down five hours of footage into four minutes and 20 seconds for every video. At one point, he was posting videos three times a week to his channel with shooting that lasted until 3 a.m. and editing that began at 9 a.m. the same morning. He said the constant traveling and filming made him sick.
“It was the worst, but it was unavoidable because I wasn’t sleeping,” Dobrik said. “I’ve definitely caught up on sleep … I think I’m good for the next 10 years.”
Dobrik attributed his ability to sleep to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he also attributes an unwillingness to produce YouTube content to the pandemic. In a comparison appropriate for October, he compared this moment in time to the Disney Channel original movie “Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge” where the world is turned to black and white.
“It’s really depressing, and that’s what the outside world feels like to me right now,” Dobrik said. “I don’t want to document that or remember any of this, and I just wouldn’t enjoy filming.”
The moderators and Dobrik got distracted from the questions when they began to discuss their love of tea, but it segued into a conversation about his home in Slovakia and how his mom always used to make a combination of black tea, lemon juice and sugar.
Dobrik said leaving his hometown and moving to Los Angeles was his biggest sacrifice in his journey to make it in the entertainment business. But it seems to have paid off with over 18 million YouTube subscribers on a channel hosting content like his record-breaking elephant toothpaste experience — Dobrik showed students the foam was still staining parts of his home almost a year later — and surprising DACA recipients, like himself, with money.
“She was working hard. She was a student. She was working two jobs. She had a kid,” Dobrik said of the girl he surprised in one of his videos. “It meant a lot to me to be able to do that for her, and that was really exciting.”
Since the Q&A was set up as a webinar, the moderators and Dobrik could not see the attendees. Viewer Kayla Simone, a junior real estate major, wished the set up could have been different.
“I think it was done the best way it could have been done, but I think I would have liked it if he could’ve actually seen his fans,” Simone said. “I feel like it would have been a little more interactive and a little bit more fun as fans.”