Many people associate YouTube with funny bloopers, musical parodies and viral videos, but for second-year dental student Rob Homayoon, who studies at Kornberg School of Dentistry on the Health Sciences Campus, the website allows him to teach the world to make origami, and in return, he makes an income in the mid-to-high, four-figure range per month.
Homayoon began his online career by creating video tutorials for solving a Rubik’s Cube keychain in 2008. Currently, Homayoon’s 80 videos have approximately 25 million views by more than 68,000 subscribers.
Yet, Homayoon is quite modest when it comes to his popularity.
“I don’t really consider myself famous per se,” he said. “There are partners on YouTube with millions of subscribers who you might even recognize on the street. I would say that I am gaining popularity and have a pretty decent-sized following.”
The Temple News talked with Homayoon about his online journey making a living through YouTube.
The Temple News: What made you want to start making origami tutorials?
Rob Homayoon: I remembered how I enjoyed creating things out of paper, especially when I was younger. Whether it be the paper balloon [water bomb], ninja stars [shurikens], boomerangs or the other endless things able to be made out of paper. I felt that other people may share similar interests and would think they were fun to make as well, so I decided to try showing how to make them.
TTN: How much are you actually making? Does it pay for college?
RH: When I first started the program back in 2008, I was making somewhere in the hundreds of dollars per month. Recently in this past year, however, the earnings have gone up into the mid-to-high four-figure range per month, with my highest check to date breaking over five figures back in December. Dental school is a large expense in itself, but the income does help to some extent with my school and living expenses.
TTN: What is your favorite origami to make and why?
RH: Right now, I’d say my favorite origami model is the boomerang. It really surprises anyone who sees it because it doesn’t look very complex, and they can’t believe how well it flies. I’ve seen people from ages 6 to 60 making and enjoying it. The boomerang is a really amazing toy to make. I also like the transforming ninja star and rose, [which are] also very great and interesting models.
TTN: Are you planning on using your experiences with the origami in conjunction with your major?
RH: Origami requires delicate hand coordination and dexterity, patience and precision, much like dentistry. I truly consider both of them an art, and I’ve always loved doing things with my hands. I can also see using origami models possibly as little gifts to my dental school patients in the future, especially pediatric patients.
TTN: What advice do you want to give people who want to be YouTube celebrities?
RH: For those looking to start making videos on YouTube, I would really say to make sure you first have a decent camera and tripod. Using a webcam probably won’t cut it – an HD camera is really preferable. Just be yourself and try to engage your viewers by asking questions, putting ideas on video and speaking to your audience.
It’s really up to you on what you’d like to share. As long as you create your own content, you can get the chance to earn revenue from it. At first, I only spent an hour on a video but found out that putting the time into the videos helped tremendously. If you edit the videos, it really makes it look more professional and will most likely gain more views.
Angel Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.