“Going viral” is every creative’s dream: Millions of views. Corporate offers pouring in. Countless hours of work that suddenly come to mind-blowing fruition.
Devin Graham, aka devinsupertramp, made that journey. We wanted to profile him not just because he’s a rabid G-Technology user, but mostly because he’s awesome. That sounds silly and hyperbolic, we know. It’s not. Look at his extreme sports work. Rarely have we seen such a consistently impressive mix of beauty, athleticism, insanity, and all-out fun from an artist. Follow his work and you’ll see phrases like “probably not our safest idea” pop up repeatedly. If you have any fond memory of childhood, and any aesthetic appreciation as a creative adult, you’ll find devinsupertramp irresistible.
What’s behind devinsupertramp’s rise to globe-trotting adventure? We had to ask.
G-Technology: Why extreme adventure content?
Devin: I grew up in the outdoors — always hiking, camping with my dad, snowboarding. But I’ve always been intrigued by pushing the human limits. One thing I love about the extreme thing is that everyone we work with is the best at what they do. Like, we had the world’s best scooter riders. I love working with people that devote their entire lives to this one skillset and just seeing that passion come through. To me, it’s super inspiring to show off their talents to the world.
G-Technology: How’d you get devinsupertramp off the ground? Pun intended.
Devin: I’ve made movies ever since I can remember. I was a little kid shooting stop-motion and my siblings. In high school, I took photography classes, and then, after getting inspired by some action blockbusters, I was like, “I want to make movies for a living.” So, I went to film school. Actually, I got rejected from the film program the first time I applied, which made me volunteer for every film thing going on at the college — craft service, carrying lights, whatever I could do. One day, my roommate was like, “YouTube is going to be the next big thing for videos. You should get on that.”
G-Technology: And you did.
Devin: Well, I started making videos just kind of for fun, not expecting anything to happen. But it blew up. Eight years later, it’s become the YouTube channel we have now, with 5 million subscribers. We travel around the world creating content that we love creating.
G-Technology: And now you get to work with action blockbuster companies!
Devin: I do! It’s so fun and exciting. But yeah, I was always making content. I didn’t wait ‘til after I graduated. I was constantly looking for opportunities and networking with people from the film program. I think that was a big part of [succeeding at that time], just looking for every opportunity to milk it for everything I could.
G-Technology: In the early days, how did you promote your work?
Devin: I was creating all my stuff on my YouTube channel. There was a lot of content, even then, but it was mostly shot on whatever smartphone people had, or it was just people blogging. There wasn’t really anything cinematic. So right away, our stuff stood out. One of the first videos I ever posted ended up getting like a million views right away, and people all around the world started contacting me, saying, “Hey, Devin, I’d love for you to shoot a commercial for us.” I had these big opportunities right from the start, just by creating content with my friends and putting it out on my YouTube channel.
G-Technology: Where did you get the money for equipment?
Devin: Oh, at that time, I didn’t even own a camera. I just borrowed some of my friends’ cameras. We didn’t have any fancy stuff. I was using fairly cheap cameras compared to what we’re using now. But I was just creating the best content I could with the resources I had, and I was able to build up a company from that.
G-Technology: If you had to start from scratch today, do you think you could do it again?
Devin: I definitely think it’s 100 percent doable, but I would have to play the game differently. I mean, even now, we’re having to play the game differently than we did six months ago. Social media is hard because it’s constantly evolving. The algorithms keep changing.
G-Technology: What are you doing today that’s different from before?
Devin: One thing is just using trends and popular things that are going on. For example, a year and a half ago, augmented reality smartphone gaming got very popular, so we did a video around that, and it got 20 million views within a couple weeks. We have to be very smart about what content we put out — not just putting out content to put out content.
One thing that’s always stood true, though, since the beginning is consistent content. When we don’t put out a video weekly, it actually hurts our content being seen. The famous people online now are the ones putting out daily content. For what we’re doing, that’s impossible, so we’ve sort of shifted platforms to Facebook, which is where we push our main content now, because it favors good-quality content.
G-Technology: Teens will be the first to say that grown-ups struggle with knowing what’s cool. How do you chase after topics likely to blow up?
Devin: A big one is going online and seeing what videos are trending. Also, some search engines will show you the top things searched that day, that week, that month. So, it’s being on top of that, or, hey, someone is coming out with a new album. We know that’s going to be really popular. Just staying current with all that stuff. You can also use social media sites to get an idea of what people are really excited about.
G-Technology: We love having you on this blog for many reasons, one of which is variety. You’re a bona fide, independent G-Technology customer, not one of our ambassadors. So…out of all the options out there, why do you use G-Technology?
Devin: We shoot so much content. We own two 8K cameras that we film everything with, and we’re shooting daily for the most part. On an average week, we’re shooting about eight terabytes and then backing that up — so 16 terabytes a week. Obviously, we need a lot of storage, and we need storage that we can access quickly. We’re not putting it on tape. We need to pull stuff up right there and start editing on it right away. So, we need high-capacity drives that are fast. That’s why we use the 96 TB G-SPEED Shuttle XL towers. I want to say we have around 10 to 12 of those, and we’ve been shooting with those for the last three to four years.
G-Technology: That’s incredible, but let’s play sound bite double-or-nothing. There are other storage options on the market, and G-Technology isn’t exactly the low-cost leader. Is there more to the story?
Devin: The biggest reason I picked G-Technology is that we needed something super reliable. Some of these shoots involve forking out a lot of money. I need a drive I can completely trust and is also super fast, and that’s exactly what I get with the G-Technology drives.