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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Ross Prior, Tiktoker

Sometimes, it only takes one viral video to make a Tiktoker out of someone. Ross Prior is living proof of that. We hear the story of how and why he took to TikTok and the success he found thereafter…

As you know, one of our main focuses at HQB is the creative talents of Bournemouth, Poole, and Christchurch. But why should that be limited to musicians, artists, writers and so on? Why not include the social media stars… YouTubers… and, who could forget the latest craze made popular during the first lockdown… Tiktok? From a little further out of our patch than normal (but still in Dorset), Ross Prior is the first TikToker we have grabbed for an interview. We found out what drove him to start a TikTok and how it feels to have found success since…

ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM DORSET? WHERE SPECIFICIALLY ARE YOU FROM?

I’m from near Harman’s Cross – it’s near Corfe Castle. My whole life, I’ve lived here. Born here and lived in the same house.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN ON TIKTOK? WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A TIKTOKER?

I’ve actually been on TikTok for less than half a year. I never wanted to download it, but everyone was just going on about it. At the end of the first lockdown, I broke up with my ex-boyfriend, so I needed something to distract me. So, because of that, I downloaded TikTok. I made a video of me portraying a character that I thought would be quite fun, and it ended up going viral. People loved it. And so it was really from there that it started.

I’m nothing like the character I play in real life — it’s just an act. But from that first video, I developed that character as I made more, and people still loved it.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR CONTENT. ARE YOUR VIDEOS CENTRED AROUND A THEME?

So I’m portraying an upper-class snob, basically. It’s an example of how not to be. My character has a thing against Vauxhall Corsas. He plays on the fact that he can’t change a flat tyre because he’s gay, which led into another video of him changing a flat tyre, where he falls in shit. So it’s anything like that – anything lower class… the character hates lower-class people…

HOW DO YOU COME UP FOR IDEAS FOR THE VIDEOS?

Normally, I’ll observe stuff around me in real life. So if I observe or hear something, I just jot it down in my notes in my phone. Sometimes I will wake up at 2am with an idea of something that could make people laugh. The moment that idea comes into my head, I will write it down. I find I get a lot of weird, interesting ideas when I’m drunk, as well.

So a lot of my stuff is inspired by watching people and what they do. Thinking, “Imagine if they did this – wouldn’t it be horrific? Maybe I could make a TikTok video of me doing that. That’ll be funny”. It’s always original. Based on things I’ve seen, but I’ve created around it and made it my own.

WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS?

Editing the videos is really easy. I’d say the most challenging part is filming them. And finding someone to film them. The person who films them comes all the way from Shepton Mallet, which is about two hours away from where I live. Before lockdown, I would try to get him down here once a week.

Another challenging part is making sure that it is funny enough and decent enough to go viral. I’ve made lots of videos before and thought, “I’ve spent a lot of time making that video, but I’m not going to put it on because it isn’t good. At the time, when I filmed it, I thought it looked good, but now I’ve put it together, it doesn’t”. I have to ensure, in order to get paid, that it is good enough so that I can continuously reach the right viewing figures. So I don’t rush. If I haven’t come up with any ideas in a week, I won’t just make a random video. It’s quality over quantity.

That’s why I don’t post a video every day. The majority of them are successful. I also sometimes go back over old videos and edit parts, and make a new video out of it. Just put a different caption. Something that people can relate to. I once put a 15-second video together of just old clips that I had used, with the caption, “Me on my way to see my ex-boyfriend when I’ve discovered I’ve got COVID,” or something like that. And it reached around 1.1million views within two weeks. Literally just a video of me driving.

WHAT DO YOU THINK PEOPLE HAVE ENJOYED OR RELATED TO MOST FROM YOUR VIDEOS?

Just how unique it is. I think a lot of the stuff that I’ve said and done hasn’t been done before. For example, in my TikToks, I park in disabled car parking spaces and use my BTEC certificate as a disability badge. I know it’s a bit random, but it’s dark humour and it’s made people laugh.

I don’t think there’s anything else really like me on TikTok. There’s no one else who does the same things. People enjoy that. And it’s also quite relatable — people often tag their friends and say, “Oh my gosh – this is you”.

OFF THE BACK OF YOUR SUCCESS, HAVE YOU CONSIDERED TRANSFERRING OVER TO YOUTUBE? OR TAKING UP A CAREER IN PRESENTING?

I have thought about YouTube before, but I think it’s a lot harder to push your content out there. You need to have a big following first. I have a big following but I haven’t promoted my YouTube channel. I want to do it, but I want to spend more time creating the channel. Rather than just rush it and risk making it look stupid. So I’m sticking with TikTok for now.

I’ve had lots of TV offers. I was actually meant to be in Carlisle filming The Cabins. It’s a new version of Love Island. But unfortunately the person I was supposed to go on with could only film the second week. They had 24 hours to match me with someone else and they didn’t. It’s going to be a big show, so I was quite gutted.

WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT STEPS?

I want to make my videos even better. If I were to do a YouTube channel, I’d like to do longer videos. With TikTok, they can only be one minute long. So I’d like to do longer content – perhaps a ten-minute film? Maybe of me going on a road trip that’s an absolute disaster and I end up somewhere really rough; maybe my car breaks down. So, longer content, which will be more interesting. That’s my idea for when I do move to YouTube.

WHAT IS THE DREAM OR THE END GOAL FOR YOU?

The dream is to be able to carry on making the content, and making people laugh. Almost what I’m doing at the moment, but even more. I want to be able to make more videos, film more ideas with better equipment. It can be quite expensive, with drones and stuff.

Keep up with Ross Prior and his content on TikTok here. For more local entertainments stories, click here. And you can also follow HQB Media on all our social media channels: FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and YouTube!

Dale Hurst
Dale Hursthttp://dale-hurst.com
HQB Media's Editor Dale Hurst is a novelist, restaurant critic and presenter. A graduate in Multimedia Journalism from Solent University, he has a wide variety of journalistic experience, ranging from reviewing top London restaurants to interviewing MPs for BBC Radio. Dale is the author of two mystery novels and also a part-time singer.

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