Over the last decade, we have seen a rise in creators with platforms like YouTube democratizing distribution and improvements in technology to record content being much more accessible. Many of these creators are being paid seven figures either by the distribution platforms or through brands in partnerships. What’s most fascinating however is that this field is dominated by young Gen-Z people who grew up in a world where a lot of this was native giving them a better understanding of what works. One creator who has made a remarkable impact on the industry not just in terms of producing content but also paving the way in which it is produced is TeaWap also known as Amir Osman.
Amir was born in Montreal, Canada, and grew up speaking French which is native to the region. Additionally, his family is originally from Lebanon which meant he grew up interacting with a variety of cultures. He had a very close-knit family looking up to his older brother who loved deconstructing things and they were both very into computers. The area he was most interested in was social media and streaming platforms and the primary platform was YouTube where he would watch videos about games he played such as Call Of Duty. Amongst his favorite YouTubers were FaZe Clan. He loved how “authentic and relatable” the videos they produced were and it started to show him that there was an alternative way to make a living if you work hard and create good content. When the time came to go to university with this ethos in mind he decided to study Computer Science. He loved the autonomy having the skill set of a computer programmer would give him plus the problem-solving nature of it. However, during his first year, the passion he expected wasn’t there. Searching for something else to do, he decided to follow in the footsteps of the people he had followed online and set up a YouTube account with a view to create videos.
Starting as a content creator Amir had zero editing or video recording experience but watched numerous training videos online and knew the best way to learn would be to start creating. He came up with the name ‘TeaWap’ which stemmed from his love for drinking tea. Hesitant to show his face in his videos he decided that he would create videos about other well-known creators. His first video was about RiceGum a well-known influencer who he created a meme about. He didn’t have huge expectations but roughly 3 days after posting the meme he noticed his phone getting blown up with a significant number of views and notifications. RiceGum has commented on the video saying “you’re a clown” and then posted a video of him reacting to the meme. This was extremely uplifting for Amir and gave him the conviction to continue creating content.
He continued making viral videos and memes based on trending topics and slowly built up a following. However, things changed in 2016 when he created content around the mobile game Pokemon Go which had gained a significant amount of popularity. He created a meme about people competing in the game like it was the Olympics which got picked up by several other channels and amassed millions of views. This all happened within 6 months of creating content and was soon followed up by RiceGum contacting him on Twitter to work with him on the editing of his videos. This was the first time he realized he could make a living off content creation so once again he doubled down.
Going Full Time
As the work started to pile up Amir realized that not being in L.A. where many of the creators were put him at a disadvantage. In the summer of 2017, he decided to spend a week in L.A. to hang out with some of the other creators he had connected with. The bond they had created through working together was just as strong in real life and three weeks later they offered him to move in with them and work together on a full-time basis. Whilst he knew his parents would initially be disappointed he also knew this was an opportunity many kids his age dream of so he decided at 19 to move in with them and pursue a career as an artist. His initial assumption was right and being local meant he was able to work with many creators such as RiceGum, FaZe Adapt, FaZe Banks, Alissa Violet. He was sleeping on the couch but it was some of the “happiest times of my life” he recalls being around and working with people he looked up to.
TeaWap’s work with his new roommates gained a lot of attention from viewers around the world. The audience loved the presence of TeaWap’s edits, describing it as a breeze of fresh air for YouTube content. The editing was distinct and many aspiring creators loved the new style he brought. Naturally, other creators started getting inspiration from it and made numerous videos on “How To Edit Like TeaWap ” in hopes to recreate his unique take on content. The waves he had created upon the young generation of creators defined him as a trendsetter of the industry.
Upon editing hundreds of videos with millions of views, TeaWap wanted to transcend his rare experience and knowledge in the industry into something bigger than him. With his brother Ayman Osman, he started to think about how they could create something even better than YouTube videos to make the process simpler for creators. His brother, who studied software engineering at university, suggested offering products which are digital that creators can add to their content. This would give them something they could create once and distribute with no extra cost which would be beneficial to them and also give the aspiring creators more value.
Amir and Ayman wanted to put their focus on something they know creators need but spend hours either learning how to do or editing into their videos. These were pop-ups or cues specifically designed for YouTubers that appear at various points of the video alerting viewers that they can subscribe to Instagram for example. Amir knew a lot of talented creatives so reached out to people who would help create this digital content whilst his brother led the automation and integration of these animations so they could easily be added to videos. The duo now have a suite of high-quality animations aspiring creators can download within only 5 minutes, making their work easier to do in significantly less time. Ultimately his success has been great for his reputation and great for him financially but he derives the most pleasure from working with other creators and giving young people the type of opportunity he was fortunate enough to get.
This article is part of a series featuring underrepresented people making a difference. To submit ideas for features or keep up to date with new releases you can find me on Twitter – @TommyPF91