Feb 23, 2019

Pork or Chicken for Chinese New Years

A giraffe decides

For the year of the Pig, we have hot dogs!

For a more traditional Chinese New Year experience, a big family dinner would be in order. But because it’s just us, Peter and I had a Foreigners’ Spring Festival — which still entailed staying in and eating, but our meal was 100% macaroni & cheese and hot dogs. We bought some green beans, for health, but we forgot to cook them. 新年快乐!

Feb 22, 2019

Hello Foreigner: A one month look-back

How’s the new channel doing? Will you be a travel vlog?

The numbers are in!

In late December, we moved our YouTube channel to a new home: Hello Foreigner. And then, about a month into the experiment, we devoted an episode of our podcast (above) to a deep dive into the analytics of the new channel. It’s more fun than it sounds, I promise!

In our discussion, we address how we are defining success, and what factors — in addition to the change of address — led to the new channel’s taking off. Also, towards the end, we share some stories of weird hostels we’ve stayed in; and why we’re not ever going to be a travel blog.

Feb 21, 2019

“Fu” — official music video

The Music of Hello Uncle Foreigner

Subscribe to Western Toilet on YouTube, or give Hello Uncle Foreigner a listen on SoundCloud.

The footage in this video comes from Jiangyang Park, which is about half a kilometer from our apartment. People really do all kinds of things in the park, from martial arts and dancing to painting calligraphy and hanging out with their birds. There’s a reservoir down the hill that I like to go running around.

Feb 20, 2019

Getting ready for Chinese New Year 2019

It’s the Year of the Pig!

Here comes the Year of the Pig.

Though we appreciate the time off, we’re not big into celebrating Chinese New Year … mostly because we don’t have a family in China to go see. But one aspect of the holiday that I really appreciate is the little door guardians. I think the pigs this year are very cute. I bought them at the supermarket!

Feb 19, 2019

Podcast: Why aren’t you live anymore?

Because the internet is weird

The new-improved live-to-tape stream

Peter and I really enjoy talking about the work that we do in these kind of free-form sessions, but live streaming from China has proven to be a problem. Maybe one or two weeks we’ll get lucky, and be able to maintain a decent upload speed, but we’ve had so many connectivity issues that we decided were not fixable at present. (The actual solution is leaving China, and we don’t want to do that.)

But, as I said, we like the discussion, and feel like it’s something that might appeal to others. So for this week, we did everything the same, except, instead of streaming live, we just made a live recording. This way we still get the immediate feel of an un-edited discussion, without freezing every two minutes. We’re pretty happy with how it turned out.

Feb 17, 2019

You have got to live somewhere

We chose China

The place you live is always somewhere.

We continue to consider the fact that we are not leaving China, for now. It’s a tricky business, choosing where to live. Every society has its flaws. But I think that puts on us the responsibility to to the good we can, where we can. When we can. How we can … How do I get out of this loop?!

Feb 16, 2019

Podcast: Not just a talking head

The struggle to make a better vlog

Part one of the discussion

Part two of the discussion

This episode of the live stream/podcast is in two parts, because we had trouble maintaining a live connection to YouTube. In fact, this is the last episode that we did live, because streaming from China is too difficult.

But, we still had a rousing discussion of our creative process; We address keywording and why it’s so necessary to be “findable” on YouTube, as well as our early efforts to expand our vlogs into something beyond just a talking head.

Feb 15, 2019

Number 8 will always surprise you

Who’s leaving China?

Look out for eight …

We have many reasons for not leaving China. I’m sure you have many reasons for living where you live.

Feb 14, 2019

ACT-ing! How do you do it?

A live chat look at our process

“Uncle Sez” is our weekly live stream where we talk about the behind-the-scenes of making a China vlog.

Did you know Hello Uncle Foreigner hosts a chat show, taping live at Whoop Wu studios? We do, every week. And in this episode, we lay out a lot of the changes that have happened over the past two months. Also, there’s a discussion of what it’s like to act when you are not an actor — stay tuned to the second half for that.

But here’s a brief summary of the expansion of the Uncle Foreigner empire: ’Round about December, feelings came to a head that our primary YouTube channel, Hello Uncle Foreigner just wasn’t being seen. We were following all the SEO recommendations, and our content was GOOD! (We entertained the possibility that we weren’t as good as we thought that we were, but it still nagged that we weren’t getting negative responses. We were just getting no responses.)

Then, Peter spun off the music videos into Western Toilet, for organization’s sake. And then Western Toilet started to get views and subscribers with no promotion whatsoever. Which confirmed the theory that we weren’t doing something wrong, Hello Uncle Foreigner was just getting buried.

So … Hello Foreigner was born! We’re still in the middle of moving (and anticipate it will be fully migrated around June), but Hello Foreigner is the new home of our China vlog on YouTube. We are reposting the old videos that — by the numbers — almost no one watched the first time around. And we are putting up new vlog installments as we go; you can recognize the brand new content because it features a giraffe suit.

But, we didn’t want to shut the old Hello Uncle Foreigner down. We had just gotten a custom URL for giraffe’s sake! So old HUF is now the home of our weekly live-taped chat show where Peter and I discuss our lives as creators and China dwellers. It’s a real-time snapshot of our creative process.

To sum up the summary:

  • Hello Foreigner is the home of the China vlog.
    • Legacy reposting will continue through June.
    • New posts featuring a giraffe suit go up weekly.
  • Western Toilet hosts our all-original music videos.
  • Hello Uncle Foreigner is the place to catch our weekly “podcast” discussion of the work we do.

And if that’s all too much to keep track of, just bookmark HelloUncleForeigner.com — it’ll all be here on the site!

Feb 13, 2019

And then now ...

The Music of Hello Uncle Foreigner

More music is at Western Toilet

“And then now” is one of my favorite segments to make. For each one, I spend about two or three days walking around the neighborhood and setting the camera down for a few minutes to capture the mundane action of people living their lives. (Does it feel a little creepy? Sometimes!) Peter then edits the longer footage into 5 second clips of the most interesting moments and puts them all together. I think it really captures the feeling of living our lives, without imposing any kind of narrative. Existentialism!