Genevieve Maslin
November 8, 2018

Interview with an Influencer: Brett, Scott & Derek (@howridiculous)

How Ridiculous, a team of three mates Brett Stanford, Scott Gaunson and Derek Herron, create extraordinary videos for their YouTube channel and Instagram account. Always up for a new adventure or challenge, the Guinness World Record breakers know all about how to make engaging social media content.

This week, we had a chat with How Ridiculous, a group of three mates Brett Stanford, Scott Gaunson and Derek Herron who make some garishly outrageous videos for their Youtube channel. They've been pumping out quality content since 2009, which has proven to be a hit considering their fanbase of 3.7 million followers on Youtube and 173k on Instagram.
The guys managed to take some time out of their hectic production schedule to give us some insight on how they've built such a strong following for How Ridiculous and how they make such brilliant videos. Read on below!
Introduce yourselves, tell us about How Ridiculous and why you decided to start a YouTube channel?
How Ridiculous
is a group of 3 mates (Brett, Scott & Derek) from Perth who make ridiculous videos then chuck them up on YouTube for the world to see. This ranges from 200m Guinness World Record basketball shots off African waterfalls to throwing a bowling ball onto a trampoline from a 165m Swiss Dam - and all sorts of things in between.
We started making videos back in 2009 when we saw some basketball trick shots being posted on YouTube and decided to give it a crack ourselves. It turned out to be a lot of fun so we haven’t stopped filming stuff since! 
What are your secrets to success and how did you turn your passion into a paying job?
We’ve been doing How Ridiculous for 9 years now, but for only 3 years as a paying job. Persistence and determination has been huge. Once we set our mind on achieving something we simply don’t give up, as evidenced by us spending 6 days attempting a world record basketball shot earlier this year!
As YouTubers, we think it’s really important to enjoy what you do regardless of how many likes/comments/views you get. A lot of people start a YouTube channel with the goal to get famous and do it as a job - for us, that simply wasn’t true. We just loved hanging out and making the sort of videos we wanted to make.
We left behind other jobs and went part-time without any real guaranteed income. To be honest it was scary, but also really exciting. We came to the place of realising that we would rather try, with the possibility of failure, than look back in 10 years and wonder “what if?”
What do you think was your breakout moment?
There have been many big moments throughout our journey but we think the highlight was our world record basketball shot off a 180m in Switzerland in 2016. In 2015 we had set the previous record (126m) at Gordon Dam in Tasmania but this was with the assistance of the Sunday Night program on Channel 7.
This time, we took on the 180m challenge on our own, which was pretty intense given there were no guarantees the shot would even go in and the trip could be all for nothing. Fortunately, we managed to pull all the logistical stuff together and then Derek somehow made the shot on his third try on the first morning.
Pulling off a stunt like this on our own back in a place like the Swiss Alps helped us to realise that we had the capability to do almost anything we set our minds on. It’s definitely helped us to continue to dream bigger, better and more ridiculous. No doubt, it's pushed the channel to become what it is today.
How has your vlogging changed since you got started? 
Our content style has changed massively since we started out.
Back in the day, it was all about trick shots and we included nothing of our personalities. We think this was mostly because we didn’t want to make the videos about us. Truth be told, we doubt many people would have even known our names let alone anything about our personalities.
But over time we realised it was a lot more interesting if we let people in on what we are like and how much fun we have on shoots so that’s what we started doing. Ever since that shift in priorities, we’ve gone to longer form content and more of a vlog style. As a result, we've seen massive increases in views, video retention, and engagement. 
What are two learnings since starting out?
We’ve learnt a truckload, but if I had to pick two things it would be: 
  1. You’ve gotta be prepared to fail in order to succeed and
  2. No amount of views, subscribers, followers or likes will ever really satisfy. There is definitely more to life and I’m thankful that we’ve known that from the start.
What is your favourite video that you have posted and why?
My favourite is definitely the 27 minute edit of our recent adventure to Lesotho, Africa which is our longest ever video.
Our goal for this trip was to make a 200m basketball shot from the top of a waterfall into the canyon below. It was extremely ambitious, to say the least.
None of us would have believed in past years that such a shot was possible, so to go and pull it off in such a beautiful place will be an experience we'll each treasure for the rest of our lives.
A big part of what made this video special was that it took us 6 gruelling days to pull it off and now, viewers get to come along for the ride with us. We had 7 days to make the shot and it was a real challenge to keep pushing on each day. For Derek to finally knock it down on the 6th day made it simply unforgettable.
You started off with basketball trickshot, what’s next for you guys? How do you keep coming up with your amazing ideas?
Honestly, they come from anyone, at any place, at any time!
We’ve got a Whatsapp group and there have been many occasions where we're doing nothing How Ridiculous related but something just pops into our heads so we'll throw it to the other guys in the thread so we don't forget it. More often than not, a few days or weeks pass and we’re out doing that very idea.
A channel like ours needs constant creative out-of-the-box thinking to be successful and fortunately, that seems to be something that comes pretty naturally to us.
You have a huge fan base, how do you keep them engaged?
With our content, it really is a case of what you see is what you get and we think our fans really appreciate and enjoy that. They feel like they know us and simply get to come on our crazy adventures with us.
It’s also good for us because we don’t need to switch on or off from our on-screen personas because they don’t exist!
We also try and interact a lot with our fans. Probably the best example of that is our “Commtests” (comment contests) that we started doing in our videos in early 2017. Basically, we ask a simple question that could be related to the video or completely random and we pick a correct/best answer and pin the comment on YouTube.
The first video we did it on got over 20,000 comments in a few days whereas previously we were lucky to get to 1000. This then lead to probably our most well-known phrase in “We’ll Pin Ya!” We even have it on merch now! 
Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 11.48.19 am
What equipment do you use (Camera/software/editing apps)?
We edit with Adobe Premiere Pro.
Camera wise we have a huge range which isn’t surprising given the sort of things we try and pull off. But in a nutshell we’ve got a heap of GoPros, a few Sony Handycams and a Sony RX 100V/Sony FS700 for capturing stuff in slow motion.
Ideally, we’d have our own Phantom high-speed camera but those things are just so expensive! Maybe one day…
How do you go about choosing the brands that you work with?
We firstly look at the brand and its product(s) and see if they align well with the How Ridiculous brand and values. If there’s a good synergy there then it’s onto the creative.
If we can come up with a video concept idea that everyone is excited about then there’s a good chance it’ll end up happening. We like to think we know our audience pretty well, so it’s really important to us that brands know and respect them from the outset.
What has been your favourite brand collaboration to date and why?
We’re very grateful that we’ve been involved in many enjoyable and fruitful brand collabs over the years so picking one is tough!
But because we must choose, we’d have to say our trip to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines in promotion of the 2017 Euroleague Final 4. We had never been there before so it was an amazing experience just to see the city let alone film basketball trick shots at multiple famous sites.
It’s also particularly memorable because Scott drained possibly one of our craziest and most unlikely basketball shots from an ancient lighthouse onto a moving ship.
Credit: @howridiculous

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