She may be only 25, but actress, singer and author Carrie Hope Fletcher has over half a million subscribers on YouTube, where she posts videos of her performances and daily life.
Maybe it's because she can really belt out a song like a seasoned pro, or 'cos her brother is Tom Fletcher from Brit pop band McFly.
While in town to perform as Wednesday Addams in the ongoing The Addams Family musical at the MES Theatre at Mediacorp, Carrie waxes lyrical to us about how she came into showbiz success.
Having acted since she was five, she has also starred in numerous crowd faves in London’s West End, such as Eponine in Les Misérables, Jemima Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Jane Banks in Mary Poppins. Carrie also has a thriving YouTube channel with over 650K subscribers, where she uploads videos of her performances and daily life.
8 DAYS: Does being a YouTube star help your acting career, or is it vice versa?
CARRIE HOPE FLETCHER: These days, show producers are looking at online statistics and how influential an actress is. If there are two actresses being considered for a role, but one has half a million subscribers online, the producer will pick her. Some of my fellow cast members take videos of props backstage or play games with their fans, and people love it.
And since I’m playing Wednesday Addams, I have a YouTube video series called Watch Me Wednesdays where I film backstage things that the audience doesn’t usually get to see. That’s what producers look for. They want the cast to share a show with others as much as they can.
I think you need to be aware that important people who might influence your career are looking at what you’re doing online. It’s not just about the number of subscribers you have; they also want to see how you engage with your audience.
Do you earn an income from YouTube?
Yes, I do. They have an ad revenue [scheme]. If someone watches the ad that plays before your video, you get a penny for it (laughs). It’s alright, not enough to live on. It depends on how many people watch your videos.
I have figured out that YouTube pays about £1 (S$1.80) per 1,000 views, and I get about a million views a month. So it’s a nice little side project that I’ve going on if everything else goes completely wrong! But my day job [as an actress] still pays better.
What’s your formula for amassing 650K YouTube subscribers?
I have been on YouTube for six years now. It has kind of reached a plateau where the following is not growing anymore. But in 2012 or 2013, I gained 200K subscribers in a few months. I was unemployed at that time and I posted videos every other day.
My videos would appear on YouTube’s home page — people log onto YouTube and my face would be there, and [that helps in getting more subscribers]. A lot of that has got to do with YouTube’s algorithms. I think it’s how much engagement you have with your audience within a certain amount of time, as well as comments and likes your videos receive.
If my video has 5,000 views and 1,000 people comment on it within the space of an hour, it’ll trend. My audience is very much like me; they all love Disney things, books and musical theatre. So when I put up a video about these topics, they’d watch.
You covered McFly’s ‘Love Is on the Radio’ with your brother Tom, who’s a vocalist-guitarist with the band. Having a famous sibling must help.
Collaborations are a big thing on YouTube. I have friends who have been on YouTube for much longer than I have, so when we do a video together, their subscribers also subscribe to me and vice versa.
I did a video with a band called The Vamps, who share the same management company as McFly. They all came to my house and we sang a song together. That song is now one of the most viewed videos on my channel. It’s nice that I have such talented friends!
But a lot of people think I’m in this industry ’cos of my brother. He is seven years older than me and he has always been very protective of me. [The criticism] has decreased over the years ’cos I have proven that I can be cast in a show based on my own talent. I also developed a thicker skin.
How do you deal with Internet trolls?
It’s part of being on YouTube! Whenever I have a trending video, I also get [comments from] people who are not necessarily part of my audience. They have no qualms about saying what they think of me based on that one video they saw. They usually [zero in on] my appearance and would call me fat or ugly. I just delete their comments.
In the past, I’d spend hours replying to try to get them to understand my point of view. But you can’t win an Internet argument, ever. There’s nothing you can do about people who just enjoy not liking you!
Catch Carrie in The Addams Family, now till Dec 3, MES Theatre at Mediacorp (1 Stars Ave). Tix from Sistic.