Actor and writer June Shelton on becoming a YouTube sensation

june shelton

Detroit-bred actor and writer June Shelton, 22, has always been very outgoing and humorous. In June 2011, he made his digital debut as a standup comedian on YouTube as Maxjunemax1. He later connected and teamed up with a fellow comedian on YouTube, Spoken Reasons, and watched his star rise and his fan base skyrocket. He’s produced over 50 videos and has garnered over 130,000 views, appeared in multiple short films and stage plays, and even opened up for Hollywood favorite, Brandon T. Jackson.

Pride is a short film written and starred in by Shelton. It tells the story of a guy who’s struggling with the decision to leave or stay with his family. His performance earned him a nomination for “Trinity’s Best Artist Award” and the touching story was nominated for Best Short Film at the Trinity International Film Festival and a MyTV20 Award.

Here, Shelton talks about finding his passion and building his audience on YouTube.

How did you arrive at this career choice? Was it a deliberate decision or a gradual and natural evolution?
I arrived at this career choice the moment I wrote my first short film, The Burger Chronicles. Everything felt so natural that this had to be my gift.

What separates you from others in your field? What is unique to the experience that you create?
I think the thing that separates me from most people in my field is that I take real life situations and put a funny twist on it, or make it so dramatic that you just left with your mouth open.

For those considering entering this arena, what skill sets do you recommend mastering? What traits are most conducive to success?;
For anyone entering this field, or any other field for that matter, I would tell them to adopt Spoken Reasons’s FCHW slogan: “Faith. Consistency. Hard Work.” With those three things, you can do whatever you want! But you can’t have one without the other three.

How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
I stay at the leading edge by talking about things that are relevant. For example, sure I COULD talk about “Flavor of Love.” But no one cares! They would rather listen to me talk about “Love & Hip Hop.” It’s more so about staying with the times.

Do you think that there are any widely held misconceptions about what you do? If so, what are they and how do you work to dispel them?
There are always misconceptions. I focus a lot more on YouTube than I ever have on standup back when I wanted to be a comedian. And some of the people who would also do stand up would say things like, “You’re a YouTube comedian; this is a different lane. That YouTube stuff is easy! Anybody can do that!” And my reply to that was, if it’s so easy, then do it. Everyone thinks something is easy from a distance until they try it and realize that it’s harder than it looks.

How do you map out your goals? How do you measure your success?
I map out my goals by making a six-month plan. So in six months I want to have this many subscribers and views. Then I do my best to reach that quota.

Who do you consider to be your peers in your field? Who do you see/use as examples for you to emulate?
My peers are people like Trey Moe, Reckless Mike, TopRopeZeus, and people like that. And it’s crazy because I actually look up to them, too, as far as where I want to be. I only say they are my peers because we are all reaching towards the same goal. Now, as far as emulating, I am a huge Hotdamnirock (Kain Carter) fan. Watching his videos is really the thing that made me want to start doing YouTube. And looking back at my old material I did emulate him a little bit, but it wasn’t purposely. It was just so great how he did it, so in my mind that was just how it was supposed to be done.

Name two of your top role models: one from your industry and one from outside of it.
Well as far as role models go, I would definitely put Kain Carter in that category. And as far as role models outside of the industry, I would have to say my uncle. To me, he is just a leading example of how a man is supposed to take care of his family. He also taught me a lot as far as success goes. You attract what you put out. It’s pretty much the law of attraction. If you follow that, the sky is pretty much the limit. And right now, that’s all proving to be true.

Name three books, works, performances or exhibits that changed how you view life and/or yourself.
I would have to say, Big Sean’s vlogs changed how I viewed alot of things. Sean is already an influential artist to me because he talks about a lot of things that I’m going through right now, not to mention the fact that we are from the same city. Then when he put his vlogs out – Fear, Family, Imagination and Reality – it just really hit home. It was like listening to a motivational speech. Plus he put it out during a time when I was at my lowest. I was almost about to just throw the towel in, so if anyone hasn’t heard his vlogs, I definitely recommend listening. I listen to them all at least once a week to keep me motivated.

Why do you consider continued learning important?
I feel like continued learning is always important because you will never know everything, but the more you know, the better for you. It will turn you into a better artist of any kind.

What affirmations do you repeat to yourself that contribute to your success?
I just keep telling myself that everyday I am closer and closer to my goal.

What role does technology play in your day-to-day life? How do you utilize it?
Technology plays a pretty large role in my life since I am a YouTube-r. Mostly because I have to be on Twitter, Instagram and sadly enough Facebook and really be social to bring in more fans.

What is your favorite vacation destination and why?My favorite vacation spot would be LA. I just really love the scenery and it’s pretty hot. I love hot weather. Anything below 80 degrees and I’m uncomfortable. I know that’s weird because I live in Detroit.

What does it take to be iconic? In your estimation, who has achieved that status?
To be iconic, you have to be someone who has changed everything. You have to be someone that people look up to in some type of way. In my opinion, as far as YouTube, Spoken Reasons, he has really changed everything because he not only made it, but he created his own lane while doing it. He started something new that no one else had done before. He went from YouTube straight to the big screen. Four years ago, that was unheard of.

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