“Never Stop Making Stuff”: Danny and Michael Philippou’s Advice for Young Creatives

Danny and Michael Philippou, aka RackaRacka, offer their best advice for young and aspiring creatives.

When twin brothers Danny and Michael Philippou were 11, they began filming YouTube videos in the backyard of their Pooraka home in Adelaide‘s northern suburbs. Their channel, TheRackaRacka, took off, and over the years, they’ve amassed a following of 6.74 million subscribers. Now, their feature film debut, Talk to Me is one of the buzziest horror movies of the year. Talk to Me premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2023, where it was quickly picked up by A24 for distribution.

But how did they get here, and what advice do the YouTubers-turned-directors have for aspiring filmmakers and creatives? In a Zoom interview with The Latch, the brothers offer their best advice for young Australian creatives who dream of making it big.

Related: “We Can Text Ari Aster!” Danny and Michael Philippou on ‘Talk to Me’ Success

Danny and Michael’s Advice for Young Creatives

1. Don’t Stop

The first order of business? In order to be successful in a creative industry, you have to keep going, even if you’re not met with immediate success.

“Keep creating stuff, never stop making stuff,” Michael Philippou says.

2. Follow Your Vision

Michael notes that there is “a thing in Adelaide where if you do something different, you’re scolded for it, sometimes”. His advice?

Don’t be swayed by other people’s thoughts on you,” Michael says. “You’re never gonna regret trying! It’s like, just try and make stuff! All those opinions just go out the window — it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter!”

3. Dream Big and Work Hard

“Life is a game!” Michael exclaims.

“Imagine life as a game, whatever game you’re playing — Fortnite, GTA — are you really going to stay where you spawn?” he asks. “I feel like that’s where people stay in their minds, afraid to try new things, or they get stuck in a box.”

The key to avoiding self-limiting beliefs, Michael says, is to never rule anything out, because the possibilities are endless.

You can dream as big as you want!” he says. “Anything you think is a job, that is fun, that you like doing, there is a job in that. And if you work hard enough and just go for it, you’re gonna get somewhere with it.”

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Start

“Not being afraid to start is the biggest thing,” Danny adds. “People are afraid that they’re gonna look stupid for beginning things.”

He concedes: “And you might look stupid! But you will learn from each of those things. You just learn by doing.”

“It’s a scary thing, and the beginning is always the scariest!” Michael agrees. “We have to overcome our mind, that’s all. The fear that we put in our mind, the restraints that our mind puts on us. Once you break past that and you start gaining, just start moving in a direction, it gains momentum and all that kind of goes away.”

5. Embrace the Fear of Failure and Just Go for It

Recalling the jump from being kings of YouTube to first time feature film directors, Michael goes on to say that “right before” they started making Talk to Me was “the most terrifying thing”.

Noting that everything up to that point had “built up to this”, he continues: “there were millions of dollars, there was all this pressure and we were standing there like… we somehow got people to trust our vision, and we didn’t know whether it was going to fail or not!”

He credits their “just f**ken go, run, as far as we can!” approach to their success.

“Let’s just see what happens!” he adds. “That’s the way we do it, anyway!”

Talk to Me is in HOYTS cinemas now. Buy tickets here.

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