October, November and December are truly like the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the year. The festive mood never really sets in these months. After enjoying ourselves thoroughly during Diwali, we are now gearing up for New Year’s Eve and what better way to set the festive mood than to talk to the Numero Uno Shorts Creator On YouTube- Shorts Break. This week on SN Spotlight, we have Aparna Tandale and Sayali Sonule, the beloved from Shorts Break to speak to us about their creative process, the excitement of tasting success and their future plans.
For those of you who don’t know, we are guessing there would be none, Shorts Break is an entertainment channel on YouTube with more than 33 million subscribers. They create a range of comedy videos with characters that feel like your own. Be it the famous Kaamwali Bai Sheela Didi or the group of friends who cannot ever come to a consensus, they hit a bull’s eye when it comes to relatability. Join us in this fun interview because if you miss this, you miss a big one.
SN: How did the team come together and how did you decide to create Shorts Break?
Sayali: We started after the lockdown. Our director sir started accumulating the team together. He was in contact with Prashanth, the Editor Sir became a part of the team and slowly Aparna joined and then I followed. Aparna and I have been friends since before. Slowly and gradually, now we have a huge team!
Aparna: The rest of the team did not know each other that well before Shorts Break but Sayali and I have worked together in theatre. When we needed another actor for Shorts Break, I suggested Sayali for the part and now we work together. Only for the Shorts Break Entertainment part, we are a team of 30 and overall, more than 80 people work for the different channels that we have.
SN: How does it feel to be the number one Shorts creator and to have millions of subscribers?
Sayali: We were working consistently for a year but did not see any results. Now the success feels great! We cannot describe this feeling. We feel grateful on a daily basis.
Aparna: This was very unexpected for us. There was a time when our channel was not working out at all and we had a lot of pressure on us. From that point onwards to now being number one, it feels wonderful. Once it started to get famous, we have not stopped since then. Now we are 31 Million strong. ( 33.2 Million since the interview)
SN: How did you decide on comedy as your niche?
Aparna: Arun Prabhu Desai Sir, who handles everything, decided that we should make entertainment or comedy content. We decided on what we could do in comedy. From concept to writing, we decided on that. In our team, everybody is an all-rounder. From acting, to script writing to direction, all of us are fit to do each of it.
Sayali: There’s no single person in the team who only does one job, we are all multi-taskers. The comedy genre was new to us, we did not explore that. The background work for comedy already started and we added to it. Slowly, it turned out to be great fun for us as well.
SN: Your Kaamwali Bai is an extremely popular character. How did you ideate on that?
Aparna: Like I said, at one point nothing was working out, to the point that even our jobs were at risk. So all of us sat down to think about what we could do differently.
Sayali: We got directions to try different characters with which people could connect and we were thinking on those lines.
Aparna: I saw a video online in which a mother and a son were fighting and the son was showing his annoyance indirectly by banging things around the house and I decided maybe we should make a video about a Kaamwali Bai on the same lines. In fact, my mother has been a house help and so I knew many tiny details about their role. Thereby, I cast myself for the role of Kaamwali Bai and decided on a character for Sayali.
At that point, we did not know if we were to show a husband in that or not or how we move forward. Once part one was released and went viral, we introduced Prashant, the husband, and slowly a separate husband-wife series also started.
SN: Who has been your biggest source of inspiration in your journey?
Sayali: For a long time, we have been observing a lot of YouTubers and their work. Prajakta Koli is one of our favourites.
SN: Tell us how you decided to work with a single character for a long series.
Aparna: Back then, people would not continue a single character for long. This has become a trend now. People have realised that if we continue with a single character, the audience will feel more connected to the character. Somewhere we give ourselves the credit for this to develop a character and continue it.
Sayali: Yes, this was not a trend in Shorts. To continue one character through many parts and make a series from it is something, I think we started.
SN: Like you mentioned that Prajakta Koli is your favourite, how did it feel to share the stage with her at the YouTube Fan Fest?
Aparna: The experience was phenomenal for us. Since the last two and half years that we have been creating content, we have been so busy with our work, that we don’t meet our fellow creators, we don’t collaborate with them. YTFF was one such opportunity for us where we could meet all of them, and most importantly, our favourite Prajakta Koli.
Sayali: The fun part was that we did not know what Prajakta was doing at the YTFF this year. On the practice day, we were standing in the wings and practising our act when we saw her on the stage practising as a host. That was the moment for us when we realised that we were sharing the stage with her. We kept making eye contact, and smiling but couldn’t speak to each other. While she knew who we were, after formally introducing ourselves and talking to her, we felt great.
SN: As first-timers, how did it feel to perform at the YTFF? How long did you work for it?
Sayali: We did a six-minute act for which we rehearsed for 2 days on stage but the actual work kept going on for around a month.
Aparna: To be given the chance to perform at YTFF that too on the first go, is a big thing. Many creators attend the YTFF but only a few get the chance to perform.
SN: Tell us how and why you’ve been so consistent with content creation.
Sayali: There are two reasons for this- First, when nothing was working out, we were consistent to earn recognition. Once we got the fame, to keep it consistent, we had to work with the same amount of dedication.
SN: Why did you opt for Hindi instead of Marathi for your videos, even while you were operating from Pune?
Aparna: If your content is good but it does not reach a large audience because of the language barrier, then there’s no point. If we make videos in Marathi, it would be limited to Maharashtra but since we were putting in so much hard work, we wanted to reach a bigger audience.
SN: Last we saw you at YTFF, where next can we expect to see you?
Aparna: We want to make our way to OTT, theatre. There are some talks going on but we cannot confirm anything as of now.
Sayali: A few things are in line up, you have seen a glimpse of it on our long format, Take A Break, a bigger version of that is in the pipeline.
Learning about how Shorts Break rose from nothing to being the biggest in the industry has been like a motivational session. We are both proud and happy to see them touch newer heights every day breaking their own records. BRB, as we laugh our hearts out watching another laughter-induced video on Shorts Break.