On this week’s episode, I have TikTok star Merrick Hanna. Tune in as we talk about the variety of content he enjoys producing as well as his creative process. We also dive into a little bit about his overall inspirations and creative goals for the future.

Show Notes

Merrick Hanna on TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@merrickhanna

Merrick Hanna on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@UC39he8ro-KtBHkq0NXOFyQw 

Merrick Hanna on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/merrickhanna/

Michael’s Online Screenwriting Course – https://michaeljamin.com/course

Free Screenwriting Lesson – https://michaeljamin.com/free

Join My Newsletter – https://michaeljamin.com/newsletter

Autogenerated Transcript

Merrick Hanna:
I’m looking for popular TikTok routines, popular trends, something I can turn into my own because that’s how I come up with ideas. I find something like a popular dance, a popular song. It could be even a hashtag or just a popular meme online. And I think, how can I take this and then make it into something original? And that is on brand for me.

Michael Jamin:
You’re listening to, what the Hell is Michael Jamin talking about? I’ll tell you what I’m talking about. I’m talking about creativity. I’m talking about writing, and I’m talking about reinventing yourself through the arts. Hey everyone, it’s Michael Jamin and I’m back with another episode. I’ve been doing some rebranding, guys. So the first couple of, I’m over a hundred episodes. So I’ve been doing this podcast for over two years. It’s been called Screenwriters, need to Hear This. And mostly I’ve been talking to TV writers and to actors and directors that I’ve worked with, but then I’ve been railing against it for everybody. Guys, put your creative work out there. Just be creative, see where the energy goes, because it’ll lead you somewhere. And so I’m rebranding the podcast right now. I think I’m just going to call it the Michael Jamin Show, where we just talk about what Michael Jamin is thinking of today, but whatever.
Who gives a crap what the name is called? The point is, I was at a movie premiere, I’m name dropping here. I was at a premiere a couple of, maybe a month or two ago, I don’t know, maybe more than that. And this kid comes up to me, he says, Hey, I follow you on TikTok. I go, oh, do you? And I go, that’s nice. What do you do? He’s like, yeah, I’m on TikTok too. And I check him out. This kid, this kid’s got like 32 million followers, 32 and a half, 32 and a half million followers. This guy gets more, his reach is bigger than all the networks combined, so his name is Merrick Hannah, maybe you know of him. If you don’t know of him, you’re going to learn about him now. Merrick, thank you so much for being on my show. I’m so honored that you’re doing this. Welcome. Thank you

Merrick Hanna:
So much for having me. This is very exciting.

Michael Jamin:
It’s exciting for me. And when I say kid guys, he’s 18. He’s 18. Merrick, I want to know, you’re going to tell me all about this because I don’t know what it’s like to be you, to be like, I dunno, if you call yourself an influencer or a content creator, what do you call yourself?

Merrick Hanna:
Content creator mostly. I don’t really influence people. I just make fun videos for the internet. So mostly content creator.

Michael Jamin:
And you’re young. He’s 18. Now I’m going to ask you, by the way, Merrick, don’t use words that I don’t know. Don’t say bay. Don’t say lit. You’re going to have to talk to me like say fresh, say words from the eighties that I might

Merrick Hanna:
Understand. Got it. No cap.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, really fresh now. So tell me, okay, how long have you been making? So the videos in case people don’t know. So mostly dance videos. He’s a really good dancer, but sometimes just cute little sketches, stuff like that. So it’s not limited to that, but they’re short and they’re fun. And Merrick, I think you just bring joy to people. Is that what you do?

Merrick Hanna:
That’s my goal on social media is to just make fun videos that people enjoy, that I enjoy. It’s a fun way to be creative.

Michael Jamin:
Okay, so how did this start? How many years have you been doing this?

Merrick Hanna:
Okay, so I’ve been doing social media specifically for, since the beginning of quarantine, however many years ago that was, I don’t remember. All

Michael Jamin:
Right. That’s not that long. It’s 2020. So it’s three years.

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah, three years. Because before that I was a working actor and dancer. And then at the beginning of quarantine, when the whole industry slowed down and I didn’t have as much work, I decided, Hey, why not make my own content? Because I wanted to perform.

Michael Jamin:
Where were you working as a dancer and actor?

Merrick Hanna:
I had just done guest stars on Netflix and Disney, one episode sort of things. And I think I was about to do a reoccurring role on a show, which was then canceled right when quarantine hit.

Michael Jamin:
So you decide, I’m going to go on TikTok and just start making videos. I imagine the production value of the first videos were really not that special, or were

Merrick Hanna:
They? No, it was literally just my phone resting on my bed in my bedroom, doing some random TikTok dances that I found online that I thought were fun. And I got very lucky very quickly.

Michael Jamin:
You just blew up real fast.

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah, I had I think two videos that went super viral for no particular reason. And I thought, Hey, that’s cool. I might as well keep doing this.

Michael Jamin:
But now I have a lot of questions for you. I would say a big, someone like you, maybe you collaborate with other dancers and people in your age group, someone whom has 6 million people. I would say that’s really big. But dude, you have 32 and a half million people. That’s not big. That’s gigantic. At a

Merrick Hanna:
Certain point, your brain can’t really understand that many people. At a million people, I can’t imagine a million people. That’s just way too many.

Michael Jamin:
And

Merrick Hanna:
So after

Michael Jamin:
It’s like the population, what’s the population of, I don’t even know, you’ll have to tell me, but are you able to walk out of your house and do you get recognized a lot or how does that work for you? You’re famous.

Merrick Hanna:
It is sort of, I’m popular in a specific demographic of 12 to 15 year old people. I do get recognized, especially when I’m out performing. I like to perform in public on Hollywood Boulevard. And you

Michael Jamin:
Mean when you’re shooting and performing though?

Merrick Hanna:
Yes, when I’m shooting and performing. But yeah, when I go to Universal Studios,

Michael Jamin:
I’ll

Merrick Hanna:
Get recognized maybe once or twice. It’s not too much.

Michael Jamin:
It’s not

Merrick Hanna:
Too much. It’s not like I’m famous, famous, famous. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
Were you the first, I guess I already know the answer to this question, but when you first started doing these videos, you were already a professional. You already worked in the business as the dancer and a performer, but were you a little worried? Were you a little nervous about putting out your first videos, or were you just too young and dumb to even care? How do you feel?

Merrick Hanna:
I was not nervous when I started putting up my first tos because it really was just something I was doing for fun.

Michael Jamin:
I

Merrick Hanna:
Had no expectation of more than maybe a couple hundred people watching them, which is a lot, but it wasn’t that much relatively. I do remember though, being very nervous when I posted my first ever YouTube video when I was nine years old.

Michael Jamin:
I was when you were nine. Okay. Well, when you were young, right? You were freaking out. Well, that’s normal. I mean, you were nine, but you’re probably bigger. I imagine you’re bigger on TikTok than YouTube, or is that not the case?

Merrick Hanna:
Yes, I am bigger on TikTok right now. I have roughly three times the amount of followers on TikTok.

Michael Jamin:
And now I imagine you’re monetizing both things that you probably make decent, make some decent money at this point now.

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah, I’m trying to, it is turned into a job for me, and so I’m definitely trying to monetize my social media without it taking away from the fun of it.

Michael Jamin:
The fun of it. Well, tell me what that means though. Are you doing brand deals or are you just monetizing through the app where they run ads on your content or something?

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah, it’s a mix. I try and do a mix of brand deals and also monetizing on YouTube. Brand deals are tricky because they aren’t very fun to do. It’s like, oh, we want you to make a video talking about how great our cereal is. I’m like, well, let’s not. How do you make that fun?

Michael Jamin:
How do you make that fun? So what do you do?

Merrick Hanna:
I’m very, very picky about what I do. I only really ever say yes to a brand deal if it’s something that I think I have a fun way to make into an entertaining video. And so I don’t, as a result of that, I do very few brand deals compared to other creators. But

Michael Jamin:
Tell us how it works. So did come out, they reach out to you. This is all new for, I got an older audience, we don’t know, and I say old, I mean me. So they reach out to you, Hey, you got a big following. We like what you’re doing. Will you promote our whatever, let’s say serial. And then you say, let’s say you agree to it. Do you have to bounce off the concept of them? Do they give you notes? How does that work?

Merrick Hanna:
Right. Sorry, let me back up, because I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now, and it’s very, I’m in this world. So they’ll reach out to me, and it really does depend on the brand. Sometimes they’ll say, we want you to do this specific video, and sometimes they just say, we want you to promote this video game. We know you’re a creator. Please just pitch us some concepts. So right now, I’m in the middle of doing a brand deal with a video game company that I’ve worked with before. And they reached out to me, they said, Hey, Merrick, we like your videos. Let’s collaborate. Here’s our video game. We want you to come up with some fun ideas. And so I wrote up three unique video ideas. I sent it off and they came back to me and they said, we like this one. Now you want, we want to expand on it, create a script, and then I’ll shoot it, send it back, probably a couple revisions, and then I post it.

Michael Jamin:
And do you do all the writing yourself or do you have any help?

Merrick Hanna:
I do get some help from my dad, but I am trying to get better at writing. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
So your dad worked for you and you say Better? Better. Is that what you, are you awful to him?

Merrick Hanna:
Don’t

Michael Jamin:
Give me this garbage, dad, come back. I

Merrick Hanna:
Think that we work very well together. Work well

Michael Jamin:
Together. Yes. No, because it’s interesting. I did a TV show for some very big YouTubers, Brett and Link. You must’ve heard of them, right?

Merrick Hanna:
Love

Michael Jamin:
Them. Okay, so they got very, obviously they’re very big. And then YouTube said to them, we want to do a sitcom. So my partner and I were the showrunners of Link’s buddy system for season two. Now what I was shocked to discover, this is all, remember I’m older than them. I show up and these guys have a big studio with, I don’t know, 30 employees, 40 employees. They got a team of people. But you don’t have that don’t want, or do you want that or don’t want that or what?

Merrick Hanna:
It’s funny that you mentioned that, because I am actually sitting in my studio.

Michael Jamin:
You have a studio, so you have

Merrick Hanna:
Right after that door is a very large shooting area with multiple sets and a green screen.

Michael Jamin:
Interesting. And this is, okay, so, alright, so you have a big space and it’s all covered by, of course, the revenue that you bring in.

Merrick Hanna:
Yes. This is actually very relatively new. I started renting the studio maybe four weeks ago, and I’m trying to hire people because for the longest time, I really was just doing it by myself in my bedroom.

Michael Jamin:
And editing it yourself?

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah, editing it, writing it, shooting it myself. And then I met with other creators, like how we were talking about with Red and Link.

Michael Jamin:
I

Merrick Hanna:
Met with a couple creators where I just walked into their movie studio, like you were saying, they had 20 employees.

Michael Jamin:
And

Merrick Hanna:
It kind of blew my mind because I realized, wow, I could actually have help doing this.

Michael Jamin:
And so do you have a small team right now of production, people setting up the green screen or editing or doing whatever you do?

Merrick Hanna:
Yes. I have a small team of my dad and two people. Wow, you’re

Michael Jamin:
18 years old. This is pretty amazing. This really is amazing. It’s very impressive. Maybe it’s normal for you, but I’m super impressed by this.

Merrick Hanna:
It’s not normal to me. No, this is strange. It’s very strange. I still don’t understand it.

Michael Jamin:
Even the effects that you do, I mean, some of them are pretty tech as far as I’m concerned. Are you doing this on Adobe? Where are you at Premier, or where are you editing most of this?

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah. I’m doing all of my effects videos on my laptop with After Effects, which is Adobe and Blender, which is a free software.

Michael Jamin:
So tell me what this is like so you come up with an idea you might spend, because I know, okay, let’s take this back for a second. How many videos do you post in a week?

Merrick Hanna:
I post, right now I’m posting 14 videos a week.

Michael Jamin:
That’s a lot. Sometimes

Merrick Hanna:
More, sometimes less. I try and get 14. Sometimes I am not as productive. I think this week it was more like seven 10, help

Michael Jamin:
Me out here because the night before, I do one a day and I try sick five or six days a week. And the night before I go to bed, I go, what am I going to do tomorrow? But you don’t seem to have that problem, or do you?

Merrick Hanna:
Oh, I do. It’s very, very difficult to come up with ideas. And sometimes at night I’m just sitting in bed like, oh, I can’t find any routines. What am I doing?

Michael Jamin:
Are you looking for inspiration from other creators or what are you going to say?

Merrick Hanna:
Yes, I’m looking for popular TikTok routines, popular trends, something I can turn into my own because that’s how I come up with ideas. I find something like a popular dance, a popular song. It could be even a hashtag or just a popular meme online. And I think, how can I take this and then make it into something original and that is on brand for me.

Michael Jamin:
And do you have a list of ideas, backup ideas? I have a list of backup ideas I don’t want to get to, I guess they don’t seem that good to me.

Merrick Hanna:
Yes, I do have a very, very long Google document with ideas,

Michael Jamin:
But the problem

Merrick Hanna:
With doing that is that trends come and go within two days on TikTok.

Michael Jamin:
But do you have to do a trend?

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah,

Michael Jamin:
You do.

Merrick Hanna:
Kind of on TikTok, it’s really, really important for me to do a trend, and this is just because I’ve had years of experience throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks,

Michael Jamin:
And

Merrick Hanna:
It’s always trends that do best. It’s always when I take a trend, I say, how can I make this different, unique, put a fun spin on it, and then I make it my own? That’s

Michael Jamin:
Now for people who don’t know, a trend can be a trending song, a clip, it could be a trending. What else could it be? What else could it be

Merrick Hanna:
A trend? In the past, it’s been a trending meme. There was a meme about the McDonald’s grish shake for a long time where people would drink the grish shake and then die. That was the trend, and I thought, how can I make this different? How can I turn this into my own?

Michael Jamin:
See, this is interesting though, because as I scroll through many of your videos, obviously, like I said, many of ’em are special effects, different, and it’s many of ’em are dancing, a lot of ’em are collaborations, but none actually, as far as I can tell, you’re not talking to, you’re not really, you’re in character basically. They all seem to be in character. Is that right?

Merrick Hanna:
Yes. Yeah, they’re all very in character, because I will do 30 takes of each video after I’ve written a script. And so it’s nothing spontaneous about my videos. I know that a lot of people like to just sit down a camera and see what happens, but I’m more comfortable really planning things out and having it be a very produced video.

Michael Jamin:
Produced video. But part of the appeal, I think, is you must have fans from across the world because you’re not talking, you’re mostly dancing, and so you don’t have to speak the language. Right,

Merrick Hanna:
That’s true. Well, yeah, there’s definitely pros and cons to doing that. The pros are that I have a very large fan base in Korea and the Philippines, and I think Russia, it’s all over. In fact, I think only 20% of my followers are from the us, which is crazy statistic. Yeah,

Michael Jamin:
Interesting. So maybe it’s the culture they’re interested in. You’re American, you must be the average American. Maybe.

Merrick Hanna:
It’s funny, a lot of people think that I’m not from America, they just assume that I’m from where they are. Oh,

Michael Jamin:
Really? How do you know the comments?

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah, the comments. Because in the couple of videos that I’ve talked and they go, they’re American.

Michael Jamin:
Wow, I

Merrick Hanna:
Speak English. That’s crazy.

Michael Jamin:
This is something I’ve learned is that people will project whatever they want onto you, as long as you give ’em enough blank canvas. You know what I’m saying? That’s

Merrick Hanna:
Interesting.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, they don’t know enough about you, so they figured it out. I’m looking at this image of you and you have a red coat on, and I can only see the top of your torso up. And then, I don’t know, maybe you have wheels instead of legs. You know what I’m saying? That’s what, because people don’t know. I don’t know if you’re tall or short. I’ve decided you’re tall. What do I know? And so I think what goes on in social media.

Merrick Hanna:
Interesting.

Michael Jamin:
Tell me something else though. So I know you did one video, it’s just recent, and you’re wearing, it’s up against a blue screen and you’re wearing a blue body suit, and your buddy, he’s walking on a treadmill, and it’s supposed to be how, I guess you’re supposed to be showing like, see, this is the gimmick where this is how we’re doing it, but you’re not actually going to share it, the actual version of that with you, blue screened out, right? It’s all just a joke. You’re not actually going to do the other version.

Merrick Hanna:
So what you’re talking about is a really weird phenomenon that I’ve discovered within the past couple months

Michael Jamin:
Where

Merrick Hanna:
People really like seeing the behind the scenes and how videos are made, but they don’t really care to see the actual video. In fact, in most of those videos, I’m not actually recording on the normal camera

Michael Jamin:
Because

Merrick Hanna:
For the longest time, I would shoot videos and then I would have a camera running in the back, and I would post the behind the scenes. And I noticed that the behind the scenes kept doing really well, and the normal ones wouldn’t.

Michael Jamin:
The actual video of the, so the making of it does better than the video.

Merrick Hanna:
Exactly. And so recently, I’ve just been posting absurd how I made this video videos,

Michael Jamin:
Even though you never made the video,

Merrick Hanna:
Even though I never actually make the video, which is so strange. It’s really bizarre. But people love it. And the more absurd and ridiculous that I make it, the better the more people like it. And I try and make them absurd enough that I’m not misleading people as to how videos really make, because I’m always a little concerned about that.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Okay. So what does concern you, you in making these?

Merrick Hanna:
I don’t want people to think that’s actually how I make my videos, because I want to teach people how to edit videos. Recently I’ve been doing live streams where I actually show the editing process, and I’ve been answering people’s questions

Michael Jamin:
Because

Merrick Hanna:
I do want to show people how to, because I love editing and I want to share with other people how amazing it is. And so I try and make my videos ridiculous enough that if somebody was actually interested in editing, they would realize that it was a parody.

Michael Jamin:
So is this part of your larger vision then is to either be an editor or teach people editing or No. Is there something on the side?

Merrick Hanna:
It’s not part of my larger vision. I can actually get into my larger vision.

Michael Jamin:
Yes. What is it? What’s the plan?

Merrick Hanna:
So my goal, as I mentioned a bit ago, since the beginning, has been to, I have not actually mentioned this. My goal is to become a professional actor. Well, I am a professional actor, but to get more acting work, that has been my goal since the beginning. Since I first started at the beginning of quarantine,

Michael Jamin:
The

Merrick Hanna:
Industry slowed down and it didn’t have as much work. I thought maybe this can be a way to continue working and bring in more attention to.

Michael Jamin:
And has that worked for you?

Merrick Hanna:
It has. In what way? Social media has brought me tons of opportunities, but it actually has gotten me booked on a TV show and a movie. So

Michael Jamin:
Did they reach out to you or what?

Merrick Hanna:
Yes. The

Michael Jamin:
Shows reached out to you. A

Merrick Hanna:
Couple examples. They actually have directly reached out to me.

Michael Jamin:
Can you share what they are or you don’t feel comfortable?

Merrick Hanna:
I don’t know. They’ve been, I don’t know if I’ve actually announced that I’m on them yet, so I’m not going to.

Michael Jamin:
Okay. So a show, the casting director of a show find you and says, Hey, do they want you to read, or in other words, audition, or do they say, you got the role?

Merrick Hanna:
That’s the crazy thing. They haven’t even had me read. They literally just reach out to me and say, Hey, we want you on the show. And so then of course, my goal is to prove to them that I actually am an actor. I am an actor. Because when I do go onto these productions where I’m just hired as an influencer, the general idea is they have to teach me how to act. But my goal then is to prove that, hey, I actually do know how to perform. I can be a real actor here.

Michael Jamin:
Are these parts small or big?

Merrick Hanna:
They’ve been guest stars for one episode, but a lot of speaking, a lot of asking.

Michael Jamin:
Right.

Merrick Hanna:
So pretty big roles. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
And did they expect you, I would think they expect you to talk about on your social media, right? Talk, Hey, watch me next week, or whatever, on whatever show, right? Yes.

Merrick Hanna:
Yes. They have strongly encouraged me to create behind the scenes tos. Oh, the past.

Michael Jamin:
I have not seen that. Have you done those?

Merrick Hanna:
Well, the show hasn’t come out yet, so I haven’t.

Michael Jamin:
Okay. Okay. So you shot ’em, but you’re not going to air them yet. And

Merrick Hanna:
Yes, I will start to release them once everything comes out.

Michael Jamin:
Now, do they want that in writing, or is it just like a wink, wink, hey, or is that part of the contract that you’ll put X amount of content out there?

Merrick Hanna:
I believe it was just a expectation that I probably would, because of course I would. It’s a great opportunity for me. Yeah,

Michael Jamin:
Right.

Merrick Hanna:
Wow. Interesting. Don’t, it was never in the contract. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
See, this is what I say. You discovered something on your own, even though I yell at adults to do this all the time, which is basically you created yourself in other, you made these opportunities happen for yourself because you put yourself out there. And let me tell you something, Merrick, in case you don’t know this quiet, I’m talking to Merrick, posting 14 times a week is a lot of work. It may seem like it’s not a, it is a lot of work. How many hours a day are you doing this?

Merrick Hanna:
It really depends, but maybe 10 hours a day. Maybe

Michael Jamin:
10 hours a day.

Merrick Hanna:
It used to be a lot more because it used to just be me doing it. But now that I have help, I’m slowly reducing it because it’s not good for my mental health to be working that

Michael Jamin:
Day. Yes. But why is it 10 hours a day? Exactly. How does it break down

Merrick Hanna:
A bunch of different things? So obviously the editing part of videos takes the absolute longest. People love visual effects, which is amazing. But because I have to post so much, it means that I really do have to grind it to get them out, because they take many, many, many hours to produce finding videos. I do have a lot of help with that, but it still takes a while. Scrolling through TikTok, just looking for new dance trends, new trends, and new ideas.

Michael Jamin:
It

Merrick Hanna:
Takes forever. And then shooting takes multiple hours.

Michael Jamin:
You have to learn the steps, and then you have to

Merrick Hanna:
Learn it. You have to set everything up, get the lighting, and then I do 30 takes, 20 takes a lot of takes normally. And how

Michael Jamin:
Did you learn about lighting? How did you learn? As you can see here, I don’t know anything about, I work in the business. My lighting is terrible, and I have lights on. I suck at it. How did you learn all this stuff? All a lot about sound, about lighting, about production.

Merrick Hanna:
So in terms of lighting, I actually learned about lighting from some of my influencer friends who just showed me how to get nice, even lighting on your face. I would like to learn how to properly light scenes to be more cinematic, but I don’t know how to do that yet. I’ve just learned how to very evenly light my face and make everything very bright,

Michael Jamin:
Because

Merrick Hanna:
That’s what my videos normally do. And then in terms of sound and editing, it was just me goofing around on my computer and then thinking, Hey, I can use this for my tos.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, I mean, it’s pretty amazing. I mean, it’s very impressive what you’ve done. Okay. So you’ve gotten a number of opportunities from this, and hopefully more, but let’s say, all right, let’s say they reached out to you and they gave you, I don’t know, a gig on probably, let’s say, 13 episodes on a show. Are you still going to make your TikTok videos? Whatcha going to do?

Merrick Hanna:
For the longest time, I was thinking about, oh, once I get a reoccurring rollout, I won’t make tos anymore. But now that it’s become such a big part of my life, I kind of like making them. I don’t think that I’ll stop. I mean, if I’m on a reoccurring TV show or rural, I’ll definitely have to slow down my production, but I don’t have a plan to stop.

Michael Jamin:
Are you worried about burnout or no, you’re just too young to worry about it. You have all this energy?

Merrick Hanna:
Oh, burnout is a big issue, and I’ve definitely run into it before. I think the biggest reason that it hasn’t been too much of an issue for me is because I produce so many different types of videos in such a variety of genres and editing styles and dancing styles, and every day I’m doing something completely different. One day I might be working on adding AUFO to the back of a video, and the next day I am with a K-pop group dancing. So all over the place that burnout has never been too much of an issue. So, okay,

Michael Jamin:
So at this point, I would understand that at this point, they must be, other content creators are reaching out to you to do a collaboration. You’re not reaching out to them. You’re bigger than they are, I imagine.

Merrick Hanna:
Oh, no. I still have to reach out to people.

Michael Jamin:
But are you reaching to big people or people bigger than you or small than you? How does that work

Merrick Hanna:
Normally? See, that’s a weird thing because normally it’s people who are smaller, have less followers than me. But it depends.

Michael Jamin:
I guess what I’m asking is when are we going to dance? Hey, listen, that’s not what I’m asking. You know what I saying?

Merrick Hanna:
There’s a strike.

Michael Jamin:
There’s a strike.

Merrick Hanna:
What are we doing?

Michael Jamin:
I got some moves from the eighties kid, but let me ask you though. Okay, so they reach out to you sometimes you reach out to them?

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah,

Michael Jamin:
These are strangers. Basically.

Merrick Hanna:
I prefer to collab with my friends because it’s more fun for me.

Michael Jamin:
But they weren’t always your friends, right?

Merrick Hanna:
Friends? No, when I first moved to la, which was a couple of years ago, it was all strangers, and it was a very wild experience meeting so many people. But now that I’m bigger and I get to more so choose who I collab with, I like more just meeting with my friends because it’s more fun.

Michael Jamin:
And so explain to me how this works. You’ll do a video together, you’ll post the same video, they’ll post the same exact video or what?

Merrick Hanna:
TikTok doesn’t like it when you post the same video twice, which makes sense. They want to,

Michael Jamin:
When two different creators post the same video or when?

Merrick Hanna:
Yes,

Michael Jamin:
Because I’ve posted videos. I’ve taken down old videos and put up old videos. They don’t mind that, right? Oh,

Merrick Hanna:
That’s fine. That’s fine. In the past when I’ve experimented with posting the same video on two accounts, TikTok does not like that because they don’t like it when you just take other people’s content and repost it. And so they definitely detect it and shut it down. And so we will shoot four videos. Two of them go to them, two of them go

Michael Jamin:
Me.

Merrick Hanna:
We try and make it as even as possible.

Michael Jamin:
And you tag each other?

Merrick Hanna:
Yes, of course.

Michael Jamin:
Collabing

Merrick Hanna:
Is the best way to grow your social media account.

Michael Jamin:
Is it really? I mean, did you discover this along the way, or were you just following the rules that somebody else made up?

Merrick Hanna:
There were no rules. I wish there were. That would’ve been great if there were just rules, but no, there were no rules, unfortunately. It’s just a lot of trial and error, seeing what works. So

Michael Jamin:
On a given day or a given week, how many, you must have a calendar filled out with your collaborations and

Merrick Hanna:
Yes. Oh yes. Just an hour ago, I was collabing with my friend Matt Sina, which is why I’m wearing this jacket,

Michael Jamin:
Right?

Merrick Hanna:
Because I bought this jacket because he also owns it. So we can have matching clothes and roughly every day I do a collaboration of some sort. I try to,

Michael Jamin:
In your studio space here, you must have a wardrobe department. You must have a props department, right?

Merrick Hanna:
Department is a bit of a stretch. It’s a wardrobe cubicle.

Michael Jamin:
Okay. But there’s a lot

Merrick Hanna:
Of stuff. We do have a wardrobe. This is our editing room out there is our shooting space, and then we also have a kitchen area for food and snacks, so we try to have a professional.

Michael Jamin:
I know your father’s helping you. What was he doing before all this happened?

Merrick Hanna:
The same thing that he’s doing now. He works as a data statistician. He runs his own company and he helps brands figure out where to put new stores, and he’s still doing it. He, oh

Michael Jamin:
My God. Okay, so he’s not full-time for you, just he helps you out all this?

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
And do you have any siblings?

Merrick Hanna:
I do. I have a younger brother. He doesn’t really want to be in my videos very much because he does get teased about it at school, unfortunately. I was going to

Michael Jamin:
Say he, okay, so what is the negative side? What’s the downside? Is that one of the downsides that

Merrick Hanna:
Yes, that is definitely one of the downsides of social media is that it does bring negative attention. It brings jealousy at times, which is always sad when it happens. My brother is experiencing the worst of it, I think.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, is it really? He’s really getting a lot of it.

Merrick Hanna:
I mean, there’s a couple people in his school who are jealous and are like, oh, your brother, he’s on TikTok, so I feel terrible for him.

Michael Jamin:
What about the haters on, I mean, you have a very wholesome account, but that’s not going to stop people from just hating you for no reason. So how do you deal with that?

Merrick Hanna:
Dealing with hate is a very difficult issue because there is no one good way to do it. No matter what you do, you’re always going to get some kind of hate comment from over time. My strategies have changed. Originally I just decided, oh, I can just ignore them, but it gets to you. The hate really does get to you even if you think you have thick skin. And so I’ve resorted to using the block button quite a lot and pressing it really hard

Michael Jamin:
Because it makes me feel better. So that means you do look at all your comments?

Merrick Hanna:
I try to and look at all my comments, but

Michael Jamin:
At 35 million, you’re getting a lot of comments on every, I mean, you’re getting a lot of comments.

Merrick Hanna:
Yes, I do, and I still try and go through most of them. Obviously, if there’s 600 comments, I can’t get through all of them, but a lot of times there’s maybe 200, 100 and I can go through all of them pretty easily.

Michael Jamin:
Do you respond to any of them?

Merrick Hanna:
I try to respond because

Michael Jamin:
Do all of them or some of them?

Merrick Hanna:
No, not all of them. I could never do all of them. I try to reply to comments that I think I have fun responses for or people that I know, but I try to engage with every comment at the least by just liking it, because people can see when I do that and I want

Michael Jamin:
Now, how important is that? And you’re teaching me and you’re teaching me. I’m not sure. I don’t know if I always do that.

Merrick Hanna:
Sometimes

Michael Jamin:
I do, and sometimes I feel bad if I like someone’s coming, but I don’t like another, I don’t know.

Merrick Hanna:
See, we’ve hit a point where I actually don’t know I’m clueless. I don’t know if that helps my social media account at all. I don’t know if statistically it makes me get more views. I just like doing it because I appreciate everyone who comments and I try and show that I’m seeing what people comment.

Michael Jamin:
It helps. I’m not even talking about helping the algorithm. I’m really talking about do you think your fans like it or not? This is a weird question. I’m not sure if your fans always want you to respond to them. You know what I’m saying? I have done this. Sometimes I don’t have fans like you have fans, but sometimes they’ll say something nice and then I’ll say something. Oh, thanking them, and then I think it makes ’em feel uncomfortable. They don’t know where the conversation’s supposed to end, so I don’t want to make ’em feel uncomfortable either. But maybe you don’t think

Merrick Hanna:
About that. I’ve never thought about it that way. I’m thinking back to how I’m a fan of some creators. If I comment, I’m thrilled when they reply to me because I love their content, and so I can’t really think of a situation where it would make someone uncomfortable, but I never thought, do you talk about

Michael Jamin:
This with your other creative friends when you’re No,

Merrick Hanna:
Not specifically making people uncomfortable by

Michael Jamin:
Or anything. Do you say to them, Hey, do you respond to every copost or do you block every post? You talk about this?

Merrick Hanna:
Yes. Oh, yeah. I talk a lot to my creative friends about what they do because everyone does things differently, and I’ve never really figured out the right way to do things

Michael Jamin:
Online, but

Merrick Hanna:
I try to and talk to everybody and see what their strategies are.

Michael Jamin:
It’s so interesting. And then the blocking, because that even a negative comment is good for the algorithm, so you don’t need to block them, but you still block them.

Merrick Hanna:
It’s interesting that you say that because this is a bit of a non-sequitur, but I have friends who actually intentionally make

Michael Jamin:
Videos

Merrick Hanna:
Just for hate comments because they go viral with it. Yeah,

Michael Jamin:
I know,

Merrick Hanna:
But I don’t do that. I have in the past made videos that are sort of a bait for that to get

Michael Jamin:
To

Merrick Hanna:
The comment, but I don’t try and make fun videos that I would want to watch, and that’s not really what I want to make.

Michael Jamin:
Hey, it’s Michael Jamin. If you like my content, and I know you do because you’re listening to me, I will email it to you for free. Just join my watch list. Every Friday I send out my top three videos of the week. These are for writers, actors, creative types, people like you can unsubscribe whenever you want. I’m not going to spam you, and the price is free. You got no excuse to join. Go to michaeljamin.com. And now back to what the hell is Michael Jamin talking about?
Yeah, but it’s interesting, but your friends sometimes do just to get that boost,

Merrick Hanna:
And they’re okay

Michael Jamin:
With that.

Merrick Hanna:
I have some creator friends I know who definitely intentionally make videos that get hate comments.

Michael Jamin:
Can you give me an example of what that might, how do they know it’s going to get hate comments?

Merrick Hanna:
I have a friend who at least used to make really, really fake and over the top pranks, and so he would have super over the top reactions and obviously

Michael Jamin:
Set up

Merrick Hanna:
The camera is right in the middle of the room specifically just to get comments saying, oh, it’s fake. Because the more people that comment that, the more TikTok pushes it out and the more people see it,

Michael Jamin:
But the more people see it. But then I wonder if you pick up followers. That’s another thing I’ve got, another thing I want to talk about.

Merrick Hanna:
There are so many intricacies and things to talk about. I

Michael Jamin:
Was surprised about TikTok is when I started picking up all these followers, I’m like, what’s the point of having followers if only a 10th of them can actually see my content? Why is this a metric that they’re keeping track of? Do you know why?

Merrick Hanna:
What do you mean? Only a 10th of them get see.

Michael Jamin:
Well, okay, so you have 32 million followers. I’m looking at one of your videos, one of your more recent ones, okay. Had 1.2 million followers, which is a lot, but that’s only a fraction of your not followers views had 1.2 million views, which is a fraction of your total follower account. You got this. So sometimes they go super viral and sometimes 1.2 million, which is nothing, which is fantastic, but still nothing.

Merrick Hanna:
Okay. We’re getting into a territory that I talk a lot about and also confuses me

Michael Jamin:
Because

Merrick Hanna:
TikTok themselves insists that it doesn’t matter that there’s no momentum to say if you get a ton of followers on one video, it won’t matter in the next video. I really think that’s not true because of the following page. I think that maybe if you get views on the following page, because that’s where you only see people who you follow, that helps boost the video.

Michael Jamin:
But

Merrick Hanna:
Again, we’re getting into a territory because TikTok is very secretive about this,

Michael Jamin:
But

Merrick Hanna:
I actually, I’m not so sure myself

Michael Jamin:
Because there was a day, well, you were must have much younger, but when you had a following, let’s say on Facebook, everyone would see your post because they were following you. But now it’s not the way. It doesn’t work that way anymore.

Merrick Hanna:
No, it doesn’t. Yeah. This is one of the topics that really confuses me as well,

Michael Jamin:
Because

Merrick Hanna:
TikTok is very secretive about what they do, and it also seems like they change the way that their algorithm works from time to time.

Michael Jamin:
And

Merrick Hanna:
So sometimes I think I have it figured out, oh, more followers means that it boosts you this way and it transfers over this way, and then the next day it’ll be completely different.

Michael Jamin:
Are you worried about, here’s the thing that, are you worried about hackers taking over your account or TikTok shutting down your account and losing everything, or them changing the algorithm completely and then, I don’t know, suddenly everything’s gone. Does that worry you at all?

Merrick Hanna:
It does, and that’s why I have tried to post on other platforms too,

Michael Jamin:
Because

Merrick Hanna:
For a while, as you may know, there was a big fear that TikTok would go away in the us,

Michael Jamin:
Right? They came back. Now they’re still worried about it again. But it

Merrick Hanna:
Seems like it’s been a constant worry for a long time, and that’s why I’ve tried to diversify. I post on YouTube, I’ve started posting on Snapchat out of all places, Instagram reels.

Michael Jamin:
Right?

Merrick Hanna:
Specifically because I am worried that years and years of work will just go away because

Michael Jamin:
Do you have a mailing list as well, or do you not keep that

Merrick Hanna:
Mailing list? What do you mean?

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, well get on my newsletter and then I’ll send you whatever I want to send you. And that way you can email them whenever you’re on a show or whenever you have something to promote, but you don’t do that.

Merrick Hanna:
That is a bit of an outdated concept. I’m not sure that people really do that anymore.

Michael Jamin:
I do it and I have a nice list, but maybe it’s amazing. Outdated. Okay.

Merrick Hanna:
Yes,

Michael Jamin:
Fascinating things is outdated, but if

Merrick Hanna:
There’s anything, if there’s, Hey, just to be clear, if there’s anything that I want to post about, I just post it on my social media post everything else. Yeah. I’ve never had a need for that. I don’t

Michael Jamin:
Think I should check on your link here again. I looked earlier, but you don’t sell merch or anything like that, or do you?

Merrick Hanna:
No, I don’t. Why

Michael Jamin:
Is that?

Merrick Hanna:
This is another weird thing that I thought a lot about. I’ve wanted to for some time, but I’ve always been afraid that what I’ll sell won’t be worth the money in a weird way, because a lot of my fan base are younger kids. I don’t want to sell ’em a T-shirt that just has my face on it and that they’ll buy and then never wear. I would feel terrible if I did that. And so I’ve always been, it’s morally, it’s weird for me because I don’t want to do, you know what I mean? I see other creators pushing their merch. I’m like, why would

Michael Jamin:
Anyone

Merrick Hanna:
Ever buy this in a year? Everyone’s going to regret buying this thing. I want to make whatever I have as merch something that I would actually wear and that people actually get their monies out of.

Michael Jamin:
I totally hear you. People have said to me, Hey, when are you going to come up with merch? I go, what a line of pencils? Do you really want a pencil with my name on it? And they’re like, yeah, why? But I admire the fact that you don’t want to just put garbage out there, but there’s still demand people. I mean, if they want it, they want it.

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah. It’s a tricky thing. I’ve talked to a lot of people about doing merch a couple of times. I thought, oh, maybe I’ll actually do it because I found designs that I like, but it’s never quite came to be. And maybe one day, maybe one day I’ll do it.

Michael Jamin:
Right. How are you able to monetize on tick? I’m not doing it. This is all, I don’t monetize any of my intentionally. But how does it work to monetize TikTok? Tell us how that

Merrick Hanna:
I don’t.

Michael Jamin:
You don’t? And why not?

Merrick Hanna:
For the longest time I was under 18 and I couldn’t. But also, I don’t think that TikTok really pays you well,

Michael Jamin:
They have a beta studio, which apparently people get paid a little more. No,

Merrick Hanna:
They do. But I think, again, I’m not part of this program. I think it’s only for videos over 60 seconds,

Michael Jamin:
Which, and most of your are shorter. You won’t make one

Merrick Hanna:
List. All of them are shorter.

Michael Jamin:
Interesting. I know they’re short, but why is that?

Merrick Hanna:
Oh, my videos are short because it’s what I like making the most.

Michael Jamin:
My

Merrick Hanna:
Fans like that. I’ve tried posting 10 minute videos. I’ve tried posting two minute long videos. And I think that my fan base, people who follow me, just watching the shorter videos more because it’s all that I’ve ever posted. People are used to it.

Michael Jamin:
I know I’m jumping around, but do you give a lot of interviews like this where people are just asking you about you? No. No. But you must do a lot of podcasts and guests and lives or whatever.

Merrick Hanna:
The first podcast I have done and I think eight years.

Michael Jamin:
Interesting. Why is that? Have you been asked and you just said, no,

Merrick Hanna:
No. I don’t really get asked to. You don’t

Michael Jamin:
Get asked to.

Merrick Hanna:
My dad just said that. That’s not true. Maybe I get asked and I don’t have the time to.

Michael Jamin:
He said it’s not true.

Merrick Hanna:
He yelled from outside the room. He’s out

Michael Jamin:
There. That’s not true.

Merrick Hanna:
He said, that’s not true.

Michael Jamin:
Type down dad. Well, he would know. He handles that part of you. Dad, do you want

Merrick Hanna:
To help answer this? Also, I should give some context. My dad handles my business email and he helps me go through some unsolicited messages as well, because

Michael Jamin:
I don’t

Merrick Hanna:
Really want to go through those.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, right. I’m sure. But I’m surprised you don’t get asked. Okay. Your dad thinks you gets asked, but whatever. Either way, you haven’t done a lot. We know that for a fact that you haven’t done a lot. Now is it because there’s part of you you just don’t want to share? Or what is that

Merrick Hanna:
Supposed to sneak in?

Michael Jamin:
Here he is.

Merrick Hanna:
Here’s dad. What’s

Michael Jamin:
Up?

Merrick Hanna:
Invited to a lot of podcasts. You do get invited to a lot of ’em. Michael. Hi.

Michael Jamin:
Pleasure to meet you. But what’s

Merrick Hanna:
The lean towards me? I can eaop.

Michael Jamin:
So he gets asked a lot to do podcast. My question for Eric was, does he do a lot of interviews like this where he is just telling me or telling people what it’s like to be a content creator, which I find fascinating, but he’s saying he doesn’t get asked a lot. And you’re saying he does get asked.

Merrick Hanna:
Yes. And I know that you don’t really like doing things like this, so your podcast is great. I’m very happy that I’m here.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, I’m happy to have you. Fascinating.

Merrick Hanna:
There are many people doing podcasts. There are very few that have much in the way of listeners. And so

Michael Jamin:
Yeah,

Merrick Hanna:
Given that I know that you prefer not to do that sort of thing, I tend to filter for you unless something particularly interesting comes along.

Michael Jamin:
Right. Well, I’m honored that I made that cut. What I’m interested in is really is as the interview, which is really the journey that he’s on, the creative journey he’s on at the forefront, what your kid is doing. It’s pretty impressive. But Merrick, is it hard for you to, or it doesn’t seem hard for you? Is it uncomfortable for you to share that with? Because like I said, your videos are basically, you’re in character. You’re this character, this happy, fun, jokey guy, but your fans don’t really know that about you. They don’t know the other side.

Merrick Hanna:
For a long time, I preferred to keep it very scripted and produced and act all my tos, but I’ve been getting more used to talking to people because for a long time I was extremely introverted and I, not people. I’ve gotten a lot better with it. And I’m doing a lot more just personality content. I am live streaming on TikTok. I’m just talking to people.

Michael Jamin:
Are you? And so how long will you do that for?

Merrick Hanna:
To be clear, we put him in acting lessons when he was seven and eight years old because he wouldn’t talk to anybody.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, is that right?

Merrick Hanna:
So we were not motivated by anything other than the fact that we thought that putting him in a situation where he might be forced to use his voice in front of other people his age would be good.

Michael Jamin:
And you were right.

Merrick Hanna:
And we found that not only was he great on stage because he doesn’t, his unique little skill was that he didn’t have any real sense of the audience. So he wasn’t fearful, but he liked doing it a lot and was immediately hired by the professional company that ran the theater camps to be in their professional productions.

Michael Jamin:
Plus this is all very therapeutic. It is a good journey for you to be on. It’s very good for you

Merrick Hanna:
To be clear up until a very old age. Very old.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah.

Merrick Hanna:
Four. I only use sign language to talk to people.

Michael Jamin:
Really?

Merrick Hanna:
Because I didn’t like talking to people that much. And so acting helped a lot with that. And doctors said not to panic because sign language is talking. So they said, don’t

Michael Jamin:
Worry.

Merrick Hanna:
He is a talker.

Michael Jamin:
Right. More. I know that one.

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, is that one? See, now you’re teaching me.

Merrick Hanna:
I’m going to leave you alone.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Thank you for chiming in.

Merrick Hanna:
Right. Well, and now we know anytime in the future somebody wants to do a podcast with America that has a bowling pin in the back

Michael Jamin:
And a parking meter.

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah. Yeah. Parking meter. We’re on the fence with especially a writer’s guild strike.

Michael Jamin:
There you go. There it is. Yep. So this is very interesting to me. So not only we learned that this helps you, helped you come out of your shell, but also, that’s another thing I’m curious about. How much are we supposed to share of ourselves with the public?

Merrick Hanna:
You mean like personal lives?

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Yeah.

Merrick Hanna:
This is an interesting one. I share relatively little. I think compared to other public figures, I try and keep my personal life relatively private. But what’s interesting is that from what I’ve seen in the influencer world, a lot of people who do share a lot about their lives often aren’t really sharing their real life. In fact, multiple times I have been invited to have basically a fake girlfriend for YouTube and share my personal life, which is not actually my real personal life. It’s a very real thing. And so I

Michael Jamin:
Know it’s,

Merrick Hanna:
Even though I share relatively little, I’m not actually sure it’s that much less than other people because they Do you think

Michael Jamin:
That Because I know they have these, and you’re not part of these, I dunno if they’re called YouTube houses or in influential houses where they put people like yourself in an apartment for a month or whatever, and mayhem ensues. You must’ve been invited to these.

Merrick Hanna:
Oh, yes. Another way that, another version of those are social media squads, which I am very, very familiar with because I know a lot of people who have done those. I have been invited. Not for me. Definitely not for me.

Michael Jamin:
I’m really glad you say that. But people that have gone and what is their take out of it? It seems awful to me.

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah, awful. It is much worse than awful. In fact, there’s actually a very big lawsuit about one of those right now that a lot of my friends are a part that involve sexual abuse, many terrible things

Michael Jamin:
From other influencers or create content creators, or not from

Merrick Hanna:
Content creators, and sometimes their parents too often. A lot of times it’s the parents.

Michael Jamin:
So the parents are living there as well. I

Merrick Hanna:
Think like dance moms except influencers.

Michael Jamin:
Oh my God,

Merrick Hanna:
This

Michael Jamin:
Is horrific.

Merrick Hanna:
This is a very, very large rabbit hole.

Michael Jamin:
That’s a whole different conversation. You’re right. I’ve

Merrick Hanna:
Always managed to stay on the periphery of this, but I definitely have a lot of friends who are very into the weeds there.

Michael Jamin:
But there’s a lot of people, a lot of kids of your age would kill even to have a fraction of your followers. They’re chasing the fame. It doesn’t seem like that’s what you’re doing at all. What is your advice for them?

Merrick Hanna:
For people who just want to chase the fame?

Michael Jamin:
Yeah. Well, I mean that’s why they do these houses where they all live together, and that’s why, yeah, I would kill just to have people follow me. So listen to me, I guess to be heard. Maybe that’s what is your advice for them?

Merrick Hanna:
Go for it.

Michael Jamin:
Go for it. Go for

Merrick Hanna:
It. For it. I mean, right now in my position, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Michael Jamin:
What are the cons then?

Merrick Hanna:
I mean, the cons are, I am not in touch with a lot of my friends that from when I was before, I was a professional influencer, content creator, actor. I’ve lost a lot of friends a lot. Way

Michael Jamin:
You have a job now?

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah, because have a job and because I moved, I no longer live in the small town that I used to.

Michael Jamin:
Where did you grow up?

Merrick Hanna:
I grew up in Encinitas in San Diego.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, it’s not that far away. And so you moved to LA to be closer to the business though?

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah. Again, it’s not that far away. It’s only two hours away. But still a lot of my friends I am not in contact with anymore. Which sucks. That’s a huge, it can be very stressful being a public figure because I have to be careful about what I say.

Michael Jamin:
People

Merrick Hanna:
Are constantly trying to wrap me up in drama,

Michael Jamin:
And

Merrick Hanna:
I have accidentally gotten caught up in that before. And it sucks when it happens because

Michael Jamin:
It drives out of in way without you reliving it. But what kind of happened?

Merrick Hanna:
It’s nothing. I commented, it was a reply to a TikTok comment that was taken horribly out of context. And it’s only happened I think once or twice. But

Michael Jamin:
You got to be careful about what you say.

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah, super careful. I can’t just post whatever I want. I have to be careful about that. But again, it’s not too big of a deal.

Michael Jamin:
And what are some of the unforeseen pros that have come out of this that you would not have expected? Okay, you’re hoping to get booked on a TV show, and that’s happened, and hopefully that’ll happen more. But what other that you would not have expected?

Merrick Hanna:
I’ve a lot better at my craft. I never thought that TikTok would help me get better at dancing, but it really, really has

Michael Jamin:
Just because you’re doing it over and over.

Merrick Hanna:
And it’s also helped me get better at editing. I’ve been, in a way, forced to learn many new editing techniques, and I’ve also gotten a lot better at acting through TikTok, which is strange that it happened, but it did. It’s been super beneficial. And for me, that was super unexpected.

Michael Jamin:
And you also have this whole community of other content creators you now call friends. I made

Merrick Hanna:
A lot of friends through the way too. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah.

Merrick Hanna:
That’s amazing.

Michael Jamin:
This is amazing. Is there anything else? First all, I want to thank you again. I know you’re very kind to do this, but I’m fascinated. I give, first of all, a lot, like I said, a lot of credit to you. You invented this thing for yourself and all these opportunities came and you put yourself out there. You were not afraid. Or maybe you were afraid of being judged, but you got over it and you did it anyway. And you work hard for this. I know you do. I mean, I watch your videos. That’s a lot of work. I could tell. It’s a lot of work.

Merrick Hanna:
So

Michael Jamin:
Good for you. Thank

Merrick Hanna:
You so much.

Michael Jamin:
Is there anything else we can plug for you? We can talk. Let’s let ’em everywhere. They can follow you on all your social media. Do you have the same handle for everything?

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah, it’s just my name Marna. Everywhere. Everywhere. I Pinterest X.

Michael Jamin:
You’re on Pinterest. What are you?

Merrick Hanna:
I posted once.

Michael Jamin:
You posted once and now you have a

Merrick Hanna:
Following. It’s Americana everywhere. You can probably find me on every social media platform.

Michael Jamin:
Okay. I had one last question, but now I can’t even remember what it was. I was so shocked that you’re on Pinterest. Yeah.

Merrick Hanna:
Well

Michael Jamin:
This is,

Merrick Hanna:
Thank you again. Well, okay. See, Pinterest is, that was just a random account I created. Right? I’m mostly on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram? Yes.

Michael Jamin:
Okay. Will you respond to the people on YouTube as well, the same way you do on TikTok or no?

Merrick Hanna:
I try to. Generally it’s less. There is somebody behind me taking a photo. I

Michael Jamin:
See that. Yeah.

Merrick Hanna:
Instagram story. Instagram. Oh, here. Quickly close for Instagram story.

Michael Jamin:
Nice. Right. So great. Put it on Instagram. So wait, what was my question? I have lost my train of thought. Oh. Oh, you respond to everybody on YouTube? That’s what I was asking.

Merrick Hanna:
Yes. I try to, but honestly, it’s less just because less. I mainly use TikTok even though I’m trying to get better about it.

Michael Jamin:
Do you, one final thing, I all these questions, so S two parter, but do you find there’s a difference between the kind of people who follow you on each platform? What is it?

Merrick Hanna:
Oh, yeah. Huge difference. Different platforms just have different user bases, and I think that’s most reflected in the kind of content that does well on each platform. So I’ll give you a brief summary on TikTok. People love trends. People who use TikTok, seeing people use songs in different ways. They like trends, popular memes on YouTube, people don’t care about trends at all. They just like good videos in general and more like skits. So dancing isn’t as popular on YouTube. It’s more people who like skits. And on Instagram it is just dancing.

Michael Jamin:
It’s just dancing. People

Merrick Hanna:
Love, love dancing, and so yes.

Michael Jamin:
Does that mean you won’t post a skit on Instagram or you do it?

Merrick Hanna:
I still do. Even if I know it probably won’t do it very well because there’s no real reason not to.

Michael Jamin:
And people don’t also realize that the very act of uploading your videos to the fly, it actually takes time. Are you doing all of that yourself?

Merrick Hanna:
I used to. Now I have help.

Michael Jamin:
Now. You have help? Yeah.

Merrick Hanna:
I have two people helping me and my dad

Michael Jamin:
Who

Merrick Hanna:
Help me upload. Because you’re right, uploading is a surprisingly annoying process.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, you got to tag. You got to put the hashtags in. It takes time.

Merrick Hanna:
It does.

Michael Jamin:
But do you find there’s a difference between, okay, I’ll tell you where I’m coming from. So I find that on TikTok, people tend to be meaner, but then let’s say Instagram, do you feel that way?

Merrick Hanna:
Yes. I have noticed that. It’s hard to say why, but I know exactly what you’re talking about. It seems like there’s almost the meaner comments get liked more, and so people are more incentivized to make fun of a person.

Michael Jamin:
I don’t really

Merrick Hanna:
Know why. I’m just speculating, but you’re not wrong. I have noticed that Instagram has a little bit

Michael Jamin:
Of that

Merrick Hanna:
On Instagram. It’s interesting. It’s normally older people who are mean. Are older people

Michael Jamin:
Mean to you?

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah. On Instagram, they’re like, back in my day, kids would dance better than this.

Michael Jamin:
Okay, that’s okay. But are they actually getting I’m, I don’t approve of that. But it’s not

Merrick Hanna:
Personally

Michael Jamin:
Hurtful.

Merrick Hanna:
That was a very PG version of what they say.

Michael Jamin:
Right. It’s pg. Right.

Merrick Hanna:
Okay. It’s worse than that. And YouTube people are generally nicer from what I’ve seen. But you’re not wrong about TikTok having a bit more of that.

Michael Jamin:
It’s unfortunate. And what do you do to wash it off the negativity?

Merrick Hanna:
If it’s a pretty mundane negative comment, oh, you’re cringe cares. But if it’s anything more than that block, yeah,

Michael Jamin:
Just block.

Merrick Hanna:
Simple as that. I also try and use comment filters. I try and block words that commonly appear in hate comments, which does help, but people get around it.

Michael Jamin:
Wow. Yeah, people don’t realize that there’s just no point in being mean. I sometimes lecture people with posts, if you ever see in my posts, I thought I was talking about why it’s really bad for your soul to be mean to people on the internet, but can’t do that. Was

Merrick Hanna:
That I love seeing those videos, but I have to say, responding to hate just draws more hate. At least that’s what I’ve experienced.

Michael Jamin:
But am I responding to hate if I’m doing a general video or what do you think? Is that what you’re saying? You’re talking about me specifically or no?

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah, in general, but also in general in content. I have friends who have gotten really angry at hate comments and have made videos responding to them,

Michael Jamin:
And that draws more hate.

Merrick Hanna:
It just seems to draw more people who want to troll. But I do enjoy watching those videos because I always want to,

Michael Jamin:
You want to do well. My feeling behind it is, maybe I’m wrong, but because I’m way nearer to this than you are. But my feeling is even if I get seen by haters, the haters, it’ll help me find the audience I want found to find me. So it’s almost like I’m okay with the trade off because it broadens my reach and helps find the people who do like me, so I’m willing to suffer through them.

Merrick Hanna:
That might work. Yeah. I’ve never, that’s interesting. Yeah, it might work. I don’t really know, but it’s a good theory. So

Michael Jamin:
I wish people would realize that there are, there’s so much people are hurting. So when people are hurt, they want to let you know that they’re in pain by inflicting pain on you. So they’re yelling, I’m in pain now. You should feel it too,

Merrick Hanna:
But you seem

Michael Jamin:
Like you got, what’s that?

Merrick Hanna:
Also on social media, I’ve seen that a lot of hate comments get commented to you because people don’t see you as a real person in a way, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but especially with public figures, people online kind of see public figures are talkers as almost characters. And so I can just comment, whatever.

Michael Jamin:
They’re just

Merrick Hanna:
A character on my screen. But it is very real and I wish people knew that.

Michael Jamin:
I mean, so I never, I’m a lot older than me, but I would never leave a mean comment on someone, not because I’m worried about being canceled just because it just doesn’t feel right. Did you at any point, I’m curious, you’re so young. I’m curious whether you learned this lesson because you’re a big creator now or because you’re just a decent person and you wouldn’t do that?

Merrick Hanna:
Honestly, it never occurred to me to leave a hate comment. I wasn’t on the internet a lot growing up, so maybe that helped, but it just, no, I fully agree with you. It never made sense to a lot of times hiding behind faceless TikTok accounts with random names makes people feel more bold.

Michael Jamin:
Yes. Well, that’s another thing, random names, because on TikTok, you can have a random name on Instagram. You can as well, but I don’t think on threads, you’re real isn’t. Wait on Instagram, can you find someone’s real name out on Instagram or not? I don’t

Merrick Hanna:
Remember. No, I don’t think so. You can have anonymous accounts almost everywhere, and people feel a lot more bold to say whatever under the mask of anonymity, but

Michael Jamin:
Horrific. It’s a horrific. Well, I got to say, I’m very impressed with you. I really hope that people go just check you out. Look what he’s doing. He’s bringing joy to the world and he is making a name for himself and good for you. Thank Merrick. You’re a good kid. You’re a good guy. I wish you much continued success. I hope you keep on booking big roles, bigger and bigger. I see great things for you. Thank

Merrick Hanna:
You so much.

Michael Jamin:
I’m so impressed. Good for you.

Merrick Hanna:
Yeah, and thank you so much for having me on the show as well.

Michael Jamin:
Thank you, Merrick. Thank you so much. Alright everyone, that was an interesting chat. Again, go check out Americana across social media, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, snap, snap, LinkedIn. He’s not on LinkedIn. We’ll get him on LinkedIn next. Okay, everyone, one day until next week. Thank you so much.
So now we all know what the hell Michael Jamin is talking about. If you’re interested in learning more about writing, make sure you register for my free monthly webinars @michaeljamin.com/webinar. And if you found this podcast helpful or entertaining, please share it with a friend and consider leaving us a five star review on iTunes that really, really helps. For more of this, whatever the hell this is, follow Michael Jamin on social media @MichaelJaminwriter. And you can follow Phil Hudson on social media @PhilaHudson. This podcast was produced by Phil Hudson. It was edited by Dallas Crane and music was composed by Anthony Rizzo. And remember, you can have excuses or you can have a creative life, but you can’t have both. See you next week.

ImageImageImage
Michael Jamin, Showrunner, TV Writer, Author

Michael Jamin

For the past 26 years, Michael Jamin has been a professional television writer/showrunner. His credits include King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead, Wilfred, Maron, Just Shoot Me, Rules of Engagement, Brickleberry, Tacoma FD and many more.

Follow Me On Social Media