SungWon Cho, known as ProZD on most sites, is a very different type of YouTube content creator.
He took his talent and applied it to Vine where he gained a huge audience, which then spread to YouTube.
A fan favourite on that site as well as places such as Reddit, Cho has an impressive body of work that’s worth looking at. We spoke to him over email to find out how he did it.
htxt.africa Who is SungWon Cho and how did we get to know you as “ProZD”?
SungWon Cho I’m a voice actor who also makes skits and other videos all over the internet. ProZD’s a username I’ve had since I was like 12 years old, and I’m amazed it’s stuck around this long.
htxt.africa You seem to have done things a bit backwards to the norm. Many YouTube content creators become popular and then find voice acting roles later. You started as a voice actor before moving to other platforms such as YouTube. What’s that experience been like?
SungWon Cho My voice acting was what helped me build audiences on other platforms. I started a Tumblr back in 2012 to practice voice acting by posting audio clips once a day, and throughout the years, I started to build an audience.
My Vine audience launched from that audience, and YouTube and Twitter launched off of Vine. Voice acting has always been a passion of mine, and it’s kinda funny how my audience and exposure all built off of it. The fact that I have any sort of audience now is a happy accident.
htxt.africa Do you think your range of voices has helped you become popular? And how do you get your voice so low?
SungWon Cho It seems that way; I get a lot of comments saying things like “How does he do all those voices?” I think that having a range of voices can help complement skits, especially ones where I play specific characters. My voice is naturally pretty deep, so getting my voice low isn’t too difficult.
htxt.africa Is voice acting still your main job or has YouTube taken precedent?
SungWon Cho It’s a combination of both now. I still do a good amount of voiceover each month, but I also do spend a lot of time producing new video content.
htxt.africa In many of your videos around videogames you keep mentioning a fictional game centring around a main bad guy – King Dragon. You even made a playlist called ‘The King Dragon Canon‘. Is this some kind of lore like FilthyFrank has established or is it just a running joke with recurring characters?
SungWon Cho Both. King Dragon and Prince Horace were throwaway names I mentioned in a Vine, and in a couple of videogame-related vines after that, I would keep mentioning them as a running joke for people who were paying attention.
At this point, an accidental lore has developed because some of the videos directly lead into others. I have a lot of video game skit ideas, so the King Dragon characters are usually a natural fit. That, and I get a kick out of continuing to expand this inane “story” and its characters.
htxt.africa How do you deal with content thieves? The dreaded “Vine compilation” is an industry built on this. Was the official compilation made by you a first step at fighting this?
SungWon Cho This happens so often that I just ignore it. Vine compilations are irritating, but honestly, Facebook is so much worse. Facebook is filled with horrible pages stealing people’s content; I have many friends who’ve also had their videos posted without credit or permission. I made the official compilation just because I’d rather have people watch that than support thieves.
htxt.africa You’ve gained quite a following on Reddit, specifically on the sub /r/YouTubeHaiku. What’s your experience with the site been like?
SungWon Cho I don’t use Reddit, so the whole Reddit reaction has been oddly fascinating to me. I’ll only hear about it if someone on Twitter goes, “congrats on making the front page” or “[subreddit] loves you.” I’m very grateful that people enjoy my content
SungWon Cho I mean, I wouldn’t want to be banned from any subreddit, but I’m not too worried about it. Again, I don’t use Reddit, so I probably wouldn’t even know if they did ban my videos.
htxt.africa Staying on Reddit for one more question, voice actor Richard Di Britannia did a popular AMA where he talks about his work. Would you be interested in doing an AMA? And what advice would you give to those trying to get into the industry?
SungWon Cho I’d love to do an AMA. For people wanting to get into voiceover, I suggest to simply start doing it. Start practising now, and start posting your own creative content. Dee Bradley Baker has a great site that is an extremely valuable resource for aspiring voice actors.
htxt.africa Finally, what are the favourite and least favourite videos you’ve made?
It’s hard to say because I very rarely re-watch my stuff. I’m proud of a lot of the skits I’ve made post-Vine. Nothing comes to mind for least favorite; there may be older videos I’ve made when I was starting out where I might wince at the delivery or think I could have done better, but I don’t regret making any of them.