Behind the scenes of ‘Big DawsTV’
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -Maybe you’ve never even heard of Big DawsTV or have seen the YouTube videos. If you haven’t, there are almost 10 million people who have.
Dawson Gurley, AKA, “Big Daws,” is the face and creator of the channel, making what appears to be a really nice living off creating these viral videos. Some crazy, some heartwarming, some a bit controversial.
“I believed in before it even started. From the very beginning. It took me like a year, maybe two years, to get 1,000 subscribers. I was telling my parents like, this is gonna be my job. They’re like, You’re crazy,” Gurley says.
Turns out, his idea wasn’t so crazy. Search Big Daws online, and you’ll find thousands of his videos. Videos, he says, he knew people would enjoy so much, that he dropped out of college and just went for it. Now, this has been his career for the last 11 years. Dawson literally created his dream job online, gaining success over the years with every post.
Big Daws: “When I had 10 subscribers, I treated it like it was my full-time job.”
Yetta: “What was the first video that got you the most traction that actually surprised you?
Big Daws: “It’s called ‘Eating Junk Food in The Gym.’ So, at the time, I had maybe 30,000 subscribers, and I remember going to bed that night, waking up the next morning, and my mom called me she was like, you’re on Good Morning America. I was like, what? I turned on the TV, and it was right there! I saw myself on TV. So that was like the first moment where I was like, what has happened?”
Yetta: “What is your goal with these videos?
Big Daws: “[Trying] to make people laugh, make their day. Push the boundaries, you know, I feel like people need to have more fun.”
Starting out, his videos were more about him and his friends doing wild pranks.
Now, BigDawsTV has about 10 employees: master content creators, no longer just pranks. A lot of moments you’ll see on this channel have changed people’s lives.
Big Daws: “During COVID, We were tipping Uber drivers $1,000. There was one driver that had an extremely emotional reaction to receiving the tip. [Come] to find out she had just lost a child. So she left, and I was like, you know, I was kind of shocked when it happened and how emotional she was. We set up a GoFundMe.” “We found her, got her the money. She ended up doing IVF, ended up having a child paying off all of her medical bills, and she named the child after me.”
BigDawsTV has more than a million Instagram followers, all clips from the viral videos on its YouTube channel.
It’s been reported content creators with even a million YouTube subscribers can earn enough to make a living from the commercials that run during their videos. BigDawstv has just shy of 10 million subscribers and close to 2.5 billion views.
Yetta: “I have to ask, are you rich? "
Big Daws: “Rich? Depends on what you define being rich.”
Yetta: “Are you rich?
Big Daws: “I’m happy.
Yetta: “You’re doing well.
Big Daws: “Yea, I’m doing good.”
Yetta: “You’re comfortable. Yeah, you’re modest, I got it.”
Dawson’s channel will likely reach the 10 million subscriber mark this year.
Yetta: “When you get to 10 million. What happens then?
Big Daws: “More viewers, you know, in time doesn’t necessarily translate to more money that had to be active viewers, but it’s a sign of growth.” Dawson works out of the Big Daws TV headquarters, a massive 7-bedroom house, complete with a pool, basketball court, prop rooms, and mobile unit, called “The Dropout House,” he purchased in Mesa, Arizona, strictly to work on all the videos produced for his channel.
Yetta: “Okay. Why is it the “Drop Out House?”
Big Daws: “Because we all dropped out of college, and now we’re here.”
Yetta: Anything about this job that sucks?”
Big Daws: “A lot of things. It gets mentally draining, you know, the creativity burns out a lot coming up with new ideas like, you know, when you spend a bunch of money and, you know, time: weeks on a project and release it, and it totally flops. It can get pretty discouraging, but I keep my head up and try to remember where I started and where I am now and just be grateful.”
Big Daws: “I’ve quit plenty of times. I think a lot of times, it’s good. Just kind of reset the mind. Take a step back, [and] you appreciate it more. But I always come back. "
When Dawson and his team hit the mark, they nail it!
One video posted a year ago got 6.9 million views. But it is also the reason Dawson has been banned from the Chase Center in San Francisco for the Rest of his life.
Big Daws: “I can’t go to any Golden State Warriors events. Activities, not even their WNBA team.”
Big Daws: “Because I impersonated Klay Thompson. I just walked right through the building through the security under the court. I was Yeah, I got to warm up for about 10 minutes. “It was right before game for the NBA finals on the court in four or five?
Yetta: “How did you get found out?
Big Daws: “I airballed a layup.”
Yetta: Have you been arrested?
Big Daws: “A few times? Yeah.
Yetta: “Over your videos?”
Big Daws: “Yeah, I think three or four times.”
Yetta: “Which video?”
Big Daws: “The most recent one where we went around in a white van with the black outfits and ski masks on asking people where the nearest bank was. We’re just trying to make a deposit. "
Yetta: “What do you think about these mishaps? Is it funny or do you ever feel like, ‘maybe I should have done that?’
Big Daws: “It was it was definitely entertaining. Me for good content. Yeah. "
Yetta: So do you have a mugshot?
Big Daws: “Not actually on that one.” It’s been a decade of creation, experiences, and evolution not just for BigDawsTV but for Dawson himself. He’s now married … a father of 3 kids all under the age of 4.
Yetta: “How does it change what you’re doing and how you’re doing it?”
Big Daws: “Doesn’t really change anything for me because I have an awesome wife. She’s really supportive, and she’s a great mother, so that makes it easy for me to be a good father. You know, there’s a lot less downtime and creative thinking time at home for sure. But surprisingly, not a lot has changed.”
Yetta: “What about your kids when they start talking about what they want to do for living?”
Dawson: “I really have no authority to shoot down any dream at this point.”
Yetta: “So whatever they want, whatever they want to do?
Dawson: “I mean, for the most part.”
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