How I built 3 million followers on TikTok talking about movies

  • Juju Green, 30, runs a TikTok movie account called “Straw Hat Goofy,” which has 3.1 million followers.
  • He got into the app after downloading it for his job in advertising.
  • Here’s how he juggles content creation and a full-time job, as told to Jess Bacon.

This narrated essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Juju Green, 30, about how he amassed 3.1 million followers on his TikTok account.”Goofy Straw Hat.” It has been edited for length and clarity.

My background in advertising was my gateway to TikTok. In early 2020, I was working on a social media campaign for a client, so I checked it out and quickly became obsessed.

I thought I would start making videos, even though at the time I had no idea what I was doing.

If you scroll deep enough, you’ll find some questionable videos of me attempting dances and lip sync challenges. I think that’s how a lot of people get into TikTok – they see and do what everyone else is doing.

Naturally, I talk about movies and pop culture every day, so it was only a matter of time before I started doing this on TikTok

I realized TikTok was something I could do more seriously when my video broke Avengers: Endgamewent viral. Then I talk about Hercules – breaking down what I’ve noticed, what I like and what I don’t – and it snowballs.

There weren’t that many people in the geek culture space at the time, and I think that was one of the reasons my account got so big, so fast.

Right before the pandemic, I was trying to create videos all day in the office. I had to sit down and say, “If you’re going to make videos, spend time with your family, and have time for your work, you’re going to have a very tight schedule.”

When I wake up, the first thing I do is make 4 or 5 videos

Then I draw them with captions and post them throughout the day so it looks like I’m there when I’m not actually doing other things. This has helped me divide my time and stay organized since I’m still working my day job.

Five to 10 second videos do really well on TikTok as it’s very easy to give your like and move on.

I started noticing a trend that my videos go viral if they are about popular movies. I had a series of viral videos for Disney Pixar’s “Turning Red.” Each video for the film had at least 2 million views.

I talked about things I noticed about this movie, what I liked and what I didn’t. Obviously there comes a point where you have to get out of this thread and apply what you’ve learned to other things – I can’t get up just the man from “Turning Red”.

I feel like the audience likes me when I see things that other people don’t

The casual movie audience doesn’t look as deeply into things. They enjoy watching someone point out the hidden meaning behind certain moments. My TikToks are like DVD extras.

I do a lot of movie reviews, and I’ve done “my favorite movies set in space” or “actors Hollywood tried to do something with” — I got a huge audience with this one.

I’m also changing the way I shoot the videos. With my reviews, I record movie clips with voice-overs. For other series, I use green screens to talk over movie posters and illustrate a larger point.

This means I have pockets of different types of film lovers in my audience. Compared to other accounts that do one thing that works very well for them, I’m an all-around movie guy.

I still work my day job in advertising at 72nd and Sunny

My bosses and I worked out a schedule so I could carve out time to work, and then if something came up for Straw Hat Goofy, I just had to announce it in advance. It’s all about planning.

It’s still very tense as the movie-news cycle never ends. Something like a new trailer might pop up at noon when I’m in a meeting and I’ll have to make a video for it.

Discussions on TikTok can get extremely toxic. People fall into the trap of saying, “My opinion is right, you know nothing about it.”

I’ve seen a lot of movies, but a lot of people have seen a lot more movies.

As a creator, I also try to acknowledge the effort that goes into making movies. I try to offer a balance, give the good, the bad, and the in-between, and that allows people to join the conversation and share their opinions as well.

Filmmakers are eager to see how they can improve all the time. When I make videos, I say, “This is what they were going for, did it work?”

Maybe it worked for you but not for me and we can talk about it. That level of respect also helps when you’re on the red carpet talking to the people who made the movies.

Personally, I’ve always had a lot on my plate—I worked at Disneyland and Amazon at the same time while I was in college.

I can’t speak for anyone else how they manage their time, but for me, if I want to do something, I can find a way.

I created social media for fun

In the back of your mind, you might be thinking, “What if my videos blow up?” I thought, “I’m going to quit my job and get a big house,” but here I am, blown up, and I haven’t quit my job I don’t have a big house.

When I started I had no example of how this career works and I was lucky enough to be approached by brands like Netflix and Disney. To be honest, it was weird going from making videos for entertainment to hosting the Oscars red carpet.

It all starts with the creator and how strong and authentic their content is. If a brand hires you for one thing – an event or sponsorship – and you’re doing something different than what you normally do online, they’ll keep that in mind.