Turning her passion for news and entertainment into an amazing career, Christian Vera has gone from red carpet reporting to curating internet viral videos for the television series RightThisMinute. Christian along with her co-hosts at RightThisMinute spend nearly everyday combing through the millions of videos on YouTube in order to find the ones that are unique, timely, and relevant — and literally from across the globe.
RightThisMinute is not just looking for the cutest animal videos or another adrenaline-pumping car chase, it is interested in videos that show something it has never seen before. As the internet crosses international boundaries, so does our desire to see what is going on in other countries and if they are having as great a time living their lives as we do.
In an exclusive interview, Christian Vera shared what makes this incredible job such a joy for her to go to work every day and what RightThisMinute means in the rapidly changing and integrating world of television with the internet and digital media.
How long have you been working with RightThisMinute?
CHRISTIAN: Four years. It’s been very fun and completely unexpected. So now I’m taking about viral videos on a TV show. Go figure!
How did you first hear about the show?
CHRISTIAN: Back in 2011, my agent called and said, “Hey, there’s this TV show and it’s about the internet and they would like to talk to you.” Apparently, they had seen some of my work and they wanted to talk to me about it. At the time, I thought it was a crazy idea, but because it was a crazy idea I was kind of interested in it. It seemed so crazy that it just might work. At first, I met the team on Skype and a few days after that I heard that they liked me and wanted me, and before I knew it, I was on set.
Since you work on a TV show that talks about viral videos, what is your average work day like?
CHRISTIAN: We start taping around 1:30 p.m. and we’re just on and off set between then and right about now [7:00 p.m.]. It takes a little getting used to. I had been used to working in the mornings and at events here and there in the evenings for a couple hours. It’s different, but it works. I like it.
What is the work schedule like each week? Are you working every day since the show airs everyday?
CHRISTIAN: Yeah, we air every day with no reruns. For the most part, we air Mondays and Fridays, though we have weekend shows in some markets. So we tape a brand new show every single day. Now that we are broadcasting in 90% of the country, it is even more of a responsibility to find the latest and greatest. For us to stay on top of it, we have to air every day. There is so much content being uploaded on YouTube every hour, it feels like we could do five RightThisMinute shows a day. We have to wade through so much of it to be able to pick the best.
That is an impressive feat to do that on a regular basis.
CHRISTIAN: (Laughs) It’s so fun that it’s almost not work, if that makes sense. I really love my job. I love what I do, so it’s not hard. My job is watching online videos — really cool online videos. It’s pretty awesome.
What do you think makes you show so popular and addictive?
CHRISTIAN: I think it is because the show is so relevant. It just speaks to everybody. You don’t realize that you are actually interested in the stuff we are showing you. Then you’ll sit there and watch it and go, “Oh yeah, that was kind of awesome!”
RightThisMinute is like telling the news that people want to see opposed to the news that we get, which is all tragic and terrifying.
CHRISTIAN: We do have a lot of positive stories on our show and a lot of them are so inspiring took. There’s so many really lovely stories of accomplishment and overcoming hardship. Then, of course, we have the really crazy videos, like where these guys are ramming tires right between their legs. (Laughs) So we have a variety of content.
It seems like RightThisMinute is appealing to those who want to watch what I call “real” TV. There is a generation that has come out of the Millennials that want to see what the real world is doing out there, and one reason they are drawn to YouTube is that YouTube reflects the real world. It is real people putting up real things from their lives — and RightThisMinute has gravitated towards that.
CHRISTIAN: That’s what makes our show — the fact that we are finding videos that people are uploading and, in a way, curating themselves of things that are happening all over the world. Things that are happening on the spot that are being recorded because everyone has some kind of recording device now, whether it is a cellphone or a GoPro or some kind of camera. Everybody is recording almost everything and documenting so much of their lives. So if something crazy happens or if something really cool happens, they want to share it online. Usually it starts off with people wanting to share with their family and, before they know it, when it’s a really compelling story, it just blows up and they’ve got millions of views. That’s what we love to find: videos that are so unique and compelling that it makes you want to share them.
RightThisMinute is reassuring in that it is a limited time that you have to commit to. Your show has already found the cool stuff. It’s nice that someone else has curated these videos to our interests and to the positive side.
CHRISTIAN: Like you mentioned about the Millennials wanting to see what is happening around the world, that is, personally, one of my favorite parts of being on this show. It’s opened my eyes to so many things that are happening around the world. When I was a red carpet correspondent or I was covering sports, I was very focused in those areas. So when I started RightThisMinute, I began seeing things that were happening with random people doing these amazing things all over the world. It completely changed my perspective about my own life, like the things I do or the things I pursue. That’s what I think Millennials are so attracted to the show for — that bigger view of the world. It inspires them.
Millennials are globally invested and interested, and RightThisMinute caters to that by offering videos from around the globe. That’s what they want to see. Millennials want to see that everyone out there in other countries is just like us — they may or may not all have the same day to day concerns, but they enjoy all the same things we do, whether it is a funny animal story or someone did something crazy and it had a funny ending. That is the real world and that view of it through viral videos is interesting. Thus, it is cool that RightThisMinute picked up on that trend four years ago and foresaw that there was this audience that loves seeing what the world is really doing.
CHRISTIAN: It’s a big responsibility. We have to be very careful about the videos we are curating and showing people. We try not to be gratuitous with our content because there is so much content out there that could be. So we try to provide more to each video, which is why we try to do so much work with each individual story — to find out more behind it and be able to provide the story behind the video. That’s one of our biggest challenges: to be able to give you more than just the video itself. So when we watch a video and we all react to it, we feel it is a video we want to share with our friends, then that will be a video we end up putting on the show. Then we have to take it to the next level and find out all the details about it, so that we can give the most complete story behind the video. I think that is why people love the show so much. We don’t just show the video, we tell you all the facts about it. It’s not scripted either as all five of us just have a conversation about it.
That’s the other part of it: you are inviting people to be a part of that conversation. That kind of inclusiveness is very appealing to viewers these days. They do not just want to be show something, they want to be a part of it somehow.
CHRISTIAN: That’s a really good point, because it is very interactive. People interact with us on social media all the time. If they see a story that they really like, they will let us know. We also communicate back with our viewers if they reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. It is cool that we get to communicate with people about a story we did or even if the fans are just curious about us.
The interconnectivity is vital to how people watch or consume entertainment. If it is not interactive or interconnected where viewers are experiencing it with you, then they are not as likely to stick around. So whether it be the second-screen experience, or however viewers are consuming entertainment, it is not only to post a remark, they want access to that feedback. So, for you, you are not just curating content, you’re creating a dialogue and interacting with your audience about that content.
CHRISTIAN: It does create a very interesting relationship — because some of the viewers have been watching the show from the very beginning and we now know who they are. So we have this interesting cyber-relationship with them. We have some standout viewers who consistently comment or provide feedback and that is very gratifying.
Did you foresee that one day you would be working on TV talking about internet videos?
CHRISTIAN: I remember a conversation with friends, years ago, where I told them how I thought broadcasting was eventually just going to be the internet. That traditional television was going to change and just be the internet. That was before I had even heard of RightThisMinute or even a viral video. So then you fast-forward and here I am doing a televise show about the internet, and being the first TV show to do that. It’s interesting for me to be a part of that. It’s really changing the way we talk and the way we communicate and the way people consume their media — and we’re at the cusp of it. I think we’re the first show that successfully merges that gap between the internet and traditional broadcasting for television. Our show is broadcast on television, but everything we talk about is happening around the world on the internet. Eventually, I think television is going to be obsolete. You’re going to have a television or big screen that is just a computerized browser connected to the internet. It’s so curious where everything actually ends up going. Is cable TV going to disappear? Is everything going to be viewable on just Netflix? I think it is going to be about the content delivery service itself, not just the device. People just want what they want, whenever they want it. I am very lucky and excited that I get to be a part of a show that has kind of taken that first step. Who knows what is going to come next. But I think we are definitely setting a precedent for what is to come next. I think people will look at RightThisMinute and get inspired by what we’re doing.
For those who might be wondering, what is the secret to something that you would curate or select to be featured on RightThisMinute?
CHRISTIAN: Every time you watch a video, it’s always whether we feel like we want to share the video after we watch it. If we see a video and we react, like “Holy smokes! Let me show you this,” that is a dead giveaway that it is a video we have to put on the show. If it is a video and we go, “it’s cute, but whatever,” that’s a dead giveaway that we probably don’t need to put it on the show. It really does come down to how much we want to share it with someone else once we see it. If we get that feeling, then we know that our viewers — when they see it — are going to love it. We are always looking for something better to show our viewers. A challenge for the show is finding new content that is going to be compelling and still interesting for the viewers who have been watching our show since Day One. So you could say that my job is being an expert in viral video detection. It’s awesome.
To see what cool, intriguing and relevant viral videos Christian and her co-hosts have found to share, be sure to tune in for all new episodes of RightThisMinute each weekday. Since RightThisMinute airs at different times of the day depending on the area, be sure to heck you local listings for exact times and stations. Then if you want to connect or submit feedback, you can reach Christian and her co-hosts on Twitter using @RightThisMinute or even the hashtag #RightThisMinute. Also Christian Vera’s twitter handle is @ChristianVera. They would love to hear from you. (If you are in NYC, watch RightThisMinute at NOON on FOX5.)