Imagine after posting your first ever Snapchat you become a viral sensation overnight. That's exactly what happened to Tristan de Burgh, better know to his fans as TristanTales. The young video creator realized that his Snapchat feed was full of stories without a full narrative. Instead, most people's Snapchat stories focused on singular instances of their day.
Hoping to change things up, Tristan decided to don a safari uniform, head over to USC's campus, and give viewers a safari tour of frat guys in their natural habitat: the college gymnasium. His hysterical antics and catch phrase-worthy commentary caught the attention of hundreds of thousands of people overnight.
His choice to join the platform really paid off. Not only was he one of the first people to use Snapchat's story feature to illustrate narrative stories that play like a short film, but he also created his own technique known to fans as the Choose Your Own Snapventure, where the viewers can help decide where Tristan's snap story goes in real-time. And Tristan's innovative efforts haven't just been noticed by his dedicated following. He was also recently nominated for a Shorty Award for the Snapchatter of the Year category and has been working alongside some of the biggest brands to create new, exciting social campaigns.
He's well on his way to being one of the most important viral video creators in the social media space. We recently sat down with Tristan de Burgh about how he got his start on Snapchat, what it was like going viral overnight, and more!
And for even more Tristan de Burgh news, head over to AOL.com at 6 p.m. ET for more exclusive features, including his most memorable fan encounters.
When did you decide to join Snapchat?
I was always very late to the social media game. I got on Snapchat last March and I was looking at my friend's stories and it was just food or parities and it was just so disjointed. I kept thinking about how nothing really strung together to tell an actual story. By the end of that week, I decided I was going to tell the best damn Snapchat story anyone has ever told. So I threw on a safari tour guide outfit and went to my college gym. I interacted with all the frat stars in their own environment.
That one blew up too! What was that like for you going viral overnight?
I woke up with 100,000 views the next morning. I checked my phone and there was just plus sign after plus sign from people adding me. I thought that I would never make a Snapchat story again since I thought it was too much. But it really was remarkable to see. These weren't just views; people were engaging with me and interacting with the story. It was almost like having pen pals from around the world. I don't think any social media platform has that same level of interaction.
Is that the reason why you gravitate towards your narrative story-telling style?
Yeah, absolutely. I went to USC and studied Business and Film. With my cinema background, I already had a foundation for storytelling. And I realized that it wasn't being done on Snapchat so I wanted to be one of the first people to do it.
How has your technical film background changed the way you operate as a Snapchatter?
It allowed me to find unique ways to tell a story on a platform that's very limiting. You have to make videos on the app, clips are limited to 10 seconds, you can't edit or rearrange clips. So figuring out how to create the best clips based on these limitations is really opens up a lot of room for creativity in a way that's lost when you have all these other things that help you fabricate the world. It's really authentic.
Take us behind the scenes of your Snap story. What happens from start to finish?
It varies on story to story. I try to find a balance between preparing for my stories and just going with the flow, because one of the best things on Snapchat is the spontaneity of it. I often times will come up with a story the day of and film it later that evening. Or I'll go out on the street and interact with strangers. There isn't much preparation that goes into it to be honest.
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