Check out our interview with wildly successful entrepreneur, content creator, writer and the creative mastermind and founder behind the insanely popular New Rockstars YouTube Channel (nearly 4 million subscribers // 1.6 billion views) Filup Molina who is poised to make his biggest splash in 2023 with the launch of his upcoming new YouTube Channel this month.
Founded by Filup in 2015, New Rockstars is the premiere news source for diehard fans of a plethora of content including Marvel, DCEU, the Star Wars universe, other major television series, films and more. Filup was able to create a strong community of over 4 million fans across all social platforms and has since garnered over 1.6 billion views on their YouTube channel alone.
Filup is also an accomplished writer, host, comedian and director having worked on multiple projects over the years. His next project includes the upcoming music video for the band Jukebox the Ghost
Follow Filup @filupmolina
Please tell us a little about you?
Hey there, I’m Filup Molina, a screenwriter, entrepreneur, and recovering influencer. I specialize in the study of engaging storytelling across film, TV, and surprisingly to some, YouTube. My latest content endeavor, Filmwise, puts this expertise on display through deep analysis into the art of filmmaking. On the Filmwise YouTube channel we break down the hidden layers and deeper meanings of the popular stories we are all collectively obsessed with. Before Filmwise, I founded New Rockstars, another YouTube channel that also focuses on story analysis in pop culture, using the sort of snooty film-snob lens to celebrate and dissect the worlds of Marvel and Star Wars. I proudly grew New Rockstars to an audience of approximately 4 million and am now ready starting that process all over again with Filmwise.
I’m also the co-owner of ZeroEdition, an e-commerce company that guides influencers in creating merchandise and products that their followers actually want. Rather than logos on Tshirts, we ideate around the core interests of an influencer’s audience, and then develop products that organically connect with those interests. I also flex my creative muscles across a few other outlets. I write “dramedy” stories, in TV and film scripts, and recently won the ScreenCraft True Story screenplay competition based on my experience helping defend my brother in his immigration trial. I also spent years writing and directing sketch comedy videos and recently directed five music videos for my favorite band, Jukebox the Ghost.
Finally, just to keep my brain sharp and to scratch the performing itch, I’ve been engaged in improv comedy for around 18 years. Something else worth mentioning, as both a Latin man and a bisexual man, I’m passionate about using my platform to challenge and change the way these identities are depicted in media. I hope that everything I do is helpful in stretching the perception of other Latin or bisexual men like me.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Ambitious Insatiable Joyous Rebellious
Who is your role model?
At the moment, I got to go with Adam McKay. He stands out for me because of his ability to use comedy as a tool for examining and commenting on society and history. His wit and humor manage to captivate audiences, while also delivering thought-provoking, often acerbic, messages. He started out in much more broad comedy with films like “Anchorman” and “Step Brothers,” but his shift toward satirical films, such as “The Big Short” and “Vice,” allowed for sharp and poignant commentary on financial and political systems, without alienating his broader fan base. His HBO series “Succession” showcases his ability to craft complex and multilayered characters, often compared to those from Shakespearean dramas. The messages are as nuanced and biting as the most critical think-pieces in the Times, but through his use of comedy, his reach expands to an entire audience of people who would never seek out that sort of commentary. McKay’s evolution as a filmmaker is aspirational for me because he sets a bar for the potential power of comedy to have meaningful societal impact.
How did you get started into the business?
I attribute my start in the business to my goofing around on stage with my college improv and sketch comedy group, Theatre Strike Force. Our group made plenty of video comedy content, but that eventually evolved into members taking a larger risk. In 2010, we produced a feature film called “New Low.” Surprisingly, despite being made by college students for $1000, the film was accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Because I wrote much of the comedic material for that script, I had the confidence to drop out of college and move out to Los Angeles where I eventually started working for one of the stars of “New Low,” who had gone on to become a successful YouTuber. Because new media was like the wild west, career growth was incredibly accelerated, and it wasn’t long before I was running that YouTuber’s company. I then was hired at a couple of different up and coming digital content companies. Eventually, I settled into a singular project, the development of a YouTube channel called New Rockstars. There I gained notoriety for my videos analyzing and highlighting the intricate details of popular nerd culture subjects like Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and Marvel.
These videos gained viral success, getting millions of views and bringing the channel into the top 100 fastest growing YouTube channels in the world. Those years of deep story analysis contributed to my writing talents, which eventually led to my winning of a screenwriting competition and being signed with a top literary management company. So, most of my current endeavors are either businesses spun out of my new media success, or film, TV, or podcast content that I’ve been writing and producing alongside my career as a digital content creator.
How has this changed your life?
My life is completely defined by this career path. Growing up I always knew that I wanted to have a job doing something that will always be relevant and useful to people, anywhere, anytime. I used to think the only work that could meet that criteria would be something like medicine, which is why I spent years studying microbiology. Instead, I’ve found fulfillment in entertainment and storytelling which is perhaps one of the few industries even more timeless than medicine. This means that I get to start each work day with full investment and excitement about doing what I love, while still feeling like my work will have an everlasting impact on the world around me. Additionally, my work as a writer and content creator has allowed me to connect with people all over the globe. Through my original writing, I’ve been able to see the ripples of reach that my stories can have, and it’s a truly wonderful feeling to know that I’ve touched someone’s life through my work.
Similarly, through my analytical YouTube content, I’ve been able to help people understand why they love the things they love. It’s a great feeling to be able to provide insight and understanding to others that enhances their joy and celebrates the other creators we all love. Overall, my career as a writer and content creator has allowed me to turn my passions into my profession and to make a positive impact on the world through my work. I’m grateful every day for the opportunity to type words and have people enjoy hearing them.
Tell us about your work as a writer and content creator?
As a writer and content creator, my work is all about exploring the cognitive dissonance of life and showcasing the balance between tragedy and comedy. Whether I’m analyzing a work of fiction or sharing my own personal experiences, I try to find the humor and humanity in even the most difficult situations. This approach is reflected in my original stories, which often blur genre boundaries and present characters who exist in shades of grey rather than in black and white. In my analytical content, I aim to not only highlight the multifaceted nature of our favorite stories, but also to make the analysis itself thought-provoking and humorous. I believe that by examining the deeper meanings and motivations behind even the most absurd or ridiculous scenarios, we can gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the world around us. Ultimately, my goal is to create work that resonates with people and helps them feel less alone. Ideally, I want to write things that remind us that our tears of sorrow are just as valid as our tears of laughter, and that the entire human experience exists in the intersection of those worlds.
Where or when did you found the love for this?
I always had a love for writing, but probably the moment that the tragicomedy approach really clicked for me, was during the summer of filming “New Low.” Every day before each shoot, I would meet up with the writer/director, Adam Bowers, and pitch jokes to insert into the day’s filming. The movie was already comedic, but the characters were also dealing with some serious life choices, and I really resonated with the main character, who couldn’t help but make jokes when he really shouldn’t be. But the resulting film just felt so much more real for me, and apparently really spoke to wider audiences too. That experience was probably the beginning, but the true appreciation and love settled in when I used writing to help heal my own wounds. I wrote a script that was based on a true story of mine from 2017. It was a comedic take on the most difficult chapter of my life. My father had just passed away, my brother was listed for deportation, and I was struggling to keep my family together while learning unsettling truths about them all. The script I wrote not only helped me accept the validity of the full range of complex emotions I’d been feeling, but it started my writing career in earnest, and established a signature lens through which I can create content forever.
What do you think is the secret to have a successful site/social media channels?
In my opinion, success on social media is about 3 things:
1. Identifying an underserved niche to which you have an authentic connection.
2. Consistently providing specific, valuable answers to lingering questions within the niche.
3. A sense of essentiality to your answers that will leave the potential viewer with overwhelming FOMO if they don’t consume your content.
What mindsets helped making you so successful?
My life motto is “ambition beyond talent.” I’ve always wanted to do things just beyond my reach, and I’ll never be satisfied with the extent of my abilities. That mindset has been ingrained in me since I was a kid, but I actually think a much more effective explanation of it comes in Carol Dweck’s book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.” Dweck uses dozens of anecdotes to prove how intelligence and abilities can be developed through effort and learning, rather than being inherent, fixed traits. This “growth mindset” has allowed me to embrace my setbacks and failures as opportunities for improvement and has become the backbone of my resilience.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
If I were a book, I think the title would be “Ambition Beyond Talent,” because that phrase is something that has always driven me in my career. I believe that with hard work, determination, and a growth mindset, anyone can achieve their goals, even if they don’t have natural talent in a particular area. It’s a message that I try to convey in my work as a content creator and writer, and it’s something that I try to live by in my personal life as well. The title “Ambition Beyond Talent” is meant to inspire and motivate readers to pursue their passions and dreams with grit and perseverance, no matter what obstacles they may face. Of course, my publisher may not find that attention grabbing enough, so we could have some alttitles, like “The Art of Failing Up,” “The Secret to being a Successful Fraud,” “The Idiot’s Guide to being a Genius.” You get the idea.
What do you think is the secret to have a successful YouTube channel?
First, early on, it’s about identifying a unique and engaging niche that you are genuinely passionate about. This will help you create content that is authentic and genuine, which viewers are more likely to respond to. Ongoing, consistent, but high value, content is key. Building a loyal audience requires consistently delivering high-quality content on a regular basis. This can help establish you as an authority in your niche and keep viewers coming back for more. Also, extra important at the beginning, you need to get your initial supporters to engage with you as often as possible. Interacting with comments isn’t just good for your discovery and encouragement of building true fans, but also their feedback can fast track your improvement and give the audience a sense of ownership that makes them that much more engaged and invested in your success. Finally, once you’ve mastered all that, I think the willingness to experiment to maximize the priorities of the algorithm is another major key. Adaptability and change are the requirements for longevity.
As a popular content creator and influencer you are followed by so many people. How do you feel about that pressure of always doing the right thing, and encourage people to follow their dreams?
I don’t fret about it at all. I know that I want people to see me as an authentic representation of a Hispanic, bisexual man, who is a bit too obsessed with accomplishing great things. As long as I live my life authentically, then it’ll be an accurate portrayal, and will hopefully serve as an example to other people who relate to me as to what they, themselves, are capable of. — The only thing that can be tough is having my DMs open… but that’s a whole other story.
Tell us about your work as a writer for the new music video for the band Jukebox the Ghost?
I wrote and directed a series of videos for Jukebox the Ghost, who happen to be my favorite band. Really though, only one of them, “Brass Band,” is a fully written out, complex story. It takes inspiration from so many different tales and is really a showcase of what I like seeing in stories. It’s loosely based on Stephen King’s villainous Randall Flagg character, who brings a dark influence over human behavior. But, in our story, he just makes people give in to their base desires and forces them to shortcut their way into becoming who they really want to be. There are rules to the world and the character’s powers that appeal to my interest in sci-fi, there is a sense of deeper themes and commentary, and then there’s a sense of fun in the comedic visuals, not to mention my love for powerful music and its influence on people. All those things kind of exist as a perfect intersection of what it’s like to be in my writing brain.
What is different from your YouTube channel to projects like this one?
While my new channel, Filmwise, analyzes these kinds of media, this is the first time that I’ve written and produced a piece of fiction that is worthy of that level of analysis. Not only is there a lot to be said about the true meaning of the video, but we even snuck in a number of easter eggs, and connections to all kinds of other stories. It’s almost like a practice run at trying to build bigger worlds, using everything I’ve learned about obsessive fandom culture.
What would say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?
Resilience and experimentation. In every endeavor, the key to success is iteration. I love Yoda, but I think “do or do not,” is only valid as long as you are willing to repeat the attempt again and again, changing something in your effort or technique, until “do not” becomes “do.”
Any advice to entrepreneurs out there?
Two things: 1. Piggyback off of something else successful. Too many entrepreneurs want to reinvent the wheel, when there is a whole world of success to be had by making things that supplement and accessorize the wheel. If you know that everyone in your neighborhood all bought the same shovel, don’t try to replace the shovel. Instead, consider selling the perfect set of gloves for handling your shovel, or a different length handle that makes the shovel more useful.
2. You may know how to make the product better than anyone else, but that has nothing to do with knowing how best to run a company. Structure your company for where you want it to be in 10 years, and then create a roadmap to get you there, that doesn’t rely on you filling every role.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber. It goes into that second idea from above, but with much more nuance and detail. It taught me that my ingenuity was valuable, but cleverly solving problems doesn’t fix them in perpetuity and those clever solutions that only you can implement aren’t scalable solutions. The book uses the example of a baker who can’t manage to get out from under the work of baking to properly run the bakery, and yet it’s applied to every single company I’ve run, especially YouTube content creation.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
Starting over. I recently had the choice to have a safety net, while figuring out what I wanted to put my time into next or, instead, I could forego the safety and security, and swing much bigger and take a huge risk. The difference was whether or not I wanted to be defined by past successes that were technically owned by others, or future successes that may never come to be, but if they do, will be owned by me. I chose the latter, and it’s terrifying, but very exciting.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my work is the feeling of connection and impact that I get when I create something that resonates with people. Whether it’s a piece of content that makes someone laugh, or a story that helps them feel less alone, there’s something incredibly fulfilling about creating something that has the power to affect people in a positive way. It’s a feeling that keeps me going, no matter how challenging or exhausting the work may be at times.
What is your favorite healthy food?
If I’m feeling fancy, it’s probably high-end sushi. Though, I probably eat too much of it to call it healthy. But, most of the time, it’s actually Chipotle. I can line up a bowl with exactly the right macros, and have a delicious, hearty meal that is still considered fast food but without the normally associated downsides. For the record, it’s usually white rice, black beans, any of the meats, fajita veggies, a smattering of corn with a pinch of cheese.
And your favorite cheat food?
Depends on how big we’re going. I can quickly make the Chipotle more of a cheat meal, by using my chips like nachos to scoop up the contents of the bowl without a fork. However, if we’re going real big, the correct answer is pizza. Always pizza. I recently ordered 4 identical pizzas from Papa John’s, Domino’s, Little Caesar’s, and Pizza Hut. Dominos had the best seasoning but Papa John’s had the freshest, tastiest ingredients. So now, I order Papa John’s but add a bit of Domino’s style seasoning.
How would your best friend describe you?
I just asked them to answer this for me. They said: “Filup is one of the most driven people I’ve ever met. He is always looking for ways to make a positive impact, whether it’s providing dream opportunities for people he believes in, rescuing a dog in need, or finding new integrations for technology and automation — if it can make someone’s life easier, Filup will personally install it. The ultimate host and friend, you can always count on Filup for heartfelt advice, compassionate problem-solving, and a quick-witted joke.” Note from Filup: That answer was very kind. Definitely money well spent.
What’s next for Filup Molina in 2023?
We’ve all learned over the last few years that our goals and plans are far from guaranteed, but for now, here’s how I see 2023 playing out for me: -Soon I’ll be releasing a few more Jukebox the Ghost music videos, including the aforementioned “Brass Band.” -I’ll finish a draft of my current pilot based on my convoluted history as an “influencer,” and I’ll begin my next feature film, a horror comedy. -I’ll either release or at least be far into development of my musical podcast, “Epic.” -Filmwise will be growing and finding its footing in the film and TV analytical landscape. I hope to collaborate with great filmmakers and build a great community for people who love film and TV as much as I do. -I’ll continue to nurture and develop my e-commerce companies, with a focus on a profitfirst mentality (read “Profit First” by Mike Michalowicz if you’re curious). -I’ll be launching a new tech company that might change the way creators make content, and it could be the biggest thing I ever build. It’s actually already under way, in initial development… That’s all I can say about that one for now. -Finally, I’ll most definitely still be on my path of personal growth and will hopefully be able to do a number of things I currently can’t. For instance, I’m hoping to be playing songs on the piano by the time the next holiday season comes around.
What is your own definition of happiness?
I’m not going to try to say anything profound, because smarter people than me have defined happiness a million times over, in far better ways than I could. But I know for me, I feel happiness when I’m laughing really hard, when I’m playing with a dog, when I’m giving a big hug, when I’m throwing a fun party, when I’m eating good food over good conversation, and those moments when a new skillset starts to settle in.
How is a normal day in your life?
It usually looks like about 30 hours of tasks squeezed into a 24 hour period. At the moment, if things are going well, my routine starts with a workout around 6:30am, followed by an hour of writing and a shower. I start the work day, following up on emails and Slack messages, and don’t have breakfast until 11am. The work day itself usually becomes a blur of rotating tasks from the various companies, with meal breaks every 2 hours until 7pm, and usually some play with the dogs at each break. I am also pretty much always listening to a non-fiction audiobook during any task that doesn’t require me to write too many words. My evenings usually start with practice on a new skill (piano at the moment), and then a regular group of friends comes over for a screening of a film or TV show that is relevant to either our analysis work or any of our current writing projects. I then usually wind down reading tech news until I fall asleep with a dog at my side.
What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Honestly, it’s not too different from a normal day. I might sleep in a bit more, but then I still enjoy my combination of alternating relaxation and productivity. I might change venues a bit, like working from a coffee shop with some of the pups or having brunch with friends while discussing our progress of the week. In the summer, I might lay out, do some outdoor grilling, or experiment with recipes for some summertime cocktails.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I wouldn’t need a dedicated meeting; I’d just be happy to quietly shadow Steve Jobs in the months before he got fired from Apple and the months after he came back. We all know he was an amazing innovator, but I’d love to see what he chose to do differently upon his return. How did he course correct, and in what ways was he pushing people appropriately, versus ways that did more harm than good. I don’t consider him to be the ideal leader, but rather just someone incredibly worthy of study.
Best advice ever given?
Best is hard to say, but I enjoy these two learnings I’ve held onto from my improv training: For being an interesting character: “Learn something about everything, and everything about something” For being a good conversationalist: “Listen all the way to the end of the sentence”
Do you support any charity?
I support Community Spring, a charity based in Gainesville, FL. Community Spring empowers individuals experiencing poverty to recognize and utilize their individual and collective power in order to dismantle structural poverty and promote economic mobility at a grassroots level. Through nine-month fellowships, Community Spring provides fellows with the opportunity to work together to identify and address the issues they believe contribute to poverty in their communities, while also receiving a fair wage and gaining valuable skills. As a mentor, I have the privilege of teaching these fellows valuable video production skills that they can use to amplify their message and share their stories, as well as providing them with tools to secure employment after their fellowship is complete. It has been incredibly rewarding to see the impact that these skills have had on the lives of the fellows, including one who was able to secure a job in digital content creation after completing the program. You can check out Community Spring at csgnv.org.
Name 3 things you can’t live without?
I can’t live without my iPhone, dogs, and my funny friends. (I’m ashamed to admit that Coke Zero was very close to making this list.)
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
In five years, I see myself with a TV show on the air (fingers crossed for an HBO dramedy series), having gained millions of subscribers on the Filmwise YouTube channel, and finally able to afford a decent house in LA. I also hope to have at least two new businesses outside of my content-based ventures that is doing well and making a positive impact in the world. I’m always looking for new opportunities to grow and learn, and I’m excited to see where that’ll land me in the next five years.
What is your favorite song to belt out in the car for karaoke?
I don’t often belt in the car, but when I do, it’s almost always “Hello” by Adele. I love Adele, but the real reason it’s always that song is because, for whatever reason, whenever that song comes on, if my dog Kylo is riding with me, he’ll beautifully howl right alongside Adele, and I can’t help but join him. He’s usually more in-tune than I am though.
What music do you like?
I enjoy piano-driven pop rock with upbeat, energetic melodies and catchy hooks. I appreciate artists who can craft infectious, danceable tracks that lift my mood and get me moving. Whether I’m working, working out, or just hanging out with friends, I always appreciate a good, upbeat pop rock tune that makes me feel better than I did before it started.
What do you think of Social Media?
In my opinion, social media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it has the ability to bring people together and connect them in ways that were previously unimaginable. It has given a voice to marginalized communities and has provided a platform for people to share their stories and experiences. It’s also given me a career. On the other hand, social media can also be a breeding ground for negativity and toxicity. It can be addictive and distract us from the real world, and it can also perpetuate harmful ideas and behaviors. Overall, I believe social media is mostly reflective of the truths about the people who feed it. So, just like humanity, I think there are more positive than negative elements to it, and so as long as we use it responsibly and are mindful of its potential impact on ourselves and others, it’s a tool I will continue to respect and appreciate.
Where we can follow you?
You can find me @filupmolina pretty much everywhere and follow my new film analysis channel @getfilmwise everywhere. Unless you mean literally follow me, then your best bet is to keep an eye on the various Chipotles in Southern California.
Quote: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” – Vince Lombardi
Favorite Singer/Artist: Jukebox the Ghost
Movie: You can’t ask a film analyst this! In no particular order, here are just some of my favorite movies from over the years: Scream, The Dark Knight, Interstellar, Zodiac, Se7en, The Truman Show, Saving Private Ryan, Get Out, Edge of Tomorrow
Travel Destination: The distant future. Or Japan.
Sports Team: The Rockford Peaches, the Toon Squad, the 1992 Springfield Nuclear Plant Softball Team
Tv Show: All time might be The Simpsons or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but at the moment, definitely Succession
Book: This is also way too hard to answer. The Secrets of Story by Matt Bird is a fantastic guide for writers. I really enjoyed Live From New York, an oral history of the early days of SNL. Recently, The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday was a great introduction into the philosophy of stoicism