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John Plant from Primitive Technology - Interview 2019 (Read 188 times)
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John Plant from Primitive Technology - Interview 2019
Sep 23rd, 2019 at 12:02am
 
Very little is known about you, can you give your age and a bit about your background?
37, Bachelor of Science majoring in rainforest science, but was a lawn mowing contractor till I did primitive technology on YouTube. Always did primitive technology as a hobby since I was 11 though. 

With now adding a book to your list of accomplishments, what other goals or aspirations do you have for the future?
More primitive technology (YouTube, books, TV etc.). Need to learn more skills. Outside of primitive technology, I want to be an inventor but most of my ideas fail (this is common of most inventors). I want to invent a self-replicating machine but the challenge is very great.

How did your book come about and what was the process?
It was easy for me because of the success of the channel. We put out bids for various publishing companies and chose the option that suited us best. This book option was the most like a how to manual which is what I wanted to write.

What are your favorite chapters?
Pyro technology, it's my favorite- anything to do with kilns and furnaces interests me. Next would be tools.

What are your favorite channels on YouTube?
Political ones surprisingly, I hardly watch other ones that have to do with primitive technology or bush craft.  Having said that though, watching politics is a bad habit that wastes time (I'm trying to break it) and I don't advise people to watch politics too excessively for this reason.

What one event inspired you to make this channel and pursue this path?
I made a video about building a hut for friends and family to watch and they said I should put it up on YouTube. I didn't add narration out of laziness which ended up being a good move.

What is your favorite thing about creating on your channel?
Being able to work and earn money while doing what I like. I imagine a lot of people would like that.

When did you first realize you were famous?
When the first video got to Reddit, after that it was just increasing levels of fame. The vast amount of interaction with people is positive, everyone that meets me in person has said they liked watching the videos which is good.

What are your thoughts on your rise to one of the most watched channels on YouTube?
It was successful because it was unique as of 4 years ago (making stuff from scratch), there was no talking (people don't like hearing excessive narration) and it was simple (no wasted time, external unrelated content).

Were you expecting so many views and comments? What was that like?
No I thought it would just be a niche community interested in this stuff. I'm glad it had a wider reception.

What training have you had in regards to photography or video work?
I used to photograph my builds for my own reference. Then I started videoing things in action like furnaces. Then I started editing them into videos to show family and friends (my introduction to editing software). 

What advice do you have to anyone just starting out with a YouTube channel and what would you have done differently?
Look at what’s out there already and find out what you don't like. When I started I saw a videos about making bows that would take ages and have all this non-essential information like the guys dog or he was telling jokes etc. It's just like just show me how to make the bow. So I made the video that other people weren't making. Now when you type in bow and arrow on YouTube mine is the first one (or one of the first ones at this date) to turn up even though I'm not the best bowyer on YouTube. Presentation is important, think of your poor viewer and what they go through with boring videos. I'd have called my channel John Plant instead of primitive technology so other people wouldn't copy my channel name so blatantly (primitive technology was a term before I started the channel but I checked first to see no one else on YouTube was already using it back in 2015).

What do you think contributed most to your YouTube success?
An original idea, correct presentation, integrity in not faking things but also timing and luck.

What pitfalls have you had to overcome along your journey?
I bought a property to shoot videos on thinking it would be better. There were so many mosquitoes I ended up selling it about a year later. If things are working well, don't change it unless you're really sure it's a good idea.

What equipment do you use in the field and what editing programs in post-production?
Nikon d3200 and tripod that's it. Considering changing to a GoPro hero black 7 though.

How old were you and what was your first experience with the sling like?
Earliest sling like experience was as a child tying a string around a nut (from a bolt) and swinging it and letting it go (this is probably how the sling evolved in my opinion- tying a string to a rock and slinging it). Later my dad picked up a palm leaf, put a palm seed in it and fired it. That was literally the first time I saw the proper concept of a sling being demonstrated (no YouTube back then). From then on I made them from cloth, leather at home. Then from vine and bark in the wild.

Do you regularly sling still? When and what kind of sling do you use?
I shot a promo for history channel just recently and had to use the sling. It was of bark fiber woven into a pouch as seen on my channel. I've since changed technique to Greek overhand as I find it more accurate and having less movement.

Have you made slings out of modern materials and how did they turn out?
When I was a kind I used old pants and drawstrings to make them. Also used mum's old purses for leather. I think bark fiber works just as well as modern materials but I haven't experimented much.

Do you use the finger loop? What other specifics about your slinging style?
Yes, always have used finger loop. Just recently switched to Greek over hand technique (3/4 turn before release).

Have you tried other methods?
Helicopter wind up, figure 8, under arm.

How far can you sling?
I once fired a foxtail seed from the bottom of my parent’s property all the way to the opposite back corner of the neighbor’s property. It was up hill too and hit their shed- about 150 meters. A foxtail seed is roughly football shaped (oblong) and isn't very dense compared to a rock. Don't remember if it was windy that day. This was as a young teenager.

How long did it take you to make the slinging video on your channel and what were some of the challenges?
It was an easy video. It only took about a week to shoot all of it. No real challenges, just made a length of cordage and wove it into a sling. One of your readers could probably make a better video on it- show making it and using it with great skill in just one video (remember keep the video short and to the point).

Why is the reason more people don't sling?
It's not seen enough in mainstream culture, the weapon looks too simple to be considered effective and the learning curve associated with its use.

What has been your favorite thing about success and what has changed in your lifestyle?
Basically financial security. It hasn't really changed my lifestyle at all. I still drive the same Ute, don't spend any more money than I did before etc. If anything I think I spend less now than I did before the channel because I don't drive for work.

What is your favorite place to travel to and what is the best vacation you ever took?
I don't actually like traveling. I went to south east Asia as a kid but haven't been out of Australia since I was an adult.

How long before you get to the Iron Age?
When I smelt enough iron to make something. I welded the iron prills from a previous video together and hammered it flat but it was so small it wouldn't even form a scalpel.

How long do you plan to continue your channel?
I don't need to keep going. I might take a break at the end of this year and just work on perfecting the skills. I can afford to take the time off and make a series that's higher in quality and content.


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Re: John Plant from Primitive Technology - Interview 2019
Reply #1 - Sep 23rd, 2019 at 2:13am
 
Great stuff! Interesting to hear from probably the most enigmatic YouTuber Cheesy
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Re: John Plant from Primitive Technology - Interview 2019
Reply #2 - Sep 23rd, 2019 at 3:12am
 
Nice! Thank you for doing this.
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Re: John Plant from Primitive Technology - Interview 2019
Reply #3 - Sep 23rd, 2019 at 12:32pm
 
excellent interview. Thumbs Up

he fact that he's now financially secure for life is pretty amazing !
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