With how widespread VTubing is these days, what does it actually take to establish an agency and find the talent? Comic Fiesta 2022 saw Kel Win Tan (“PapaHolo”, MyHolo TV’s CEO and founder), illustrator and character designer xFate, and voice actor/voice director Azman Zulkiply host a panel on “Creating VTubers”.
How hard could it be, right? It’s just production (on the agency’s side), having the visuals and design, and the talent to fill the role. Right?
Kel Win Tan, dubbed PapaHolo by the fans, explains the creation process takes six months. The first two gets set aside for research, which includes a market survey and learning the popular trends and/or anime for inspiration. Then, they find the talent through auditions.
Once the talent has signed on, they go through sessions on making their presence as a VTuber. You might think it’s just “kinda anime”, but there are more factors involved. As it stands, Malaysia is comparatively new to the VTuber industry when you compare it to the relative juggernauts of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. He reveals they needed help to even start finding talent, and got almost 700 applications both local and overseas when they began auditions. Azman also did his part in sifting through the talent pool.
Once that’s done, it’s time to create the character model. xFate spoke of challenges to design a character, with many of his ideas for Liliana getting rejected. The early sketches had Liliana look quite sexy and colourful, which was eventually simplified after taking into consideration the target viewer and ease of replicating in real life.
The ‘simplifying’ is in line with PapaHolo’s view that a character should have 3 attraction points. Any more, and the design can look too ‘overwhelming’, where it’s hard to pick out any one distinguishing feature. Considering the rejections xFate went through when prototyping Liliana, PapaHolo advises artists to provide more choices where possible; client and artist don’t necessarily have the same ideas, so the choices would avoid the stress of redesigning repeatedly.
Establishing the MyHolo TV project was through PapaHolo’s personal funding. The entire process can set you back over 4000 dollars within the industry, which can be an incredibly expensive venture. As such, he advises indie VTubers to focus more on developing your own persona and voice acting rather than spending it on your model. The model should be for when you have the extra funds to afford commissions, or if you’re able to do one yourself.
Hello Malaysian fans, we are located at Exhibitor Booth 'C134'.
— MyHolo TV (@myholotv) December 14, 2022
Azman’s role is to coach the talent. Voice acting aside, the talent needs to know how to sustain their voice when they livestream for an extended period – typically for an hour or 2. Likewise, they need to care for their throat as all that talking can be quite taxing.
Additionally, VTubers do livestreaming. It might sound redundant to stress this, but this means following a script is pretty unlikely. As such, the talents learn how to make their nerves as part of their performance. In Liliana’s case, she tends to cover it up with a laugh, and when you’re watching her live, you’re unlikely to realize it at all.
In the end, the talents need the practice to develop their persona until they become comfortable with it. They’ll get the experience, and know their audience better. Just compare debuts to later streams, and you’ll find the difference.
VTubing is unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon. There are so many fans of so many different personalities across multitudes of agencies or independent ones, each having their own flair and passion for what they do.
Be sure to check out the talents of MyHolo TV, and support them in their ventures.