Steve Zilberman is a Viral Marketing Engineer at Lucky Touch, where he works as Benny Blanco’s lead creative director as well as TikTok creator Bella Poarch.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I started my career off solely as a cinematographer and editor. I worked on music videos, documentaries, promotional videos, and commercials. I’m currently working as a social media consultant, creative director, on artist marketing, and artist development.
I’ve coined the term “viral engineer” because my job title encompasses cinematography/editing as well as the jobs I’ve listed that I’m currently doing. It is a combination of all of this that goes into creating a purposeful piece of viral content, hence the term viral engineer!
My personal full time clientele are Bella Poarch and Benny Blanco; via the company I’ve formed, Lucky Touch, I’ve been working with other artists and companies as well. I do one-off campaigns for artists as well as one-off videos that bring more traffic to music that the artist has released.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
No day is the same ever. In the music industry, it is nearly impossible to have a recurring schedule. As I write the answers to this interview, I am at a large magazine shoot (not sure I can say the name yet, depending on when this gets released) for Bella Poarch.
I’m here making sure things run smoothly and to spot an opportunity to grab a piece of content that isn’t in the shoot itinerary. Yesterday, I spent the entire day creating videos with Benny Blanco and towards the end of the day we hosted the first ever American multi-person live on TikTok.
I had an idea to print a shirt with Bennys face for one of our guests, so I went to get it made and dropped it off to the talent that same day. Again, I came up with that the day of so it was unplanned. We had people like Addison Rae join, Mia Khalifa, and several others.
I monitored the live on a Zoom chat with TikTok to make sure everything was going smoothly. Benny also pulled me into the live as a character when needed (I’ve been featured in several of his TikToks). Luckily I have a manager who organizes my calendar for me so I just have to wake up and see what’s planned for that day.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
A lot of what I do is remote. I have talent send me assets I ask for and piece them together. Unfortunately, the most effective way I work is not remote, so I push to be with the talent if possible. It’s normally for larger campaigns or an important content piece that I am there physically.
For example if Bella is filming a trending TikTok dance, I have no reason to be there and most all times don’t even look at the content before it’s posted. In my job position, you must have trust in your clientele to do what they do best.
Generally speaking I make my own work schedule but it revolves around the schedules of people that I work with.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
This is something I have struggled with heavily in the past. When I was working on the Oliver Tree project full time, I learned why balance is important. We worked 24/7, lived together and would tour together.
It got so intense that I ended up getting shingles, at age 26! To play devil’s advocate, the reason this project was a success is partially because of the hard nonstop work we put in. It did burn me out and Oliver and I split ways for a short time.
Since then, I have come back full force with social media while Oliver has still not returned. It is part of the reason he is not active on social media any longer. Work-life balance is extremely important in this job field and it is something I still struggle with.
It’s difficult to not be friends with who you work with because artist relations is a major part of my job title. I’m able to connect with certain talent because I have befriended them. So in short, no I have not mastered work-life balance but I have gotten to a point where it does not burn me out. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I take a step back.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I have stopped my main routine: having a full time girlfriend that I lived with. Having somebody else in your life full time is something I consider to be a routine because their routines become yours. Not in all relationships. Mine specifically.
For example, she had us signed up for work out classes so a few times a week I would go. Now, I have workout equipment in my house and that I carry when I travel. I don’t have a set time I work out, but I try a few times a day throughout the day when I have the time. So I have a routine, just not a timed routine.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I recommend everybody that is interested in marketing read ‘propaganda’ by Edward Bernays.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Yes, TikTok! Ok I can live without it but I wouldn’t have as successful of a career if it didn’t come about. Another important app I can’t live without is called videoleap. It is a phone editing program for videos that I use daily to make content. It is much more convenient than carrying a laptop around!
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I became a pescatarian 3 years ago to have more discipline in my life. Meat is something I could live without but having a practice that takes discipline is more important to me.
For the most part I do whatever I want. I have no one but myself to tell me what I can and can’t do. So consciously knowing that I can’t do something, even though I want to, keeps me in check.
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