At 10 years old, Matthew “Matt” Josten sat down and watched, “Saving Private Ryan” for the first time. Josten was immediately inspired and took to his camera to recreate the movie he just saw.
He gathered up pillows, Nerf guns, chairs, his brother Tim and his Himalayan cat Bella.
Josten fought valiantly in front of the camera and “killed” a German solider, portrayed by Tim, to finally save Bella.
Emulating a movie he loved exuded pure joy from Josten. From that one, five-minute film, Josten never stopped picking up a camera and bringing his ideas to life in videos.
Prior to making videos, Josten began acting at the age of 5, landing roles such as Michael “Goob” Yagoobian in “Meet the Robinsons” and Kirby in “Chicken Little.”
He decided to take a break from acting during his time at West Ranch High School. Within his acting break, he began to see viral success with his comedy videos that he stuck with since age 10.
“What’s cool about creating your own stuff is you can pretty much just pick up a camera and write something and make something whenever you want and I always really wanted to be making things,” said Josten.
Josten’s videos even got the attention of, at the time, Hart High School student Justus Delgado.
Josten, now 25, and Delgado, now 27, met working together at a local country club as bussers.
The two became friends and started shooting sketches together. The duo quickly realized they wanted to take their sketch comedy up a notch and try their hand at pitching television shows.
They attended acting classes at the Santa Clarita School of Performing Arts, Upright Citizens Brigade and Studio 4. While they worked toward becoming better in front of the camera, behind it they began crafting up pitches for television shows.
“We were always really inclined towards creating our own stuff,” said Josten.
To create a 30-minute video pitch, the duo estimated it took them six months, from start to finish.
Even though they were constantly refining their skills and working, they saw no success at their goal.
Some of their friends in the social media world began suggesting that they try their hand at social media.
“We actually didn’t want to do it,” said Delgado.
The two continued their journey in pitching television shows with this hesitant mindset.
Time after time, they faced rejection and hit a stage of burnout.
In a place where most would quit, the duo decided to take all they had learned and put their previous bias aside to try their hand at social media.
“We never thought we would be doing the social media stuff,” said Josten.
Josten and Delgado, more commonly known as MattAndJustus, changed from their 30-minute horizontal pitches into one-minute, vertical comedy sketches. Their passion reawakened on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.
Going from a place of writing 30 minutes’ worth of content to, at most, a minute was both easy and difficult. On one hand, they had plenty of jokes and ideas to bring to life, but the editing process for these sketches was tedious.
“Every second should be entertaining,” said Delgado.
“You can tell a story in a minute,” said Josten. “How do we say this in the least amount of words, in the most interesting way?”
Their editing goes as extreme as cutting single words out of a sentence.
This new avenue of creating allowed for them to be consistent and share their content to a greater audience.
This was looking up, but the duo started to experience yet another creative rut.
“We hit a wall,” said Delgado. “It just wasn’t fun anymore. We weren’t in a good headspace with everything creatively and mentally.”
The duo made the difficult decision to cease all production to address the issue within their company (consisting of Josten, Delgado and Tim Josten). The problem wasn’t with what they were creating. They lost the meaning of why they were creating content.
MattAndJustus took a break from November 2021 until February 2022, even though they weren’t in the financial state to do so. To them, success is just an afterthought.
“We focus on attempting, with many failures involved, to try and treat people kindly and work from that place rather than from a place of, ‘I’m trying to be successful,’” said Josten. “The world doesn’t need that s— anymore.”
For the three-month break, they worked on themselves together to be fulfilled in their own lives, rather than seek that fulfillment from the work they did.
“A lot of people will work and do things to be fulfilled and then we kind of switched it, where we’re like, ‘We’re gonna focus on being fulfilled in this year and being a place of love for ourselves and other people and then work as a celebration of that because of that,’ as opposed to needing fulfillment from outside stuff,” said Josten.
With a changed mindset, the duo hopped back on the creative horse and started creating content again.
One of the main reasons the duo burned out was the fact that, some weeks, a whole sketch video had to be created from concept to hitting “post.” This would cause them a lot of stress, leaving them to believe that they were only doing what they were doing to simply post something. Sure, the sketch was funny, but making it was a dreadful experience.
During the break, they developed something that changed the entire course of their content – block scheduling.
The duo’s block scheduling consisted of the following phases: brainstorming and writing for two weeks, revising for a week to a week-and-a-half, production that goes along with the revision timeline, shooting three videos every week over the course of five weeks, and at least three rounds of editing.
With their new block schedule, they never had to worry about restricting themselves to a tight deadline.
“We’re always 16 videos ahead,” said Delgado.
With their mindsets completely changed and 16 videos ready to be posted, they returned to social media, which was met with much success.
Eight years of working hard together had finally led the duo to achieving the status of social media celebrities.
At the time of this writing, Josten and Delgado’s YouTube channel has 2.12 million subscribers and has accumulated 1,126,032,559 views on YouTube. These are numbers that many content creators only dream of achieving, but to them, the numbers don’t define what their content means to them.
“I don’t want to celebrate a number,” Josten said. “If anything, we should be celebrating who we became.”
“The other stuff is just icing on the cake, but it’s not the cake,” said Delgado.
The duo credits their success to the mentality shift they had over their break.
“I credit it all to the mentality more so than we got better at the work,” said Delgado. “I always felt like we were good, we just weren’t doing it properly — mentally.”
Without each other, and Tim Josten who describes his new job as “the best thing ever,” the duo said that they would have never made it this far.
The societal pressures of going to college, having a “real job” and wanting financial stability were real, but if another person was crazy enough to take a risk on a dream, then why not stick it out with them? It also helps when the people you’re working with are your best friend and brother.
“We use the company as a vehicle for making ourselves better people,” Josten said. “It’s not to, like, get anything out of the company because that is the most effective way you can do good work for people. If it’s not a vehicle for making you a better person, it’s kind of like the classic, ‘It’s not about what you get from your career, it’s about who you become.’ We’re aligned with similar values.”