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The TikTok Channel You Need to Follow: Interview with @Freemanbut

By Rey Banuelos 
KTSW Guest Writer

Being stuck at home due to the Coronavirus lockdown, people around the globe have been creating to be entertained. KTSW 89.9 got a chance to interview content creators Kelli and Freeman Butler, who both joint-owners of the TikTok account @freemanbut.

For many, TikTok is mostly known as an application for kids and teens who want to dance to songs or sing themselves; however, it is also a great playground for creative VFX creators. TikTok allows for VFX artists to show off their awesome skills. The Buttercup Challenge, a challenge circulating on TikTok, is one of those challenges that has allowed these artists to take their content up a notch.

The Buttercup Challenge consist of users taking cutouts of his/her body The Buttercup Challenge consists of creators taking cutouts of their body parts with a video editing software, and synchronizing them to his/her dance while the song “Buttercup” by Jack Stauber plays in the background. It first started on a Reddit thread by the user U/Chanchicachan and eventually found its way to other platforms.

Stuck at home and with nothing to do, Freeman and Kelli decided to create a TikTok account. They were one of the first users to post the video challenge on the social media platform. Since then, they have uploaded 10 videos. Kelli does all choreography in their videos, while Freeman does the VFX editing. On April 12, they posted their first video and it quickly reached 100 thousand views overnight. Over four weeks, they have gone from three followers to over 45,000.

When asked why they started posting, the Los Angeles couple said they noticed that most of the messaging on social and mainstream media was negative. Kelli and Freeman decided it was time to spread some positivity.

When asked why they started posting, the Los Angeles couple said they noticed that most of the content on social and mainstream media were negative. Kelli and Freeman decided it was time to spread positivity. Most people have appreciated their uploads. Many comments have described how they enjoy the “vibes” of the content.

“We are flattered by the positive reaction people have had to our stuff and just hope that we can spread some joy to our followers,” Kelli said.

Freeman suggested to users who are hesitant about making original content, not stress too much about people’s opinions.

“Tiktok can be ruthless to some creators,” Freeman said, “but it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks as long as you’re having fun.”

Since their initial upload, several influencers have reached out to the pair. Many of the influencers have asked the couple for advice or to directly produce a video for their channels. However, Kelli and Freeman are not taking TikTok too seriously. They view it more as a hobby rather than a career.

“It depends on the video,” Kelli said, about the time dedication to a video, “The first one took about 10 hours because Freeman had to figure out how to do what we wanted it to do. The fastest video to edit took about four hours, but he likes to edit while watching television, so it’s not like he’d be productive otherwise.”

Their rapid increase of followership in a short span proves how TikTok’s Their rapid increase of followers in a short period proves that TikTok’s algorithm allows for new users to rapidly gain fans. Kelli and Freeman said they feel lucky that their video was so well received. They both believe they could not have had similar success on other social media platforms that prioritize influence or likes, such as Instagram.

“We, like everyone, are at the mercy of TikTok’s secret algorithm,” Kelli and Freeman both said, “but if it treats you well, you are shown to thousands of people that are not following you. I don’t think any other social media platform creates that kind of growth simply because TikTok makes sure new people see your stuff and then that leads to follows.”

Since COVID-19 has affected many lives in California, the couple has stayed inside for the most part. They will continue to create videos for their viewers. When they are not creating their content, they said that they enjoy watching @christine_snaps on TikTok. The couple enjoys going on walks in their neighborhood, and FaceTimeing friends and family during the quarantine.

Kelli is a trained dancer. She said she would normally be auditioning for commercials and television shows. Freeman is a second-year law student at UCLA and will be working at a large law firm after graduation. They hope to continue growing their channel and putting smiles on people’s faces.

“If that leads to brands reaching out, all the better,” Freeman said.

Follow them on TikTok at @freemanbut

Featured illustration by Rey Banuelos via Canva.

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