Aaliyah Williams


Aaliyah Willaims

Online Video Producer

Los Angeles, CA




What do you do?

I develop and produce short form online video: comedy series, docuseries, and pop-culture magazine-type shows for the YouTube audience.

I also provide online video content and audience development strategy for brands or talent looking to have an online video presence either on YouTube or other digital platforms.

I tell you a 5 minute story, you'll be hooked within 30 seconds flat!

After producing the award-winning short film The Young and Evil (a 2009 Sundance Official Selection), I developed and produced Buppies, a dramedy web series that was purchased by BET, garnered a CoverGirl Queen Collection sponsorship, thrilled over 2 million viewers, and was a Webby Honoree.

Most recently, I ran the content division of Russell Simmons' YouTube channel, All Def Digital. I conceived and produced comedy, music, and pop-culture series that amassed over 54 million views and sustained 280,000 subscribers.

After about two years, I founded Just A Rebel, Inc., a digital production company and creative strategy company.  Just A Rebel advises clients on how to leverage the power of YouTube and emerging multi-platform distribution channels to reach audiences, and works on behalf of clients to produce compelling content experiences.


If you have multiple jobs and/or skills, which one do you wish you could do more often?

Creative development and producing which involves ideating and pitching show concepts and then producing them from start to finish (pre, production, post production, and upload).


Give us a specific example of how you do your job like a BOSS.

When I was on the initial team launching All Def Digital and I was told that I needed to produce a 10 episode series with the only YouTube influencer we had a relationship with over the course of a weekend. I got this notice on a Tuesday.  There were only one line scenarios for each episode and I needed to flesh out the concepts, hire a director, cast 21 other roles, and hire the production & post production crew in 4 days.  After the 2 day production of shooting 5 episodes a day I worked with the editor directly to deliver the 10 episode series that was the most successful series for the channel overall:  


What are you working on right now?

I just started my own production company, Just A Rebel and in the midst of setting up the corporation I’ve been: producing a shoot for a TV pilot presentation for an action comedy; advising on content and marketing for a startup Sports YouTube MultiChannel Network; and directing a documentary (passion project) on the lack of nude-colored lingerie for women of color.


How do you manage to juggle all these projects?  How do you stay sane?

I stay sane with oversized post-it notes, google docs, and constantly writing and rewriting to-do lists and project schedules.  But is anyone ever really sane?


What is frustrating you right now? What is making your job/business/project hard to move forward?

My main frustration is that my current projects are either passion projects or favors that I’m doing for friends that are not generating revenue.  I need to usher in a new set of projects and have had conversations with some great leads that have yet to officially start.

What are you putting off right now, but you know you have to get to, but you haven’t had the time?

Creating a website with a portfolio of my recent work.


If you could hire someone for $20/hour, what would you have them do to make your day easier?

Administrative tasks of filing, organizing paperwork, and managing/logging expenses for projects and calendaring.

If you could talk to an expert to gain more insight on something, what would it be about?

I would want to talk to Kerstin Emhoff about how to grow my company Just A Rebel from scratch to become an award-winning creative think tank/production house like her company, Pretty Bird.

What kind of opportunities/projects are you looking for right now?

I am looking for opportunities to create short form video content for brands or personalities that can either just live online or start online to be rolled up to television.  Episodic narrative web-series as well as unscripted docuseries are projects that I love sinking my teeth into.  I enjoy creating docuseries and performance content around musical artists as well as creating comedic narrative content (branded or buzzfeed-esque videos).


How are you looking for these opportunities/projects right now?

Networking with contacts from my previous role at ADD and other industry contacts, but I haven’t expanded my reach wide enough.  I am going to Sundance (Jan 22 - 28) to network and potentially SXSW.


Describe your ideal client/job/collaboration. Even if it doesn’t actually exist!

I would love to work with an up and coming brand, especially apparel/fashion, that wants to communicate its brand and lifestyle through an innovative video series.  If I had the opportunity to turn Nasty Gal (not they are up and coming anymore) into different scripted and unscripted series that really speak to their eclectic, Girl-Boss-Badassness customers, that would be so dope!


Describe a client/job/partner you would rather not have. What are your deal breakers?

My deal breakers are clients who don’t communicate the goal of the project and scope of the project clearly.  Also clients who are not clear about their billing/payment process.  Not interested in working with clients who are not engaged from start to finish as feedback throughout the lifecycle of the project is key for success.

How should someone approach you about working with you? 

They can email me with project description, scope of work, and budget and any visual links to provide style/content context so that I can review before setting up an initial call.


This member profile was originally published on March 2015.