Elijah Nelson, 21, and his sister Shiloh, 11, have over 3.8 million subscribers to their TikTok channel, Shiloh & Bros. Still, the brother-sister duo is no stranger to being in front of people’s screens. The Portland, Oregon-born siblings, who currently reside in Los Angeles, both have a long list of film and TV roles under their belts. Most notably, Elijah’s roles in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans, and Shiloh’s roles in Tomorrowland and an upcoming Netflix original movie, Feel the Beat, set to be released on June 19. But the actors have received most of their notoriety as of late from their growing TikTok channel where they create fun-loving comedy skits that often touch on sibling dynamics and feature appearances by their four other brothers. ONE37pm’s Tyler Schmitt caught up with the young stars to find out how they grew their TikTok audience, where they find inspiration for their videos and what they’re working on next.
TikTok Talks: How Elijah and Shiloh Nelson of 'Shiloh & Bros' Turned Their Family-Focused Comedy Skits Into Viral Video Sensations
Tyler: To begin, can you tell us how you both got your starts in the entertainment industry?
Elijah: I was like 10 or 11 and was doing a movie in Oregon, like an NBC movie of the week. Actually, you go and tell the story.
Shiloh: Yeah, he was on the movie set and they were like, ‘we need a baby for this role.’ and the main actor told them ‘I know a baby that’s super comfortable around me, who loves me.’ And that was me because my mom would always bring me on set with him.
Tyler: When did you decide to make the jump from being in other people’s productions to creating your own content?
Elijah: We've always tinkered around with at-home videos and just making, you know, funny videos. Then in December of 2018, within one week of us creating our TikTok, we did the Jimmy Fallon hashtag challenge for The Tonight Show and our video rose to the top of the hashtag and it got over four million views. We got 40,000 followers from it within our first week of creating it and that's when it just like blew up and we just kept with it. We had a YouTube before that, but we weren't doing it fully and it wasn't really taking off. And then TikTok is when the floodgates opened.
Tyler: Talk to me a little bit about your content creation and how you come up with new ideas.
Elijah: So for me personally, I kind of just think of ideas all the time. I'll see something and I'm like, ‘Oh, that could make a fun video,’ or I'll see a meme and I'm like, ‘Oh, you know, if you made it about that, that could be different.’ So, I write them down and I have this whole list. Then when I wake [and ask] what are we filming? I look at the list and I go, ‘Oh, that's a great video’ and then that's what we plan to work on that day. Our content is a little more skill-based, so it's a little more premeditated, but there are some days [when] we wake up, we think of something in the morning and then we're like, ‘great! Let's film it in an hour.’
Tyler: You mentioned in your early days of YouTube that you weren’t getting a lot of traction. Any advice for those that are just not getting notoriety yet, but are really passionate about content creation?
Shiloh: Make original content. If you want to do those trends, that's great. I love trends, but if you want to do those, put your own spin on it...make yourself special. It's fun to do dances. I love to do dances, but if you're going to do a dance, add your own move. Always be original and give yourself that extra spark.
Elijah: To touch on that, I would also encourage them to be free and try different types of videos. When we were starting out, even when we had our first hit, we tried a little bit of those types of videos and these types of videos until we found what we enjoyed and what the audience enjoyed. That's what's so cool about TikTok is how forgiving of a platform it is. You can just put it out there and people don't care, you just get to have fun and be free.
Tyler: What are some of the changes you have seen on the platform since you’ve been on it?
Elijah: As we've seen it grow, we’ve just seen so many more people get on it. My mom's addicted to TikTok. I was at a hair salon and this older lady was like, ‘Oh yeah, I love TikTok. I'm addicted to TikTok now.’ It has just kind of exploded and grown. No one [use to] recognize us, but now I go get doughnuts, I go to just walk the street, and people will stop and ask for pictures.
Shiloh: I went to the CityWalk [LA’s entertainment district] and there was this school field trip from Mexico and all of them recognized me and only half of them couldn't speak English. It was crazy.
Tyler: If you could collaborate with anyone on TikTok, who would it be?
Elijah: Have you heard of @NickandSienna? They’re great creators. It’s a dad and his little 3-year-old daughter. I met them in person at VidCon and we talked about it and I really want to collab with them once things come down [from COVID-19].
Tyler: How do you think about days off or giving yourself room for creativity? Are you an “always on” approach or do you like to take some time away to refuel?
Elijah: With both [TikTok and YouTube], we definitely like giving some days to take a break from the constant creation. We'll actually segment out whole days where we just write or we're like, ‘what are we going to be filming this week?’ It's so necessary for me personally because without taking those creative breaks, it would be hard.
Tyler: Favorite TikTok trend from 2020?
Elijah: Oh, the one that’s like ‘the cars the go vroom!’ I really like that one right now.
Shiloh: Probably the shoe challenge where you have to hold up the shoe [when someone asks] ‘who’s messier?’
Watch the full interview with Elijah and Shiloh Nelson of Shiloh and Bros!