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“Vlad & Niki,” an imaginative and immensely popular preschool YouTube series The live-action series which follows the hilarious antics of two young brothers – ten-year-old Vlad and seven-year-old Niki Vashketov – has just surpassed an impressive 95 million subscribers on their English language channel.
Programming Insider had a chance to speak with Denys Sokoriev, Content Production and Operations Manager for Trend Media, LLC, the production company behind “Vlad & Niki,” about how he creates the series’ magic.
The global YouTubers now have 21 YouTube channels that are translated into 18 languages and began streaming in March 2022 on HBO Max.
“Only a handful of YouTube creators get even close to these numbers,” enthused Sokoriev. “We are usually in the top 5 streamed channels in the United States and recently received more than 460 million views for one of our videos!”
Sokoriev loves the collaborative creative process working with the Vashketov family.
“The great thing about working with Sergey and Victoria – Vlad & Niki’s parents – is that they are very inclusive with my team and I. When there is such a collaborative working environment, you are able to come up with fresh and exciting ideas, which makes work fun. We get to take ordinary ideas and make them extraordinary for kids all over the world!”
Originally from Krivyi Rih, Ukraine, Sokoriev moved to Poland and worked in furniture design and construction, which allowed him to explore his passion for designing, creating and building objects.
“This prepared me for the work I do now – overseeing the production and sets for content creators. After my time in Poland, I moved to Dubai, UAE, where I worked in accounting and content production, leading me to work on ‘Vlad & Niki.’ My unique set of experiences made me a perfect fit for the work I now do in visual entertainment,” he said proudly.
It seems like it was fate that brought Sokoriev to the Vashtekovs!
“They were living in Dubai at the same time I was, and I met them through my work for a different content production company. Their channel was becoming very successful at the time, and so Sergey and Victoria started thinking about strategies to help them further the content creation.”
Because the couple could see the channel was getting too big for them to produce themselves, they decided to grow their team, Sokoriev noted.
“I got to know them personally; since they were looking for people to work directly with their children, they absolutely needed trustworthy people. I am so grateful they felt I was a right fit for their team.”
So far, it’s been an amazing adventure for Sokoriev to be a part of.
“I have coordinated shoots for filming in unique locations like Dubai, The Bahamas, Mexico, Vail, Colorado and The Maldives. When we are shooting on-location, we primarily use practical locations, so there’s not much building involved. We shoot most of the content in and around their home in the Miami area, so that’s where most of the set production actually happens.”
They also shoot content at places such as water parks, amusement centers, museums, farms – places that real kids go to with their parents, Sokoriev added.
“We want the content to look imaginative, creative, and larger than life filled with educational elements of learning, sharing and kindness. I oversee planning and coordinating the filming logistics in the different locations where we make content. It’s not always easy to shoot in far-away places; still, the on-location content always looks amazing!”
Sokoriev has thoroughly enjoyed his job, and is thrilled he is a part of the experience of making kids laugh all day long.
“I absolutely love storytelling, producing and designing. Since I was a small boy, I have had an affinity for tinkering and building things, so producing fun props and sets we feature in the videos is a childhood dream come true! If you watch them, you immediately understand the ‘Vlad & Niki’ brand, which is vibrant and exciting. Although sometimes it’s a challenge to bring big ideas to life, it’s never boring and makes it exciting every day.”
There are many stories and sets Sokoriev has been involved with–one favorite is the “Four Colors Playhouse Challenge,” where they had to design a vision that included building an elaborate and vibrant practical life-size imaginative house,” Sokoriev said. “The video has proved very popular, with more than 462 million views on the English Channel alone!
Another fun story that Sokoriev enjoyed producing was for the Airplane challenge with Vlad and Niki episode.
“Once we wrote the storyline, we started creating functioning sets, including designing a prop airplane and incorporating special effects. Everyday we are working to create content that resonates with kids and families all over the world. For me, ‘Vlad & Niki’ is like making blockbuster movies that continue to engage, entertain and teach and hopefully inspire our audience!”