How I found out what I really like to do – Story of BuleKulineran

Writing, Photography and Video editing? I didn’t know anything about this topics as I started not seriously with the Instagram account named “BuleKulineran”.


The Story of BuleKulineran

It was in 2014, I just opened a German street food stall with one German and one Indonesian friend. This was just after I finished my studie, I wanted to try something new, something practical and adventures which brought us to the idea to open a street food stall, where we can sell German food in the city of Jogjakarta, Indonesia.
We knew that we don’t understand the “doing-business” in this kind of industry in Indonesia, which was quiet good because we actively looked for opportunities to learn more about how to do it the best way! I believe this was our great advantage, our understanding that we do not know.

So while we are opening this business we thought about a marketing strategy because our location was not the best and our concept was also, to be honest, a little bit strange. We heard about this so called “Instagram” and it’s growing importance for marketing. We didn’t understand it but we thought if it’s important that the people can take good pictures at our food stall in order to upload good looking food, we believed the best way to improve the pictures is by providing good looking plates. We ended up investing around 100 $ in good plates and cutlery, sounds not much but for street food it’s very uncommon and we had better plates and cutlery than the most restaurants you visit in Indonesia, maybe even better as at your own home. So we had this street food business without Air conditioning and proper seating but beautiful plates, it didn’t need long we figured out it might be the wrong Investment. Not so many people came to our place, we realized if people see this expensive plates on Instagram or even when they are passing by having a glimpse, they directly think it’s an upper class street food place (which was to that time very difficult, Jogjakarta is one of the cheapest cities in Indonesia). Fortunately, one day my Girlfriend called me, whom was much more active on social media than me, and told me there is an opportunity to brunch with some foodies – I learned this are people who like food, funny name right? Honestly, i didn’t really understand what she was talking about. She was mentioning this might be good to learn about Instagram marketing, that’s the moment she got me! So the day came and I went there with one of my co founders.

We meet there with the people of the Instagram accounts @heytheresia, @javafoodie, @ceritamakan, @brojajan and @Streetfoodstories . We talked a lot about food, they were also telling us a bit about the way how Instagram works. My german friend was quite obvious not so interested in food as the rest of us but he was amazed about it that we are not getting bored with food. Finally, Dadad from @Javafoodie and Rosi from @ceritamakan told me i should just make my own Instagram account maybe with a name like BuleKuliner or Buleculinary, to that time i thought about it like a joke. A few days later I thought again about it with my girlfriend, because I love to discover new food places, she pursued me to create my own Instagram account, FINALLY! We decided, based on the previous input, the name should be “BuleKulineran”. The next day, it was the 09.05.2015, I went out to have one of my favorite vegetarian Burger at Milas in Jogjakarta, I took a quick picture with my Nexus 4 Smartphone and uploaded it, that’s it! I could’t believe that suddenly someone seen this picture and even liked it, I thought it’s a joke because I didn’t had followers at all, in written it was “Followers: 0”. I directly called my Girlfriend to tell her about it, i though someone is joking with me liking my picture, I had a really good laugh about it. From this day it started posting some photos on my Instagram. Later on, the one Indonesian friend whom was helping me with the food stall, came often with me on the culinary trip and bringing her camera, it was a Canon 650. This was the first time i  had a DSLR Camera in my hand and it looked so complex and confusing to me! She helped me always with the settings at least to get better pictures as with the phone. So, mostly since then, I uploaded pictures from her camera but this was just after i got some hundred followers on Instagram. With her support I was able to:

  1. Learn to use a DSLR camera
  2. Take better pictures
  3. Gain more followers on Instagram

Maybe around 12 month after I started to post photos on Instagram, I was able to buy my own DSLR Camera a used Canon DSLR 550 which was almost the same with the one of my friend. Many plastic parts of it were already missing but i was so happy to own my first DSLR Camera. From fellow Foodgrammers I learned that I need another camera lens, to shoot even better pictures. So I got a 50 mm fix lens. I know sounds like I know what I am talking about, but to that time I really did not understand anything about cameras and lenses, I just trusted my friends. The pictures I shoot were not really good because I don’t have an eye for composition which is crucial for photography, even more I am bit color blind. I am also not talented to write, especially in Indonesian, because on my Instagram everything is in Indonesian, it was more strange than right, like my first caption: “Lagi makan tempe Burger di milas Yogya Jl. Prawirotaman 3. Sangat enak Burger vegetarian ini dan apalagi saus tomat yang mereka buat sendiri.” which is translated: ” I have a Tempeburger at Milas in the Prawirotaman Street 3. Very tasty the vegetarian Burger even more the tomato sauce which they produce by their own.”, isn’t really creative or inspiring, right?

But all of this didn’t stop me, it just pushed me to try more and learn more. I had so much luck to know all this wonderful people in Jogja, who where always willing to help me out to improve my skills. Those days we always met at the “Studio Kopi”, the reason was the very cheap coffee which was around 40 cents a cup. Luckily Don, the owner of the cafe, is a former wedding photographer and had some time and kindness to teach me the basics of Photography.  There was also Aji, a passionated hobby boxer and member of @Javafoodie, whom I admire for his talent of Photography, he teached me and inspired me with his photos. If you haven’t done it yet you should check out his personal profile at Instagram called @ajisuhendra.

Unfortunately, till today I don’t understand composition and arrangement of photos, also my color blindness can’t be healed, so the pictures are still not very attempting, but for myself I have the feeling they are getting much better and I learned some photography technics. My writing is also still not inspiring because honestly  I really don’t like to write, I love much more to talk. However, sometimes my captions on Instagram are so strange that it’s becoming kind of a trademark for my Instagram account. People often tell me: “Eike, I don’t really get what you mean in your caption but i had a great laugh.” This means my writing is often weird but the people like what I write and they have fun with it, that’s for me motivation enough to continue. Unbelievable to this date there are 22.000 people who more or less enjoy what I am posting on Instagram, I could never imagine this before!

Besides Instagram, I also started this Blog with the same name “BuleKulineran” but as you also already realized I am rarely active here and I am wondering that YOU are finding your way to my Blog and really reading till this point, thumbs up!
I tried some different things on this Blog, I wrote in Indonesian, later changed into English which made it easier for me to write while still learning English. I tried to write a tutorial about photography which I never continued and I had many other ideas for this Blog.  But let’s be honest, I don’t like to write and maybe I also lack on talent in writing. This brought me to another idea: Videos!

As time moves on, all of us moved on. The Coffeshop we always met changed it’s concept. Downstairs was still the normal coffeeshop but upstairs, in former days the “VIP air conditioned area we were sitting day-in day-out became the storage for fresh coffee beans. Because Don was one of the Coffee pioneers in Jogja, he took the chance to become a supplier of coffee beans. So we had to look for a new place to gather. As it turned out, all of us had different preferences. So the big family of foodgrammer in Jogja split up in smaller groups, depending on which coffeeshop they prefered. The decisions were influenced by some factors like: price, comfortably, place, menu, air conditioned or not and if it’s quiete or not.

I am a good example of an economical guy, so i ended up in the “Coffeetime” which offered to that time a great deal, if I remember it right, it was around 80 cents for an americano coffee. As I told my friends there about the idea of not just writing about the food we eat, but also to make videos about it, they directly wanted to support me. I couldn’t believe it because I never knew how I could find people who can help me to create videos, because I by myself didn’t know anything about video, from shooting till editing, nothing. Finally Rosi from @Ceritamakan and Nela from @Jogjataste wanted to shoot some videos with me. Myself was the so called “talent” in this set up. Rosi was the videographer and editor and Nela was like our manager and maybe in the professional world they would call it producer, so she was communicating with the food seller, taking care we not forget to shoot something and she controlled the editing. Another job she had was taking the food pictures which will make people crave for the food, mostly when you shoot a video you will forget the photos, thats why you need someone just for this!

Ok, stop a second, the last paragraph sounds quite professional right? But in reality we all didn’t really know what we do. We were lucky enough that Rosi already learned the basics of editing with Imovie to that time. It was an amazing time and we gained a lot of knowledge. Fast we realised our skills, especially in editing are not enough, we wanted to do better, we dreamed already about a possible phonecall next day and on the other end is someone from a television channel who want us to travel Indonesia exploring the culinary treasure, so we needed a new team member, we looked for an editor. Lucky us, a few days after we discussed this matter there was Kukuh from @foodlabplus in our coffeeshop, he is also a foodgrammer and was interested in what we are doing. In our discussion we found out he understands editing much better than we do, we didn’t had to think twice but wanted him in our team. Our next video was amazing! I believe it was one of the best we have created, starting with a timelaps, shooting from different angels and height level, this was the level we wanted to go. Also the comments on YouTube for this video, in which I just eat Gudeg the traditional food of Jogja, were promising. Many people congrats us and told us its amazing and look a like made for television. So we made some more videos, I was so lucky about their support for my idea of creating videos for my own YouTube Channel. We learned a lot from each other in this time but as everything has an end also this experience found it’s end. I wanted to upload weekly 1 video, sounds not much but to create this one video with a team was not so easy. This means we all have to find the time to meet up weekly and shoot this video, but it was a big problem because some of us had also other jobs. The shooting took also quiete long with our approach of perfection, at one video shooting I remember we needed 6 hours, in the end I didn’t had time anymore to talk with impetus about the food which was already cold, served 3 hours earlier. Even more after shooting the video needed to be edited, but the level of editing we wanted was not done in two hours, it needed much longer. So the weekly upload was not possible and we meet even less for shooting. Finally we sat together and decided, I might say with kind of a broken heart, that this project reached its end.

Vlogging was a new trend!  I heard it often and wanted to try it already a few month but never was brave enough to make a video alone in a restaurant record myself. I thought people will look at me and think I am the strangest person on earth. As I found out, this is not the case! Trust me the first time I made a video it feel so strange, but nobody looked at us or commented it. Even the video is really boring, not good in quality and we are all a bit afraid to talk into the camera, this was the start of my vlogging, lucky enough some friends from @brojajan accompanied me for the first Video, I wouldn’y have done it alone. After shooting some more videos, it hooked me, I always wanted to create new videos, even if they are not so good but with each video I gained more experience. Almost from the start of my YouTube channel there was also Nela from @Jogjataste, she was like me very shy in the beginning and often had excuses not showing up but as it turned out, she actually has great talent to be in front of the camera. The viewers of the videos enjoy Nelas features in my vlogs. We have a chemie that is additional to each other in the videos. This unfortunately makes the viewers believe we are a couple, which upsets my girlfriend, if you post videos on YouTube the comments can be quite nasty. So anybody who reads this, please tell your friends who know me as BuleKulineran that I am in no intimate realation with Nela but love to collaborate with her, thanks a lot for this part 😀

My biggest advantage was that I met already with some Instagrammers from Jakarta which also always just post Food on their Instagram accounts. It was Gilang from @Makansampaikenyang who introduced me to Ken from @Cowokrakus, he also just started with his girlfriend Grat vlogging about food. So this made us to collaborate on some videos and he introduced me to the rising food vlogger community in Jakarta. I didn’t know it to that time, but this fact should become quiet important for my YouTube Channel. Besides the importance of collaboration for success on YouTube I also learned heaps from the vlogger in Jakarta.

I was always talking into my camera with a low voice level to make sure not disturbing anyone, the result was bad sound and a quit boring video. At my first collaboration with Affandi and Andri from i was shocked, they talked so loud that I was scared people will complain. This was in their Video “Bule makan Jengkol”, I didn’t feel comfortable with this voice level because everybody in the place could hear us. Suddenly I realized that the people are not angry at all but interested in what we are doing. There the first girl is coming to take a picture and posting at Instagram that she just met “BuleKulineran”, unbelievable! As I watched the video, I was amazed just because of the voice level, the video was so much more interesting. This two facts gave me a great confidence to talk louder in the upcoming videos.

Maybe i should mention I didn’t had a laptop usable for video editing but soon figured out that my phone a Xiaomie Mi4 was able to edit videos quite well. To this date, I uploaded more than 120 videos and just after video number 110 I upgraded my laptop to a mac book to be able to use professional video editing software. As I figured out that the interface of Final Cut pro is very similar to the software I used on the phone I was shocked! I always thought professional video editing has to be complicated but see there it seems quite simple. After a few days I realized that it’s not so bad if the software is simple in the basic functions so I can invest my time to learn better and more complex editing within this software but don’t have to learn the basic functions, anyway who in the hell is wishing complex and hard to understand software?

So finally from not understanding photography, writing and videography in the first place, I became a “somebody” on Instagram which focus on Photography, personal Blog (writing) and YouTube focusing on Video, just through learning. I still don’t claim that I understand or even master one of this category, but I learned heaps for my self. And honestly let me tell you a secret, it seems like the one I like the most is the videography and editing the videos. But also in my own videos the part I like the most is not the one i am talking (maybe because I like to talk but don’t like to listen to myself) but the part I show the food, we call it the foodporn. This is the part I can become creative with the transitions, the cutting and very important the music! The music I use is not the boring one you get in the YouTube library but I use mostly electrical music that creates a good mood. I believe this part, which can be between 20 sec. and 2 minutes sometimes even more, is my trademark on YouTube, this is what I personally love and I have so much fun with it!

I want to thank all the people that supported me on this way, especially all the people I mentioned above. Thank’s a lot guys!

That’s the way till this point and I think now I found out what I really like. Where is the journey going next?

Please, if you read till here please share your thoughts in a comment below, this helps me a lot, thank you!


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