The two of us, Michael and Bryan, have been exploring abandoned places and creating videos of these adventures on our YouTube channel “The Proper People” for the past few years. We’ve been lucky enough to explore all kinds of abandoned places such as theme parks, asylums, prisons, malls, cathedrals, and even a nuclear power plant. What started out as a curiosity for us has turned into a passion, and we strive to bring this appreciation of abandoned and historic places to others through our videos.

Right now we are trying to raise funds to create a 5 part documentary series about urban exploration called “Forbidden Explorers.” This is a passion project that we’ve been planning for over a year now, with the goal of telling a more meaningful story about the culture of urban exploration than what’s been done before. If you’re interested in history, adventure documentaries, or just the surreal aesthetic of abandoned places, I can promise you’ll love it. If you’re interested you can check out the Kickstarter page here!

The two of us will both be answering questions with this account, signed with an initial (M or B) to signify who is answering. We'll start answering questions around 6pm EST and try to stay around as long as we can.

PROOF: Twitter Additional proof, this account is a moderator of our subreddit /r/theproperpeople

EDIT: We enjoyed answering all your questions! We're wrapping up the AMA now.

Comments: 244 • Responses: 56  • Date: 

gurken_mirken102 karma

What's the place you've explored where you were most afraid for your safety?

TheProperPeople228 karma

There's been a lot of places where I've been afraid of falling through the floor, such as old asylums which frequently have huge collapses. Also exploring an an abandoned iron ore mine in Alabama was pretty scary. The place looked like it was ready to come down any moment, you could see where huge chunks of rock had fallen. We also had to worry about bad air and getting lost (and we went DEEP into that mine). We had an oxygen meter and some other safety equipment but even so I could not wait to get out of there. Would probably never explore an abandoned mine again unless I knew there was something REALLY amazing in there.

As far as scary experiences involving people, the worst was probably this video that we put on our second channel. We were at an abandoned asylum in the middle of nowhere and the middle of the night. We drove all around the place before going inside and didn't see any other parked cars. After a few minutes inside, we look out the window and see a guy in the brush with a flashlight. It's not super clear on video but it was 100% a person. After he wasn't answering back to us, we felt super sketched out and got the hell out of there.

-Michael

Soullustre75 karma

Ever experienced any paranormal activity and how do you feel when other youtubers get more popular using clickbait titles , fake rituals , blood etc ?

And I love your channel you guys are literally proper people, never lose your identity and never change your intro.

TheProperPeople145 karma

Absolutely hate what ridiculous clickbait/thumbnails have done to the reputation of urban exploration. It really feels like those people have no appreciation for what they're doing and are just trying to cash in on the latest viral trend. I normally don't mind this kind of stuff since it doesn't affect me directly, but I feel like they are sucking the magic out of these abandoned places for a lot of people. It's also a terrible initial impression for those who don't know that much about the hobby, and this could lead to some bad stereotypes against the people who do these types of things. This is another big motivation for our Forbidden Explorers project, we want to show what urban exploration is REALLY about, and pull it away from whatever negative connotation or stereotype it may be heading towards.

-Michael

Crymeariver360noscop35 karma

Guess that means no Exploring with Josh then. Most of his videos are clickbait.

TheProperPeople58 karma

I don't really mean clickbait like Josh's videos, especially since he usually delivers with amazing locations. I'm talking about the people who use thumbnail images that aren't even from the same place they're exploring (and aren't their own photos either), overlay some ridiculous text or emojis over it, and the title doesn't even accurately describe what happens in the video. These are the people who you know are going to stop exploring abandoned places and switch over to whatever the next trend is as soon as it's not getting views anymore. Not trying to call anyone out specifically but this channel is just one example of the type of thing I'm talking about.

-Michael

RobertABooey66 karma

I love your work guys!

It's simply a huge step above the rest when it comes to the Urban exploration vids out there!

Do you ever reflect on the inherent sadness of such buildings that have been lost to time and decay?

I often watch your videos and think of the people who sat in the chairs or laid in the hospital beds... how many babies were born, how many memories were made there... or even where all the people have gone!

Also, do you ever wonder why some buildings aren't repurposed for use? Some of the buildings you've been in have been in <relatively> good shape and probably could have been repurposed..

I'm going to donate to your kickstarter as well.

Thanks guys for what you do!

TheProperPeople47 karma

The experience of exploring for us is definitely a very zen-like thing and reflecting on the memories and past uses of a place is a big part of that. I think the places I felt this feeling the most were the two theme parks I've explored, Six Flags New Orleans and Nara Dreamland.

As far as why buildings aren't re-purposed, it's usually because its cheaper to build a completely new utilitarian building from scratch than it is to bring an old building up to all the modern building codes and standards. Also asbestos, most of the places we explore have it in some form, and it makes any potential redevelopment even more expensive.

-Michael

TheProperPeople25 karma

Thanks!! Sometimes yeah, it's fun to imagine what it was like when the building was used. Sometimes a building is so dated it needs to be completely refurbished to be used again and it isn't always financially sensible. -Bryan

leiningger34 karma

Watched quite a few of your videos, always entertaining.

I actually have a couple questions.

Where has been your favorite place to explore? What is the craziest thing that has happened on any of your explorations?

TheProperPeople54 karma

Favorite place for me was definitely Nara Dreamland. It's a shame it was demolilshed but I'm happy I got to experience and film it before it was gone. Craziest thing is really hard for me to give a definitive answer on, if I think of one I'll come back to this. We've executed a lot of crazy plans to get inside of places, and a lot of unexpected stuff happens pretty much every time we explore.

-Michael

Ssgogo123 karma

1) Are there any recommendations you have as to starting to urbex

2) will there be a new gear update video?

3) any saftey tips?

Thanks in advance guys been watching for a while now and loved every vid so far!

TheProperPeople32 karma

I wrote this answer to someone asking how to find places but thought it could be useful to you as well:

"There is no good answer for this question. Usually we will see a place that captures our attention on instagram or flickr and start doing some detective work to narrow down what/where it could be. If you have more than one or two pictures to go off of this method will almost always work with some google-fu (and some practice). It also helps to try to find a community of people doing this near you. Don't just go to them asking for locations though, do some of your own exploring first before coming to them. Most seasoned explorers will be down to explore with new people if they see that they've put in effort already. We also find places just by spotting them while driving (since we drive all over the country to do our filming). Other leads can come from anywhere, just keep your eyes open."

-Michael

TheProperPeople22 karma

Just get out and explore. That's the best recommendation - just be careful. As for the gear vids, we just update the gear page on our website whenever we change anything. If a place seems too dangerous, it is. Your safety is most important! We've turned away from a few spots because it was too dangerous. -Bryan

Slyth6622 karma

Which of you does most of the editing for your videos? I really like the pacing of them, and was wondering if there are any other YouTubers or filmmakers who's editing style you're inspired by.

TheProperPeople54 karma

We both do the editing. Originally our editing philosophy was to cut everything down to just the action and dialogue between us, which I think helped us get a bit of the "short attention span" YouTube audience at the beginning. Eventually though as our appreciation for the places we were exploring grew, we wanted to try to capture more of the "feeling" of the places we were in rather than just our experiences. Something we try to do in every video is include some atmospheric sequences to convey the mood that we were feeling in the moment. Seeing these places on video is never as magical as being there in person so that's where the music and these more cinematic sequences come in, to help bring it back to what we were feeling.

-Michael

skyguy_00721 karma

Do you have a "code of conduct" you guys follow during an exploration? If so, what are some of your "rules"?

TheProperPeople46 karma

We go in, film, and leave without disturbing anything. -Bryan

huckleberrysoftserve17 karma

I love tagging along on your adventures! I've only been following for a short time, so I haven't caught up on all of your past videos, but I always wonder- Has anyone ever gotten in trouble with the local authorities or have gotten injured while exploring? Kudos for your bravery! Some of those locations are beyond sketch. Thanks for going out and making these videos so we can live vicariously and enjoy these forgotten places too!

TheProperPeople29 karma

We've been caught by the police twice, one time we had guns pointed at us and everything, and we really though we'd be going to jail. Fortunately they got in touch with the property owner and he let us off with a warning.

-Michael

astouffer6 karma

Did that happen at the old hotel?

TheProperPeople20 karma

It was a hotel that was completely gutted inside, so it ended up being completely not worth.

-Michael

JGE02715 karma

What's Your favorite place you've explored?

TheProperPeople24 karma

It's between the Nuclear Power Plant and a handful of the asylums we've been to. -Bryan

_cbravo13 karma

Do you have a favorite type of place to explore (e.g. malls, asylums) or is that just dependent on how much of the furniture / paperwork is still in the building?

TheProperPeople22 karma

Personally I really enjoy industrial places like power plants and factories. I think it's because the experience of being inside them is so different than any places you experience in your day-to-day life. These places usually have a really massive scale to them that dwarfs you, and I find the rusty textures nice as well.

Asylums are always interesting too because they often have a lot left inside, and can sprawl for miles. You can get completely lost in another world while inside an asylum. Traveling between all the buildings in secret using the steam tunnels is fun as well. Not to mention they have some of the darkest history that is kind of shut away from mainstream American history. I definitely think there should be way more interest in them by the public!

Theme parks are by far the best overall, but good abandoned theme parks are so hard to come by. There is just something so striking about them visually and emotionally.

-Michael

TheProperPeople15 karma

What's left inside is really what makes the place great. But many asylums we've been to are filled with old medical equipment. -Bryan

_cbravo8 karma

Thanks for the answer! Another question that just came to my mind: Does Michael Plan on releasing any more music in the future? I love what he's done so far

TheProperPeople9 karma

Maybe he'll make some for the show! -Bryan

carl16412 karma

In your opinions, what is the scariest place you two have explored?

TheProperPeople23 karma

It's between the place we did with Dan Bell for our Halloween vid and on our second channel when we saw some guy out in the woods. - Bryan

AvenueGent10 karma

How was exploring the Glass Bank with Adam the Woo? I know he got in trouble when his video came out, did you guys get in trouble as well?

TheProperPeople17 karma

For some reason they decided to pursue him and not us. I was really surprised actually when he did get in trouble for that, considering that the place was WIDE open (anyone could walk in off the street) and not properly marked with no trespassing signs. Plus the place was already demolished by the time he got in trouble. Seemed really unfair.

-Michael

dilbert6278 karma

Could have been because he was more well known and had gotten in trouble and was on the news for snooping around Disney. Universal kicked him out recently too which was really lame because the video he did there was 5 years ago. Sucks.

TheProperPeople11 karma

Yea I felt bad for him when I heard about that, he can't catch a break!

-Michael

eleketro8 karma

Any strange encounters with people on location? What do you guys do as far as security is concerned?

TheProperPeople13 karma

We've ran into a few homeless people here and there as well as other explorers. Most of them are either friendly or just don't want to be bothered. As far as security goes, we just try to avoid it as much as possible. We weigh the risk-reward of a place before we even attempt it. -Bryan

girlism5 karma

Hi! Long time subscriber here! Plan on heading up to Canada for any explorations? I know we have a ton of cool abandoned places up north!

TheProperPeople17 karma

Yes we want to visit Canada, Bryan needs to get a passport!

-Michael

Gandalf1265 karma

What camera do you use to record in 4K and do you plan on talking to people more often in your discord server?

TheProperPeople7 karma

We switched to Sony A7s II's somewhat recently. We have a full gear page on our website. Also, we try to talk on there but we've just been so busy recently. -Bryan

RogueDelta195 karma

What inspired you guys to start your YouTube channel?

TheProperPeople8 karma

Originally it wasn't going to be focused on abandoned places, it kind of just happened due to curiosity of what was inside them. We knew we just wanted to be making videos and YouTube was a good way to publish them. -Bryan

spitfire6905 karma

My friend and I are going to try urbex soon with the help of an experienced friend.

My question is what are some of your go-to tricks for great pictures, i.e. ND filters, specific settings for sharper pics, etc?

I have a Canon Rebel T1i.

TheProperPeople7 karma

Most important thing is just make sure you're getting enough light, which is a frequent challenge in abandoned buildings. Learn how to pick the right aperture, shutter speed, and ISO for each situation, and invest in a tripod so you can do longer exposures.

-Michael

dmgarland4 karma

Any plans of getting anymore gear sponserships?

TheProperPeople8 karma

Maybe, but the Forbidden Explorers series will be free of product placements if the Kickstarter campaign is successful. -Bryan

LostieSupernatralist4 karma

What's your guy's opinion of Exploring with Josh?

TheProperPeople8 karma

He's a good guy. He actually has a passion for what he's doing rather than just trying to cash in on a trend (he started well before this was a "viral" trend). He also has a good message of encouraging people to go out of their comfort zone and doing more adventurous things. I think that's mainly what he aims for with his videos.

-Michael

Gibbs404 karma

Hi from Australia, What are you planning to do after forbidden explores?

TheProperPeople5 karma

If it's successful, probably try to create an even better season 2! -Bryan

TheProperPeople12 karma

With international destinations!

-Michael

impactofreasons4 karma

How did you guys come up with the name "Proper People"? Love your videos!

TheProperPeople13 karma

We were just brainstorming random names that sounded cool and we decided to go with it because we needed a name and were out of ideas. -Bryan

kgn123_4 karma

Hey guys, huge fans!

What was the place you were most looking forward to but had to bail because of police, collapsed floors, etc? Will you ever go back to try the place again?

TheProperPeople5 karma

There are a handful of places we haven't been able to get into. Some of which we know would have been amazing. If we are ever in the area we might try again if something's changed. -Bryan

csuporzoltan3 karma

Back in last year, i somehow managed to find your channel, and you're truly amazing. I'm from Hungary, and I probably never be in America, so its a great opportunity to see what buildings are there.

I've seen you videos about some paranormal activity stuff. Are they real? And if yes, what is the best activity you guys have experienced?

TheProperPeople14 karma

We've never faked anything in any of our videos except for one thing we did early on which we really regret because now we can't just blanket statement say that everything is 100% real. It was the ending of this one. We always meant for it to be a joke and not to be taken literally but too many people thought it was real.

Neither of us believe in "paranormal activity" but there has definitely been some unexplained stuff we've experienced, usually suspicious bangs or other sounds. We leave it up to the interpretation of our viewers in our videos though.

-Michael

trek6043 karma

Any plans to do explorations further from FL? West Coast? i.e. those requiring flights?

TheProperPeople9 karma

Yes of course. As our channel has grown over the years we've been able to slowly venture further out. If we successfully fund this show we would be able to travel anywhere in the states. -Bryan

trek6043 karma

Thanks! As I mentioned in my tweet reply I'd never backed a project faster. Hope the campaign is successful and look forward to your future adventures further from home!

TheProperPeople3 karma

Thank you!!

Dragon--Aerie3 karma

Also, have you run into any fans of the show while exploring? Was it weird or kind of surreal?

TheProperPeople6 karma

Yes. It was both weird and surreal haha.

-Michael

yourcrazybroski3 karma

Hey guys! I love your videos. Will you ever revisiting the beautiful asylum from your 'Abandoned Insane Asylum Exploration (parts 1 and 2)'? Those to date are my favorite videos you guys have ever made simply because of how gorgeous those buildings are. There is also so much more to explore there! I remember at some point in the video one of you guys saying 'we'll probably never come back' but please return! It was awesome!

TheProperPeople4 karma

I'd love to go back and re-film that place with our new cameras and get more cinematic shots! But like Bryan said it's hard to justify going back to a place we've already been when there are so many other completely unexplored places. -Michael

TheProperPeople3 karma

Honestly, there are so many asylums out there to explore there's really no need to revisit one we've already been to. But maybe if we're ever in the area and need something else to film. -Bryan

Quinton_COYS3 karma

Do you have a favorite sports car?

TheProperPeople8 karma

I'm a huge euro car fan, favorite is probably the Porsche 930. -Bryan

dilbert6273 karma

Hey guys, love your channel, I'm a long time supporter and I'm looking forward to the new series. Everybody please support these guys, they're the best urbex channel out there.

  1. Are you guys out of college now and is that the reason that you're trying to make this series, to see if you can make a living doing the proper people?

  2. You mentioned music licensing, one thing that stood out about a lot of your earlier videos was the production and part of that was your excellent music choice ( including the theme song which everybody loves), it seems like there's been less of that in recent videos, is that due to copyright problems? Can we expect more dank electronic soundtracks, and do you plan to do any more original music?

TheProperPeople5 karma

Thanks, glad you love the vids!

We're still in college but because of the success of our YouTube channel, we switched our majors to film.

We decided to start using music through a licensed repository available through our YouTube Network. It's easier and causes less problems with content ID. For the series we definitely want amazing music and maybe even a soundtrack designed specifically for it. -Bryan

Zena-Xina2 karma

Hey guys, I'm a huge fan of the channel! I go by "omgubler" on YouTube, I've talked to y'all a couple of times before.

Do y'all have a set list of cities/places you're visiting for Forbidden Explorers, and if you do, do you have any hints?

Also, y'all should plan a trip down here to Texas. He have tons of places, you could spend quite the road trip here.

TheProperPeople3 karma

Yes we have a mostly set list already, but we're not dropping any hints yet!

-Michael

dilbert6272 karma

Do you have a plan B if the Kickstarter doesn't get funded?

TheProperPeople3 karma

Probably just continue what we have been doing and maybe try to raise funding on our own. But a successful Kickstarter would help us really bring our ideas to reality. -Bryan

A_delta2 karma

Did you ever get arrested while exploring?

TheProperPeople4 karma

We haven't been arrested but we have been asked to leave by property owners or police. -Bryan

Maggiesayshi2 karma

When did you first get in to urban exploration and how?

TheProperPeople5 karma

When I was younger my dad told me stories about an abandoned place he went into in college and we even took a peak inside an abandoned hotel when I was around 14. I guess the curiosity of what was left inside these buildings as well as the amazing architecture of historic structures got us into the idea of urban exploration. -Bryan

MythicPropension2 karma

How do you get into buildings? Do you have to break in most places, are they open, or do you get permission from the actual owners?

TheProperPeople2 karma

Everywhere we film is "open". Some places you can walk in wide open doors, other places we'll find an unlocked door. Sometimes we'll have to go through a tunnel or crawl through a broken window. We would never do anything like picking a lock or smashing a window to get inside somewhere though. I'd say a good 25-35% of places that we go to film, we end up just leaving because we couldn't find any non-destructive way in.

-Michael

poppincaps2 karma

Do you carry around any defensive weaponry, knives etc? Would that have an impact on anything if you were to get caught by the police?

TheProperPeople7 karma

No because if the police wanted to throw the book at us, having a weapon on us could put us in felony territory.

CodyOG2 karma

Hey guys me and my friend are huge fans of you guys and have actually been to some of the places you've gone and been exploring for about 2 years now. Were from mass so there's plenty of places around us. My question is what is the first place you guys ever explored, recorded or not and also what lens u guys use for most of your insta pictures?

TheProperPeople3 karma

When I was about 14, I briefly explored the lobby of an abandoned hotel with my dad. Other than that, the first real exploration was our first video, Southeastern Academy. -Bryan

poppincaps2 karma

Do you guys still place a The Proper People sticker to the locations you've visited?

TheProperPeople7 karma

Nah we only did that twice. Decided it goes against the "take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints" philosophy too much.

TheProperPeople5 karma

Nope, we only did that once or twice. -Bryan

A_delta2 karma

How much footage do you record for a YouTube video?

TheProperPeople4 karma

It varies from place to place. 1-2 hours of filming usually becomes about 10-20 minutes of YouTube video.

-Michael

b10h4z4rd1 karma

Just want to say I love your channel.

What's #1 on your abandoned bucket list?

TheProperPeople5 karma

Baikonur Cosmodrome 100%. Although it's getting a lot of media attention lately and I'm sure that will make it a lot more difficult to actually get there security-wise. I'm not expecting to ever be able to explore that place but if it's still around by the time we have the means we will be on it!

-Michael

x_raz_1 karma

Any plans about going to Europe?

TheProperPeople5 karma

Nothing too soon but maybe one day! -Bryan

Deathlyswallows1 karma

How the heck do you find these place? I'm a photographer and shooting abandoned stuff is some of my favorite but I just don't know where to look.

TheProperPeople2 karma

There is no good answer for this question. Usually we will see a place that captures our attention on instagram or flickr and start doing some detective work to narrow down what/where it could be. If you have more than one or two pictures to go off of this method will almost always work with some google-fu (and some practice). It also helps to try to find a community of people doing this near you. Don't just go to them asking for locations though, do some of your own exploring first before coming to them. Most seasoned explorers will be down to explore with new people if they see that they've put in effort already. We also find places just by spotting them while driving (since we drive all over the country to do our filming). Other leads can come from anywhere, just keep your eyes open.

-Michael

skyrraz1 karma

Do you actively search for places by yourselves or do viewers recommend most of them?

TheProperPeople3 karma

Most of the places we explore are places we find. But every now and then a good one will be recommended. -Bryan

craigooo1 karma

What ever happened to some of the people on your very early videos? And why the second YouTube channel?

TheProperPeople5 karma

Second channel is just a place where we can post vlogs or other fun stuff without worrying about lowering the bar of quality on our main channel.

-Michael

toaurdethtdes1 karma

First watched you mental hospital video!

Now for the Q

Do you take anything from the sites?

I assume not, but one video y'all were in a building (I believe old government) and there were some pretty good monitors just sitting there not being used. I would have taken them not going to lie.

Keep up the good content!

TheProperPeople1 karma

Never, we think it's better these places stay like the time capsules they are. It's never good to see things going to waste, but it's such a minuscule amount compared to the waste in other areas of society. On the flipside, something getting re-purposed/fixed up is still a much better alternative to being vandalized or destroyed by a demolition crew, so we're not totally against people taking things, it's just something we personally won't do.

-Michael

kirkoutkc1 karma

Do you have recommendations for meeting other people with similar interests that you can explore with?

TheProperPeople3 karma

There are plenty of Facebook groups and of course, UER. -Bryan

TheProperPeople2 karma

Uer.ca as Bryan said could lead to meeting a few people. I'd try to use Flickr or Instagram to find some local photographers that are shooting abandoned places and hit them up. It would help to have a decent library of good photos on your account as well. If you aren't a photographer I would just ask around your friend group and try to see if any of the more adventurous ones would like to join you.

-Michael