The Hillywood Show is a YouTube channel that was started at the end of 2006 that features musical parodies of shows and movies, set to songs that will be on repeat in anyone’s head. Beginning with impersonations of Johnny Depp and his many characters such as Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean) and Edward Scissorhands, the channel has parodied franchises from The Hunger Games to Doctor Who with catchy parodies and video. Behind Hillywood are sisters Hilly and Hannah Hindi — the duo who writes, directs, stars in, and each parody, plus maintaining an incredible online performance that fosters a beautiful relationship between the sisters and their fans.
We had the chance to speak with Hilly and Hannah about their most recent parody project for Prime Video’s Good Omens series … a project which required patience but ultimately became a dream come true.
Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.
Nerds & Beyond: Let’s jump right in and talk about the background on The Hillywood Show. How did the show come to fruition, and what has it been like watching it really grow to what it’s become today?
Hilly Hindi: Thank you! The Hillywood Show began in 2006 as a contest entry for AOL Red. AOL asked teens to send in their ideas, for their own web show, as this was before YouTube was popular. I came up with a concept of impersonating different characters and asked Hannah to help me film it. Long story short, I came in third place, but after it was over, we started receiving emails and comments from people who had voted for me, asking, “Hey, I really liked your sketch show! Could you, maybe, continue this on YouTube and make it a series?”
We were a bit younger, at the time, and we loved filmmaking as a hobby, so we said, “Sure, why not?” We then continued the short sketches on YouTube. However, in 2009, we created a Twilight Parody. It was the first of our videos that wasn’t just a sketch. It was a full-blown music video! Overnight, it received 100k views! We had never experienced that many views on our previous sketches before and thought, “Oh my God, what just happened?!” That’s when we found the formula for Hillywood.
Hannah and I couldn’t have foreseen The Hillywood Show to be where it is now! It’s become our little life. It’s not our full-time careers, but we hope to make it that someday. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined how much it has grown.
Nerds & Beyond: I will say that I was one of those 100,000 views on the first Twilight. I was 13, so definitely the target demographic for the franchise at the time, and I distinctly remember a friend sending me a link to the Twilight parody and all of us watching it together at our next sleepover.
Hilly Hindi: Oh my God, that is so cute! When we look at Twilight Parody, now, we think, “Oh my God, the quality is a bit pixelated!” It might not look the best, it might not be the best, however, people enjoyed it and everyone starts from somewhere.
Nerds & Beyond: Let’s talk about the newest parody for Good Omens. How did that project come about?
Hilly Hindi: Good Omens premiered on Prime Video while we were filming The Umbrella Academy Parody in 2019. So, during filming, we were receiving requests from our fans saying, “It would really be cool if you guys could do a Good Omens Parody!” Of course, it made sense, within our little Hillywood fandom, because we all love Doctor Who … we love David Tennant and Michael Sheen … it all coincides and Good Omens would fit in perfectly! However, we couldn’t do anything at the time, because we were in production for The Umbrella Academy Parody.
After that parody wrapped, we began thinking about Good Omens again. However, the pandemic happened and we were unable to create a new parody during that time. We struggled a little bit and thought, “Could this be the end of The Hillywood Show?”
Had it not been for our Patrons, we may have had to close our doors. However, they really supported us during that time, and with their help we created a Beyond Hillywood Podcast, did some extra live streams, and I started a Twitch channel! We were trying to stay connected to our fans as much as possible. They really helped us get through 2020.
In 2021 when things were easing off a little bit, we began moving. We said, “What sort of parody can we do that’s not going to require a lot of different locations, need 25 cast members like the Suicide Squad parody or Doctor Who Parody … we need to think different.” I then pitched the full concept of Good Omens Parody to Hannah.
Hannah Hindi: That’s when we got serious!
Hilly Hindi: We both felt really confident about it! We’d been wanting to create it, for a while, and we, finally, said, “Let’s do it!”
There were a couple of viewers that asked, “Why Good Omens? Hasn’t it been a few years since season 1 was released?” And we thought, “We’re fans of the show! So, why not?” Come to find out after filming Good Omens Parody, season 2 was announced. We were thrilled! So, I think it’s important to trust your instincts! Trust your gut and celebrate what you love, regardless of what’s trending at the time.
Nerds & Beyond: I feel like that’s always the best feeling, too … when you’re already celebrating something that’s a little older and it goes through a resurgence.
Hilly Hindi: Yes! It was just by chance, and we had no idea that there was going to be a season 2, when we were filming this.
Nerds & Beyond: And then you got to announce the release date of season 2 with the parody, and have Neil [Gaiman] involved! When did Neil come into the picture?
Hilly Hindi: Well, that began when we put out the first announcement for Good Omens Parody! I think he retweeted it saying, “This is lovely,” and wished us luck with our Patreon. We were so excited and curious as to how he found out! I know Neil had tweeted about our Doctor Who Parody two years after it came out and his comment was something like, “I’m two years late on this, but this is brilliant!” I wonder if he recognized the name of Hillywood when we announced Good Omens Parody?
Hannah Hindi: We did the donate-a-thons and through all of it Neil would tweet about it, saying things like, “Good luck!” It was such a blessing! We were shocked. I don’t know if we would’ve made it to our goal without the help of Neil Gaiman. He really helped spread the word.
Hilly Hindi: We met a lot of individuals that were Good Omens/Neil Gaiman fans joining our Patreon to support us. It was very special and very humbling that his fans came to our side and said, “I don’t know much about Hillywood, but Neil Gaiman is supporting you, so I’m here to help you, too!” It meant the world to us. Thankfully, we were able to raise the funds with everyone’s help!
When Good Omens Parody was nearly wrapped, we sent Neil a message. It read something along the lines of, “Would you be interested in having a surprise cameo in our upcoming Good Omens Parody?” We were a little nervous asking, but he responded, immediately, and said, “I’m in!” We were bouncing off the walls!
A little time later we saw the announcement for season 2. It was ineffable! There was a bit of a hold as to when he could film his cameo, since they were just beginning to film season 2, but he kept us filled in the entire way. During the wait we emailed our friend, Justin, who is a part of TheOneRing.net, since he’s worked with Amazon before. We asked, “Do you think Prime Video be interested in tweeting or sharing our Good Omens Parody when it premieres?” He answered with, “Well, I don’t know anyone in the Good Omens department, but here’s an email to a publicist who works within it!”
We then sent out an email to the publicist with photos from our Bookshop set, asking if Amazon would be interested in possibly showing the parody some love, socially, when we released it. She responded with a lot of excitement and amazing compliments! She wanted to meet us over Zoom to learn more about the parody. When we spoke to her, she got the lowdown of the production and said, “This is something that I think would be really cool to release closer to season 2! We’d love to show it some love!” We were beyond thrilled!
As the “Wait and see” was coming to an end and filming for season 2 was wrapped, Neil reached out about the cameo idea and told us, “I’m happy to do anything!”
Hannah Hindi: We already had an ending with Neil in mind, but when he said those particular words … you cannot tell someone like Hilly, who knows no creative bounds, something like that! *laughs*
Hilly Hindi: I quickly altered the script, and pitched the idea of Neil giving Crowley the basket that contains season 2, along with Maggie and Danny’s cameos! Originally, the basket revealed just the “month of release” for season 2, not the actual date.
Neil immediately wrote back with his approval and was excited to shoot it. Before we knew it, we were on set with him, having the time of our lives! Everything worked out perfectly. He was an absolute delight to film with.
Hannah Hindi: He was extremely kind to us! It felt like we were working with a close friend.
Hilly Hindi: We were very humbled and honored. It was a dream having Neil Gaiman on our set. I never would’ve thought this would happen! We can’t sing his praises enough. He’s so loving, so kind, and how Hannah said, it felt like we had known him for a very long time. He made us feel very comfortable.
Hannah Hindi: After that, we edited it — Hilly edits — and from there sent it off the Amazon for a preview.
Hilly Hindi: After Amazon reviewed the edit, they came back to us and said, “Well, we have good news and bad news. The good news is that we showed it to everyone on the team and they love it … so much that they want to give you the official date of release for season 2, not just the month!’”
That was amazing! We were floored and flabbergasted! But then came the bad news … which was we had to wait, just a little bit longer, to release it.
It had already been so long for our fans, however, some were already guessing that something was up. They were saying, “There must be an exciting reason for the wait because Hillywood never takes this long!” Fans were aware there was a delay due to the pandemic, but now there was an added mysterious delay that we couldn’t give away. It was a big faith journey, on our behalf, to hang on, but we knew it was something special for the fans.
Boy, did we learn a lesson in trusting in God and having patience in the ineffable plan. We thought we were ones in the front seat driving, but we learned that we are actually the ones in the backseat, asking God, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”
Nerds & Beyond: Anyone who follows Neil on social media will know what I’m talking about, but my favorite thing is to scroll through his Tumblr blog and just read the responses that he gives people asking him questions. And so with all of the Good Omens season 2 excitement going on, he’s given a lot of people the “wait and see,” “wait and see,” “wait and see” … it sounds like that was a similar theme for your process here as well. “Wait and see” must just encompass the Good Omens season 2 experience.
Hilly Hindi: We coined his famous “Wait and see” phrase when our fans asked, “What’s going on? What’s taking so long?” We would reply with a cheeky, “Wait and See” in homage to Neil.
Hannah Hindi: We can’t thank our fans enough for their patience, constant support, and belief that there was a reason for the extra wait.
Nerds & Beyond: The parody was well worth the wait. Are there any other Neil projects that you’d like to explore in the future?
Hilly Hindi: Oh … that’s a good one! I think a Sandman Parody would be absolutely amazing, but that show is quite an undertaking.
Hannah Hindi: That’s what I was thinking …
Hilly Hindi: Just episode 1 of Sandman … those set designs are stunning!
Nerds & Beyond: We’re huge fans of Sandman around here, so we would love that. Are there any moments from the Good Omens parody that you’re particularly proud of in terms of performance or editing?
Hilly Hindi: Editing is always fun! We love going through all the clips and seeing it come together.
Hannah Hindi: It doesn’t take us too long to get a first edit done, truly.
Hilly Hindi: What I’m proud of … well obviously, number one was Neil Gaiman. That was just an amazing experience – it was like a fever dream. It didn’t feel real.
Hannah Hindi: The other thing that we’re really proud of is all of the pyrotechnic scenes. It was a lot of planning, organizing, and making sure that everything went perfectly for each particular, shot. We only had so much propane that we could use, so it had to go just right. I’m really proud of it. It was our first time working with fire like that.
I was also really proud of how much Hilly gave for each shot during that shoot. She gave me 150% in her performance. I was nervous because those shots were such a big undertaking and something completely new for us. We got through it, though, and it turned out great!
Hilly Hindi: That was our first day of filming on the Good Omens parody, so we were a bit nervous. However, we had amazing people with us. We had our regular little crew of five people but for that particular night, we had a bit more crew on set, due to safety … so a pyrotechnic team, the water truck, etc.
A fun fact is that Rene Diamante, who was our pyro director, already had experience doing this type of shoot, because he was the actual pyro director on Billie Eilish’s music video! It was a blessing that we found him for this because he already knew exactly what to do. We don’t have a Hollywood budget, but he graciously worked within our little Hillywood budget. It was so much fun working with Rene!
Nerds & Beyond: Besides Neil, who would your dream guest appearance be?
Hilly Hindi: Oh, wow! Dream guest appearance … I think it would be really cool, especially since we’ve done so many of her songs before, to work with Lady Gaga. Not sure in what capacity, but I think Gaga, definitely.
Nerds & Beyond: How could you not have fun with her? She seems like one of the most fun people alive.
Hilly Hindi: She’s a masterpiece and I absolutely adore her! I’m a little monster and we have actually been able to meet her. She loves our Gagaween Parody! It’s always so special when you meet your heroes and they are so loving! We’re fans for life.
Nerds & Beyond: It is always very nice when you meet someone and they’re just as good as you were hoping they would be … maybe even a little better.
What advice would you have to give to someone considering starting their own channel or creative endeavor?
Hannah Hindi: Well, first of all, congrats on wanting to start something! In my opinion, I would say to start small, and not expect everything to go perfect. This is a learning experience and it takes a long time to understand how everything functions.
Also, think of something that is creative and new! It will help you stand out! You want to be able to draw attention to yourself in a new and positive way.
Hilly Hindi: With this day and age, there’s a lot of worrying about the algorithm and what’s trending. I’ve discovered plenty of videos that are off topic of what’s trending and I actually enjoy those videos more because it’s something new.
It might be a little scary to get out there, especially on the internet, since you’re exposed to so many comments. However, if you are in love with your concept and if it brings you happiness, just do it. It doesn’t matter, just put it out there and have fun! It should be enjoyable for you. Have confidence in yourself and who you are, because everyone deserves their own world of creativity. It doesn’t have to match anyone else’s creativity. Creativity is different. God gave us many different forms of creativity. So I think every person should be celebrated, regardless if it’s fitting into the norm.
Nerds & Beyond: I think you both just perfectly summed up how important it is to be yourself as a creator. Thank you so much for your time today, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Sandman content from Hillywood in the future.
Hilly Hindi: Oh my! Maybe, someday, in the future! And perhaps we could work with Neil again.
Hannah Hindi: If you ever get a chance to meet him, he’s everything and more! The purest soul in the world.
Nerds & Beyond: I have not met him, but I do have his autograph and sometimes I just look at it, happily.
Hilly Hindi: He is the best! The amount that Neil has supported Good Omens Parody … he has gone above and beyond! He and the Supernatural cast are golden! I miss Supernatural and those boys so much. I don’t want to, completely, close that door, as I’m still hopeful for a Supernatural movie. If they’re looking for someone to take on a Supernatural movie, we would, happily, volunteer! That would be dream.
Watch the Good Omens parody from The Hillywood Show below.