You've heard me talk about Freddie Wong before, and with good reason—his videos are excellent. Combining humor and impressive special effects skills, Freddie makes videos that entertain a wide spectrum of the viewing public. And this week something happened that may propel him to a whole new level of fame and popularity: he made a video with Hollywood director Jon Favreau.
YouTube Star Freddiew Makes Good
Actually… he made a video with Hollywood director Jon Favreau… at the request of Hollywood director Jon Favreau. According to Freddie, Favreau reached out to him, offered a fat budget and other assistance, and requested the YouTube star make a video about the upcoming film Cowboys & Aliens.
Now… Freddie's no stranger to popularity. Most of his weekly videos accrue well over a million views. He even had one starring actress Eliza Dushku not too long ago:
But to my knowledge, this is the first time Hollywood has come calling. And let's face it… Jon Favreau requesting a custom made video for his new movie is the same thing as Hollywood calling. Don't think that Favreau can make a move like that without the studio's permission or blessing.
Is this the first time Hollywood has tapped a YouTube star to help promote a new movie? Probably not. But it's still a huge milestone in the career evolution of one of our own. Freddie started out like you or me—just a guy on YouTube trying to entertain people with video. It just so happens that he's got more talent in one pinky finger than most of us have in our entire bodies. He's so good at what he does, this was only a matter of time.
So Freddie got to go out to the Universal lot and spend a few days filming a story of his own creation. And to show he's a real fan (and a good sport), Favreau himself showed up to play a role. In less than 24 hours, the video already has over 1.5 million views. Check it out:
Even the "behind the scenes" featurette is going viral, having already racked up over 250,000 views:
What Does It All Mean?
So what does it all mean? Why would Jon Favreau and Universal employ the talents of a YouTube star when they're already supposed experts in film promotion?
Simple: they're smarter than we thought.
Freddie's channel has well over a million subscribers. And in Hollywood terms, that's a heck of a lot of people. A million tickets at the box office, at an average of $10 per ticket… well, the math's not hard to do at that point. Even if only a fraction of Freddie's fans go see this film the studio will reap huge benefits.
And many of Freddie's fans will go and see it. Count on it. Because Freddie is that unique online video star who is charming and entertaining while also being completely humble and level-headed. He'd probably read this article and tell you the Favreau request is no big deal. Aw shucks… that sort of thing.
In fact, video creators looking to find success would be wise to follow Freddie's example in many areas. Here are just a few:
- Pick a schedule and stick to it. With only rare exceptions, Freddie releases a video every week. His fans have come to expect it, and by sticking to that schedule he guarantees a certain level of viewership.
- Don't take yourself too seriously. Freddie has fun with his videos, and it's obvious (even more so in the regular behind-the-scenes clips he puts out).
- Do what you love. There's no guarantee that everyone else will love the same things you do. But here's something I can guarantee: if you don't love what you're doing, the audience will be able to tell… and that will severely limit your growth potential.
- Take risks, be willing to fail. Not all of Freddie's clips meets with his fans' approval. They don't all go mega-viral. Sometimes, even for prolific artists, failure happens. It's not a reason to panic or give up, and it's certainly no sign that you're on the wrong track.
For now, I think it's safe to say that Freddie's not leaving the YouTube world behind just yet. But eventually… he probably will. He's simply too talented, too charming, and too likable. Some day soon, a studio's going to give him a real Hollywood budget and a real Hollywood cast and let him do his thing. Just don't be surprised if when that happens… he hits it out of the park.