Media Loves a “Failed” Weblebrity

You’ve got to love tomorrow’s Washington Post story titled “What Happened to YouTube Star Brandon Hardesty.” It documents the rise and (implied) fall of Hardesty (see his YouTube channel)

  • Three years ago, Brandon Hardesty, then 19, was a grocery clerk and college student living in his parents’ Baltimore home. He logged on to YouTube regularly to upload videos of himself reenacting movie scenes and making goofy faces.
  • Those disarming antics snowballed into a somewhat lucrative career, as chronicled in a May 2009 Magazine article by April Witt. YouTube invited him to place ads on his videos and share the revenue (one month, he made about $1,500); he also landed supporting roles in films, including an “American Pie” sequel and an upcoming Adam Sandler flick scheduled to hit theaters Labor Day.
  • Now, “Brandon Hardesty is learning that YouTube success is not an easy ticket to television or movie stardom.”
  • Seems his YouTube revenue is just about enough to pay his share of his rent… “Though his lifestyle can be slow, Brandon has few qualms with it. “Hollywood is pretty much as people told me,” he says. “Be patient, you’re not going to get a job right away, and audition as much as you can.”

Stay tuned next year to read Washington Post’s 9th page sidebar about how Hardesty is living in his van, making crazy sounds and faces to the company of a crack whore, and surviving on expired cat food.

18 Replies to “Media Loves a “Failed” Weblebrity”

  1. And yet, when I make more than that and continue with pretty good success – owning a home because of YouTube – I do not exist.

    Gee, I wonder why the “failure” is the traditional media’s story.

  2. The media in the US is fixated on selling an exaggerated product; they rely on base instinct consumers.

    However, though I think it’s morally and unethically wrong, PR is PR.

    Brandon needs better management, he shouldn’t have forgotten his You Tube following and continued to update people on his progress, produced reenactments or other creative things at least once a month or at every six weeks.

    bread and butter

  3. I think if he still enjoys what he does and can get by then it’s not a failure at all. My brother has recently starting pursuing a model/talent career and the biggest thing we are learning is that you need a “talent resume”. Seems like his YouTube success has allowed him the opportunity to start to build one and that will just make it easier for more gigs to open up. I would say kudos to Hardesty!

  4. Hey Nalts, thought I’d throw in my two cents here.

    I’m actually surprised that the person who wrote this article did a spin like this. The whole “Brandon Hardesty is learning that YouTube success is not an easy ticket to television or movie stardom” thing is not really how I feel at all. I knew it would be hard, and I knew that YouTube videos equate to almost nothing when you’re auditioning every day in the trenches with every other actor in LA.

    As for my financial situation, a lot of actors go on unemployment in between projects they work on. The stigma that goes along with the word “unemployment” doesn’t apply here. I’m doing just fine, and I’ve been living comfortably in Los Angeles for over a year now.

    Also, as a response to “jischinger:” I never forgot my YouTube audience. I thank them every chance I get for supporting me and allowing me to follow my dream. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

    As for my management, I love and trust them 100% with everything they do for me. My manager has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make sure I’m going up for as many projects as possible.

    That said, the crackwhores enjoy my strange faces, and cat food doesn’t taste as bad as you’d think.

  5. Dear Brandon,
    I apologize for speaking too soon, I tend to stop watching youtubers just before they hit it big.

    See, I did you a favor 😉
    It’s a curse.

    I’m happy for you and that you have the opportunity to thank those who hold you dear and continue to support all of your endeavors – I’ll stay unsubscribed for your continued success and catch you on the front page.

    Here’s a tip for all of you looking for success, hope I unsubscribe from your channel soon ;P

    Kevin’s channel doesn’t count.

  6. ps you two should make a youtube video about some guy in the comfort of his computer chair watching a youtube video about some other guy living in his van, making crazy sounds and faces in the company of crack whores, while surviving on expired cat food

    file it under marquisdejolie

  7. Brandon- I had a feeling you weren’t on too much of a high horse to find this post, and I too was a little taken back on the spin. The one common truth about people that “make it” is persistence. Keep going and “what they think about you is none of your business.”

  8. This is a perfect example of old media wanting YouTube to continue to seem like a haven for people falling and cat videos (rather than a place for very driven and independent-minded content creators). If it isn’t looked at as a legitimate entertainment platform – which it is – then their job is easier.

    Brandon: Rock and roll. Don’t let them stab you in the back out there in LA.

  9. I was just actually listening to the radio this morning and got another big example: they were on about a video that was “getting legs” and “going viral” but I can’t find it and no one has heard of it.

    It’s a karate instruction video from the 70s or 80s. It’s always something accidental. Not any of the highly viewed, very well done content that goes up. People on that end of the media spectrum just DO NOT WANT legitimate stuff happening with online video. It pisses me off every day.

  10. I remember when I could find interesting videos on You Tube’s front page – people who had maybe 50 views tops

    – as the site grew and those videos fell to the wayside to make room for the big guns, I eventually stopped looking at the front page – I bore pretty easily; so many of the popular videos on You Tube are pretty redundant; it’s like everyone came up with the same formula or swiped it from someone else and put their face or spin on it.

    anyway, I had forgotten there were people out there still making videos or just started making videos – a week ago I received a few links and realized there’s a lot still going on under all the popular clap traps on the front page – what a shame youtube doesn’t have a few people scouring their own site for some pretty unique and interesting people and videos – youtube needs resurgence, get back to their roots, least before Viacom takes them down or all the money.

  11. @12
    I think they ARE doing that, jischinger. I accidentally found out that one of my videos was featured last week. It wasn’t a particularly good one. In fact, it was one of my lame-O’s that I had just phoned in. But there was the troll comment bitching “Why was THIS crap featured?”

    My response: “It was? Why’d they do that?”

    There is no other excuse for it. Either some twisted editor thinks my ignorant countrified fat slob redneck Cajun coonass momma is too cute for words or there is a robot that randomly features videos from different parts of the country.

  12. Why is it their responsibility to find “good” content? They aren’t the “network.” They know where they can make good money from reliable content, they feature that. It’s mainstream. If anything, they are way better than a record company or a TV network, who won’t carry it AT ALL unless it’s broad and profitable.

    How often do you guys like mainstream shit? Don’t get mad at them for featuring what’s logical for a for-profit entertainment company to feature. Find stuff you like. It’s there.

  13. @13 I got a conspiracy theory for ya on that one…
    Great response to the comment btw

    @14 you’re so funny, how on earth do you think I found your channel? hahaha

  14. So the videos he made landed him a few acting gigs? Sounds like he hasn’t failed but he’s still climbing the ladder. The only failure I see here is The Washington Post’s.

  15. That someone can be making almost a thousand bucks a month from something that they own outright and created with no outside help is a creator’s dream. When did that ever happen before the internet?

    That’s the kind of success I want (and am really glad to have) and it’s hilarious that it can be seen as anything but success.

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