"Paying it Forward" With MrBeast

"Paying it Forward" With MrBeast

By: James McDonald

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Jimmy Donaldson, otherwise known as MrBeast, has been taking Youtube by storm. At only 20 years old, he's the fastest growing influencer on the platform with over 16 million subscribers and over 2 billion total views and a world record holder with the second most liked video on Youtube besides a music video, longest Uber ride, the only man to have bought one snicker bar from every Walmart in America, and the only man to tie his shoes in every state are just a few of the records he holds. He's known for his crazy and unique videos, such as spending 24 hours in an insane asylum, building a giant house made only of legos, and buying a car with only pennies. He's also well known for his generosity where he has donated over 1.5 million dollars through his content. I had the great pleasure to talk to Jimmy about how he comes up with his video ideas, his favorite videos to make, the secret on how he is able to donate so much money and more:

James: How did you get started? Where did you come up with the channel name? Were your family/friends supportive of your channel/lifestyle since the beginning?

MrBeast: I started YouTube like every other inspiring 13-year-old trying to make it on the platform. I shot the videos in my room (while my mom thought I was studying). My first few years of YouTube were gaming channels, so it was easy not having the expensive equipment; yet, many of the first in real life videos were shot with an iPhone. I saved my allowance and slowly upgraded my equipment over the years.

My channel name is always such an interesting source of conversation. The honest answer is MrBeast6000 was my original Xbox Gamertag; years later I dropped the 6000 when I noticed the bigger YouTuber's didn't have numbers on their channel name. I'm very close with my mom and she has always been extremely supportive of my dream. Many of my high school classmates helped me out a lot during the earlier videos; we always had so much fun! I can't say everyone was supportive of my lifestyle decisions early on as I always chose YouTube, whether it be analytics, filming, or watching, versus hanging out with friends or going on family vacations.

James: How do you come up with your video ideas? How long does it normally take to come up with one that is actually executed? How long does it take to use video idea and actually do it? Can you walk me through the process?

MrBeast: Over the years I have developed multiple ways to come up with video ideas. I study the platform daily, therefore I've learned how to identify what is working and what ideas have stalled out. Sometimes we create a video off of a meme (like the egg video) or sometimes we start a new trend (like the recent influx of challenging videos). Some days a spontaneous joke turns into a brainstorming session for a video; some days no ideas seem to be good enough. Our video creation model is normal: brainstorm the idea, script writing, set up crew, rehearsal, videotape, clean-up crew and edit. Some videos we can do in a day; some videos take an entire week. It all depends on the location and set development.

James: You've done a lot of insane videos throughout your career. What was your favorite video to make? What was a video that you regret doing? Can you tell me about a time when a video went wrong/didn't go as expected?

MrBeast: My favorites are the rewarding ones. Very recently, we gave a local homeless man in my hometown a house. One of my friend's dad knew about him and his situation and we set out to make a video about providing him with a fully furnished and stocked apartment, all expenses paid. He didn't know what we were up to until we told him the good news and his reaction to the generosity is why I do these type videos. I like to help people.

James: You've done a lot of long challenges at the beginning of your career, some lasting over 24 hours straight like reading the dictionary, watching paint dry, and reading the bee movie script. What was going on in your mind while you were filming those? What made you decide to film these kinds of videos? Did you think that these kinds of stunts would make you blow up?

MrBeast: This was during my make it or break it time. I had just moved out of my mom's house and I knew if I was going to make it on YouTube, I had to grind like never before. I took the chance that since I had the time, doing these boring, unique challenges might get people's attention. The video where I counted to 100,000 was so outrageous that it caught people's attention. Once I realized people were going to watch me do these boring challenges, it became a personal challenge for me to keep one-upping myself on which crazy challenge to put myself through next.

James: You are well known as a philanthropist who has donated over a million dollars in your videos. How are you able to donate so much money and at the same time make a living for yourself and pay for all the other added expenses for your videos? What's the most you've donated for one video? What made you want to donate so much money to people even after you made it big?

MrBeast: Honestly, up until about four months ago, we were living paycheck to paycheck. I took a chance and reinvested everything we earned, either from a brand deal or AdSense, right back into the channel; whether it be for hiring people, video production, or giving away money. I have used brand deal monies for donations up to $100,000. Although I donate a lot of my own money, within the next week, I am posting my first video where I am donating $100,000 myself. The core component to my drive to success is that I love to make a difference in other people's lives. Whether it be to the people who work for me or those in need. I am happily motivated by knowing my ability to give eases the burden on an otherwise stressful day or situation for another person.

James: Have there been any video ideas that you turned down or thought were too over the top/extreme?

MrBeast: Yeah, we try to stay away from anything that would be dangerous enough where someone could get hurt. This isn't Jackass or Ridiculousness. We're trying to put a lot of thought, creativity, and planning into making an interesting video that our subscribers will enjoy.

James: You have made a few stunts promoting YouTuber Pewdiepie sub count, including wearing Sub 2 Pewdiepie shirts at this year's Super Bowl, which got the world's attention. Why did you decide to heavily support him that much? Have you met since? In the future, do you plan on passing him in subscribers?

MrBeast: Pewdiepie is a YouTube creator and has been the most subscribed on the platform until T-Series. But T-Series is basically a corporation, not an individual. I think the creators on the platform should support other creators to keep original content popular. No, I've never met Pewdiepie although we have talked after a couple of my campaigns to assist him. My goal is to be the best YouTuber I can be.

James: What are some things about you that your subscribers wouldn't know by watching your videos?

MrBeast: I like to keep my private life as private as I can, but I'm very close with my family especially my mom. I have an older brother and a younger sister and we're pretty tight-knit. They keep me grounded and don't let fame go to my head. Whatever I'm doing off camera, I always strive for positivity and no drama.

James: Are you planning on doing anything else besides Youtube? (acting, podcasting, writing, etc.) What videos/collaborations are you planning on doing this year?

YouTube will probably always be my primary platform to communicate with my fans and subscribers. Videos are just so compelling that they have to be the primary means to share content. We have lots of great ideas for videos' coming up, but I'm not going to ruin the surprise!

To check out MrBeast's videos, click here.

To buy merchandise and support the channel, click here.

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Hailey Miller's Debut Single Is 'The One'

"The One" is available now across all streaming platforms.

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Being able to blend genres well is a true testament to a great artist, and Hailey Miller has done just that. Breaking onto the pop-country scene with her debut single "The One", the song speaks to the lessons that come out of unfortunate heartbreak, and definitely resonates with people going through one. I got the chance to talk with Hailey about her music, Nashville, and plans for the future:

1. What inspiration did you pull from to write "The One"?

"The One" was inspired by a relationship I was in. It was young love, not the healthiest relationship, and was dragged on for way longer than it should've been. I'd pretty much worked through all the heartbreak by the time it was fully over, and this song felt like the final piece to the puzzle. To acknowledge that some good came from the whole experience, and that lessons were learned. It just kind of poured out of me. It was exactly what I needed at the time. I wrote it and instantly felt peace. Like I could finally let it all go. It's a different kind of breakup anthem, and I hope that people can connect to it in the same way I did.

2. Do you tend to pull from personal experience to write or do you write using a third person perspective?

I definitely prefer to write from personal experience. I've written from a third person perspective, but it always feels more genuine for me to write about things I've been through first hand. It's just easier! It flows better, and feels more honest. Especially if I'm planning on using the song for myself. As an artist, I always want the truths I'm speaking to be genuine. I feel like people connect better that way. If I can't fully connect to the stuff I'm singing, how can I expect the listeners to? Personally, as an artist, the stories behind my songs are just as important to me as the song itself. That being said, if I can connect to someone else's experience deeply, writing third person can be just as fun!

3. What has your experience been like being a woman in the music industry?

You know, I don't have anything negative to say about my experience so far. I've felt respected as an artist from almost everyone I've personally come across in the industry. This being said, I'm very aware of the challenges females tend to face on a larger scale, especially in country. But I try to not let it phase me. In my mind, I'm just an artist…not a "female artist".

4. Growing up in Oregon, what/who inspired you to move to Nashville and write country music?

My earliest inspiration was definitely my aunt. She was singing country music professionally when I was super young, so I grew up seeing that and my family was super good about surrounding me with all sorts of music. My dad had this thing where he would always tell me to "listen to the words" and then at the end of the song I'd have to tell him what I thought it was about. It made me realize at a young age that music isn't just sound, it's stories. I fell in love with country music and its stories. Then came along these powerhouse female singer/songwriters…like Taylor Swift, and that was it. I knew it was something I wanted to do, and I knew Nashville was the place to do it. So, I learned the guitar, taught myself how to write, and made the move as soon as I possibly could! It's pretty much a 19 year old dream in the making at this point.

5. How has Nashville shaped your artistry and/or songwriting since moving there?

Nashville has already shaped my artistry and songwriting immensely. I think the biggest thing is being around so many talented artists and writers. It's super inspiring! Every time I go to a show or writer's round in town, I go home wanting to work even harder. That's the magic about Nashville. In a place where the industry could feel very competitive, the community is so amazing that instead of feeling intimidated, I feel inspired. I think that's so cool. Being able to learn your craft in an environment like that, where everybody is willing to collaborate and learn from each other. There's no room to sit still and not work hard. I think that alone has made me a better artist and writer. I've discovered my own unique writing style and sound, and can't wait to develop it even more.

6. What has your experience been like releasing your first single independently?

It's been amazing! I've had the best time with it. The process was so fun, and such a learning experience. Since it was my first release, I tried to go into it with little to no expectations and I've been blown away! The support I've received is beyond what I ever expected, and people are listening!! That's all I could've ever asked for. I think putting out music for any artist, independent or not, is always a little scary because there's this fear that people won't connect to such a personal part of you. There's so much work behind the scenes that goes into it. But it is so rewarding to read people's messages about how they connect or relate to the song. It's the best feeling in the world!

7. What are your future goals and aspirations within the music industry?

I ultimately just want to keep writing and putting out music that I love, and that other people love. Whether that's on a small scale level, or a larger scale. As long as I'm continuing to make music, I'm happy! That being said, I'd love to do some touring soon, and work towards my first EP/full length album.

8. Do you have plans to release new music soon?

Plans are in the works. I don't have a definitive date for you guys quite yet, but new music is on its way! I've been writing tons and I have some stuff that I'm dying to get out. I'd keep an eye out in the upcoming months for sure.

Listen to "The One" across all streaming platforms now and keep an eye out for future music from Hailey!


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Napolean Dynomite Cast Comes to the Kimmel Center

I had the great pleasure to speak with The Kimmel Centers Programming Director, Fran Egler about the show and what is coming up next at the Kimmel Center.

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Gosh! Ligers and tigers and bears, oh my! Napolean Dynamite is finally coming to Philly! The characters of Napolean, Deb, and Pedro will be there for a special Q&A;, as well as a screening of the classic cult film. The show is BYOT (Bring your own tots). I had the great pleasure to speak with The Kimmel Centers Programming Director, Fran Egler about the show and what is coming up next at the Kimmel Center.


1. What programs are coming up at the Kimmel Center? The Kimmel Center presents a broad and diverse variety of programming all season long – from Broadway to rock, comedians to family-friendly. We are excited about our holiday offerings this year, from the return of Mannheim Steamroller (December 1); to our tradition A Soulful Christmas (December 11) – which involves choirs from across the Philadelphia area; to Broadway Philadelphia's Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, which makes its Philadelphia premiere December 19-29. We also have FREE community fun – with Tuba Christmas, two concerts featuring over 100 regional tuba and sousaphone players in our Commonwealth Plaza – and our 14TH annual New Year's Day celebration – an open house for Philadelphia.

2. What can we expect from the Napoleon Dynamite show?

Napoleon Dynamite quickly became a cult classic when it was released in the early 2000s. We're very excited to host three of the stars of the film – Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez, and Tina Majorino – for this special screening. The audience will enjoy the film, followed by a fun discussion with these three principle cast members.

3. What is the biggest show that will be at the Kimmel Center?

We have a very robust 2018-19 season – including the Philadelphia premiere of Hamilton, running August 27 – November 17 at the Forrest Theatre. We can't wait to present this historic musical in the city where Alexander Hamilton actually lived!

To find more about what is coming up next at the Kimmel Center, or to buy tickets, please visit https://www.kimmelcenter.org/events-and-tickets/

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