The Anti-Money/Success Culture (or “I Bought Brandon Hardesty’s Reenactment List!”)

First, some background. As the link to the right indicates, I am a YouTube user. YouTube viewer is probably more descriptive as I’ve never posted any videos (though, I have thought about it and probably will… eventually). I love the original content that I’ve found through YouTube, whether it be Blame Society, Ask A Ninja, Barats and Bereta or something else. One person that I’ve discovered on there was Brandon Hardesty, a.k.a. ArtieTSMITW.

I forget what the first video I saw was. I’d say I subscribed to him fairly early. I want to say it was in the first 15-20 videos he did (now up to 60, plus a couple that have been removed, I think). But, the first thing that I noticed about his account was the username. ArtieTSMITW. When I was younger, I watched (and loved) The Adventures of Pete and Pete, a show on Nickelodeon. It was a weird show, but interesting and funny. So, of course, I associate the name Artie with the character on that show and that was my first reaction. And then I realized that that was the same character that he was named for – Artie, The Strongest Man in the World. So, I thought that was pretty cool and, from whatever that first video was, I subscribed and have watched every video.

I guess I’m not much of a reenactments guy. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve never gone looking for them. But, he just had a certain way about him. He has a certain unique quality. He’s a funny guy and I like to watch funny people. He’s not just a joker, though, as you can see from the videos (I’ll include a few below this post). He takes them seriously, but with the right amount of humor thrown in to make them unique and interesting. It works pretty well. To be honest, most of the scenes he’s reenacted are from movies I’ve never seen, so they are new to me, anyway.

He doesn’t just do reenactments, either (actually, he’s probably going to stop), he’s done some original concept videos that I’ve appreciated – the Patrol Man series, for example, as well as other, random stuff. Anyway, to summarize, he’s a talented guy and he makes me laugh. He has a unique brand of humor.

About half a year or so ago, he posted a video requesting reenactment suggestions. He received a ton and from those, he crafted a list of 5. He then went to work on them and after he finished each one (none of which were from movies I’d seen!), the clip would end with him walking into his kitchen and crossing that one off of this handwritten list of the 5 reenactment titles that was posted by magnet to his refrigerator. The last one was posted about a week ago and it ends him with crossing the final reenactment off the list and removing it from the refrigerator and walking away with it. 3 days ago, he posted a video announcing that the list was going up on eBay.

I made a note of it and decided I’d keep an eye on the auction and see where it went. Now, we get to the meaning of the first part of the subject of this post. It’s always been (and always will be) a part of our culture where a certain set of people say nasty things about those that have accomplished something or those that want their passion (depending on what that passion is, of course) to be their profession. And so, it goes. The internet has only made this much, much worse, giving life to “anonymous trolls” who exist for this purpose (and love gossip sites :)). He had nasty comments posted on the video and I’m sure he had nasty messages sent to his YouTube account and sent to his sister via eBay and all that good stuff. Unfortunate part of life. Call them “haters”, call them losers, call them jerks – whatever they are, if you don’t have them, you haven’t accomplished anything. I’m used to them, myself. But, from his video and follow up comments (“I’m never doing this again.”), they seem to have affected him, however marginally. This is a shame.

Selling the list was a great idea. It’s obvious that he enjoys these videos, but it’s also obvious that they require a lot of time and work. When someone puts in that level of effort, they deserve compensation. If they don’t want it, that’s fine, but they still deserve it. Let’s do the math. Though it’s probably not an issue now, consider the future – you have to earn money, one way or another. If he can’t earn it acting, writing, whatever – then he has to do it somewhere else and that means less time for him to act, write, whatever. So, if you want him to make more videos and do more of this work – you want him to make money doing so because if he can’t – whatever job he has or has to get will take precedence over making free videos for people online who think everything in the world is free to them and that time, bandwidth, money and resources grow on trees.

I deal with this with my network. My network is a full time job plus. It’s, in a lot of ways, my life. Yet, some people have a problem with advertisements being displayed on websites. This is my job, this is my life – my goal in life isn’t to simply pay my bandwidth bills and then die. My goals are much higher. If you support a website, if you like a website, you owe it to them not to harm the way that they generate revenue. It’s a full time job, it’s their life and if you support something, that means you think outside of yourself and realize there is something bigger. That goes for every person, every corporation – big and small.

Any actual fan of something (whether it’s Brandon or something else) should want them to be successful at every level – personally, professionally, financially. Otherwise, you’re not really a fan. And, if you want them to provide endless amounts of entertainment for you and then get mad when they make a few bucks, you are selfish.

So, that brings me to this morning. I saw some nasty comments and saw him say that he’ll never do this again. I thought “well, let’s see if I can push this bid up a bit, then. He deserves it.” I’ve said this before, but I support people with my time – and with my money, though I don’t have much. As luck would have it, I ended up winning the auction. All the better. I talked with him on YouTube after winning and he’ll be sending the list signed and framed, plus a letter and a VHS tape of him packaging it all up. That should be pretty freaking awesome, if I do say so myself. But, beyond that, really, I’m happy to support someone like that. As an actual fan, I hope that he can attain, out of life, whatever he wishes to attain. That’s what being a fan, a supporter, a user, a viewer – is all about. Good luck to him.

A sampling of his videos follows.

Re-Enactment: Uncle Buck:

The Patrol Man Rides Again:

The Journey of the Unnecessarily Loud Man:

Re-Enactment: Jurassic Park:

Re-Enactment: A Few Good Men (warning: strong language):

Patrick O'Keefe

Managing online communities since 2000, I publish a collective of websites known as the iFroggy Network. I wrote the book Managing Online Forums and, as a public speaker, have presented for organizations like CNN, institutions like Australian National University and conferences like SXSW. More about me.

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