Guns, stunts, and nerdiness is a winning formula for one YouTube filmmaker.
Who is Freddie Wong?
The nerd-chic filmmaker is a rising YouTube star—as freddiew, he’s the tenth most popular account on the site. But now he’s broken through to Hollywood, with mainstream celebrities clamoring to appear in his Internet videos.
Wong’s latest is a collaboration with director Jon Favreau, a promo for the upcoming “Cowboys & Aliens” movie, and Eliza Dushku has recently appeared in a Wong production.
The mainstream may notice these celebrity appearances. But online-video viewers already love Wong’s action-packed short films on nerdy topics like video games and Star Wars. He also does his own stunts, upping his geek cred.
Wong joined YouTube in February 2006, and for four years he slogged away in relative obscurity. But two factors helped him break out last year: For one, he developed a distinctive style for his videos—action-packed gun battles with (sometimes) witty punchlines. And in March 2010, in a move Wong raved about in a video, YouTube admitted him to its partnership program. (YouTube partners get a cut of ad revenues, as well as promotion on the online-video site.)
With YouTube’s backing, Wong has become a master of viral videos. Nearly anything he posts these days gets a half-million views, minimum, and in total, Wong’s videos have been viewed more than 320 million times.
Wong has made a science of viral videos. “We’ve been watching YouTube for a while and as a result, had a pretty good sense of what played and what didn’t,” Wong told the Daily Dot in an email.
If his videos are any indication, the Internet loves shootouts and stunts. Sometimes Wong makes a subtle dig in his videos, like “The Crying PC Gamer,” a video reflecting on rampant cheating and other bad behavior among gamers.
Wong doesn’t think too highly of Hollywood and its middlemen, admitting as much in a recent interview on social news site Reddit, where he’s an active contributor. Wong said he has every intention of continuing to work with YouTube:“Straight-up digital delivery will be the way the future works. Heck, PC gaming has already shifted over that way.”
On average, he told the Daily Dot, it takes about a week to create one of his videos, but he doesn’t spend much money on them.
One of the things Wong loves about YouTube is the feedback he gets from fans, admitting he “constantly” incorporates their suggestions in his short films.
Here’s a brief introduction to Wong’s oeuvre.
This was one of the first Freddie Wong videos I came across. I was blown away by Wong’s agility. “Chrono Trigger: Short Action Sequence”, with 7 million views:
“One Shot featuring Eliza Dushku,” May 2011:
“Time Crisis – Featuring Andy Whitfield”, Wong’s first celebrity costar, August 2010:
Wong’s most viewed video, “Future First Person Shooter”, with over 18 million views:
One of his first viral videos, “Jedi A-Holes”, clocking in at 4 million views:
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