Daneboe | ‘Annoying Orange’ Creator

Dane Boedigheimer, aka Daneboe, is at this point already a YouTube legend. And he’s also a super nice guy. Of course, I’ve probably said that in at least 4 million of the 5 million articles I’ve written about YouTube “legends,” but seriously, honestly this time: Dane belongs on the YouTube Mount Rushmore along with Keyboard Cat, and he is a truly, truly cool person. That pretend YouTube Mount Rushmore will exist, by the way, the moment I get to add to the zombie NMR editorial staff of Jeff Klima and a paperclip. Danny Z., you owe me, and the first thing I want is a stone sculptor.

So first about the legend thing: Dane is one of a handful of elite YouTube creators who’s managed to successfully extend their brand beyond Google’s video platform and into television. Despite what cheerleading, P.C. YouTubers will tell you — “I prefer YouTube. I’ve turned down TV offers to stay on YouTube. I don’t worship Beelzebub for views.” — it’s still relatively nascent in the online video era, and most creators would jump, hop and skip for the still bigger prizes of TV and movies (you think I wouldn’t kill to write about fiction in Esquire? Hell, I’d think about dumping everything just to write for Skymall). And Dane’s achieved the crossover seamlessly (into TV, not Skymall) — his ubiquitous Annoying Orange property continues to star in its own series on Cartoon Network concurrently with its short-form episodes on YouTube, on which they’ve ran since forever. See, Dane’s been uploading videos for over eight years now, and he shows no signs of stopping. In fact, he’s only expanding with more animated shows, live action videos and even a series with puppets (he says so in our interview below).

Lastly, about the nice guy thing: I interact with a lot of YouTubers, hear a lot of YouTuber stories, have seen a lot of YouTuber action (I mean this to be ambiguous), and just like in every group of people, some of them are jerkwads. Dane, no. He remains supremely humble, thankful and totally not a jerkwad, and it’s a breath of fresh air.

Read my in-depth interview with Dane below and peep our original photoshoot as well, all done at Dane’s very own Annoying Orange studio in Hollywood. You’ll learn about the origins of his video-making talent, see why Annoying Orange is so creepy, hear his fascinating thoughts on YouTube and Facebook’s changes, and see overall why I think Dane is the cat’s meow.

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Read the full interview below or visit the last page for the partial video interview

What was it like growing up in North Dakota? I know nothing about it.

Dane: Growing up in North Dakota was really great. I had a really close family, really close friends, and I feel like it really kind of nurtured this creativeness. I don’t know — it’s funny because we didn’t have a lot growing up. There’s not a lot to do in North Dakota. It’s very flat. We have movie theaters and chain restaurants, and that was about the biggest thing that you could go do when you’re there. So i just found myself, like most kids, making things up, and my parents got a camcorder when I was 12 years old, 12 or 13, and it was then that I realized that, holy cow, I can change the whole world around me. I started playing with it, and like, oh my god, I can make all these things come alive; I can do stop animation. And so the moment they got that camcorder, I hijacked it; it became mine. It became me and my brother turning North Dakota into our playground. It was something that we could just morph the world around us, and I love that. And I don’t think it was anything specific to North Dakota or anything like that, but I just liked that ability to take something that was — like i said, it was flat, there’s not a lot to it — but you can make it anything you want it to be.

Were you already taking stuff from the kitchen and giving them voices and stuff like that?

It kinda started like that. It was me taking my action figures mostly and giving them voices or doing stop animation, doing big wrestling matches in my bedroom with all stop animation, things like that. And when I learned how to do special effects, one of the big projects I did during college was I made a big monster movie, kind of like Godzilla or whatever. This big demon gets really big and destroys the entire town of Fargo and chases these kids down, and it was really fun to kind of morph that world and change it into whatever I wanted. But it started with me just taking inanimate objects and bringing them to life.

That’s interesting. Today we’re being constantly bombarded with technology, so do you think being stimulated all the time engenders less creativity?

Absolutely. I watched this fascinating video recently where they were talking about how your brain needs time to ingest what you’re taking in. Like someone tells you a fact, you need a little bit of time to ingest that. Otherwise if you’re interrupted, it quickly goes away and you forget about it. So I think being able to just sit down and play around with the camcorder and just go into that world for hours at a time, you absolutely need to do that. Because if you have a phone that’s constantly interrupting you, you’re getting texts, you’ve got an update on a game you’re playing that’s dinging at you, you can’t actually sit down and concentrate on what you’re doing. You’re not really being creative at that point. So yeah, absolutely, sitting down for hours at a time being in that world is so important.

Interview continues on p. 2

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