‘Annoying Orange’ Creator Dane Boedigheimer On Succeeding In A Competitive YouTube Space at SXSW

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The “Annoying Orange” YouTube series was originally meant to be a single episode that combined three of creator Dane Boedigheimer’s favorite things: talking fruit, puns and special effects. More than 4 years later, the series, named the most-watched web series on YouTube, has recently transitioned to become “The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange,” a new television show on Cartoon Network. What can they say — people just love a piece of funny fruit.

This weekend at SXSW, creator Dane Boedigheimer and his team chatted with fans and shared advice for aspiring YouTubers at their panel “From YouTube to Global Sensations: The Ap“peel” of Annoying Orange.”

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Boedigheimer told the audience:

“It’s crazy going from creating the show and recording the voices in my bedroom to now working with like celebrities. I actually met Weird Al like three years ago, and I had listened to Weird Al growing up. I thought he was the most amazing musician. I saw him at a party that Jibjab.com was having and I saw him from across the party, and I did that whole thing where I was like, ‘Ahhhhh,’ and I like made a beeline for him. I was like, ‘Dude, I love you! Can I get your picture?’ Then cut to three years later he comes on the show and comes in the room and again he’s like real cool and everything, and I was like, ‘It was great to see you again. We met before,’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s great.’ He’s like, ‘Hey man, can I get a picture with you? I love you, man.’ It was such a crazy reversal.”

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But one of the biggest questions asked to the Annoying Orange creative team was their thoughts on the evolution of YouTube and — what feels like to many — the alienation of independent creators by high value productions taking over the digital space. Audience members wanted to know: Is there a future for the guy simply chatting into his webcam?

To this, Boedigheimer responded:

“I think you’re obviously noticing a lot of trends that there is more professional content on YouTube. It’s just the evolution of the game and the distribution system. A few years ago, you could be that kid just talking to your camera and there wasn’t a lot of competitive content. Right now there is professional, competitive content in multiple different distribution systems, not just YouTube, so the fact that YouTube still is essentially free and fun, I would not discourage anyone from saying that. But people who’ve succeeded in YouTube in a professional way, these are the people who are more personality-driven. Maybe not one of these bigger media companies, but people who were genuine and authentic. That was the big takeaway for me over the past five years, just learning from people who I used to watch, and now they’re my friends. These people built their audience by connecting with the people watching it; that’s the very different thing about the medium itself. That’s something that will always be there for YouTube.”

 Photo Credit:  Jeremiah Mayhew

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