Okay, you’re probably familiar with Action Movie Kid in one form or another. Either you saw some news story on him, the insanely popular .gif of the little kid disappearing into the puddle of water, or you’ve seen one of the increasing number of videos popping up on the Action Movie Kid YouTube channel.
Even if you’re just learning about Action Movie Kid and his incredibly savvy and talented Dreamworks animator father Daniel Hashimoto, it’s pretty obvious that this … gimmick, this fun little exercise in fantasy storytelling, is brilliant on many levels. In case you’re not quite sure what we mean, allow us to list them for you.
Level 1: The Surface Level
Easily the most acceptable and obvious, this is just a father in possession of some very cool computer skills doing something neat with his free time. This isn’t any different than a skilled mechanic father souping up his son’s go-kart or a carpenter father building the world’s best treehouse.
Level 2: The Video Archive
By creating videos of these “adventures” Daniel is, in effect, creating a video diary of experiences for his 3-year-old son James. In the future, James’ memories of his time with his father will be that much more dynamic than your time with your father.
Level 3: The Envy Game
By posting the videos to YouTube, Daniel is making himself and his son cooler than all the other kids. Not only will James’ friends be able to see this stuff, but both James and Daniel will be the envy of other father/son relationships. Imagine the day your kid says to you, “Why didn’t you do that for me?” You will resent Daniel for “playing the game” better than you.
Level 4: The Work Promotion
Oh, what’s that? Daniel was one of many animators in a big room full of talent? Not anymore. Daniel just separated himself from the pack by displaying innovation, motivation and demonstrable value. If Dreamworks feels the need to promote someone, are they going to go with one of the nameless “lazy assholes” or with the guy who’s spent his downtime making a name for himself?
Level 5: The Viral Income
Because Daniel is no slouch, he has monetized these incredibly viral videos with Adsense. So not only does he look like the coolest dad on YouTube, he’s also making bank with what appears to be an increasingly viral collection of short films that require very little effort or expense. Daniel is a double-income earner with two awesome jobs. If there’s a downside to all this, I’d love to see it (the only thing I can think of MIGHT be a “no compete” clause coming into play from Dreamworks — but that would be pretty ticky tacky and result in an awful lot of bad publicity … so it’s unlikely).
Level 6: The Fame Game
The most genius aspect of all of this? Despite what Daniel’s early intentions were with this, the resulting virality of these videos shows a clear potential for … something more. An action Movie Kid TV show doesn’t seem that far-fetched and you’ve gotta believe there have been a few conversations by the Dreamworks executives about what exactly they might have sitting in their lap with all of this. In addition to all of those other perks and bonuses, Daniel might just have jumpstarted his son’s college fund with a very lucrative career.
So there you have it. Six steps of parenting done smart. Daniel, aware or not, has stumbled onto the secret and hard-to-achieve bonus level of making your kid pay off emotionally AND financially. Frequented by pageant moms and helicopter moms, this world can typically result in a damaged kid who ends up growing up weird and hyper-religious or just outright kooky. But Daniel seems to have found the loophole that will keep this ship running right.
How fun. We can’t wait to see what he dreams up next.
Make sure you share the adventures of Action Movie Kid … we can’t protect you from his terrible wrath otherwise …
And here are some other, not-so-lucky children: