Fred Speaks to NTV (Squeaky Voice Not Included)

87 Comments

We told you about the Fred web phenomenon last week. Now’s your chance to meet the man, err, boy behind the high-pitched YouTube domination.

“Fred” is actually 14-year old Lucas Cruikshank, and while age ain’t nuthin’ but a number, these other stats might impress you: According to Cruikshank’s rep, Cruikshank and his two cousins made a total of $14,000 on YouTube for 7 million video plays on non-Fred projects during the month of February. Cruikshank did 23 million video plays in May on his own with Fred, which at the previous rate would earn him $46,000. (What did your paper route earn you?)

UPDATE: Cruikshank’s rep contacted me to update some of his data. The $14K actually included some of the Zipit money. So the projections for May will be different, and also dependent on how many people click on the ads.

Yes, Fred pimped the wireless device Zipit, but the character isn’t just some shill created by an ad agency. This was a five-figure deal in which Fred was supposed to do three “viral” videos for the Zipit. Performance benchmarks were set with bonuses paid out for when these spots hit 500,000, 1 million, 1.5 million and 2 million plays. Fred hit all those with the first video in the first week.

Cruikshank agreed to answer a few questions via email about his Internet stardom and his future plans.

NewTeeVee: What has changed for you now that you’re famous? What’s it like going to school for you now?

Lucas Cruikshank: Going to school is still pretty much the same thing. I mean, I’ve known all of my classmates and friends before I started making the videos so they don’t treat me any differently. Whenever I’m outside my hometown now, I get noticed by lots of kids. It happened in LA at my very first audition back in February –- I was at Fox Studios for an audition and other kids waiting in the casting office started raving about my vids, which was weird because they all had these Hollywood resumes I was dying for, and mine was pretty much a blank piece of paper — and they’re asking me for my autograph! I was just in Iowa for a dance competition and went to an amusement park, and a gaggle of kids followed me around asking for my autograph and to take pictures with me. It’s kind of surreal; I keep wondering why’d they want my autograph?!

NewTeeVee: Where did the idea of Fred come from? What do you want to do with the character?

Cruikshank: Two years ago my mom bought me this new video editing software as a gift, and when I was playing with it I realized it had this effect to make a voice sound all squeaky. I thought it sounded hilarious, and came up with 6-year-old Fred and posted “Fred on Halloween,” which was kind of a tongue-in-cheek way of poking fun at people on YouTube who post video blogs showing and talking about everything they do. I actually hated “Fred” at first and at one point wanted to kill him off, so I sure understand why there are people who don’t like Fred and find him annoying. Fred IS the person you wouldn’t want to be around in real life because he’s annoying, but he’s also got heart and vulnerablility, which is part of what I think draws the fans to him too.

NewTeeVee: I heard that you release new episodes on Thursdays for a reason. Can you go into what your strategy is to get the biggest audience?

Cruikshank: With JKL we used to post videos on Sundays, but May 1st, the FRED launch date, fell on a Thursday, and NBC used to have their “Must See TV” Thursday night line-up that got all that Friday water-cooler buzz, so I liked the idea of posting FRED episodes as schools were getting out Thursday afternoons. My strategy isn’t just to get the biggest audience; it’s to get a loyal audience.

NewTeeVee: What do your parents think of the whole thing? I mean you refer to your dad as being in prison and your mom isn’t shown in quite the best light.

Cruikshank: They’re really supportive and think [the videos] are hilarious. That said, obviously Fred’s parents aren’t based off my real-life parents, haha.

NewTeeVee: Do your siblings get jealous of your fame and money? If so, what do they do?

Cruikshank: No, I have an extremely close and supportive family, and they think it’s really cool. Also, whenever I make a new video, they’re the first people to see it to make sure it’s funny enough.

NewTeeVee: Who are some online people, or what are some online series that you like?

Cruikshank: I love The Onion videos, those are amazing.

NewTeeVee: What do you wish YouTube offered or did differently?

Cruikshank: I think they’re doing everything pretty good. There’s nothing I’d really want to change. I think the social networking capabilities on the site could be improved, but it really wasn’t designed for that.

NewTeeVee: The editing is really quite good on your show. Do you do all of the work? How did you learn or what were your influences in putting your videos together? How long does each episode take for you to make?

Cruikshank: Thanks! I do everything myself –- writing, directing, editing, camera. It’s not because I’m a control freak, though, lol. I basically taught myself; I mean with the instructions manual and everything it wasn’t that hard to get the videos to look/feel the way I wanted them to. Editing usually takes about two to three hours, depending on the effects I have in the video, and filming is usually a 30-minute deal where I just kind of have the thread of the story beats in my head and improv everything from there.

NewTeeVee: Do the comments people leave impact you? They can get pretty mean. Do you pay attention to them?

Cruikshank: The mean comments don’t impact me. I focus on the people who like the videos because at the end of the day, those are the ones who I’m making these for anyways. I get 800 to 1,000 emails a day and they’re from people who write how their day was miserable so they watched my videos and were happy, and who write that I’ve inspired them to make videos, and, a lot of emails after Fred on Father’s Day from people who, like Fred, don’t have fathers in their lives and appreciated the video’s heart. I don’t worry about the negative posts because my fans are very protective of their FRED character and they pounce on the “haterz’”with a fury that boggles and impresses me at the same time!

NewTeeVee: What’s next for Fred? What’s next for you?

Cruikshank: When the first FRED season wraps next week I’m headed back out to LA for more meetings and auditions, etc. I’m an actor so I’ve been pursuing movies and I have some TV series ideas to pitch too.

NewTeeVee: How do you feel about advertising? What’s your position? Do you worry about getting kids to buy more stuff?

Cruikshank: The Onion has the best videos online imo and I certainly think they should be compensated for that. If their arrangement with sponsors or advertisers allows them to keep putting out content like that where the viewers don’t have to pay per view or to download it, I’m not sure how that’s a bad thing for anyone. As for kids buying more stuff, I am worried. It’s a tough ecomomy and I hope that doesn’t prevent kids from buying all the FRED merchandise they’ve been asking for!

87 Comments

hannah

omg i love lucas sooooo much hes so funny and cute and i have him as my background and i have thousonds of pics of him in my locker!!!!

rj

OMG! how can this loser still be around? Goes to show you the true intelligence of youth today… i feel the future is doomed with ignorance such as Fred, Lucas, WHATEVER, is being supported!

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chelsea

almost forgot im 15 yrs old and i swear im not liein eather im like ur number 1 fan i would totaly risk my life for u because ur so amazing and cute funny and u make me laugh alot haha well yea.xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Always chelsea

chelsea

Lucas your so amazing and cute too i watched every one wellnot every single one but most of them and there so halariouse..haha so yeah i love you sooooo much.

Always chelsea

Shelby

Lucas, you are soooo hot! I wish you would give me a call sometime!

Melonie

A part of “Fred goes Swimming” is my ringtone! I love Lucas! He rocks! (He’s my screensaver!)

Melonie

A section of “Fred goes Swimming” is my ringtone! I love Lucas!

Paul Carroll

Hi, I’ve been trying to get in touch with Lucas to arrange my own interview. I’m assuming you either have an email for him or his rep – any chance you send it to me @ survive.the.net@gmail.com ? I’ll be eternally grateful (and leave a link to this page for you)

aubrey

I dont like to be crazy about u but ur cute and fred’s not annoying to me he’s ……… funny hey email me bac just 4 the record i ‘m 15

Maddie

I love fred! Lucas is so cute! I wrote I love
Lucas Cruikshank on my wrist and I totally forgot about it then everyone in my class seen it and was making fun of me! Peace, around the world, for generations!

                        Luv ya Lucas!
Maddie

OMG I love FRED! Lucas is sooo cute! I was watching it 24/7 the other day and was repeating phrases over and over again! My friends were getting so annoyed!

Kierstin White

hey i am LUCAS CRIKSHANK’S BIGEST fan because hes funny ,sweet and really really REALLY cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and im 13

ally

i luv fred vids especially the one when fred goes swimming. hahahahahahahaahahahaahahahahahahahha you make me laugh. is judy and kevin real or made up? peace out home dog

Victoria

I think Fred/Lucas is wicked awsome. But some of his videos are getting less funny. I don’t know if its that Im getting use to Fred or not. He’s not as Hyper!!!! Its sad.
Lucas Cruikshank is going to be in CA to meet his fans at a HotTopic store. I would LOVE to go and meet him but I can’t because it’s all the way across the country for me! My sis says “That sucks” an it does, but that’s life.

I adore and love Lucas Cruikshank….so yeah.
(I think the word “fan” is stupid)

pie159A.K.A.brianna

does your mom let you say wat you wanna say? yes or no????????????????????????????????????

pie159A.K.A.brianna

i luv the show when fred gets detention and when he saves the neiborhood squirels . i luv the epeisods when you sing and take pics for Judy.well thats it then

ally

lucus/fred you are the funniest person on youtube. When i come home from all the drama at school i watch fred looses his meds. it makes me laugh. my fav part is when you laugh like crazy. if you can it would be cool to make a video about your fans like me and other peeps.
like fred would say peace out home dog!!!!!

Tanaika

Fred is not just funny but hilarious! he is a comical riot just waiting to happen! I LOVE FRED!!!! BEST EPISODE EVER WATCHED=fred loses his meds lolz!!! YOU ROCK MY SOCKS FRED!!!!!! Never stop doing what you do, its a very good talent that should continue to be shared with the world!!!! <3 FRED RULES!!!!!

Heather

OMG! I LOVE FRED!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3 i CAN’T BELIEVE HE MIGHT BE READING THIS RIGHT NOW!!!! Some might call me a freak for him!!! BUT I DON’T CARE BECAUSE I LOVE FRED! Everytime I am sad… or bored I go on youtube, and type in fred then the laughing begins! I just can’t believe some things can be SO FUNNY!!! I LOVE FRED!!!

Samantha

i llove fred, hes so hacken funny, my cousin lindsay showed him to me and i laughed out loud, ur so cool!

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