Even though Brandon Hardesty is hysterically funny, the success he has garnered from his homemade videos is no joke.
The 21-year-old Parkville resident, known for his uncanny movie reenactments that he uploads onto the video sharing website YouTube, is now meeting with big-time agents and getting scripts sent his way.
"It's all very surreal because it happened so fast," Hardesty says. "People spend years trying to get where I am, so I feel like I took a shortcut or something."
Hardesty mimics scenes from well-known movies like Pulp Fiction, The Princess Bride, and Jurassic Park, acting out all of the characters himself and editing it into a remarkably verisimilar version of the original.
He says his interest in acting began when he was encouraged to perform in Godspell during his sophomore year at Baltimore Lutheran School. He carried that into college, majoring in film at Villa Julie College (and later Towson University), where he decided to make his first video, a reenactment of a scene from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, in which he taped dryer lint to his face for Grandpa Joe. The popularity of his videos started off small—mostly friends and family—until they began circulating on comedy websites. In his less time-consuming projects, he simply makes funny faces and noises into his computer camera.
That was enough to grab the attention of insurance company Geico, who contacted him in January 2007 to include one of his videos in a commercial. The spot proposed that you could spend 15 minutes watching goofy Internet videos or save money on your car insurance. Not long after, the producer for the independent feature Bart Got A Room emailed him and he landed a small part in that film.
"YouTube is definitely a launching pad for acting talent," Hardesty says. "It's great because there is no filter so anyone can see anything."
Producers at Jimmy Kimmel Live! actually noticed Hardesty's reenactments on the front page of the site in 2006, and featured him on the show earlier this year (he acted out scenes from each of the Oscars' Best Picture nominees). Since then, it's been a whirlwind. In March, Hardesty spent two weeks in Los Angeles meeting with managers and agents, discussing future projects. He said he's obviously interested in comedy, but would love to work on serious films as well.
However, Hardesty remains humble when discussing his next YouTube series: reenactments of the most embarrassing times of his life. When asked why he would ever want to relive those moments, he simply says, "because they're hilarious!"