In early March, YouTube announced the beginning of a massive talent search for the most promising stars in digital video. The program, known as the YouTube Creator Institute, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for aspiring content creators to hone their digital media skills and receive the tools and network they need to become the next big thing.
In typical YouTube fashion, applicants uploaded content that was voted on by the community as well as a panel of professional film and television artists. The prize, according to YouTube’s blog post about the competition, is “a new media education at top institutions, the USC School of Cinematic Arts and Columbia College Chicago. [Winners will] work with renowned faculty, industry leaders, stars and many others while they begin building their brands and audiences.”
And lo and behold, one of the 10 winners of this awesome competition was Utah’s own Tony Henrichsen.
Tony is a filmaker (yeah, straight-up filmaker. None of this “vlogger” business) and lives in West Valley. But at first glance of his YouTube channel, you might be wondering how in the world he won such a prestigious competition. His videos have been viewed a total of just 1,400 times and he has a mere 20 subscribers. There are thousands and thousands of channels that have gotten much more attention than his. But this competition wasn’t a numbers game. Any monkey can make a video that goes viral. If Double Rainbow dude can do it, so can you. No, for this competition YouTube was looking for raw cinematic talent, and that’s something that Tony has plenty of. (insert jab at Rebecca Black here)
Tony first gained some Utah “fame” back in 2008 when he won the Utah Film Commission’s “Spot On” commercial contest. He produced a witty advertisement encouraging movie producers to film in Utah. “I run into people all the time who say, ‘Hey, you made that commercial,'” he says. He’s been working at a picture frame shop, of all things, for the past ten years and making movies on the side.
It seems like there’s been a growing number of high-quality video producers in the state. Any other rising YouTube stars we should be aware of? Let us know in the comment section.