CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As the world’s most crowd-pleasing YouTuber, Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson has filmed himself eating a 6-foot slice of pizza, driving a car built out of Legos, riding 1,000 laps on a Ferris wheel and, perhaps most famously, counting to 100,000 out loud without leaving his chair — an exercise in self-torture that lasted 40 hours.
At 24, the Greenville native routinely draws more than 100 million eyeballs to his videos, an online career so successful that he recently passed out iPhones on Halloween and gave $1 million to the winner of a hide-and-seek game.
He’s been known to pass out $100 bills from an ice cream truck, hand a homeless man a stack of gift cards and offer a Wal-Mart employee $10,000 to quit her job — capturing their flabbergasted faces on film.
But now MrBeast is offering what may be his grandest gesture: the know-how for doing what he does.
Along with East Carolina University, he will soon offer an online course to teach the filming, editing and analytical skills required of any YouTube content creator — no ECU enrollment required.
MrBeast’s online empire, with five YouTube channels and a combined 20 billion views, employs more than 100 people — none of whom, he said, came with prepackaged savvy.
“We pooled everything,” he told ECU Chancellor Dr. Philip Rogers, “all our resources, all our knowledge, and just dumped it in this program. You’re not going to get a more aggregated source of knowledge.”
‘10 steps down the road’
And why do this at ECU in Greenville, Rogers asked the man Forbes valued at $54 million a year?
“I’m biased because it’s right beside me,” he said. “When they graduate, they can take 10 steps down the road and come get a job.”