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Published: Wednesday, 11/20/2013

OU freshman's Internet fame lands him an appearance on The Today Show

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A first-year Ohio University engineering student who says he’s been striving for Internet fame since sixth grade may have exceeded his goal this week after his popular 6-second comedy videos landed him an appearance on the Today Show this week.

Logan Paul, an 18-year-old from Westlake, Ohio, was featured on The Today Show on Monday and told The Messenger on Tuesday night that he’s already been approached by MTV and Comedy Central about the possibility of having his own television show.

The former state wrestling champion said that he first began striving for Internet fame in the sixth grade when he set up his first YouTube account for comedy videos. He said the channel got about 1,000 followers. Paul said he’s always had a love for video and used to record his brother’s sporting events and narrate them.

Later, Paul and his younger brother Jake (who is a junior at Westlake High School) started concentrating on creating YouTube comedy videos again during his senior year. The two created videos of pranks and parodies under the name Zoosh.

The brothers’ channel has over 7,000 subscribers, but Paul said he found his niche in March when the mobile phone application Vine was released. The app allows people to create 6-second videos. Within four months of creating Vine videos, Paul said he began to get some recognition. He now has over 1.5 million followers on Vine.

But finding fame on the Internet wasn’t pure luck. Paul said he put a lot of thought into the videos and marketing himself, confessing that he’s lost some sleep over trying to become “Vine famous.”

He said most of the pranks are planned out and that he looks for people who could be a fun victim. Paul said a lot of the videos were shot in Athens, including his dorm room, but some were also shot in New York and Columbus. If a video doesn’t become popular immediately, Paul says he deletes them.

“I know what goes viral,” Paul said, adding that Vine seems to be his niche. “It’s an art. I’m really starting to understand it.”

Paul’s Vines got even more popular after be compiled many of his popular clips into a 2-minute-45-second compilation video on a new YouTube channel last Wednesday. In just one day, the video had over 4 million views. The video was also featured during Paul’s appearance on The Today Show on Monday.

Paul said he’s always had big dreams.

“I knew I wanted to do something incredible,” he said, but added that he never dreamed he’d be on The Today Show at the age of 18.

Paul’s mom, Pam Stepnick, said that her son has always been extremely outgoing.

“He’s definitely an extravert,” she said. “And funny.”

In addition to being athletic — which is evident in his videos — and funny, Stepnick said that her son is extremely intelligent and passionate about everything he does. She said Paul graduated in the top of his class and received many scholarships to attend Ohio University.

Stepnick said she was surprised that her son was asked to be on The Today Show and said she’d like to see him on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

“It brought tears to my eyes,” she said. “But not because of how many followers he has on the Internet, but because he’s a passionate kid that follows his dreams.”

Since his appearance on The Today Show, Stepnick said Paul was very optimistic about his future, but said that they discussed the importance of him finishing college.

Stepnick said that after his first few weeks at OU, Paul texted her and said that he thought Athens was beautiful and that the people were very friendly.

“He absolutely loves it,” she said of Ohio University.

On Tuesday night, Paul told The Messenger that he’s young and that he’s been offered many opportunities this week, including the possibility of having his own show on MTV and Comedy Central. While he said he understands the importance of an education, he said such an opportunity may not come around again.

“School will always be there, but these windows of opportunity may not be,” he said.

Paul said that people must see some real talent beyond his goofiness to be reaching out to him the way they are. He said he told himself that if an opportunity came along, he’d take the risk.

“It’s cool and I love it. I’m so excited for the future. I wake up excited because I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “I’m living in the moment.”



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