"Fred" is the star of the NewTeeVee Live conference
Lucas Cruikshank, the hyper, screeching 15-year-old Internet sensation from Omaha who created the "Fred" series on YouTube, won over the adult audience at a conference that contained dry themes and language that would have bored most kids his age.
Since he created his video channel on YouTube, Cruikshank has become one of the biggest hits in YouTube history. His videos all get more than 1 million views. He has a die-hard base of teens and tweens who can't wait for Thursdays when he releases the latest episode. He's gearing up for season three, which will contain some real grown-up stuff: product placement and celebrity cameos.
Drawing envy from the cheap seats: Cruikshank is making money. He won't say how much. And don't ask him what his CPM is (that's advertising speak, cost-per-thousand impressions). But he has been successful enough to buy himself a Mac laptop and a BlackBerry.
The real upside of being an online video star while a freshman in high school? "Seniors talk to me," he said. And he recently closed a licensing deal so he hopes to soon go to the mall with his friends and see "Fred stuff."
His ambitions don't end there. Cruikshank wants to be a movie star. He called "Fred" his "Hollywood calling card." He dreams of making comedies in the vein of Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell.
So far he has taken "meetings," but he's not sure Hollywood gets him yet. "Most movie people are like 40-year-old men," Cruikshank said.
-- Jessica Guynn