Kid President wants to make the world more awesome
Kid President wants to help make the world more awesome. That's why the 11-year-old YouTube star says he makes his videos.
Robby Novak released his first video in 2012. Since then his videos have attracted a huge following thanks to the mix of humour and inspirational thinking.
"Something that somebody can do to be awesome is treat people like it's their birthday every day," he says.
Bits of wisdom like this are the result of collaboration between Robby and his brother-in-law, Brad Montague, who came up with the idea for the series.
"Robby and I have always made stuff together as a family and Kid President grew out of this project we were wanting to do to help position kids as leaders," Brad says.
Their latest project is a book called Kid President's Guide to Being Awesome. It's a mix of stories from Kid President's videos and adventures from the past couple of years, along with cartoons, conversations between Robby and Brad, and tips for how they think kids can help make the world a better place.
Kid President has interviewed celebrities - he kissed Beyonce - and even met with the real President of the United States in the Oval Office. But most of his videos are still filmed in Brad's house in Henderson, Tennessee. Robby stands in front of a cardboard sign with a homemade presidential seal drawn onto it, leaning against a desk that is actually a record player they found on the street.
"We never imagined that from this small town we would be able to reach the millions we have and we're grateful for that," Brad says.
He coaches Robby through the process, sometimes asking questions and sometimes feeding him lines to deliver to the camera, which Robby takes and modifies into his own voice. And sometimes he takes impromptu dance breaks.
"Generally I ruin a lot of the videos that we make because I'm just laughing behind the scenes. So they have to be heavily edited for that," Brad said.
Robby has Osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic conditions that means that his bones break easily. He has had several major surgeries, over 70 broken bones, and has rods in both of his legs. But he still says he wants to be a basketball or soccer player when he grows up. Robby loves to dance, and he wants to give the world a reason to dance with him.
"I don't stop even when I'm broken," Robby says. "I'm still smiling, and I want people to still be happy even when they're hurting."
Kid President's videos have over 75 million views on YouTube, including almost 35 million for his breakout video "A Pep Talk from Kid President to You."
Brad says that video was his version of the US President's State of the Union Address.
"Robby is somebody who inspires me and encourages me so I kind of wrote that pep talk as almost a letter to him like this is what I see in you," he said. "For him to read that back to me and to add his own flourishes really brought it to life."
BBC Trending went to Brad's house in Tennessee to see how Kid President came to be.
Produced by Ashley Semler, filmed by Peter Murtaugh, edited by Bill McKenna
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03 Feb 2015
- From the section Magazine