The sto­ry­teller:

Around sub­scribers the world, watch 18,9 DANTDM’S mil­lion Youtube chan­nels, and his videos have been viewed 10,6 bil­lion times. What does he do in these videos? He plays video games. What does he do in his new live show that is sell­ing out the­atres on thr

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Contents -

How DANTDM got 10,6 bil­lion views

When he was a boy, Dan Mid­dle­ton used to dread this kind of thing – hav­ing to talk to peo­ple, get­ting at­ten­tion. Even as he got older and started mak­ing his videos and quit his job at the su­per­mar­ket – and even when he had 1 mil­lion, then 5, then 18 mil­lion sub­scribers to the Youtube chan­nels on which he plays Minecraft and chron­i­cles his life – Dan was much more com­fort­able when it was just him and a cam­era in his room over the garage. What has he got him­self into with these live shows, in front of all those peo­ple?

But kids will be here to­day, and kids give him strength. He knows these kids. He was one of these kids. They’re al­ready here, stand­ing out­side in a raggedy line that be­gins at the locked glass doors and ends some­where near the park­ing lot. The kids – it’s al­most all boys – run cir­cles around each other to pass the time, or they twirl their fid­get spin­ners, or they plead with their par­ents for a phone to play with. Some of them carry pic­tures or posters of Dan.

The glass doors lead in to a 5 000seat theatre in Wallingford, Con­necti­cut, a half hour from the clos­est city. Tick­ets for to­day’s show cost be­tween $63,50 and $150 (R825 – R1 950), and it’s sold out. Al­most every show on the 18-month tour has sold out, in­clud­ing two at the Bea­con Theatre in New York, four at the Syd­ney Opera House, and 32 straight shows across the UK, where Dan lives. The North Amer­i­can leg is be­ing pro­moted by Live Na­tion, the mas­sive com­pany that put on 26 000 events in 40 coun­tries last year. The par­ents of the kids who are al­ready here have been stand­ing in line since 11:15 am on a rainy Sun­day for a show that be­gins at 3, be­cause they’ve paid an ad­di­tional R1 200 for the chance to meet Dan, so that their chil­dren can see that the guy who they spend their Satur­day morn­ings watch­ing on Youtube is a real, live hu­man.

In­side, Dan sits in a plas­tic chair at one end of a large re­cep­tion room – in­dus­trial car­pet­ing, flu­o­res­cents. He wears a gray hoodie. Be­hind him is a black cur­tain hung from a metal frame, em­bla­zoned with a pic­ture of a Minecraft tun­nel. In front of him is a card­board cutout of a Minecraft cart loaded with Minecraft di­a­monds, with the words TDM ON TOUR. That’s his Youtube name: DANTDM. “The Di­a­mond Minecart”. You have to play

Minecraft to un­der­stand the TDM part, but it’s a clever name.

At the meet-and-greet, 150 kids and their par­ents hug the walls of the room. When each child gets to Dan, he asks the kid’s name, an­swers ner­vous ques­tions, au­to­graphs what­ever the kid puts in his face and poses for a photograph. At the end, he high­fives each kid, and it’s an en­thu­si­as­tic

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