2 of MrBeast's childhood friends explain what it's like to work on the YouTube star's team, from dropping $60,000 on a video to going on 'travel sprees'
- Chris Tyson and Chandler Hallow work full time for YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, known online as MrBeast (30 million subscribers).
- Tyson and Hallow are two of Donaldson's childhood best friends and they began working for him full time around 2 years ago.
- They shared what it has been like to work for one of YouTube's most popular creators.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
When Jimmy Donaldson, the popular internet star known online as MrBeast, decided to create and post videos to YouTube, his friends were there to help him out and be his first subscribers.
"I remember the day he created it," said Chris Tyson, one of Donaldson's childhood best friends from small town in North Carolina. "Me and him were hanging out at his house, and he created the YouTube channel MrBeast6000, which is now MrBeast. I made sure I was the first person subscribed when he made it."
Now, seven years later, Donaldson has 30 million subscribers on YouTube, putting him in the upper echelon of its stars.
Since high school, Tyson has helped Donaldson with his YouTube videos. When Tyson was in college, he would attend class, work part time at Best Buy, and help Donaldson film videos after. Then shortly after college, Tyson had a decision to make.
"I had just finished college, and I started a job where I interned at a year for to get a position," Tyson said. "Jimmy was like, 'Hey, I know you worked really hard for that job, but can you quit it and just come work for me?'"
Tyson said yes.
As Donaldson's YouTube business grew, he recruited some of his other friends to help out, like Chandler Hallow, who began working for Donaldson the summer he came back from college.
Since then, Tyson and Hallow have become characters in the MrBeast YouTube videos - and they've become personally famous online, with over one million followers on Instagram each.
When MrBeast first went viral, and everything began to change
When Tyson and Hallow started to work full time for Donaldson, the MrBeast YouTube channel had about 750,000 subscribers.
That's a sizable following, but it now seems like "beginning days" for the group, and is nowhere near the size of Donaldson's YouTube presence today.
Donaldson's YouTube channel blew up in 2018, after he uploaded a video ordering water at different restaurants and leaving tips up to $10,000.
From this video, the YouTube channel attracted national media attention from outlets like PIX11 News and Inside Edition.
"That's when it really became real for us, that this had the potential to blow up - like it did," Tyson said.
At the end of 2019, MrBeast attracted global media attention a second time, for his viral tree-planting campaign #TeamTrees, which raised over $20 million with donations from Elon Musk, Jeffree Star, and even the CEO of YouTube.
These viral moments have led to the group being recognized wherever they go - from public theme parks (where hundreds of fans showed up to watch them film), to their local mall (the last time they went to the mall, they needed to exit through a back entrance).
"We love the fans and we don't mind meeting them, but our schedule is so tight when we are filming," Tyson said. "If you give one person a picture, it's not fair to not give the other 200 people a picture. When we are not filming we always try to say hey to the fans and take pictures with them."
Working for your best friend, who is also one of YouTube's top creators
Working for Donaldson has been an exciting experience, they said, and the team often goes on "travel sprees" where they will travel and film videos a few weeks at a time.
They've traveled all over the globe, and their favorite trip was the time they spent 24 hours in the California sand dunes - and stumbled into the production crew for "Jumanji 2."
"We had to frame it out of shot because we were told we couldn't keep it in, but just on the horizon we could see 'Jumanji' being filmed - they were doing all kinds of crazy stuff," Tyson said.
A few weeks ago, Tyson said the MrBeast team was away from their base in North Carolina for about 11 days, filming videos in New York, Florida, and around South Carolina. They came back home only to film some more, and left two weeks after to fly back to New York.
"We have days where we are waking up to film at 6 a.m., then to be honest, there are some days where I don't even wake up until 1 p.m.," Tyson said.
Overall, the MrBeast team consists of over 30 people, with multiple video editors and writers.
"A lot of our viewers probably don't realize that every time a camera switches to a different angle, that's a completely different camera," Tyson said. "When we film for 24 hours all 5, 6, 7 of those cameras are recording for 24 hours, and sometimes we will have 80 hours of footage that takes a long time to go through."
Together, everyone thinks of video ideas, and they work as a group from conception to upload. Before a video is filmed, they'll create an outline detailing the script, and after the writing sessions, the team will go out and film.
Their goal is to film two videos a week, but they don't always reach that goal depending on how big a project is, Hallow said.
'Some of our videos can cost an upwards of $60,000 to film'
But there are limits.
"Sometimes a video sounds amazing on paper, but when you try to get to it, it's just so not feasible, or maybe it's a really great idea but we could only get two to three minutes of content," Tyson said.
For instance, they tried to create a catapult and "a zoo out of animal crackers and goal fish," both of which were failed ideas, they said. But as their operation has expanded, they have scrapped fewer videos.
"That's why we put a lot of time into the thought process of these videos, because if we pull the trigger on a video and we start moving on it, some of our videos can cost an upwards of $60,000 to film and if you scrap a $50,000 to $60,000 video, that's a big loss," Tyson said.
The MrBeast team has some big plans for 2020, and Tyson and Hallow said they are only getting started.
"Never in a million years would I think it would get to this point," Tyson said. "It's crazy for us to think that this is just the beginning of everything."
For more on the business of influencers, according to YouTube and Instagram stars, check out these Business Insider Prime posts:
- A college TikTok influencer with 1.6 million followers explains how much money she makes - and her 3 main sources of income: Cosette Rinab, a USC junior, broke down the ways she earns money as a creator on TikTok with 1.6 million followers.
A 22-year-old beauty YouTuber explains the main ways she makes money, from a merchandise line to a makeup palette with Tarte Cosmetics: Adelaine Morin runs a popular beauty and fashion channel on YouTube. She took us inside her influencer business and merchandise line with FanJoy.
How YouTube stars Dude Perfect built a sprawling business that makes an estimated $20 million in yearly income: Dude Perfect member Coby Cotton shared how the group has stayed relevant throughout the years by switching up their style of content.
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