Shane Dawson, part of the first generation of YouTube producers, is someone who people either love or hate. His sense of humor, which rubs some people the wrong way, isn’t unpopular. Back in 2010, shortly after Google acquired YouTube, Forbes named him the 25th most famous web celebrity. Since then, Dawson has announced a variety of projects, from movies to TV shows, with relatively few coming to fruition. However, the young celebrity is still quite active. What are his plans for 2016?
Shane Dawson Before YouTube
Most of what we know about Shane Dawson’s life before YouTube comes from his YouTube videos. We know he was born in Long Beach, California on July 19, 1988. Earlier in life, he was abused by his alcoholic father, who would eventually leave his family. He grew up in relative poverty for the area, and was significantly overweight as a young teenager.
When he was in high school, he would work with friends to produce videos for various school projects, which introduced Dawson to the production skills he’d need to make YouTube videos. Shortly after graduating high school, he got a job at Jenny Craig Inc. with his mother and brother, which helped him lose weight. He ultimately ended up dropping around 150 pounds.
Shane Dawson created his first YouTube channel, ShaneDawsonTV, on March 10, 2008. The first three videos to be uploaded to the channel have since been deleted by Dawson due to criticisms about their offensiveness. Considering the earliest remaining video, “Hodini’s Street Magic,” attempts to poke fun at Southern California’s urban culture, it’s hard to imagine what they would have contained that more people would find offensive.
In August of 2008, he was fired from his job with Jenny Craig after he uploaded a video to his channel of him pole-dancing at the Jenny Craig gym to ShaneDawsonTV. His mother and brother, and six other coworkers, also were fired after the video was noticed by the company.
“Fred is Dead!”
Dawson’s first popular video came out a month later. Titled “Fred is Dead!” the video parodied Lucas Cruikshank’s popular Fred Figglehorn character, another YouTube video that people either loved or hated. From there, Shane Dawson began producing more frequently, and started collaborating with other YouTube producers like iJustine, BrittaniLouiseTaylor, and TheFineBros. He also created a second YouTube channel, ShaneDawsonTV2.
In November 2009, Dawson was a guest on Attack of the Show!, a live TV show that focused on Internet culture, boosting him to a new level of celebrity, and prompting him to create Shane, his third YouTube channel. The Shane channel was for vlogs, or video blogs, that Dawson uploaded from his phone daily.
Shane Dawson Outside Youtube
Over the next few years, Shane Dawson would continue to churn out videos, accruing more subscribers and views as time went on. He also put his hands on a variety of other projects. In August 2010, he announced he was producing a 30 minute pilot for a show titled SD High. The pilot, based off two of his videos from earlier in that year, focused around a teenager and his high-school friends. Originally, the video was scheduled to debut on his ShaneDawsonTV channel, but he later announced he’d been contacted by a professional studio about reproducing the pilot for broadcast or cable television. After some time, Dawson stated that he was no longer involved with the SD High pilot. Then, in January 2013, Dawson said that production had started once again.
In March 2011, Dawson announced he’d be working with Sony Pictures and Happy Madison Productions (Adam Sandler’s production house) and other YouTubers to create another show. A prototype trailer was presented, but it was just clips from his earlier videos put together. The following January, Shane Dawson announced his plans for yet another new show, which would be loosely based on his time working at Jenny Craig. In his videos, Dawson said the show would be “like Arrested Development, but not.”
In March 2012, Shane Dawson announced that he would be releasing a music single later that month, and on March 31, released “SUPERLUV!” on iTunes, and uploaded an accompanying music video to YouTube. A credit to his fame despite many undelivered project, the single charted in the UK and Ireland, and reached #28 on the iTunes Pop Chart. He released another track about a month later, titled “The Vacation Song,” but it was not nearly as successful as “SUPERLUV!” had been.
In May 2012, Dawson announced on his Shane channel he was working on a horror comedy, and that October, the film Smiley debuted in select American theaters. The film wasn’t exactly a horror comedy, despite its name. The psychological thriller was entirely modern in its plot, making frequent references to Internet culture and using a web-service similar to ChatRoulette as a central plot device. The film, which received disparaging reviews from critics, was most notable for drawing the ire of 4chan’s Anonymous, who threatened to spam and harass anyone affiliated with the film.
Through 2013, Shane Dawson released several more songs onto iTunes, always with accompanying YouTube videos, helping him reach even more users as the site continued to grow. He also continued to expand his one-man media conglomerate off of YouTube, starting a podcast called Shane and Friends in June 2013. He also announced that he was pitching a talk show, and reiterated that he was continuing to pitch his idea for a show about a weight loss center, what had previously been about him working at Jenny Craig. That November, he announced that NBC had ordered a pilot script to be produced by Sony Pictures, titled Losin’ It.
Losin’ It’s plot had advanced beyond the rough sketches Dawson had talked about in earlier episodes of ShaneDawsonTV. Executive produced by Darlene Hunt (The Big C) Will Gluck (The Loop), the show focused on a former client of a weight loss clinic who comes in to be an inspirational consultant for new clients, and by the end of the episode is the new manager of the clinic.
Toward the end of 2014, Dawson starred in Not Cool, which he also wrote and produced. The film was about a group of high school friends who reunited during their Thanksgiving Break from college. Produced for the Starz reality competition show The Chair, which had multiple producers make a film from the same screenplay. Not Cool was competing against Holidaysburg. The producer of The Chair called Not Cool “deeply offensive” and “tasteless.” Despite the criticism, Shane Dawson won the competition, and the $250,000 prize.
On March 10, 2015, Shane Dawson released a collection of 18 personal essays in the form of a memoir. Titled I Hate Myselfie, the book was criticized for not being the best written text, but was generally praised by critics for the level of honesty Dawson presented his life with. Shortly after the release of I Hate Myselfie, Shane Dawson released a video where he came out as bisexual. This also confirmed rumors that he had left long-time girlfriend and fellow YouTube star Lisa Schwartz.
What is Shane Dawson Doing Now in 2018?
Shane Dawson continues to release daily vlogs on his Shane channel, with his other videos going to ShaneDawsonTV. Between those videos and his podcast Shane and Friends, Dawson is estimated to have a net worth of around $2 million dollars. A lot of people are wondering what happened to some of the projects he’s announced over the last few years, and if they’d ever be produced.
Losin’ It hasn’t released any updates since it confirmed NBC had ordered a pilot, which is a strong indication that the network opted not to pick it up. That doesn’t mean the show is dead – it’s possible it might appear on another network, or end up on a different medium entirely, such as Netflix or maybe even back on YouTube. And remember his horror-comedy film? That might still be production, as a recent vlog Dawson uploaded hints at. But there’s no further information available at this time.
Perhaps the biggest recent news about Shane Dawson is that Shane and Friends will be producing videos for Fullscreen. Fullscreen, which started life as a talent agency, recently launched its subscription video service that will compete with YouTube Red. If you don’t want to pay for Fullscreen, don’t worry. The normal audio podcast of Shane and Friends will continue to be free on iTunes and Soundcloud.