Starting in first grade in the rural town of Wauseon, Motoki Maxted found a talent that would eventually make his name known across the world.
Maxted knew early on that creating videos, and making others laugh, was for him. Using his mostly self-taught skills in acting, production, and editing, he launched a channel on the popular video sharing website Youtube in 2012 with moderate success for the first few years.
“My growth online originally never had too many sudden bumps of popularity. It was slow and steady for the first couple years,” he said.
At about the same time, Maxted started participating in various extracurriculars at Wauseon High School, becoming a rising star in the Theatre Department and Speech Team, while he continued making videos as a hobby.
Graduating as the Vice President of the Class of 2015, Maxted saw an impressive following before leaving Wauseon for college, gaining his first viral video from somewhat of a Video Production class project. The video, “Songs in Real Life Spring Edition,” now boasts over 22.5 million views. Although this wasn’t his first video to garner one million views, Maxted credits some of his early successful videos as helping him show how he has progressed for the better.
Now in his second year in studying Film & Television Production at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, his Youtube fame has only taken off even more since moving to the west coast. One of his claims to fame, a video shot in a car where Maxted performs over-the-top lip-syncs while his mother drives stone-faced, seeming nearly oblivious to her passenger’s antics, has been watched over 63 million times on Facebook alone.
“It’s absolutely crazy and I still have trouble accepting the shear volume of views I’ll get on a video that I thought was merely so-so. People will often come up to me in public and ask for pictures which I think is cool because it reminds me that each of my views is from a real physical person somewhere out there. The support is great, knowing that people look forward to my content helps me wake up each day with a purpose,” Maxted said of his fame.
Starting out in a small northwest Ohio town wasn’t ideal, and Maxted describes his time in Wauseon as a “love-hate relationship,” but still, he credits the community for nurturing his talent all the same.
“I loathed how small of a city it was but in a lot of ways, that’s what made it awesome. Wauseon has a great education system with some superb teachers that can foster creativity. I attribute a lot of my success to my years on the speech team headed by Jason Robinson and Dolores Muller. In addition, the theater program whether that be plays or musicals really helped to me build up my confidence. A lot of classmates made fun of anyone in those clubs, but everyone who has actually been in them knows the true value,” he said.
Maxted continues to maintain his image on numerous social media platforms and post new videos on his original Youtube channel, “Motoki Maxted” and his more creative outlet, “Moretoki”. He is currently weighing his options about his future in the entertainment industry and his hopes of running his own company to innovate new media and digital video, which could mean taking a break from school, or dropping out entirely, to pursue more hands-on experience in the profession.
No matter what lies ahead, Maxted is content with achieving his current goals of putting a smile on someone’s face.
“A lot of my drive comes from wanting to put smiles on peoples’ faces. I think that too many people take themselves way too seriously. I hated myself for a majority of my life and I don’t like the idea that there are others out there with that problem too. Humor is a powerful tool and by using it, I push the idea that you shouldn’t be afraid to be different,” he said.
Reach Cory Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org