The Little Mermaid is drowning, Belle’s into beastiality and Pocohontas is eating the hearts of Spanish men—these aren’t your children’s fairytales. These retellings are part of 20-year-old Jon Cozart’s YouTube video “After Ever After” – a viral hit that offers alternative endings to beloved Disney classics. The Austin, Texas film student has been crafting hits like these for the past seven years on his YouTube channel “Paint”, a domain name gifted to him by his brother once he “started getting better at creating content.” And with almost four million hits in five days, we can safely say he’s made it. Cozart chats with The Daily Beast about his viral fame and more.
Where did you get the idea for the your latest After Ever After princess video?
I was having a Disney movie marathon and I wanted to have an excuse to sing some Disney songs, so I figured I could parody the princesses and put them in our world.
Explain to readers how you film and edit all parts together - from the looks of the video, it seems near impossible!
I record the song separately. It took me about a month to finish. The video took one day to film because I just break up the audio parts on my computer and lip sync it. Editing took one day as well. Writing and recording the song is the hard part. The average video, from the initial idea to release, takes about three months.
In one video on your channel, you pledge to start the Insanity workout routine. Did you? How did it go?
I did Insanity for three weeks with my brother and it was the worst! I just tried eating a bit healthier and going on short runs. That's enough for me.
Do you have a background in music?
I took piano lessons when I was little, but other than that I don't have any experience. Certainly not professional experience, anyway. I record my songs on a cheap mic in my room and edit them in my video editor. I don't know how else to do it.
What's your dream career?
I want to direct films. I'm a film major at The University of Texas at Austin, so hopefully this will open up some opportunities.
From the life-size Gandalf poster in your room, I assume you’re a LOTR fan - do you ever make videos for things you don't admire?
I love Lord of the Rings! I watch them all the time. I tried watching the Twilight series to make a “Twilight in 99 Seconds” video but I couldn't make it through the first film. I don't think I'll ever make something I'm not obsessed with. It wouldn't seem right.
Do fans request certain videos from you? What's the strangest one?
I get requests all the time. I'm not sure about strange, but a lot of people request obscure anime and film parodies that no one's ever heard of. My mom keeps begging me to make something about Pride and Prejudice. It's a family obsession.
Who else helps you? Do you have a camera guy/gal?
I work completely alone. It takes forever, but that way I get exactly what I want. And I learn much more by making mistakes myself.
Do you write the lyrics to all the songs and videos you produce?
I write every word.
What do you do when you're not making videos? Are you in school? Do you have a part-time job?
YouTube is officially my job. Thanks to iTunes I don't struggle with money. I owe a lot to the people who buy my music. And I'm a full time college student. I'm in my University's improv troupe Gigglepants and nothing makes me happier than being with them.
You mention in one video that you're a Sarah Palin fan, and the Princess video is riddled with social and political topics, do you have any political aspirations?
I don't like Sarah Palin the politician, but I do love her as a person. She's fascinating. I was a big supporter of Ron Paul during the Republican nomination process, but after the way the Republicans treated him I've grown apathetic to politics. I'm more in the middle now than I've ever been before.
Are you dating anyone?
I've been single for a few years now. Nothing serious has happened on that front. But I've always got my eyes open for the right person.
What's next for you? When can we expect to see your next project?
I don't know what's next. I'm thinking maybe something involving the Disney villains, or the other princesses, or maybe another 99-second video. All I know is, I can't wait another six months before I release my next video. I've got to expand my channel! But school comes first.