Actor/writer Brian Holden talks about the magical musical tribute that cast a spell on YouTube
Brian, tell us how A Very Potter Musical began.
We used to joke around about making a musical of the fourth Harry Potter book and calling it Harry Potter and the Goblet of Music. Towards the end of our time at the University of Michigan, we started doing more original projects, including a parody of Lord of the Rings. Then Matt decided to put up a poster for Harry Potter: The Musical. We had no script, no music and no theatre. But despite those small problems, we still put up a show.
What did you expect would happen when you put that show online?
We expected nothing. It was purely so that we didn’t have to make DVDs for everyone in the cast. We knew anyone could watch it, but we certainly didn’t think anyone other than friends or family would check it out.
When did the realisation hit that it had become a viral sensation?
It all happened really quickly. Within a few hours of the videos being online, they were already generating hundreds of views. Those hundreds of views turned into thousands and by the end of the week it was 100,000. We could barely leave our computers because we were so obsessed with reading the comments on the videos and watching the views go up.
Your YouTube channel now has over 260,000 subscribers and your videos combined have over 130 million views. What are your thoughts on the reasons it took off the way it did?
I think that doing two musicals based on the most popular book series of all time might have helped… But also, I think that our fans respond to the fact that they’re watching a group of friends have fun together. That’s certainly why we like doing it so much. It’s fun! And it’s amazing that we have been given the opportunity to come together again and again to do something we love so much.