Many people consider a production logo, like the famous orchestral intro for 20th Century Fox, as simply the precursor to their favorite movie or television show. For 11-year-old Nathan Orgeron, who is on the autism spectrum, it’s a source of inspiration. The Metairie native has made a name for himself on YouTube, the video-sharing website, by transforming these movie and TV intros, and other pre-existing videos, with editing wizardry.
To date, his channel – Peg The 20th Century Fox Fan Est. 2012 – has more than 12,000 subscribers and 37 million total views. Jerry Orgeron, Nathan’s father, recalls how his son’s leisurely browsing transformed into a self-taught creative outlet. “He would be on YouTube all the time and then started watching tutorials,” Orgeron says. “It’s how he found Blendr, one of the programs he uses. He downloaded it himself and actually taught himself.”
After a year and a half of editing videos, if you can name it, Nathan can do it, his dad says. “He can change the pitch of the audio in the video,” Orgeron says. “He can speed it up, slow it down – things of that nature. It’s funny, though, because I do work in I.T. I am a network administrator, and he’ll say, ‘Daddy, I need help with this,’ and I know nothing about video editing.”
In November, Orgeron started monetizing his son’s videos after learning that YouTube channels can profit through advertisements. Since then, the family has averaged $400 monthly in ad revenue alone. Orgeron plans to buy Nathan a new laptop soon.
While gaining valuable technical skills, Nathan also has adapted to the stresses involved with running a popular YouTube channel. “One of the things with autistic children is they have a hard time learning to deal with frustration.” Orgeron says. “In the long run, he has learned to deal with that frustration when he can’t do something on the computer. It has helped him in that aspect.”
When Nathan isn’t behind the keyboard or busy attending John Q. Adams Middle School in Metairie, he can be found playing baseball with the Miracle League of Greater New Orleans and participating in the “Brushes with Buddies” program at his local YMCA. One day, Orgeron hopes to sign Nathan up for college video editing classes, but for now, the family is taking everything in stride.
“He’s only 11 right now, and he’s come a long way from where he used to be,” Orgeron says. “The future is still wide open for him.”
Will Potts is an intern for Nola Family Magazine.