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32-year-old interviews his 12-year-old self on YouTube

Jeremiah McDonald unearthed a video of himself from 1992, at age 12, speaking to his future self. On YouTube, the bit has gone viral. NBC's Kristen Dahlgren reports.

By Marcus Harun
NBC News
 
In sci-fi movies, people go back in time to save lives or fight dinosaurs. But, Jeremiah McDonald went back in time to talk to himself about his pets. Well, kind of.
 
A conversation between McDonald, a 32-year-old filmmaker who lives in Portland, Maine, and his 12-year-old self is the latest viral video to hit YouTube.
 
The two discuss what has changed in 20 years, including how he aged, his hair, and the passing of his pet dogs.
 
“The questions mostly focus on the pets because I don't think I could think of anything else,” McDonald told NBC News. “The larger issues of life weren't weighing down on me at that point.”


One of the larger issues not discussed included his job -- he currently works at a parking garage.
 
When he decided to film himself two decades ago, McDonald wasn’t thinking big at the time. He just shot video of himself spontaneously talking to the camera when he was 12, hoping to make a follow-up video the next year.
 
He shot a version of the film with his 13-year-old self talking to his 12-year-old self, and he did it again when he was 26. The latter version was posted on YouTube, but viewers were left wondering who the young boy was in the film. For the 2012 version, McDonald added a video montage of himself growing up to make it clear he was the interviewer and the interviewee. It wasn’t until this final version, marking a 20-year age difference, that McDonald gained national attention. The video has been viewed over five million times since it was first posted on July 5.

Not everyone believes that the small boy in the video is really McDonald. But the web superstar said his childhood friends clearly remember that preteen face.
 
“The funnest part for me is looking at Facebook -- all the people who have known me from grade school and onward just getting a huge thrill because they know that kid is me,” McDonald said. “For some of them they only know me as that kid.”
 
That kid jumped around, grunted and even belched on screen, so McDonald jokingly blamed his young self for his single status. But young McDonald may help him out in the end. Since posting the film on YouTube, he said email offers for dates have been rolling in.
 
“In a way, announcing that I was single was the smartest move I made in the entire thing,” McDonald said.
 
Another goal of the video was to relaunch his interest in drawing. McDonald had a serious moment in the comedic film where he reminisced about his past career goal of becoming an illustrator, which he had stopped pursuing.  After describing the characters he used to draw as a kid he said he has now been getting thousands of emails on his website from viewers requesting his drawings.

He is also soliciting ideas of things to draw, which he will then post online. McDonald hopes that project will inspire him to get back into illustration and animation — two of his childhood passions.
 
And since interviewing himself is what made him famous, he said he will probably do it again.
 
“I think I am locked into doing interviews for the rest of my life,” McDonald said. “First at 32 then at 52 or whatever age I feel like.”