I know where the hell Matt is

Matt Harding in Tokyo

I’m ashamed to say that I had completely forgotten about Matt Harding – he of the Where The Hell Is Matt? dancing videos – before I got his email today. That’s the cruelty of memes – they’re over so quickly. But this particular viral visionary is returning with a new future YouTube hit and wants your help.

In case you were living under a rock in 2006, here’s the “original” Where The Hell Is Matt? video:

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There was one before that, but it was – well – amateur. A former video game designer jacks in his job and travels around the world, filming himself dancing idiotically in front of landmarks to amuse the folks back home. It got the attention of chewing gum makers Stride who sponsored him to go back out there and do it properly – taking in sights from Rwanda to Antarctica – complete with specially-commissioned soundtrack.

The rest is internet history.

I liked that video so much that I made a spoof, with Matt as an elf travelling around Oblivion‘s landscape (including a few modded locations).

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Matt then returned in 2008 with another video, featuring “42 countries and a cast of thousands”. It had nearly 39 million hits on YouTube.

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There’s something wonderfully innocent about the videos – a refreshingly positive, sincerely happy view of our planet in all its infinite diversity. It’s like it’s impossible to be cynical after watching them.

Oh. Wait.

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So today I got this in my inbox. I don’t remember signing up to anything, and won’t be able to attend, but if you fancy dancing badly in a YouTube video, at least I’ve passed it on.

If you’re getting this email, you’ve either written to me or signed-up on my site to be notified when I’ll be in your area. Well, I’m coming to England and Scotland to include them in my new dancing video. This is an invitation to come out and join me.

In this new video, I’m actually learning how to dance, so I’ll be showing some easy moves and asking people to follow along. But don’t worry. I’m still not very good at dancing so you don’t have to be either. Just remember to smile and have fun.

Dancing Event Info:

Manchester:
PLACE: North side of the Queen Victoria statue in Piccadilly Gardens
DATE: Wednesday, September 14th
TIME: 6pm

Here’s a Google map of the location:
http://tinyurl.com/3zx8odh

The photo at the bottom of this email shows exactly where to meet. You can also view the image here:
http://imgur.com/8V5Cx

Edinburgh:
PLACE: At the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel just north of Arthur’s Seat
DATE: Thursday, September 15th
TIME: 6pm
(A bit of a trek to get to, I’m told, but it’s an unusual location that should look fantastic in the video. I hope you can make the trip.)

Here’s a Google map of the location:
http://tinyurl.com/42sml33

The photo at the bottom of this email shows exactly where to meet. You can also view the image here:
http://imgur.com/yaCRG

Sorry, Wales, Northern Ireland, and all the various parts of the kingdom I’m not visiting. And sorry to London, where the vast majority of you are located. I’ve included the city in my last two videos, so I’m giving it a break this time. But I’ll be working there for several days prior to these events, so let me know if you’ve got a dance clip idea that I can’t pass up and I’ll see if I can fit it in.

Facebook:
If you want to pass this around to friends, there is a Facebook event page for each event with all the information included in this email. You can view them
here:

Manchester:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=267221133308094

Edinburgh:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=147022482054019

Meet-up Info:
Weather be damned, I’ll be there.

When you get to the spot, look for the guy who looks like the guy in the dancing video. Just come on over, say hello, and ask if I am Matt. If I’m not Matt, I will let you know.

Before we dance, I will need to get your legal permission to appear in the video. I’ll shout some legal-sounding stuff on camera and you can just nod and give me a thumbs up if you’re okay with it. Kids under 18, please bring a parent or guardian, or at least bring a photo of one of their thumbs to hold up (just kidding, don’t do that).

I can’t guarantee the clip we shoot will end up in the final video. There will be a lot of footage to choose from and some of it will not be used.

Wearing distinctive clothing will make it easier to spot yourself in the video, but please do not dress as a licensed character (Mario, Spider-Man, Sarah Palin) or I will have to blur you and that will make everyone think you showed up naked or something. Also, please do not show up naked.

I don’t have a sponsor for this video. I am self-funding the production. To help with costs, I will be selling shirts and books after we’re done. The T-shirt says “I Danced With Matt” (so you’ll have proof) and the book is about the travels that went into making the previous “Where the Hell is Matt?” videos. Everything is £10. Cash or credit accepted. You can also view and order both items here:
http://store.wherethehellismatt.com/

You’re welcome to bring your own camera. After the shoot, I’ll stick around for as long as anyone is waiting. I’m happy to dance with you in your own picture/video, so don’t hesitate to ask, but I do request that you wait until we’re finished shooting because I’ll be very busy until then.

I know a lot of you are nowhere near Manchester or Edinburgh. I can only put together so many of these events, so I pick the cities where I’ve received the most emails and I try to invite people to the event that’s closest to them.

Help Wanted:
I am looking for a camera operator to help out with these shoots. If you know your way around a Canon 7D and won’t mind being behind the camera instead of in front of it, please let me know and specify which shoot you’ll be at. There may be more than one of you volunteering, so if you could make a case for yourself in one sentence, that would help me choose.

I am also looking for a step ladder so I can get the camera up over peoples’ heads and see more faces in the shot. I bring one along when I can, but that won’t be possible this time. If you feel up to dragging a ladder along with you (not higher than 2 metres), please let me know. I will try to line two ladders up for both events, in case one of them doesn’t show, so don’t be annoyed if you see someone else lugging one around as well.

Want Matt to Come Dance With Your Group?
I’m trying to include all sorts of dances with all kinds of groups this time. If you or someone you know is part of a group that’s willing to meet up and perform with me, please reply with a description and I’ll see if I can fit it into the schedule.

Final Notes:
If you can, please click “I’m Attending” on Facebook if you plan to attend, so we have a rough idea of how many dancers to expect. If you’re not on Facebook, don’t worry about it. You’re not missing anything.

We’re hoping to put the final video up on the Internet in early 2012.

Okay, that’s everything.

I look forward to dancing badly with you!

-Matt

Manchester Dancing Spot:

Edinburgh Dancing Spot:

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