YOUTUBE, A HISTORY
Kate has been creating Harry Potter parodies under the alias weasleysweaters on youtube for several years now. Growing up with the books, Kate carries the stories very close to her heart. Her parodies have always been a fun and easy way to channel her love of these stories, although her first video she ever posted was meant to be an inside joke video amongst her friends. A few million views later, she never expected her music to reach so many muggles.
Although she has now started to also post her videos to Facebook due to easier shareability (for instance, her Voldemort Trump Rap went viral via facebook.com/weasleysweaters but not so much on youtube), she will always view her youtube channel as where the magic began!
Her first video to gain traction on youtube was a parody of The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars called The Harry Song. She enlisted a few of her friends to be her backup dancers -- or rather, her backup marauders (aka Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs). She constructed their masks out of paper plates, since she was teaching arts & crafts at her local camp at the time and had access to many paper plates and colored pencils, and then taught her friends the exact choreography of Bruno Mars -- but she added in a bit of wand choreography for some magical pizazz.
The shot-for-shot parody (which we recommend to watch side-by-side with Bruno Mars's version for more laughs!) was recorded in her living room at her home in Virginia, and then picked up by the Harry Potter blogging community. She received a couple of hundred thousand views in a few days, as it was released the week of the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II and people were hungry for Harry Potter content!
When she booked her first role in a feature film shortly after the video's release, she flew out to Los Angeles to take her career in acting to the next level. She had been working onstage in the D.C. area, but wanted to be at the heart of the film industry.
So, in the midst of auditions and waiting tables in the city of angels, writing silly songs about Harry Potter was a way to stay creative and not feel so alone. Her fans were incredibly supportive, loyal, and kind (which is quite unique on the internet).
As she continued to work onstage and onscreen while in LA, such as playing her dream role of Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Odyssey Theatre and shooting short films during her off-hours, she balanced her double life as a witch and a muggle.
She released several other parodies, ranging from Disney ballads to pop songs by the likes of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. One of her Disney song parodies, a parody of Do You Wanna Build a Snowman? from Frozen, is when her "Showercap Lord Voldemort" first appears. She heartbreakingly sings Do You Wanna Build a Horcrux? to Dumbledore through a door (#dumbledoor), just as Anna does to Elsa. Fans were delighted by the use of the showercap to represent You-Know-Who's baldness, and Kate/Voldemort never looked back.
She continued to learn editing software for her videos, as well as recording software for her instrumental and vocal recordings. With the budget of a waitress, she wasn't able to create videos with high-quality production value, but when she did launch a Kickstarter campaign for one of her projects, her young fans contributed whatever galleons they could! Kate enjoyed having to be resourceful -- hence, the birth of Showercap Voldemort -- because it sometimes made way for clever, comedic solutions.
A classically trained musician, Kate has incorporated the multiple instruments she plays into her songs -- in some, she has played all the instruments at once -- like in Your Home, a cover of Payphone by Maroon 5. She has pleasantly received dozens of messages from her fellow Ravenclaws who also play the flute! What a strange, yet magical coincidence! She loves hearing from her fellow Potterheads about little things like this, so she set up a PO Box to communicate with her fans via owl post, and still continues to reply to comments and messages when she can!
Her acoustic parody of What Makes You Magical (a parody of What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction) was picked up by Huffington Post UK, and it was then that Kate started to realize how her videos were starting to go global.
As she rolled out parody after parody from her little Los Angeles apartment, she also started to put out covers of some of her favorite 'muggle songs' that she was listening to at the time -- such as I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie, Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People, and Youth by Daughter. (See her 'music' page above for more of her original songs and covers.)
Never wanting to limit herself just to the Harry Potter universe, she also shot & edited a shot-for-shot Game of Thrones parody of Royals by Lorde called Royals by Daenerys -- a tribute to the Khaleesi we all know and love. (It's best to watch the two videos simultaneously to pick up on the little details!)
Her Harry Potter parodies have even helped her book a gig! Her parody When I'm With Ron to the famed Cup Song (also known as When I'm Gone) wound up getting her a callback for the official music video for Pitch Perfect. Kate sang her Harry Potter version at the audition, and after several more rounds of callbacks, was selected to be in Anna Kendrick's video, directed by Jason Moore.
Kate was delighted to have her first time on a music video set be with such an incredible director -- and also one who has worked at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center (where Kate studied at The National Theater Institute). The entire experience -- from the audition to her first day on set -- is one she'll never forget.
And then came the Taylor Swift + Harry Potter Mashup. She recorded this one in a closet with an iPad, and was not expecting it to become a global sensation in one day. The video went from TIME Magazine to Seventeen, the Los Angeles Times to MTV News -- and internationally it popped up in online publications like Glamor Netherlands and Dolly Magazine in Australia!
Since then, Kate has put out a few other Harry Potter music videos that circulated quite a bit around the internet. Her Harry Potter-GO Mashup -- a musical request to Warner Brothers to create a Harry Potter game like Potter-GO -- was featured in HelloGiggles, played on a UK Radio Station, and landed her in her first ever interview (with the online hub for young girls, Sweety High).
Her Voldemort Trump Rap, which she released before the November 2016 election in hopes of motivating citizens to vote, was the first time her video went viral on Facebook. The rap has several hundred thousand views, and has been enjoyed by Republicans and Democrats alike. :)
Processing going viral is still a bit unreal for her -- 3,000,000 people across her platforms have watched her videos now, and that is a number her brain is unable to compute. But what having an online presence has taught Kate is the impact that media can have on young people, especially young girls. When two fans sent her a shot-for-shot remake of her Taylor Swift + Harry Potter Mashup -- complete with a stuffed snake Nagini! -- Kate was amazed and humbled, and she loved seeing a creative project come to life after the girls were inspired after watching her song!
Kate linked up with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media last year, as their mission is to empower young girls through entertainment, because "if she can see it, she can be it!" She launched the Institute's snapchat *IfSheCanSeeIt* and has edited together the Snapchat videos of their various events for its Facebook page. The videos have received several thousand views via Facebook!
After growing up with a character like Hermione Granger (and real-life women like J.K. Rowling) that showed her it was okay to be speak her mind and to stay true to heart and passion, she understands the importance of having female characters to look up to.
Kate also became very involved in social media activism as she gained an understanding of how we are all connected on the web, and how you can use your social media platforms for positive change. She helped out on the documentary Equal Means Equal, and is involved with local groups for activism in Los Angeles. As Kate moves forward in her career, she wants to be a positive and honest representation of what it means to be a woman in this world.
Using the internet as a way to play different characters has been a fun way Kate's kept up her acting chops. Aside from playing nearly every Harry Potter character, from Showercap Voldemort to Luna Lovegood, she's experimented with various muggle characters on her youtube channel.
She was excited by the concept of spontaneous theatre after playing the role of Dora Maar (Picasso's muse) in The Adoration of Dora by Lojo Simon -- the actors began the play during the middle of the Laguna Beach Art Walk at a gallery. The gallery go-ers quickly became an engaged audience, and it was one of her favorite and most unique theatrical performances to date. Kate wondered how her youtube audience would react if she released a video as a spontaneous character, completely out of line with her typical Harry Potter videos.
She released a vlog in which she plays a stereotypical Los Angeles yoga enthusiast who owns a rescue dog and is devastated that Runyon Canyon has temporarily closed for a few months. Kate changed up her accent to be "more LA" and lamented to the camera in between hysterical bursts of tears. She initially thought that all of her fans would understand that this girl was not her, but Kate didn't take into account that some of fans may not know what Runyon Canyon is -- or that some of her fans did not know that the real Kate would never have a meltdown because of a hiking trail.
While some of her fans knew it was just Kate acting and gleefully commented that it must be an audition of some kind, even her own father thought that she had lost it! She received an email from her father the next day who was concerned for her well-being, as well as several therapist recommendations from fans! Kate assured them that she would never have an emotional breakdown about a hiking trail because, for one, she did not even own a rescue, pure-bred, gluten-free shih-tzu named Gwenyth!
She's also very interested in other social media mediums, like Snapchat, for storytelling. One character of hers, an activist bee, was buzzing around her platform for about three months (until Snapchat got rid of the bee filter, of course). She continually updated her followers with one bee's journey to retrieve her honey after it was stolen by the evil Winnie the Pooh. Winnie was selling the bee's honey to Whole Foods, and the activist bee would not allow such greed to consume her hive!
Kate also edited together a Little Mermaid Snapchat parody on the day Snapchat released the mermaid filter. She happened to be sick at home with a cold, and so she spent her time singing a rendition of Part of Your World, interspersed with commentary from a feminist, environmentalist Ariel.
Trying out different accents and characters with various filters reminds her very much of her theatre studies of Balinese mask and Commedia dell'arte. (Bet you never thought you'd see Snapchat and Commedia dell'arte in the same sentence!) Of course, she does not always play characters on Snapchat. Mostly, she shares videos of dogs she gets to pet, and if something neat is happening - like her first premiere - she loves being able to take her followers behind the scenes.
Today, Kate is celebrating over 12,000 subscribers on YouTube! After she hit the 10,000 mark, she was invited down to YouTube Space LA. She now has access to the studio space! She looks forward to upping the production quality of her videos, and collaborating with new artists. Without all the wizards, witches, and muggles supporting her along the way, she could not have made it here. Here is a thank you video to those loyal sweaters supporters. :)