September 27, 1976
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Matthew Harding (born September 27, 1976) is an American traveler, video game designer, and Internet celebrity known as Dancing Matt for his viral videos that show him dancing in front of landmarks and street scenes in various international locations. Harding has since received widespread coverage of his travel exploits in major print and broadcast media outlets, and was hired by Visa to star in their Travel Happy campaign in 2008.
He began his game industry career working for a video game specialty store called Cutting Edge Entertainment. Harding later worked as an editor for GameWeek Magazine in Wilton, Connecticut, and then as a software developer for Activision in Santa Monica, California and then Brisbane, Queensland.
Harding claims that a sarcastic joke about the popularity of shoot 'em up games led Pandemic Studios to develop the game Destroy All Humans!, on which he received a conceptual credit. Saying he "didn't want to spend two years of my life writing a game about killing everyone", he quit his job and began traveling, leading to the production of his first video which was uploaded to YouTube in July 2006.
Where the Hell is Matt? videos
Where the Hell is Matt? is an Internet phenomenon that features a video of Matt, aka Dancing Matt, doing a dance "jig" in many different places around the world in 2005-2006. The background music in the video is the song "Sweet Lullaby Dancing Remix" by Deep Forest. The video garnered popularity on the video sharing site YouTube. There are now five major videos plus outtakes and background videos on YouTube.
The titles in the five major videos are all titled Dancing without the year in the videos; Harding labels them as Where the Hell is Matt? (year) on YouTube. The 2012 YouTube titles have also been titled Happy People Dancing on Planet Earth as well as Happy New Year! Peace on Earth in 2013.
- Dancing 2005: filmed from 2003-2004 (15 countries and 4 states)
- Dancing 2006: filmed from 2005-2006 (28 countries, Antarctica, 6 states, and 1 US territory Guam)
- Dancing 2008: filmed from 2007-2008 (42 countries, 8 states and DC, and 3 Canadian provinces)
- Dancing 2010: filmed in 2010 (note this was filmed exclusively in South Africa to promote the 2010 World Cup)
- Dancing 2012: filmed from 2011-2012 (40 countries, 13 states and Puerto Rico, and 1 Canadian province)
However, some of these locations are repeated in different videos, such as San Francisco, New York City, or Papua New Guinea. Therefore, as of the filming of Dancing 2012, Matt had visited approximately 94 countries, 20 states, Washington, DC, Guam, Puerto Rico, 4 Canadian provinces, and Antarctica.
The website has since replaced the word 'hell' with 'heck'.
On November 2008, Matt and the vocalist Palbasha were interviewed by KFAI radio in Minnesota. The interview focused on how the "Dance 2008" project came to include Palbasha.
Videogame development credits
Harding's development credits include:
- Destroy All Humans! (2005)
- Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
- Army Men: RTS (2002)
- Dark Reign 2
- Battlezone II: Combat Commander
- Zork: Grand Inquisitor
- Benji Lanyado (December 23, 2006). "Dance, dance, wherever you may be". The Guardian. Archived from the original on July 10, 2008. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
In the year we became obsessed with YouTube and MySpace, perhaps it's no surprise that a blog of a bloke doing a silly dance around the world got five million hits [...] Tis the season to give out awards. So, here's another one. My award for Alternative Travel Hero for 2006 goes to (cue drum roll, split screen of smiling nominees) ... Matt Harding.
- Andrea Sachs (October 22, 2006). "The Guy Who Danced Around the Globe". Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 10, 2008. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
So, where the hell is Matt? We found him in Seattle, but before that, Matt Harding, 30, was everywhere. In 2003, the video-game maker performed a silly free-form dance in more than a dozen countries, which he filmed and then posted on his Web site at http://www.wherethehellismatt.com.
- Gilden, James (September 17, 2006). "The Internet Traveler". Kansas City Star. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
The man in the video is doing some sort of quirky dance in a foreign land, arms flailing and flopping, feet moving as if walking over hot coals. There is nothing graceful or beautiful about the dance. Nonetheless it communicates an infectious joy that defies easy characterization. In short, it is fun to watch. [...] "It's just something I've always done," said Matt Harding, who created and stars in the video. "It's that dance that kids do when they're 2 or 3 years old.
- Jackson, Kristin (October 5, 2006). "Dancing around the world (and Web)". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on July 10, 2008. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
It's a 20-something's fantasy: Travel around the world, dance a lot and get paid to do it. [...] Matt Harding of Seattle made that dream come true. And he's turning into an Internet star, thanks to a short video he made of his recent trip that's become wildly popular on the Web.
- Mike Musgrove (July 13, 2008). "Product Placement Creeps Into Amateurs' YouTube Offerings". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
Matt Harding has this silly dance he does, this running-in-place thing where he waves his arms around spastically. If it had a name, you might call it the Excited Toddler.
- Travel the world with the currency of the world Archived 2009-02-01 at the Wayback Machine., 20 November 2008. Press release by Visa. "Visa's new travel-focused commercial recreates the dance made famous by internet celebrity Matt Harding in his self-made quirky video travel diaries."
- McGrath, Charles (2008-07-08). "A Private Dance? Four Million Web Fans Say No". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2016-11-17. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
Mr. Harding, who grew up in Westport, Conn., skipped college at the suggestion of his father,
- Jordan Smith (August 26, 2005). "Dancing Matt coming to town". Austin Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
Harding didn't. "I … didn't want to spend two years of my life writing a game about killing everyone," he said
- "YouTube co-founder tells grads to be persistent, take risks". Archived from the original on March 13, 2009. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
- "Rajib interviews Matt Harding & Palbasha Siddique - KFAI - Pt. 1". Retrieved November 21, 2012.
- "Matthew Harding". MobyGames. Archived from the original on 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
Games Credited Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow (2006), Bethesda Softworks LLC [...] Destroy All Humans! (2005), THQ Inc. [...] Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), Activision Publishing, Inc. [...] Army Men RTS (2002), 3DO Company, The [...] Dark Reign 2 (2000), Activision Publishing, Inc. [...] Battlezone II: Combat Commander (1999), Activision Publishing, Inc. [...] Battlezone (1998), Activision, Inc. [...] Zork: Grand Inquisitor (1997), Activision, Inc.
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