Ryan James Yezak decided he had to do something for Lady Gaga's birthday after seeing the celeb-filled birthday video friends made for Beyoncé last year. The only problem? He didn't know any actual celebrities.
So he did the next best thing: He put out an open call to Gaga's rather rabid fans, asking them to submit their birthday wishes to Lady G. He figured he'd get some responses, but nothing like what he ended up receiving — more than 150 videos from fans all around the world, some with silly messages and some super-serious (and somewhat heartwarming) ones. It was an eye-opening experience, even for a guy like Yezak, who's pretty used to obsessive fans by now.
"I was amazed, to be honest. I've been a Britney [Spears] fan for a while, so I'm used to obsessed fans — I'm one myself — but I definitely saw people push it with Gaga," Yezak told MTV News. "I didn't expect people to be that open with their love for her. It was touching for me. You didn't have to be her to feel real emotion when you watched the fans. They spoke from their hearts."
Yezak spent roughly four days plowing through the submissions, converting them all, then editing them. He also grabbed all the Gaga videos, performances and instrumental tracks he could get his hands on. His first cut stretched past the 12-minute mark — too long to be uploaded on YouTube — so he was forced to make some hacks. That was by far the most difficult part of the entire process, he said.
"In total, I ended up using 126 different videos. A couple got left out, and I felt horrible about it," he sighed. "But it was an honest mistake. The end result of one guy trying to edit something that was much bigger than he had originally anticipated."
It was hard work — just like his terrific "Telephone" tribute video — but it all paid off Sunday (Gaga's actual birthday) when his muse saw the clip and immediately tweeted about it, writing, "I've never cried so hard in 24 years, from pure joy and unconditional love. Tears still streaming."
Needless to say, Yezak was shocked.
"I had to go to a meeting Sunday, and I was about to hop in the shower when someone sent me a text that said, 'Go to Lady Gaga's Twitter, your day is about to get a whole lot better,' " he said. "I didn't know what to expect, but I saw it, and I was completely blown away. I don't know how to describe the feeling. I got lightheaded, and all of my friends were down at the pool, and I ran down there like, 'Oh My God!' But then I had to go to a meeting and pretend I wasn't thinking about it, even though I was."
Now that he has Gaga's attention, what is he hoping to do next? Why, direct, of course.
"This was the best thing that could possibly happen. No amount of money or anything can compare to having her see it," Yezak said. "Now I want to direct one of her music videos! That would be awesome. The whole reason I started making these is because if stars won't let me direct their videos, I'll just direct my own versions of them."
What did you think of the Gaga birthday video? Let us know in the comments!