It had been a beautifully sunny afternoon in the park for Aaron Benitez and his cat Prince Michael. Then, however, disaster had struck, as a flock of ducks had stolen Prince Michael’s bag of Goldfish pretzels. And although Benitez had attempted to retrieve the treats, his efforts had been in vain. Eventually, though, the cat’s owner helped him gain a satisfying revenge…
Thousands of high school students across the U.S. eye places at college each year – and Aaron Benitez had been one of them. What’s more, Benitez eventually successfully enrolled at Biola University in Los Angeles. At the end of his sophomore year, however, the young man took an unusual step.
Indeed, due to the cost of his tuition, Benitez made the brave decision to become homeless in 2010. He had been looking to avoid taking out any student loans as he entered his final two years at college, and so he saved cash by living out of an SUV that he’d purchased at auction.
Benitez still made the best of his situation, though. He started a visual effects business to support his income, for instance, and then branched out into making wedding videos. Furthermore, he used resources on campus to run his enterprises. And even when his time as a student eventually came to an end, Benitez continued to hone his businesses.
Upon graduation, meanwhile, the budding entrepreneur had actually saved enough to be able to afford a down payment on a condo. However, he had no intention of living in the home himself. Instead, Benitez decided to rent the place out to earn more money, while he set up shop in its garage.
Thanks to the subsequent revenue, then, Benitez is now able to devote time to his passion projects in visual effects. And one of these comes in the form of a YouTube channel named “Aaron’s Animals,” which also stars Benitez’s cat Prince Michael.
Specifically, Benitez’s channel is home to a number of funny videos, many of which feature Prince Michael in often surreal situations. And the clips are so popular that they’ve earned Aaron’s Animals over 311,000 subscribers on YouTube. But how did the pair’s relationship begin in the first place?
Well, the official Aaron’s Animals website explains all. “Aaron adopted Michael in New York City and then later moved to Los Angeles,” reads a message on the site. It continues, “Their first viral hit happened when Aaron was babysitting his friend’s rabbit and posted a video showing Michael getting jealous.”
But while that video would introduce the world to both Benitez and Prince Michael, one of the pair’s most popular efforts is a later clip entitled “Homemade Jet Ski.” This sees the 28-year-old and his cat go up against a flock of thieving ducks who have made off with the animal’s pretzels.
And while the video sees Prince Michael make an attempt to grab back his snacks, it ends in failure. Benitez then leaps into action, though, and via a humorous montage builds the titular homemade jet ski for his feline friend. Prince Michael subsequently jumps aboard and retrieves his food in glorious fashion.
And there’s no doubt that the video is excellently put together – both in its humour and visuals. But while Prince Michael is undoubtedly the star of the show, Benitez received his fair share of plaudits in the comments section, too.
“There’s nothing more beautiful than a bromance between a full-grown man and his cat,” one YouTube user commented. “Blew my mind. How do you make this stuff so seamless??!?!” another wrote. Elsewhere, a clearly impressed individual added, “I’m surprised he doesn’t have more subscribers yet. These videos are awesomely good!”
And Benitez continues to produce quality content with Prince Michael on a consistent basis. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the popularity of the channel has also garnered significant online praise, with various websites paying respect to the talented filmmaker.
BuzzFeed in particular has produced an article listing “13 Reasons You Should Follow Aaron’s Animals Immediately,” including a baker’s dozen of videos from Benitez’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. “Get ready for some of the most creative animal videos on the entire internet,” the article raved.
Despite the success of Aaron’s Animals, though, Benitez has continued to branch out beyond his YouTube channel in the last few years. He also runs a website named VFX Bro with his business partner Zach King, for instance, which offers online tutorials in visual effects.
Meanwhile, Benitez is still incredibly complimentary of Aaron’s Animals’ biggest star. “He’s great, he’s a super-chill cat,” he said of Prince Michael on “The Homeless YouTuber,” a documentary made about Benitez.
“He’s awesome because he kind of lets you do whatever you want when you’re filming with him, and he just sits there,” Benitez continued. In the documentary, he also reflected on his own personal journey, noting the advantages of the various sacrifices he made along the way.
“I think that the benefits included excitement and adventure; life lessons; being pushed out of my comfort zone; saving money,” Benitez added. “Those are all benefits that made it worth it, in my opinion.”
From a creative perspective, social media and sharing platforms can often be difficult areas in which to succeed. Aaron Benitez seems to have it cracked, however. What’s more, thanks to his admirable attitude and work ethic, he continues to garner goodwill by the bucketload.
And, hopefully, Benitez’s filmmaking career will go from strength to strength, with his trusty sidekick continuing to play a starring role in his future projects. After all, the man and the cat make quite a formidable team: just ask those ducks.