My Best Video of 2010: Epic Kid Song Mix

I was excited to be in last week’s BarelyPolitical “Man Bat & Catwoman video” with Obama Girl, and post Mark’s obscenely-funny faux “behind the scenes.” It was great to be in Gay Leprechaun by Mediocrefilms. Fantastic to play the knife on Annoying Orange too.

But as far as my own videos go, this “Shnibl” remix video is the peak of my 2010. I can’t stop watching it. The backstory: My 6-year-old son, Charlie, grabbed an old camera yesterday, and did a little song and vlog called “Shnibl Show.” It made no sense, and that was its charm. After showing it to my wife and older kids last night (Katie and Patrick), we all roared with cathartic laughter we needed. Then I tweeted the following… and then there was this surprising response:

Last night's tweets led to this spontaneous collaboration of an ear worm.

So who is this masked man we call “songadaymann,” who sent me this lovely remix of Charlie’s song? He’s Jonathan Mann, also known for SongaTron and via his YouTube channel Rock Cookie Bottom. He’s been writing since he was 12 (just 6 years after my little Charlie), as he shares in his own fascinating bio video.

Most recently you may know Jonathan from his daily songs — the Paul Krugman tune as seen on TV, and the iPhone 4 Antenna Song played by Steve Jobs before his Antennagate press conference in July (2010) and wildly covered during the media hysteria that was iPhone4G’s launch.

Sure I knew about Jonathan, but I never imagined he new me — much less that he followed me on Twitter. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine he’d a) see my Tweet, b) turn Charlie’s little jingle into a killer remix in hours. And it’s friggin’ awesome. It’s like Beatles meets Partridge Family meets hip hop. I had considered writing MysteryGuitarMan (who wrote the Nalts theme song), but was pretty confident he’s too busy and high profile for such a silly thing. Plus I didn’t want to try to hard… I was kinda hoping one would just appear.

This just in- Katinatreesee does the shnibl choir!

What do ya think? While I have your attention, I’d value your feedback in comments (I’m back to reading ’em) on my new YouTube channel design. It may not lok like it, but I’ve been fussing with it for about 6 hours (solo).

T-Mobile Airport A Cappella: Everything But ImprovEverywhere

Hard to criticize this lovely video featuring surprised passengers in Heathrow Airport being surprised by a cappella songs in every genre. Part of T-Mobile’s Life’s For Sharing campaign.
I just wish they’d partnered with or acknowledged Charlie Todd (author of Causing a Scene) because he kinda invented (or at least popularized) this type of video.

Why Your Social-Media Expert Should Be an Improv Comic: 7 Reasons

Would you trust your social-media voice to an improv comic?
Would you trust your social-media voice to an improv comic?

I recently told a few hundred Canadian marketers that their social-media expert should be an improv comic, an insight that hit me during my all-night roadtrip to Toronto. Moments later, one former improv comic (from Freshed Baked Entertainment) confided at lunch that he’s using his improv experience to help brands create entertaining content.

This notion mostly went over well, and I pledged to write about it. I’m beginning here on WillVideoForFood.com and I’ve posted it on Scribd (a good way to distribute and SEO-optimize your writing if you can’t afford PRWeb or PRNewswire). If you’re a blogger or publisher, I invite you to use part or all of this with attribution… and hope to fancy it up for a magazine.

I have four sources of inspiration for this concept:

  • ImprovEverywhere’s Charlie Todd, who I’m connected to in an odd way that falls between friend and fan. It’s a parasocial relationship, but since I’ve met him and he returns my phone calls or e-mails I’m allowing myself to call dub the “Causing a Scene” author a “virtual colleague.” I was struck with how well he does media, and I attribute that to his experience as both an improv comic and advanced teacher of the discipline. Todd, in fact, was who encouraged me to enroll in the wildly heralded UCB Theater in NYC. I’d later, sadly, become an improv-school dropout because I lost my financial excuse to visit NYC weekly and my dad died. But I’ll do it again.
  • I did significant research to prepare for my Improv Comedy course, and learned a tremendous amount in the early classes. My goal was not to become an improv comic, but understand how improvisational skills might translate to my work and life. Like you, perhaps, I often default to “fighting the wind” (arguing the inevitable), which can be empowering but both exhausting and unsustainable. So I hoped to learn new ways to “roll with life” or “go with the flow.” One of my favorite affirmations is “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference” (source). How many of life’s “problems” would vanish if we gave ourselves that rare gift?
  • I’ve also had lengthy conversations with Melissa Katz, a former colleague at Johnson & Johnson who oversaw Centocor’s public relations. She’s a former improv comic, and helped me understand how many of the tenets of improvisational comedy translate to corporate or public-relations.
  • Finally, David Alger is one of many improv-comics that crystalized the basic “rules” of improv comedy, and I hope to help you see how some of these rules apply to your social-media presence. I quote him simply because he ranked high on Google SEOs for “improv comedy rules,” but there’s no shortage of wisdom on improvisational comedy. I’m quite sure there are dozens of other applicable rules I’ve left out (like being honest, a truism in both improv and social-media).

So forgive me for being an improv-comic dropout, but trust that what I learned in my first portion of the class will help you either find a good social-media expert or nurture one who is. I give you “The Seven Reasons Your Social-Media Expert Should Be an Improvisational Comic.”

(oh- you gotta hit “more” to read them).

Continue reading “Why Your Social-Media Expert Should Be an Improv Comic: 7 Reasons”

“One-Hit Wonder” Viral Videos Earn Cash: David at Dentist, Numa Kid, Charlie Bit Finger

So you got lucky and had a video go “viral.” Now what do you do?

YouTube is now giving “one-hit wonders” a chance to become a YouTube Partner, where they’re eligible to earn a percent of advertising revenue from their videos. This may, of course, be frustrating to those who have applied for the Partnership program, but have been refused — most likely because some of their videos contain copyright infringements, but sometimes perhaps because their videos aren’t garnering enough views to make it worthwhile for YouTube or the Partner.

But it makes sense, as the “David After Dentist” story illustrates. And remember that this is not new. Revver helped EeepyBird fetch more than $35,000 from the Diet Coke & Mentos video in 2006.

David After Dentist

About 2 weeks after “David After Dentist” went viral (now at 28 million views), I received a nice note seeking advice from David’s dad (Booba1234). “We are still trying to process all this,” he said. “I am not looking to exploit David in anyway. However, we don’t want to miss an opportunity IF there is one.”

He even offered to pay me for help, and I told him he was silly. I referred him to the YouTube Partner peeps, encouraged him to monetize it (hey, college savings), but I wasn’t sure he’d get approved. My e-mail note said: “If your video had been monetized (already), you would have made a few hundred bucks (at that point). The trick is that joining the YouTube Partner program takes some time, and sometimes requires more videos…”

I was thrilled to see Booba1234 was put on a “fast track” and is now a YouTube Partner… but I can’t take credit.

In retrospect, I realize how easy it must have been for YouTube to say yes. At nearly 30 million views, “David at the Dentist” video has probably been viewed more times than the entire history of many existing YouTube Partner channels. It’s not “charity” to help one-hit wonders monetize. YouTube also profited from the viral sensations as soon as it was able to include the video in partner content (where it fetches exponentially more dollars per view than the mass of other content on its site).

The lesson? If you hit the “viral lottery” with a video, apply for a YouTube Partner account as quickly as possible. While YouTube historically accepted only established video creators who were “most subscribed” or posted videos fairly frequently, the company is eager to monetize the “long tail” of video content… and frankly some of these “viral one-hit wonders” qualify as part of the “short tail.” BUT don’t waste a lot of effort creating more content unless you enjoy it, or you have more video that will interest the same audience who devoured your one-hit wonder.

While it’s nice for these viralizers to have residual income from one video, few “one-hit wonders” have succeeded in evolving that into a broader platform. For example,  David’s dad has only about 15K subscribers, and has posted just a few videos since “David at the Dentist” went viral 7 months ago (January 2009). He is trying to monetize his classic moment in other ways: offering the video for sale (via download) for $1.99, and a link to a t-shirt website (http://www.davidafterdentist.com), which is currently dead.

Numa Numa kid

Similarly, the famed Gary Brolsma aka “Numa Numa kid” will enjoy continued revenue from his one-hit wonder (assuming they find his original and not the myriad of ripoffs). And his “return” video fetched a nice 13 million views. But his new channel (NewNuma) has under 35,000 subscribers and is basically distributing unrelated content by other creators, presumably who pay him for a cost-efficient way to access his residual audience.

And look at Cynthia Holmes’ Otters Holding Hands, which has partner ads but sits in a channel with fewer than 500 subscribers. She’s posted more videos of her kids, but they’re not getting noteworthy views.

Then there are some one-hit wonders like “Evolution of Dance” (YouTube’s most-viewed video) that infringes on copyrights and can’t likely be monetized. And dancer Jason Laipply has done precious little to extend his platform since (unless you count a sponsorship for Stopain under the guise of being an  arthritis foundation video, which was viewed under 50,000 times.

Charlie BIT MY FINGER T-SHIRT

An exception? The parents of “Charlie Bit My Finger” have an account, HDCYT, with 57,000 subscribers, and have continued to post well-viewed videos ranging from cute new ones to television recaps about Charlie. He’s also selling t-shirts. Perhaps there’s something enchanting about watching these kids grow up… a sharp contrast from the awkward return of Numa Numa or unrelated sequels to a cute otter moment.

First Ever Photo of Four Kids Smiling

Nalts kids photo

Today I publish my first-ever un-photoshoped photo of all four of my children smiling. In a written statement, Kevin Nalts said:

“This photo has not yet been retouched, and it would appear that all four are smiling and not fighting.”

Wifeofnalts was unavailable for comment. This photo was taken before Sunday’s First Communion of Patrick, and all four kids were later spotted in t-shirts covered with mud and ticks (but not lice).

nalts kids katie patrick grant charlie

Katie (age 10), Charlie (age 5), Grant (age 6), and Patrick (age 8)*

 

*these ages have not been verified by my wife, and are subject to change.

Viral Video YouTube Moshup in Weezer’s “Pork & Beans” Music Video

Weezer Pork and Beans Viral Video MontageSome time ago, we were watching Weezer write a song with his audience on YouTube. His blog even mentioned my little post, resulting in fan traffic that oddly didn’t assault me for making fun of his unibrow.

Well now Weezer’s “Pork and Beans” music video has paid even greater homage to YouTube, and has garnered more than 2 million views in the past few days (and probably well more by the time you read this). It showcases the band performing “Pork and Beans,” alongside Chris Crocker, Mentos’ EepyBird, and even on the face of Dramatic Gopher.

The lyrics are below, and the song contains a rather interesting message about being yourself instead of worrying about what others think. I can only hope the line “Timbaland knows the way to reach the top of the charts” is sarcasm, and that Weezer is being slightly ironic by moshing itself with viral-video cliches, while singing such lyrics as “I don’t give a hoot what you think” and “I’m finally dandy with the me inside.” I’m sure any of the viral “weblebrities” that participated in the May production of this music video can attest to the soul-sucking emptiness of the 14 minutes of viral fame.

Parenthetically, you mighta heard about Weezer’s YouTube channel here on WVFF, but even the smaller, less progressive blogs are finally catching on. It’s even getting mentioned by little bitty bloggers like ValleyWag (which once named me one of the hottest guys of the Internet). But let me tell you, “I don’t give a hoot what they think” because I’m “tickled pink” when I look in the mirror (unless it’s a full length one).

Here’s Valleyway’s nice rundown of all of the viral sensatinos that “Pork and Beans” showcases, from “Numa Numa Kid” to “Charlie the Unicorn.” From “Leave Britney Alone” to “Peanut Butter Jelly Time.” And here’s Weezer.com’s announcement of it:

Shot May 7-10 in North Hollywood, CA, this video features a cast of, well, many! And what a cast! An amazing group of well known ‘Youtube celebs’ was tracked down and flown in so they could do their thing(s) with the Weezer men. Its pretty much impossible to properly describe what went down, so just have a look!

If you can’t recognize more than 75% of these clips, friends, then go to your room and start surfing YouTube’s “most watched” videos immediately. Start with the Weezer references, so you can flex your viral muscle by explaining clips of “Pork and Beans” to your less virally inclined buds and family members on Memorial Day.

I’ve even included the lyrics below, in case you want to sing along like Zack Scott (who has been tracking this closely, as the biggest viral video junkie I know who also is clinically obsessed with Weezer).

A final word. Clever folks, those Weezers. Their hardcore fans will argue the band has never “jumped the shark,” but if they had… what an interesting way to sail behind the collective wind of of other motorcycles zooming like Fonzie over netted sharks (see Happy Days “jump the shark” video, thanks to Mary Quickbowlmana). But at the same time, serving up a meaninfull message about being happy inside instead of through the eyes of fickle fans.

Pork and Beans lyrics:
They say I need some Rogaine (paid promotion?) to put in my hair
Work it out at the gym to fit my underwear
Oakley makes the shades (paid promotion?) that transform a tool
You’d hate for the kids to think, that you lost your cool (self referential?)

I’mma do the things that I wanna do
I ain’t got a thing to prove to you
I’ll eat my candy with the pork and beans
Excuse my manners if I make a scene
I ain’t gonna wear the clothes that you like
I’m finally dandy with the me inside (good, guys- I am the soul behnid the unibrow)
One look in the mirror and I’m tickled pink
I don’t give a hoot about what you think

Everyone likes to dance to a happy song
(Hey, hey) With a catchy chorus and beat so they can sing along
(Hey, hey) Timbaland knows the way to reach the top of the charts
Maybe if I work with him I can perfect the art

I’mma do the things that I wanna do
I ain’t got a thing to prove to you
I’ll eat my candy with the pork and beans (which has more sugar than candy)
Excuse my manners if I make a scene
I ain’t gonna wear the clothes that you like
I’m finally dandy with the me inside
One look in the mirror and I’m tickled pink
I don’t give a hoot about what you think
No I don’t care I don’t care

I’mma do the things that I wanna do
I ain’t got a thing to prove to you
I’ll eat my candy with the pork and beans
Excuse my manners if I make a scene
I ain’t gonna wear the clothes that you like
I’m finally dandy with the me inside
One look in the mirror and I’m tickled pink
I don’t give a hoot about what you think
Totally different?

Rusty’s Song (and he doesn’t care if it goes viral)

Rusty from Rusty’s Song videoRusty is our babysitter‘s dog, and this is his song (see video). Woke up at 4 a.m. with a compelling urge to write it. Don’t ask.

We found our babysitter because she was working at Applebees, and recognized my wife (wifeofnalts) and son (Charlie) from YouTube. And although her cookies taste like chunks of coal, you gotta admit her dog is pretty cute.

Lyrics:
His name is Rusty and this is his song
He’s pekingese but not from Hong Kong
He knows 4 languages but doesn’t do tricks
Please don’t ask him about his ticks

He likes to lick but never smokes
He’s tired of Yoda and Gremlin jokes
He’s not mean but he’ll bite your behind
If you say he looks like Zelda Rubenstein
That’s the lady from Poltergeist and you probably missed that if you were born after the 70s.

He’s voting for Obama and he’s definitely not gay
He believes in God but sleeps on Sunday
Though he can’t use a phone if he did he might
Vote for David Archuletta or Brook White

His name is Rusty and this is his song
We don’t think it’s an ear worm but maybe we’re wrong
Rusty doesn’t care if you think he’s lame
His esteem is too strong to need Internet fame