Viral Video Coming Soon

ML Jun 21, 2006

So, I don’t have a lot of time to get a post up today for all the new HitTailers out there. I’m leaving the features to the programming at the moment, and instead focusing on the demo. The current demo was awesome for jump-starting the beta program. There’s nothing easier than making, then narrating a PowerPoint, and using one of the awesome PowerPoint-to-Flash converters–in this case, Camtasia from TechSmith. It was a truly pleasurable experience, and I highly recommend the product and process to anyone who needs to crank something out quickly. But I have to move beyond that now.

And I’ve been thinking a lot about memes as per my previous post, along with viral marketing, the SnowCrash scifi book, YouTube, and what presentations I’ve seen on the Web lately that have inspired and motivate me. I’ve also been thinking about Cialdini’s principles of persuasion, how they’re employed in Infomercials, and how they verge on mind control. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I want to do nothing less than program a HitTail meme that sweeps across the world, elevating HitTailing to top of mind marketing-speak.

So, the first thing I did was list stuff lately that has awed and inspired me. I don’t have the raw talent to reproduce what some of these masters have done, but I at least want to keep them in mind. I’ve seen Skip Hardt’s SXIP Identity 2.0 demo 2.0 times. It was impressive both times. When I talked with Skip, he told me it was Keynote on the Mac. I was ALMOST motivated to go buy a Mac to get those very modern text transitions. Skip communicates very difficult concepts effectively, using an incredibly fast pace. I like that and am going to use that. What I learned from Skip is that it’s OK, and in fact even good, if you have to (are motivated to) watch something twice. Say goodbye to my droning on.

Next is of course the master himself. I re-watched both the launch of the original Macintosh, then the original iPod announcement to see young and older Steve Jobs in action. It’s a treat either way. From Steve, I learned that I want to be a part of something that’s insanely great, and to involve hitch your wagon to very large endeavors that know no boundaries, like creativity and music. Inspiring stuff. Though I’m not in The Order of Apple, I am a believer.

It’s silly, but I watched the hilarious Ultimate Showdown like 10 times to pump myself up for the project. It’s totally irrelevant, but somehow got all the right creative juices pumping. Sprinkle in a little Schoolhouse Rock, and you have the tone if catchy, upbeat, viral messaging that I want. Too bad I’m not a singer.

And as I put the script together and recorded the narration, I realized I was neither Steve Jobs, a singer, nor as ready to image-hunt as Skip. My message was so dry in some ways that I felt the need to add humor and alleviate the need for heavy-duty visuals in one stroke. That’s when the brilliant subtext humor of The Colbert Report struck me, along with the hilarious intros to Adult Swim on The Cartoon Network. I had my answer. It’s a sparse, but funny and tasteful way to get the visuals in.

So, I’m getting off of PowerPoint, and moving to Flash. My narration track is done, and I’m in a time-crunch to get the new demo out, before one more blogger refers to this thing as MyLongTail. It’s got to be designed for viral propagation, meaning entertaining, light weight, and about more than just a marketing technique. I need to be selling the dream.

So I have all my visuals, subtext and jokes roughly storyboarded. To do it, I put the narration track on my Creative MuVo MP3 player, took a small paper tablet, and walked from 16th Street up to Times Square and back, listening to the narration over and over and over. Inspiration strikes, I make a note, and repeat. By the time I got back, I had the whole thing storyboarded, attitude, diagrams, subtext and all.

Now, I just have to implement it in Flash. Hopefully, I can get something that comes close to my vision. If it’s any good, I’ll be rallying the beta testers to help me spread the word. Please stand by.

  1. Avatar
    David Stockwell

    Yes the videos of Steve Jobs are great. I hadn’t seen them before. Looks amazing in his double-brested suit and smiling like cheshire cat.

    Have been working the system and writing up posts on suggestions and seem to be making progress. Thanks

  2. Avatar

    What makes that work is one thing: PRACTICE. You can’t give that kind of presentation off the cuff.

    Typical corporate/sales presentations are the opposite- screens full of text that the presenter doesn’t even remember so each slide they look at the screen to read what they should be talking about.

    Jobs is the master of this. He seems so relaxed, but every word and gesture is rehearsed. I can tell much he’s got it memorized because he gets really flustered when a demo doesn’t work.

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