So You Want to Make a Viral Video….

Here’s a little dramatization of a conversation that most online communicators have had in some form or another:

Over at the day job, one of my colleagues tossed around the idea of using the video-creation site xtranormal for a project, so I figured it might be fun to figure out how it works. The basic idea — you write a script, choose the characters and setting, insert sounds, gestures, camera angles and other refinements, and the system narrates your dialogue and animates the characters in 3-D. The results of my first foray are above. If you like it, spread the word! Having a video about the difficulty of making a video go viral go viral would be meta.

Many of the xtranormal videos that have caught on with a big audience have followed a similar formula as this one: the jokes that work tend to be those whose humor relies on repetition and deadpan delivery, since characters say the same lines exactly the same way every time. Often they pair a young, naive character repeating the same desire to join a profession with a jaded veteran of the field trying to disillusion them (several others feature cartoon bears using profanity, which is automatically funny, too).

All told, this video took about four hours to write, “shoot,” and edit, much of which was spent tweaking the details. It’d be fun to turn the basic idea into a series looking at other absurdities of the online comms world, but we’ll see if time and creativity allow.


Written by
Colin Delany
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