Friday, July 6, 2012

How I Made A Viral YouTube Video

A few posts ago, I wrote about my most popular YouTube video to date.  It was totally unplanned - I had just exited the subway in Times Square, NYC and the scene basically unfolded before my eyes.

A light rain began to fall, when all of a sudden, a ridiculously tall model ran past me in a bikini.  It took me a moment to realize what was going on.  It turns out that she was part of a photo shoot, and her hair and makeup couldn't get wet.  Despite her high heels, she bolted past me to take cover under the scaffolding.

I have to admit that I was shocked when the video began getting so many hits on YouTube.  That gave me the idea: why don't I purposely try to create a viral video.  I convinced myself it couldn't be very hard if my effortless video attracted to much attention.

Racking my brain for ideas, I took inspiration from the America's Cup World Cup sailboat races.  They were taking place in Newport, RI and there was quite a bit of media attention focused on the event.  I have an odd sense of humor, but once in a while, others find it funny.  Funny works well on YouTube. 

I was familiar with the great yachtsman, Sir Thomas Lipton.  I decided to make a small skit with a model sailboat I had lying around the house.  At first, I was going to go to a lake and make the skit there.  I axed that idea when I realized the logistics wouldn't work.  Using a basic Sony Cyber Shot camera, I had to keep it simple.

Thinking, thinking thinking, then all of a sudden, it hit me like a freight train.  I was in the bathroom, of all places, looking down at the water in the bowl.  The blue cube-like drops that I put into the tank turned the water a brilliant blue.  It was perfect!  I would use the toilet bowl as a makeshift ocean!!!!

I leaned a painting of a sailboat against the toilet tank while the model yacht was in the bowl.  To make it extra special, I placed a few tiny model ships on the toilet sill.  It looked pretty good!  The script I wrote was ridiculous.  Using my best Sir Thomas Lipton voice, I shouted generic yachting commands, while giving the viewer a bit of historical information.

So far, the video is far from viral.  It has all of 6 hits, although one viewer was from Australia.  I've found that some videos take time to build up steam, while others take off right away.  Hopefully this video is a late bloomer.  Enjoy!