I have this habit of throwing phones when I get angry.
You’re probably wondering what this has to do with a column for TelevisionWeek.
Everything, my friends. Everything.
And not just because my editor at TelevisionWeek is usually the one who drives me to shatter the cordless beasts into quivering, useless carcasses of eviscerated wires and batteries.
No. It’s just that my greatest form of anger release has become fodder for a viral video.
Allow me to explain. About three weeks ago, I was having trouble finding a video file I needed for a story. I got so annoyed that I took my cordless landline phone and threw it across my living room. It smashed into the wall and the battery case popped open, spitting out its insides.
My next scheduled interview was with YouTube star Kevin Nalty, better known as Nalts. I had to call him from my cell phone, so I explained what I had just done. He pounced: “This could be really good fodder for a viral video. I like the idea of throwing a phone.”
We agreed to meet in New York on Sept. 18 at the studios of Web video shop For Your Imagination to shoot a phone-throwing video.
In case you’re wondering how a viral video comes together, it’s a little bit like a late-night run to the 7-Eleven when you have the munchies. We sent a few e-mails back and forth three days before the shoot to brainstorm ideas. Nalts said, “Let’s do a Roeper-Ebert type of review for Web shows, you get mad at me and throw a phone, I pull your hair.” To which I responded, “Great, but how about we review cat videos instead?”
The morning before the shoot, Nalts fired off another message. “Does Nalts hate cats and Daisy loves them?”
My reply: “Should you be Simon and I’m Paula?”
When we arrived at For Your Imagination, the first thing we did was decide on a name for our fake show. We would call it “The Pussycat Review Show.”
For Your Imagination CEO Paul Kontonis ginned up a logo for the show in about one minute. He Googled “cat clip art,” found some cute black-and-white kitty images and then typed out “Pussycat Review Show” in a cool red font.
He brought up the pre-selected cat viral videos on a TV monitor and we rolled.
Nalts and I proceeded to critique the videos, with a focus on each cat’s special talents, as well as the skills of the video auteurs. After we reviewed five or six videos, our argument grew heated over the “Mean Kitty” video. Off-camera, Nalts told me to throw the phone at him.
So I tossed it at him.
“Hit me harder. I can take it.”
He insisted, so I did.
I threw that sucker at him with all my might. Then Kontonis pointed out that he had some plastic plates in the office. Did I want to throw those at Nalts?
I did want to, so I frisbeed a dozen white plates at Nalts.
Then we were done and it took all of 15 minutes. You’ll get to see the finished product in an upcoming New Media Minute and on YouTube.
So what’s the takeaway? What’s the trick to making a viral video? Well, I don’t know if this video will “go viral.” But if it does, it won’t be because the video was expensive, or mapped out, or planned to any great degree.
It will be because we didn’t try too hard. To make a viral video, you need to fly by the seat of your pants.
And if you like “The Pussycat Review Show,” let me know and we can talk about a distribution deal.