By Kate Pluth '12, Copy Editor
On Feb. 6, five students from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles uploaded a video titled “Dramatic Interpretations of Facebook—Middle Schoolers” to YouTube. The video, its many viewers quickly agreed, is pretty hilarious. The video went from zero views to over 750,000 views in its first week, and was featured on a laundry list of social media websites.
In the video, the characters (played by Michael Lange, Jackson Kendall, Robyn Littleworth and Maddie Dial) sip wine at an elegantly decorated fold-out table and, in the most melodramatic of soap opera of affectations, discuss whether Zach wants to kiss Keala. How did they come up with this dialogue? They lifted the conversation verbatim from photo and status comments on middle schoolers’ Facebook pages.
The student filmmakers comprise a group called The Navy Seals of Comedy, and are all theater or film production majors at Loyola Marymount. Paul Morgan, the Navy Seal of Comedy who filmed the now-viral video, discussed the group’s rise to internet stardom with me—over Facebook, of course.
Kate Pluth: How did you get the idea to make your video?
Paul Morgan: Mikey [Michael Lange] had shown me the actual conversation weeks before and we had laughed about it. Jackson [Kendall] and Mikey happened to be looking through it one day and said, “This would be a great script for a short.” Then they hired me to shoot it (cause we’re roomies!) and we produced it as quickly as we could.
KP: How long have the Navy Seals of Comedy been together? Do you only make videos, or do you also do live performances?
PM: We actually formed for that video, and we are expanding as we make more. We don’t do live performances, but three of us (Me, Maddie [Dial] and Robyn [Littleworth]) are members of LMU’s Laser Squad Bravo, the improv team on campus.
KP: What went into the video’s production? How long did it take to make?
PM: So, as far as shooting went, we rangled three lights from our school’s television station and bounced them off things in the right way for some even lighting. Then we got my Canon 60D cued up and put a zoom lens on, so we could get
some variable shots. We shot for about four to five hours, and then the cutting took a week and a half (not because it took that long, but because there was a delay. The actual process took about three hours).
KP: Any compelling or funny behind-the- scenes stories?
PM: Well, there was this one time........ No, honestly, it was all business on the day of the shoot. Obviously there were a lot of laughs on set, but nothing particularly crazy happened.
KP: When did you first notice your video gaining popularity?
PM: Well, the night we posted it to YouTube, I posted it on Reddit and asked my chapter of Sigma Chi to all make Reddit accounts and upvote the video. Their 70 or so upvotes got it started, and it just took off from there. The next morning, I woke up and it was on the front page of Reddit.
KP: What was it like to have the video go viral?
PM: It was certainly interesting. Jackson and Mikey have gotten recognized around campus, and people who don’t know anything about photography have complimented me on the job I did shooting it.
KP: What websites promoted your video?
PM: [The ones that we know of are] Tosh.0’s blog, Jezebel.com, Failblog.org, Memebase.com, Reddit, The Chive, FunnyorDie.com, CollegeHumor.com, The Huffington Post, The Seattle Post Intelligencer and The New York Post blog.
KP: Has anyone or any company approached you about advertizing or sponsorship as a result of your video?
PM: Well, we have a friend named John in Hollywood who does freelance producing/directing via his company Sandbox Productions. He’s offered to produce our next video, which means higher quality sound/lighting (and maybe cameras). Outside of that, just a lot of offers from people on campus to help with our next videos, which are in pre-production now.
KP: The captions of your video mention you plan to make more videos based on Facebook comments. Are you currently working on any? What can we expect to see next?
PM: We’re currently working on pre-producing a thread about teen pregnancy that got a little out of hand, and after that we plan to do one or two more Facebook scripts before moving into original material.