Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Hacker's Holiday" Video--more info

So, we've had tons of interest in this video, so I thought I'd just post a little more info about it.

Tim was contacted by McAfee to do this. His contact is a brilliant guy named Shane Keats who has a really solid grasp on the concept of spreading McAfee's services from mostly business-class people to everyone. He wants to make their product cool.

Anyway, he wrote an initial storyboard and lyric set. It was his idea to tap into the cultural memes in the video--one guy multitracking the song, putting faces in 4 boxes. It was also his idea to destroy a computer at the end (with some ideas of where to go next....the guy has it all planned out, and I think his ideas are FANTASTIC).  Unfortunately, there were licensing issues with the music, so he asked Tim to write a 2-3 minute song evoking familiar Christmas songs without using them really, and following his storyboard and using whatever lyrics he could off the original sheet (because it was approved by corporate headquarters).

The first draft was good, but we all knew it wouldn't go viral. The new assignment from Shane was to write something like a rock opera telling the story from the storyboard. The second finished draft (it went back and forth between Shane and Tim as the song grew) was about what you see in the video. It's been pared down, and I can't hear the easter eggs Tim wrote into the song (there were, at one point, at least two spots where he had sung a line and then played it backward and inserted it into the song that way--made for some fun sonic textures!), which  means they may have been edited out. There was a closer-to-3-minute version. The final released version was 2 minutes.

Shane directed the film and had an involved hand in both filming and editing the video. Tim did all the performances, both singing and acting. The song is a cappella, with Tim singing all the parts, doing the beat boxing, and doing the claps. The only other sounds in the video are undoctored sounds incidental to smashing a computer. Tim and Shane both collected the costumes and designed the visual looks of the characters.

Originally, Tim had tapped Dio (from Dio Voce) to do the final mixing and mastering of the song, but Shane and the film editor liked the rough mix (no mastering) that Tim did and felt like it matched the visuals perfectly, so the music editing and mixing all ended up coming from Tim, too (which ended up being a good thing, since there ended up being some last-minute details that had to be changed--a word here and a word there--as quick as possible, so having fewer people in the chain was good).

Anyway, the final product looks like it was all Tim, and, in fact, the music was all Tim, as were the performances. But I just wanted to make sure Shane got his due--the idea was his, the story was his, some of the lyrics are his, the video directing and editing were his. (And besides, he pulled some strings in the company to rush Tim's payment to us so we could eat and get our kids some Christmas presents!) And now I'm hoping the video goes viral so that Shane and Tim both get to produce some of the other projects they've talked about (and they do have some amazing ideas!).

So, now that you know more about it, here is the video again, so you can watch it again (and pass it along if you're comfortable doing that!):

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