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The Skinny On Creating A Viral Video:

The Water Skiing Squirrel.

The Water Skiing Squirrel.

(check out the product placement! Can you think of a better way to sell insurance?! )

The water-skiing squirrel, the little old lady smashing a Mercedes with a handbag, or a grumpy cat; they are all examples of viral videos. The term ‘viral’ refers to the contagion-like spread of the video on the internet. Clients sometimes expect guaranteed viral results from paying for an SEO video.



SEO (search engine optimization) is a targeted tagging process which is applied to a video, wherein the segment pops up higher in search engines results, which can increase traffic back to a site and increase opportunities for being shared on other sites. This is usually done by a video production professional, and is a paid service.

A video going viral cannot be guaranteed. This is not a paid service. Although a video production professional may offer to help plan and execute a viral campaign, there is no way to guarantee whether a video will interest a target market and inspire widespread sharing. While SEO can help raise awareness of a particular video, there is no promise that the video will go viral.


One of the key traits of videos that go viral is the entertainment factor. If a video can educate a client about a product or service, while still entertaining them, the chances of the video going viral are greatly increased. Keep things loose and not-too-serious. It is easier for customers to connect with humor and they are more likely to share a funny video with their friends.


Branded videos can go viral, although the tools used to brand the video may require some subtlety. A small logo or information in the lower-third of a video are obvious branding choices. Catchphrases or verbal cues are less obvious, but have a proven track record. A consistent face or spokesperson is also a fantastic way to build a following. Recognition is another proven marketing tool that aids in a successful campaign. For instance, “Where’s the beef?” It was a brilliant campaign and the closest thing to a viral video that could be produced in the 80’s. Not only was the catchphrase on television, but it showed up on t-shirts and other merchandise. The little old lady who said those iconic words became the face of the fast-food chain.CatGrumpy

Length is also key factor in a videos ability to go viral. Often, segments of longer videos go viral, which directs traffic back to a longer video. The viral segment is usually short and often contains the source of the laugh, which can range from a joke, to a bit gag, to a professionally produced hijinks. It is important to remember an audience’s attention span, especially when perusing the internet, cannot be maintained for longer than 60 seconds.


Whether the segment has been created by a video production professional or not, and regardless of whether it is an SEO video, a viral campaign works similarly to the ‘pay-it-forward’ concept from the hit movie. It all begins with social media and how those connections are managed. First, a trusted circle of contacts are given the link and asked to post it on their timeline and to send it to their own trusted circle. If those four connections share it with four of their own, that’s easily sixteen posts. Repeated posting of the links to social media sites with an invitation to share can also increase the spread of the video. The video segment should also be posted on a popular share site, such as Funny or Die.GrumpyWomanTin

Use the viral campaign to promote a service or product with a giveaway. Customers can enter to win by retweeting the video link or sharing the link from Facebook; both can be tracked via the social media site. Incentives can do a lot to help get the viral campaign on its feet.

As with any production, hiring a professional to help plan and execute the video, SEO and a potential viral campaign is an intelligent investment. Leave a Comment

Tibetan Tea – Natural Energizer!

TibetanTeaImage#2png Here is a quote from that’s the website that has the product I promoted in this video production.

“Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.” Dalai Lama

This was a fun project. Fun for a variety of reasons. The owner of this company, Penny Stafford is one of the most impressive people I’ve met in years. Hear’s why:

She is gutsy and what I call ‘Frontline Authentic’. I mean if she’s pushed to the ‘frontline’ in a battlefield, she’ll hold that line no matter what’s on the other side!

During the production process of this video I learned volumes about the soft drink industry. Penny had no input into the video production and all that I learned does not appear in the video. Still, knowing so much more now means that the information will soon appear in a video production.


Most of us don’t realize what a warfare is waged to gain and hold point of sale (POS) for the soft drink industry. The college campus is where most of the soft drinks are sold in the USA. I may misquote this, but drawing from memory it’s near 80% ! The Goliath of this industry is of course the world owned by the Pepsi and Coke moguls.

Add to this heated contest, the ‘energy drink’ consumption, also mostly on the college campuses and you have one of the biggest profit machines in the world. It’s like a well managed Mafia. Think of it, how would you bring your product, a soft drink that needs to be chilled, to the market, without one of those soft drink machines you typically buy one from?

Now, what if all the space that was allocated for the drinks machines were pre sold under iron glad contracts to the drinks Mafia?

Here’s the deal, Tibetan Tea is a natural drink- it’s made from natural ingredients that energize the body with nutrient rich food – not chemical speed type of ingredients. Even with the students helping Penny Stafford to acquire her place in this monopoly, even then, the big guy wins.


We all love David & Goliath stories because we champion those that have the guts to come up against the opposition with an honest product and not back down from the front-line just because the rubber bullets suddenly become the real deal and lethal.

Here are a few other things I learned while producing this video:

  • the glass we think is being recycled, isn’t;
  • for many reasons, the tin can is better than the bottle;
  • the medical insurance companies are already budgeting for the onslaught of kidney transplants and dialysis treatments that will be required due to the damage the harsh chemicals in the energy drinks are causing’
  • cane sugar is better than high fructose corn syrup
  • the reason antioxidants are missing in the bottled drinks;
  • the difference between natural caffeine and the synthetic version of same;
  • the drink moguls, pushing the chemical speed drinks, can become as aggressive as any other street gang to protect their market;
  • there are natural alternatives available for the college students who want them, BUT, no will is available to face down those who run the drinks mafia.
  • I learned that it takes more than a village to get a healthy soft drink onto a college campus, it takes an army!

In this video production, you’ll see the fun we had in making it seem like Tibetan Tea was even found on the moon! The idea for this video was to support the treasure hunt that was intended to publicize Tibetan Tea and force it into the limelight by letting the students be the light shinning on it.


Currently Penny is promoting ‘crowd funding’ and in her introduction video she informs the viewer that one of the reasons these fledgling companies fail is that they don’t have the money to pay forward a full year of production like the bigger companies do. Crowd Funding is one way to accomplish this..we pool together to produce what we need to do in order to get the product on the shelves.

You’ll enjoy reading all that Penny Stafford is doing and has done to get her product into the market place… she combines, pairs it up, with many worthwhile concerns and projects that need our loving financial attention.


Oh, did I mention that this is one of the most refreshing soft drinks I’ve ever tasted. If anyone drinks an energy drink, this is one to add to your list of ‘must tries’. Her website is very informative….and heart warming to learn about what Penny does…. and most importantly, ‘why’ she does it. Besides, you’ll need to go there to find out where David felled Goliath & won! That is to say, where exactly you can find one of these drinks. Leave a Comment

Jake The Farrier

JakeFarrierImage#2This was one of the most enjoyable videos I’ve ever produced and it was all because of the Farrier…the subject of this video. The craft itself is an art form… add to that a charismatic ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ , ex Harley Rider and Hell’s Angel…who’s every other word is a curse word and you have a clear departure from anything that was born and lived in a box! LOL

He has a heart the size of Texas and is so very tender, I supposes it’s the secret of his success… the horses seem to know that they are in good hands and if they don’t want to me ‘handled’ then they best be mindful of the task at hand! Getting shod.

If you’ve never met a Black Smith, or watched one work, please watch this video- you’ll witness an artisan and a self styled animal trainer. I wish I would have captured some footage of him with his two Dachshunds. The contrast begged to be documented when you bring to mind that minutes before he’d been shoeing horses, huge animals by comparison.

While we both worked, me at the camera, he at the forge, he told me story after story about his ventures with horses that were mean one could handle them, so his expertise was called upon.


He also told me about the abuse he’d seen perpetrated on horses because they weren’t shod or were left too long in shoes that they’d outgrown. He also told me what he’s like to do to those who someone left them to suffer….but it would be too smart to relay those comments here.

One of the stories he told me was about his triumphant win of an award at an event where he competed and took the award from Farriers who had shod the Queen of England’s horses. He was understandably proud of this achievement but I never found him boastful or arrogant. He was proud because, as I mentioned, he grew up the son of a Preacher, not the son of a craftsman, so he was self taught, while the Queen’s Farriers were not only trained, but came down thru generations of Farriers.

It was wonderful for me to field some of the comments made by those who viewed this simple video. They commented on how much they had learned and almost no one who viewed the video had ever seen a horse being shod before.


When you think of how important the horse has bee to us, having never seen a horse shod is remarkable in and of itself. It’s true that most of us believe that a dog is ‘Man’s Best Friend’, that being true, the horse built civilization. It’s place in history is monumental and in many places of the world, the horse remains an essential part of everyday living.

Beautiful and majestic like poetry in motion yet hard working and diligent, the horse is a blessing to us all no matter where in the world we are. Leave a Comment


Eleni danced for love and I shot this video because of her gift of love to us. The emotion I feel when viewing this video is not an easy one to manage. It challenges my faith in life’s overarching love that I maintain is present for us no matter what our destiny holds.

What saves me from a sense of untamed despair is the my observation of how Eleni lived to the last minute of her life and seemed to never spend a day without drawing deep breaths…. she did not breath shallow into life! On some very deep level we all seem to creatively adjust to adverse circumstances but some of us really stretch out far and wide to overcome obstacles…especially artists. This was Eleni.

Along the bottom of the screen I put a bit of information I knew about her and how she lived and loved.

I’ll let her dance speak for her – that’s what she wanted it to do and I’ll use this space to tell you a bit about how I planned this shoot, most of it, without even her knowledge.

Like most artists, Eleni worked for love and rarely had funds for anything except the bare essentials of living to include a roof overhead and food on the table. Money was therefore removed from the menu. I could never have taken money anyway, it would have been a cheap exchange for the wealth she obviously had to gift me with.

Something in me knew she was dying all the while she was full of living. She felt her previous bought with cancer was not only submission, but completely gone. I met her at another dancers house who was a client of mine. When she viewed my video work she was in love with it and mentioned that she had always wanted to dance and be recorded. I knew then I would be the one who held the camera.


I contacted her and she came to visit me during one of my visits to Seattle. I asked her to bring some of her favourite costumes… when she showed me the one you see her in on this video I thought she’d look delicious in it for many reasons… her strong facial features, the red cast to her hair, the strident statement about life that red always makes…AND, how it would look when seen surrounded by green.

She didn’t know, but i was going to shoot her outside in the forest. When she came to see me…when she was leaving, we embraced goodbye and i used my finger nail to mark her height on the door jam. Then I scouted out a place in a nearby forest where I was certain that at a given hour, the magic hour, the sun would light her face and glisten on the red sequins of her costume.


She was the easiest person to direct and everything you see in this brief video were first takes. I chose the music not only for it’s sentimental sweep of all things sweet, but for the reason the maestro composed the music…. the title of the piece, translated, simply means ‘The Light of the Moon’.
The moon as we know, has no light of her own…she is a dry and barren rock, suspended in space. Her light is borrowed and without the sun, she would never glow or send her magic beams to enchant us for centuries, inspire reams of myths and legends.

The moon informs us, as it has our foremothers and fathers, when to sow and when to harvest. Her magnetism is so important it governs our tides from the smallest rain puddle to the biggest ocean.

In the bible and several other holy scripts, the moon is called, ‘the faithful witness’. I believe that this is our challenge in life…to know that the sun is always shinning and that we can have a fruitful life in as much as we know that our light is borrowed and it’s free and easy to locate. That is Love. No money required – always forgiving since offending ‘infinity’ is impossible. Love only knows love, first, last, and all the way in between.


So in my mind, the love that Eleni was able to bring to the fore and release in her love of dance, despite the depth of sorrow it was birthed from, was script enough to conceptualize her offering.

So here she is, for as long as the digital age can display her, she will dance for you, for me and for the love of life.

Shooting this video was one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever had in my career. There was absolutely no glitch, nothing needed redoing, no misunderstandings arose, everything went so smoothly, it was as if the shoot had already happened, altogether elsewhere!

Her gratitude healed me. Of what I’m not sure yet…but it healed me. I felt so full of the quietest joy, the sort that doesn’t even need expression. When she saw the video, she and her niece rang me and she took me point by point about what she loved about it and how it made her feel.

I hope when you view this brief video about a dying woman’s parting gift, you take it in and may it live in you forever.

One final note, when Eleni visited me and we decided the red costume she would dance in, she left it with me so she didn’t have to bring it back with her for the shoot, scheduled a few days later. I tucked it safely away in a small suitcase. When she took it home she left by accident one of the small arm bands you see her wear in this video. I discovered it a few weeks after I arrived home and called her to ask her if she wanted me to send it to her… she said, “that’s okay, keep it and bring it with you when you come over and I’ll get it then.” So that’s what I plan to do!

This video was to be a gift for a fledging company that did not make it through it’s adverse circumstances and launch. It was a company set up by an equally generous woman who wanted to give the world a place to post legacies and obituaries. Be it in song, sermon, poem, or, like this, video. Then folks could share the burden of grief, celebrate the life of the deceased by sharing tributes, etc.

During the process of developing the website and assembling the videos to display on it I came to know the intent and hearts content of the woman who hired me. She had her sorrow to bear having lost a daughter and that loss carried an ocean of grief in it’s wake. Later on, during the journey we took together, she lost a dear friend and passed thru that grief.

Somewhere along the way, she discovered how expensive it was to have obits printed in the local newspaper and that prompted her interest in developing a Legacy Obituary Directory. She want it to be free to all and to make back her in