By Bob Hebeisen
For the past few months I have been contracting at Alpha Software Corporation. In business since 1982, Alpha is a real bootstrap organization with lean, highly productive permanent staff, and they plug in contractors and service providers to add capacity.
Why a Meme?
- Internet memes are already funny. They are, by definition, a running joke.
- Internet memes typically have low production value and can be “hacked” with technology that is free to download or already on your computer.
- Internet memes already have an audience because people are familiar with previous versions of them.
1. Find a meme that fits your brand and your message
- Alpha Software Corporation is dog crazy. Specifically, Richard Rabins, the Co-Chairman, is dog crazy. He always has been. When I worked there back in the ’90s, Richard instituted a policy where any employee could bring their dog to work at any time (the woman I shared an office with had a 140 lb. English Mastiff named Jagger she would regularly bring to work). More evidence: earlier this year, Alpha issued a press release announcing that Richard’s dog Clifton had joined Alpha as “Director of Sniff-Testing.”
- The theme of the Dog Tease meme is disappointment. The dog’s hopes get built up when the man starts talking about food, only to be dashed when the man announces that he ate the food himself, and then gave it to the cat. Alpha’s brand is all about picking up off the floor the disappointed customers of other database software. So we did a version of the dog tease video that starts with a disappointed dog but then gives him renewed hope.
2. Get the source video
3. Script it
You can download the spreadsheet document I used for scriptingto make it easy if you decide to do a video of your own.
4. Produce it
- The standard microphone from my laptop computer
- Audacity, an opensource freeware audio recording and processing software
- Microsoft Windows Live Movie Maker (which ships with Windows 7) for mixing the new audio track to the video and outputting the new video
- First I recorded the dog’s voiceover and dropped the audio clips into Microsoft Live MovieMaker. Audacity lets you easily record the audio, trim dead spots from the beginning and end of your recording and smooth over any hot spots, and then save them as .WAV files. MovieMaker lets you import audio, position it on the timeline just right, and mix it with the original video. Record each vocal outburst as a separate file, so you will end up with around 15 little audio files for the dog.
- Next I output the new video with just the dog’s voiceover. Why did I do this? Because MovieMaker does not have multi-track capabilities for audio, so any overlapping of the dog’s voiceover with the man’s voiceover could not be accommodated. So I output the video with just the dog’s voiceover and then I started a new MovieMaker project with that interim video to add the man’s voiceover.
- Then I recorded the man’s voicover and dropped the audio clips into MovieMaker.(Again, I recorded each vocal outburst as a separate file and I had around 15 little .WAV files for the man’s voiceover.)I imported them into MovieMaker and positioned them just right on the timeline.
- I added credits and a call-to-action (CTA) to the end. MovieMaker makes it easy to add title screens, credits, and captions to your videos, and to use basic animation techniques like wipes, fades, scrolls, etc. The CTA is to download the Alpha Five free trial.
- Finally, I output the finished video. When outputting the video from MovieMaker, I just used the recommended settings for the output file and I wound up with about a 40MB .WMV file and the A/V quality is totally fine.
5. Post it
6. Promote it
- Step-by-step instructions can be found here.
- The video source file can be downloaded here.
- The script template can be downloaded here.
- To post your own video as a “video response,” go to the MS Access 2010 Dog Tease video on YouTube, click your cursor into the “comments” box and you will see a control appear on the side that says “create a video response”, which will allow you to upload your video.