This Must Be An Elaborate Hoax
Chances are, if you are into comedy and you live in the United States of America, you have heard of Comedy Central. Although Comedy Central struggled to find a strong audience in it’s infancy, they turned a sharp corner towards major success at the turn of the century and emerged as the King of Comedy, when it comes to television networks.
On the flip-side of ‘being known for comedy,’ you’ll find us— Upside Down Creative Media. Although UDCM has gained a small following locally in Jacksonville, FL, we are merely a small grain of sand in the wide world of comedy. Naturally, if I were to say that Comedy Central (the biggest name in comedy) shared a video created by Upside Down Creative Media (possibly the smallest name in comedy), the logical reaction would be one of major disbelief. I mean, you are probably thinking I only wrote this blog with a catchy title as an elaborate hoax to get more traffic to my site.
Well folks, if that is your reaction, then brace yourself. You’re wrong. It happened a week ago and I’m about to share with you how to get your content shared by Comedy Central.
The Proof is in the Pudding
Before I go any further, I’m going to share with you the pudding for proof that Comedy Central actually shared my content. Here is the tweet that ultimately rocked my world and re-lit that creative fire under my ass. At a time where I was considering moving on from pursuing my ultimate dream of writing and directing a television comedy, the same network I dream of working for one day actually shared my content.
Here is the proof!
— Comedy Central (@ComedyCentral) June 2, 2015
How Did I Get Comedy Central To Share My Video?
To start off, I had no intentions of anyone ever seeing this video, besides the small network of viewers I attract. Generally, my videos spike up to 300 views in the first few days and then taper off, averaging about 1,000 views in a year. That’s horrible, I know, but I do everything on no-budget and I have a “regular career” in marketing that takes up all my time. It doesn’t help that my network is small: at the time of releasing this video, I had 500 or so Facebook friends, 230 followers on my UDCM Facebook page, 61 subscribers on my YouTube Channel, and maybe 50 Twitter followers. Each network is unique, meaning, nobody on Facebook follows me on Twitter or subscribes to my YouTube. Also, most of the UDCM Facebook followers are friends with my former comedy partner, Rob Moccio. So in total, I had the reach of about 800+ people in my whole network, all of whom are likely not connected to Comedy Central.
So how did Comedy Central reach the decision to share my video? Well, it all started with the idea behind the video. I started watching this show on Comedy Central called Big Time In Hollywood, FL. The reason I started watching it was because my other favorite show, Workaholics, abruptly ended and my Wednesday night ritual of watching Comedy Central was over. I happened to see a tweet by Jillian Bell mentioning this new show. Off the bat, the title of show intrigued me, because I reside in Florida and upon further inspection, I found out that the show revolved around two aspiring filmmakers, which is something I know and relate to. I tuned in and from the start, I was hooked. Not only did the show have me hooked, but I started using Twitter more frequently at this time. Immediately after watching the first show, I started tweeting out to everyone on Twitter associated with Big Time In Hollywood, FL to let them know how much I loved the show. I never expected responses, but to my surprise, every tweet I sent out got a response. At times, I found myself having small Twitter conversations with Lenny Jacobson, which was totally bizarre to me.
Anyway, as the season came to an end, the cast and crew of BTIHF started promoting the hashtag #BigTimeHollywoodSeason2 in order to promote Comedy Central and Viacom picking up the show for a second season. Unfortunately, Comedy Central, has a track record of killing shows after one season due to ratings. The thing that sets BTIHF apart from those quickly canceled shows is that it’s Comedy Central’s first serialized comedy; this show literally has a story-line that connects from one episode to the next. Each character has an arc that evolves from one episode to the next. It’s a funny, offbeat, wild-ride the whole way through and ending it at Season 1 would be a crime to humanity. Needless to say, I was tweeting this hashtag everyday.
At the same time this show aired it’s season finale, Shia Labeouf (in partnership with his creative partners Rönkkö & Turner) released green screen footage of him going on a long rant. I happened to find this footage right before the wave hit. As with most of my ideas, I can’t really explain how it came to fruition, but I knew I wanted to incorporate Big Time in Hollywood, FL. I thought, why not put him in a QVC or Home Shopping Network setting where he’s trying to sell you something? From there, I started allocating Creative Commons assets to use in the video and got into Photoshop to start putting all the graphics together. I decided to go with a VHS film-look (sourced from creating layers from my own VCR) so that I could render it in low resolution and get the video rendered quicker. I did the entire edit in about 30 minutes and due to it’s smaller file size, I was able to upload it on my poor up-time connection rather quickly.
Once I published it on YouTube, I tweeted out to Lenny from my personal account and then tweeted it on my UDCM Twitter with the hashtag #BigTimeHollywoodSeason2. What happened next was a tidal wave of unexpected Twitter love.
The first share was from the official Big Time In Hollywood, FL Twitter account.
— BigTimeInHollywoodFL (@bigtimecc) June 2, 2015
Second, came Jon Bass, Del Plimpton of Big Time In Hollywood, FL.
— Jon Bass (@thejonbass) June 2, 2015
Then, the Senior Producer at the Howard Stern Show, Jason Kaplan, shared my video!
— Jason Kaplan (@Siriusjay) June 2, 2015
Finally, Lenny Jacobson, of Big Time In Hollywood, FL, shared it and linked to me!
— Lenny Jacobson (@Lennyjacobson) June 2, 2015
Needless to say, I was extremely overwhelmed and humbled at the same time. I happened to catch a Periscope (Twitter’s live Broadcasting App) of Lenny Jacobson and he personally thanked me for creating this, stating, “Whatever you want, you got it. If you fly out to LA, you can hang out with all of us and we’ll buy you a beer. You can even have Del’s shorts if you want. No, never-mind, those are in wardrobe.” He also stated that this video made it’s rounds in a Comedy Central e-mail, so that made me happy. If I could have saved that Periscope, I would have; it was a pretty surreal moment. Getting a follow request from him and the shows co-creator, Alex Anfanger, was just the cherry on top of all of it.
I tried following the trail of retweets and was just shocked at the people sharing this: actors, celebrities, major television producers, and several fans of the show. The video jumped up to 3000+ hits in one day, which is a rarity. I’ve only created one mildly viral video that hit about 20,000 views and then just dropped. I think YouTube or Google hates me.
Achieving Relevancy – Content Is King
It may seem silly to some, but this was a major achievement for me in the world of creating. I get local recognition from time to time and I have access to have my shorts shared at local showcases and comedy events, but this Twitter sharing event created a ripple that I’d never been able to achieve; that feeling was addictive. In a world where we are all fighting for relevance, I felt relevant for a week. For a week, I was able to convert the grain of sand that UDCM was, into a solid rock in the world of comedy when Comedy Central shared my content.
The secret is really not a secret at all. In fact, Matt Cutts of Google has been saying it forever: Content is King! The secret to becoming relevant when you are barely a blip on the radar is staying on top of what’s going on in the world you are trying to be seen in. Do I think this is going to push me into the world of creating for TV yet? No. But it is something that has sparked me to continue this fight to be relevant and to get my voice out there.
Although I’ve written recently about hanging it up for the rest of the year, I’m not giving up. Not yet.