Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Who's Who in my new YouTube promo extravaganza!

The thing I like most about my new YouTube promotional extravaganza is it’s already turning out to be polarizing.

For instance, my family seems horrified. Not just that they’re in it, but that I’m really, really in it. Parts of it are way over the top, like the part when I lip synch “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

And there’s word that Sir Paul McCartney’s feathers are ruffled, too, although I suspect he’s just reacting that way to get Yoko to shut the hell up.

I do hope you’ll check it out. You won’t be bored.

Nauseous, maybe, but not bored.

My purpose for producing it is to give event planners a good long glimpse of how people are reacting to my talks. As you’ll, see many of them are euphoric. About half the people who attend say I ought to be a stand-up comic and the other half say thank me for being so inspirational.

It’s a wonderful breakthrough for me and I need to do everything I can to seize on it.

Hence the video. It stems from a string of my summer appearances where I had a video guy approach attendees and ask, “So, in 20 seconds or less, what did you think of Chris?”

Of course, people are mostly polite anyway and would say “He was funny!” Or “Inspirational!” That kind of thing.

My initial idea was to have about two minutes of people saying that. But wouldn’t that be boring?

So I decided to spice it up with family and friends chipping in their snide remarks. That led to a bunch of mini-skit.

This is 7:22, far longer than experts advise. They say no one will watch something this sprawling.

To hell with them.

My tech guys are right now working to make it even longer. My buddy Quinn Fallon sent me a musical tribute and I responded with a sign-board reply. My fingers are crossed that’ll soon be available as a director’s cut.

But this is what’s there now. Here’s a brief rundown of who’s who and some behind the scenes info about when into the shot.

I had a lot of fun doing this over the past two months and am grateful to all who appeared or encouraged. I apologize to those who had to be cut.

Scene 1: That’s Josie. She’s turning 14 on Thursday. She shot many of the scenes and advised when I was doing something way too dorky for her 8th grade tastes.

Scenes 2 - 6: An extended version of this could have been the whole thing. I think it’s very effective to hear real people saying they genuinely like something and nothing about these reactions is contrived. But for the thing to stand out, it needed more. 

Scene 7: That’s Arnold. People everywhere clamor for his endorsement. But I thought it’d be more fun if this Midas-touched pitchman pretended he’d never heard of my book.

Scene 8: That’s a blow-up cover of the book featuring Palmer’s endorsement. I think following up him saying he doesn’t know who I am with a shot of his quote from my book is exactly what Spielberg would have done . That Mick Jagger is heard in the background singing, “I like it!” is purely coincidental.

Scene 9: That’s Brad. He’s my nephew who was up for a visit. Lovely backdrop of the Point State Park fountain and Ft. Pitt Bridge in the background.

Scene 10: That’s one of the ladies from an area church group that invited me to speak. I’m fond of this one because she just seems so happy.

Scene 11: That’s Eric. He’s a cook at The Pond. And he really did buy 10 books. I didn’t use any fakers. I like following a petite church lady up with Eric, a great guy, who looks like he’d have nothing in common with petite church ladies. The subtle message is my book works with every demographic. And it does. But those two would get along great, too, I’m sure. 

Scene 12: That’s Heidi. She’s an instructor from South Side Area School district. You’ll notice I start moving away from endorsements to more jokey stuff. I think that’ll keep interest fresh. Again, once you’ve established that people like the book, move on.

Scene 13: That’s a Greentree Methodist minister where I spoke to local rotarians. I almost cut the “And tell him to get a job!” line, but I think self-deprecation goes a long way in helping promote a book like mine.

Scene 14: That’s Boris and Bill. It’s some of the most infectious laughter in history. I’m very fond of this because it looks like Bill’s laughing at the idea of me getting a job. That is funny.

Scene 15: That’s Andy. He’s a great guy, but I couldn’t have him go on longer than 20 seconds because it might have seemed cloying, thus . . .

Scene 16: I rudely cut off Andy. That Ray Davies and the Kinks are singing “Village Green Preservation Society” in the background is purely coincidental.

Scene 17: That’s another teacher from South Side Area School District. I’m very pleased by what he had to say and wouldn’t dream of cutting one word of it.

Scenes 18 — 21: Here’s where the thing really begins to diverge from typical promotions. It’s where friends of mine begin acting out scenes for me. All four reactions from my darling girls (Mom, Val, Lucy and Josie) make me laugh. Josie cinches her best supporting actress nomination.

Scene 22: That’s Boris and Bill again laughing hysterically at my daughter’s reaction.

Scene 23: That’s Renee Stallings’s Greater Latrobe Senior High School journalism class. I spoke to two classes that day but, alas, could only include one in the video. But the reaction I get from high school and college students is so heartwarming. These guys were great. This and their next appearance are among my favorite scenes.

Scene 24: That’s Dave setting up a key joke at the end. He dodged me for a week before finally agreeing to be in it. Odd, because he was so great in the previous FAQ one linked below. I think he’ll love this when he sees it.

Scene 25: That’s Arnold again because you can never have too much Arnold.

Scene 26: That’s Doc. He’s been Arnold’s right hand man for nearly 50 years. I showed him the clip with the warning that I really hammed it up. I think he was shocked at just how hammy I can be.

Scene 27: That’s me swinging a golf club. I wanted my boisterous golf buddies mostly clammed up when the camera went on.

Scene 28: That’s Doc again. Same clip only cut into two. We both love “Survivor” and are eager for it’s Wednesday return.

Scene 29: That’s me pretending I’m Jeff Probst.

Scene 30: That’s my family acting apathetic.

Scene 31: That’s me acting dumbfounded that they don’t want to know what they’re playing for.

Scene 32: That’s TC, the whistling beer vendor. He’s a real Pittsburgh character and I am proud to have him in my video.

Scene 33: That’s Rick. Remember, this whole video is shot in the hopes it’ll interest event planners to have me into speak to their groups. At this point in the video, a little more than halfway, I wanted to remind them what they’re getting when they’re getting me.

Scene 35: That’s Dave again saying I sing like Sinatra. Again, he’s setting up a concluding joke.

Scene 36: That’s Wanda. I love what she said and the way she said it.

Scene 37: That’s another church lady who’s eager to buy the book.

Scene 38: That’s Lori from Second Chapter Books in Ligonier. I’ll be at her store for the Friday and Sunday of Ft. Ligonier Days. Stop by!

Scene 39: That’s Brooke. She’s bought a bunch of copies of the book and taught both our daughters. We love her. This scene represents a shift where I wanted to have a bunch of people say basically the same thing, “I loved the book so much I bought 10/20/30 copies.” I think that’s really uncommon for most books, but I want viewers to know it’s very common with “Use All The Crayons!” And isn’t what she said wonderful? So kind.

Scene 40: That’s Paul looking like he’s taking a moment to talk to the camera while holding back a collapsing wall. His story is pivotal in the journey of my book. Because what he’s saying is true. We’d met only briefly and I sensed he’d like the book so I dropped one off at the bank where he works. Didn’t hear from him for two months. Not a peep. Then out of the blue he called and said he loved the book so much he wanted to buy 30 copies for his employees. I thought, man, I might be onto something here. He’s disappointed he comes across as the only serious guy in the video. He’s not serious and I’ll try and come up with a  better role for him next time.

Scene 41: That’s Sue and Martina. Our families are great friends and I love her story. It’s all true, too. Her 99-year-old mother wrote me a note saying the book had changed her life. God bless her.

Scene 42: I had to justify letting her talk longer than the allotted time. That The Who are singing “Mama’s Got a Squeeze Box” in the background is purely coincidental.

Scenes 43-46: That’s me relating the groundswell of organizational interest in having me speak. Those kinds of orders from those kinds of organizations are significant and should add heft to the idea of having me speak.

Scene 47: That’s the WVU 4H group reacting to one of my speeches like they think I’m Oprah and I’d just promised them each a brand new car. The full clip (below) is worth checking out.

Scene 48: That’s Martina saying she really likes it when I sing.

Scene 49: That’s me singing a joke from the book.

Scene 50: That’s Martina again saying she likes it when I really, really, really, really sing.

Scene 51: That’s me pretending to really, really, really, really sing. That Queen is singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the background is purely coincidental.

Scene 52: That’s the GLSD high school journalists saying they love Chris Rodell. Thanks, guys! I love you, too.

Scene 53: That’s me delivering the payoff lines. I’ll be sending the video all over the country and I’m hoping people will get in touch about having me speak to their group. That Paul McCartney and The Beatles are singing “The End” from “Abbey Road” in the background is purely coincidence. I mention this because when I finally posted the video YouTube informed me that song is blocked. I decided I’ll let it play until they take steps to shut it down. It’d be a pity because it’s only background and having a song called “The End” play at the end of my video is purely coincidental.

Scene 54: That’s Arnold right before he calls security. Love it!

So there you go, way more than you wanted to know about something few of you may ever even watch. But I wanted to document it.

That’s enough for now. This is the end.

I’m ending with “The End” for purely coincidental reasons, too.

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