I Took an Old TV Sketch, and Recut it to Reach 3 Million People in 48 Hours
Friday, September 18th, 2015
First published by Australian-comedian, Dan Ilicon, on Medium
The text came to my phone whilst driving home from work.
Malcolm Turnbull had resigned. This finally meant #libspill was on. Malcolm Turnbull was going to try to roll a sitting Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. A spill is when the current leader of a party is challenged from within party ranks. It’s a unique feature of the Australian westminster system. We’ve had a few of them over the last five years, and they always create an immense amount of digital chatter.
As Australia’s 24th best satirical comedian, it’s an opportunity to get to work, this involves memeing, and tweeting, and videoing at a furious pace to keep up with the trending conversation. One weapon in my arsenal was a sketch I made for an Australian comedy/current affairs TV show that I was the host of called “Hungry Beast”. It was made during the first rumors of a leadership spill between Abbott and Turnbull in 2009 when the Liberal party was in opposition. The PM at the time was Kevin Rudd. So the script was a little dated.
There had been a rumors of spills in the Liberal and Labor parties over the years, where I’ve re-used this version of the video to try and catch the wind of the digital conversation, but it never really took off.
This time I tried something a little different.
So I hoisted a spinnaker and went to the original source material to see if I could ride that #Auspol #libspill current.
I found the sketch in high resolution on an old hard drive, so I whacked a new Hungry Beast bumper on the back of it, and uploaded it in FULL to theHungry Beast Facebook page.
Since the sketch does mention Kevin Rudd, I thought that may distract people, and I also snipped the intro from the news reader. That left me with a 14 second bit of content. Short enough for Instagram too. I uploaded them both to my personal Facebook Page and my Instagram.
A NOTE ON NUMBERS
The Hungry Beast page is followed by 15k diehard Hungry Beast fans.
I have a mishmash of people who follow me, but only 4k.
So at the outset I’d assume that the power of the Beast would be 3:1.
About 48hours after the leadership spill… this is the outcome:
Hungry Beast FB page reach: 95,529
Dan Ilic FB page reach: 3,766,378
Instagram hearts: 216
- Cut the context: Providing the context is necessary in a linear TV sense, but on the web just use title/description/tweet for that.
- Put best visual beat first: Just give the audience what they want. The want “wow” “ha” and “ooh”. Just like a dog at a bbq, give them a bit of sausage and they’ll stick with you if they think there’s more.
- Get rid of distractions: The audience is so used to jump cuts, there’s not need to fret over cutting out “Kevin Rudd” it’s reference from 2009. If you keep it you run the risk of dissonance with your audience. If it’s going to be a distraction, cut it out.
- Re-watch: Generally both versions of this piece did well overall because density of action in frame required multiple views to get each joke.
- Boost: When the shorter version hit a reach of 2m, I put a $ 20 boost on it. However that only got me an extra 70k in reach. Probably not worth it. I just thought I should do it while Iron is hot.
- Put a man on fire in your thumbnail: Nuff said.
I hope this was helpful for content making endeavours. Reaching audiences is strange game, that is a bit of a dark art.
Catching the wind of the digital conversation is all about being nimble, being able to turn things around quickly, and adapting to what is trending around you. Yes… I realise I’ve become something that I used to mock on TV…. but this is 2015 damn it. Get with it. Let’s be adults about this, and by adults I mean millennials.
You can learn more about Dan Ilic at danilic.com