How to produce a good parody video

June 19, 2012 By Archives, Comedy

It seems every day there are hundreds if not thousands of parody videos shot, and released on youtube, vimeo, or any other video platform.  I would say maybe 10% of them are worth watching.  This blog is for the 90% out there who do not understand the very basics of creating a halfway decent looking parody video.  It’s not rocket science, but somehow there is still shit, after shit video out there. This is for you.

Now, there are many factors that go into making a quality parody, but I have narrowed them down to the following three…

  1. Cinematography / Quality
  2. Performance
  3. Production Value

With these three in mind, you can almost guarantee an above average parody.  And judging by most parody videos out there…you don’t have to do much.

Cinematography / Quality: What frustrates me the most about parody videos is when people get simple shots wrong.  Whether it’s the wrong angle, depth, or composition, it baffles me that most people cannot recreate a simple shot.  Do this, and you have already positioned yourself above 50% of the others.  Quality:  Hey, everyone, its 2012, if you cant get a HD camera then don’t bother posting it.  Shooting in HD gives you a “professional” look, especially if you know how to set up a shot.  Standard definition is a thing of the past.  Get with it.

Performance: Now, I know we cannot find professional actors out there, but everyone has seen enough TV, movies, and live theater to know a decent performance when we see one… and we all know when we see a bad performance.  “Just sell it” Time and time again I have seen people try to mimic an original video but just fail because of their own self-consciousness.  You already made the effort to actually go though with shooting a parody, now you have to give 100% of your energy to making it look and feel real with the performances.  If you are not capable of letting it all out, then find that crazy kid in school who doesn’t care what people think and tell him to go crazy.  I guarantee you’ll get a good performance.  A good performance will again raise the professionalism, and make the entire production that much better.

Production Value: To put yourself right up there with the 10% you have to find a way to add production value.  Whether it’s a cool location, good lighting, sound, or special effects; anything to add that “looks professional” will sky-rocket you into parody stardom.  Especially with music parodies is this key.  The better quality the song/singers, the better the parody.  I know you have at least one friend who can cut you a good mix, and another that has decent pipes.  Find em!

Notes: Remember that parodies are a dime a dozen.  The first one there, usually means more views, and people look to yours for benchmarking.  Timing is huge in the parody world, and never hesitate when you have a good idea!  Now that you are locked and loaded with all the info, what are you waiting for!  Find the next Rebecca Black, or Call me Maybe and get to work!


THE GOOD: Shit Hipsters Say – 4/5:  Here is someone that gets it, and knows how to make a quality video. It’s shot in HD, the shots look good and have nice composition, and the performance is not overplayed. Granted the “Shit ____ people say videos” do not take master film makers. Still a lot of people try and fail.

THE BAD: Shit College Girls Say – 2.5/5: Now this video is not terrible, but I think it is a great example of how so many videos online could but good. The quality of course should be better, the repeating of the jokes is redundant, and the camera shots could be better.  The performance is average at best.  Improving on the big three as talked about in the blog would make this video much better.  The writing is not bad.

THE PROS: LNJF The Real Housewives of Late Night – 4.8/5:  I know the Jimmy Fallon show has every resource imaginable, but take out all the fancy equipment and they still get it.  From the writing to the performances to the look and feel of a late night show, they make it look easy.  It’s never a bad thing to learn from some of the best.