LA guy makes a viral video love letter for his girlfriend. Or is he simply promoting a band?
At first glance, the idea seems fantastically romantic: create a web video for your long-distance girlfriend without telling her, and cast it out into the internet to see if it finds its way to your beloved. It's like a message in the bottle for the twenty-first century, a heartfelt digital love letter sent on a wing and a prayer. This is what Walter C. May tried to send his girlfriend this week.
Or is it?
The Village Voice recently published an interview with May in which he explained that he made the video "I Hope This Gets to You" in an attempt to feel closer to his long distance girlfriend. He explains: "I got together with my roommates, who are all in a band called The Daylights." Aww, adorable. We love it when talented friends help us out with our romantic endeavors. 50 Ways To Be Romantic Right Now
May continues: "I wanted it to be simple, something really anyone could have done. We shot the video in my buddy's garage on a Canon 5D one Sunday afternoon, and I spent maybe $100 in total, buying black bedsheets and stuff. I didn't want to go overboard, to show that the thought really does count."
This is weird, since the final product looks and sounds like a professionally produced music video. (Seriously, we kind of expected credits to roll at the end.)
In the Voice interview, May explains that he asked a few friends to tweet about it, and adds: "My roommates also have been tweeting about it, and Katy Perry tweeted it today."
OK, so the band whose music is featured in this suspiciously slick "love letter" is promoting it, ostensibly because they're tight with Walter and want to help his girlfriend find the video. But Katy Perry? This is getting weird.
Oh, wait, not weird at all, because May is a music video producer. Scanning the clients list on his website, we discover that he's directed music videos for The Daylights and—quelle surprise—Katy Perry. Digging a bit further, we note that said website has an entire section devoted to his "Viral" endeavors. Well, at least he knows what he's doing. His bio refers to his "association with the young Hollywood crowd" in an apparently non-tongue-in-cheek manner, and then name-drops Paris Hilton.
Maybe we're cynical, but suddenly this seems less romantic and more... meh.
There's nothing wrong with the video itself, but the way it's been presented (as a small personal project) is beginning to smell a little rotten. At the very least, the line between personal and professional is blurry here. If he'd gotten some super-talented friends to help him out with a song and then made a video that wasn't so high concept and unrelated to his relationship, we'd believe it as a personal gesture. But the studio-quality sound and and the intricately choreographed talking hands ("borrowed" almost entirely from the movie Labryinth) make it seem less like a heartfelt message from one lover to another and more like a music video marketing stunt. Then again, maybe the dude was being sincere and he just didn't realize how overproduced and impersonal the video would look to non-industry eyes. 5 Dating And Technology Rules You Need To Know
We don't really have any way of knowing right now, but of course it's possible that we'll find out later that it was a stunt, and then the romantics will feel stupid and the cynics will leap from their seats shouting "Toldja!" (Remember when that adorable iPhone proposal ended up being an advert for a viral video company? How the heck are we supposed to believe in romance when marketers use it to sell us something?)
May's girlfriend has yet to come forward or comment on the love letter/stunt. We'd love to hear what she has to say about the video and the ensuing controversy. As far as we Love Buzzers are concerned, a grainy iPhone video of a dude singing off-key or a cheesy photo montage would've plucked our heartstrings about ten times more effectively.
But then we wouldn't be googling The Daylights, would we? Watch the video below.