Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How to Make a Trick Shot Video for YouTube

Nothing says "I've reached the pinnacle of my collegiate athletic career" better than a trick shot video. So, if you're like me and want the world to know how prolific you were for 3 quarters of one regular season 3-on-3 intramural basketball game at a D-3 school, the following guide is a must read.

The great thing about trick shot videos is that they finally allow the athletes to be seen in their optimum setting: without pesky defenders guarding them while making shots that don't count for points. It's a win-win-win-win.

The additional wins are for YouTube, unintentional comedy, and a white athlete's final shot at immortality.

Here is a user-friendly guide to creating your very own trick shot video.

1. Collect 1-2 college athletes who ride the bench - They can be the 3rd string quarterback, the two mandatory white guys on the basketball team, or one of the trainers who never got their chance in high school but hang on to the belief that if 8 guys on the team get injured he'll be called into action.

2. Come up with an over-confident opening statement - A necessity of all trick shot vids is the opening statement. You can be seated at center court with a basketball nearby and say something like, "Welcome to the Kansas State Thunder Dome, punks!" Then you throw the basketball over your head and through the hoop.

TANGENT ALERT: For a sport classified as poetry in motion, basketball might be the hardest to describe doing without sounding like a doughy armed, bespectacled, turd-in-the-punch-bowl type. You can't sound cool saying, "He took the ball, dribbled left once, spotted up and tossed the orb through the cylinder for a swish!" or "He shot it in the basket!" or "He caught it in the corner and threw the ball in the hoop!"

There's just no good way to describe that. From here on out, I will refer to different types of money to describe the act of shooting a ball through a hoop...gah! Did it again!

3. Hire an overly excitable cameraman - Nothing sells the importance of your trick shot better than the guy holding the camera shaking uncontrollably and shouting, "Oooh!! Hoo-hoo!!!" It lets the viewer know either A) the shot was improbably made on the first attempt and the cameraman couldn't hold himself together or, (more likely), B) it was your 105th attempt, you've been asked to leave repeatedly, you're beginning to start doubting your existence and the cameraman is suffering from a mild case of dementia.

Either way, you must elicit a reaction from your cameraman after you throw the ball from the 3rd balcony and...LIRA!

4. Hip-Hop Soundtrack - Obviously a must have if you want to keep people interested. Fortunately, most YouTube video creators know to use songs without lots of curse words to ensure the largest population of viewers watch the entire video without being offended. Unfortunately, most of them end up picking edited versions of hardcore songs which leaves the viewer with, what I like to call, a start-stop headache. "I'mma ____ the ___ ___ and ____ ___ you're a ____ the ____ in the finest ____ establishment of the free ____ world."

5. Slow Motion Replay - If the hip-hop soundtrack is the staple of the trick shot video, the slow motion replay is the less effective paper clip. One successful shot often takes multiple takes and the editors forget that even though the shot was difficult for you, watching a guy cash money the ball with his foot from half-court isn't impressive after we just watched you throw it from the score board and bounce it off four rows of seats and shout, "Currency!"

6. Lackies - Any good trick shot video requires 3-4 guys who don't make any shots, aren't seen helping in any way, and who's only value-added to the video is throwing their arms up in the victory "V" or fist pumping while saying, "We need to show that one in slow-mo on the video!"

7. Props - Anyone can throw a ball full-court and Euro it. But only a select few can do it while being pushed in a wheel chair, laying down on a stretcher, or while reading War & Peace blindfolded while playing ping-pong. Use your props.

8. One Out-of-Frame Shot - There has to be one shot, or throw, in the video where the ball goes out of the frame of the camera, then re-enters right before swishing through the hoop (crap)...right before it dollar bills (much better). This will give all your skeptics one shot to hang on to as their sole evidence that the entire video was CGI.

"Look, how do you explain the shot that went off camera? You know college kids these days...even though they're athletes, which means they probably don't have time to have a job, and have to fill their free time with studying and playing video games, they probably still have the resources and know-how to use CGI. I can't see a better use of time and $10,000 than creating another 4 minute trick shot video that fails to impress me."

9. Cross-Sport Promotion - The common YouTube browser likes variety. I'll watch you shoot a half-court shot once. If you do it again, I'm leaving. Unless, of course, you use a pool cue to cash the shot. Tired of seeing me knock over water bottles with a football? What about if I throw the football off second base and into a trash can? Interested then? What if I volleyball a coconut through a goal post, past the goalie and into a golf hole? Do I have your interest now?

10. Unnecessarily Long End Credits - The final component of all trick shot videos is the 2 minute credit reel that must run after your last mediocre shot. Nothing keeps my interest more than learning the name of the guy at Boise State who let you into the gym after hours. Or seeing that the same guy who starred in the video also produced, directed, edited, wrote and filmed it.

That's pretty much all it takes to get yourself a YouTube video with 500,000 views. It's not as hard as you thought, and the great thing about YouTube is you can cash in those views (like tickets at the arcade) for prizes. I hear, 250,000 views will get you a pretty sweet sticker book. And if you can get over 1 million, you can redeem them for a copy of the longest-titled, most out-of-date book in existence.

Now that you know what to do, get out there and start making those trick shot videos! There can't be enough of them!

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