What Does The Fox Mean? A look at the impact of viral videos


Justin Parker left) and Jimmy Craig (right) of Fatawesome were the featured speakers at the inaugural Viral Video Symposium and Contest at Regis College on Oct. 27. Photo by Nicole Jean Turner

Today’s blog post is by Alicia Martin, communications student at Regis College.

Photos by Nicole Jean Turner. 

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 7.56.46 PMThe Regis College Viral Video Symposium boasted more than just laughs on Monday,  Oct. 27,  at the college’s Fine Arts Center.

With a panel of experienced   filmmakers and videographers,  viewers of the symposium came out with more knowledge of the phenomenon of viral videos. The panel also served as judges for the first Regis College Viral Video  contest and three students walked away with cash prizes for their efforts.


Panelists probed the popularity of funny, offbeat or goofy videos.

The featured speakers were the duo behind Fatawesome, a viral video channel that has continued to gain more and more popularity, with viral hits  like “Cat-Friend versus Dog-Friend”  and  “If Girls Proposed to Guys.” Jimmy Craig and Justin Parker, who hail from Billerica, proved to be more than just funny personalities; they spoke about  a variety of subjects ranging from their own start to the future aspirations they have for Fatawesome and how they come up with ideas for their videos.

The symposium attracted members of the outside community, faculty, and staff as well as Regis students.  The event allowed for over an hour of time for the audience to pick the panel’s brains and talk technical about viral videos.


Panelists included David Graves, a Weston-based filmmaker, and Lindsay LaPointe, a Regis dance and video instructor. Photo  by Nicole Jean Turner

Other guest judges and panelists  included David Graves, a former TV producer and media consultant. David now runs Trailside Studios in Weston which produces television movies, independent feature films, and documentaries. David was joined by Lindsay LaPointe, a Regis instructor, dancer, videographer, and video editor. All four panelists  offered key insights into their respective areas of expertise — teaching the audience more than just how to make quick, funny films.

Of course, the real stars of the symposium were the Regis students brave enough to submit their work and, for some, it really paid off.


MAPW director Stephanie Schorow (center, standing) goes over the entries in the viral video contest with the judges.


Fatawsome enjoys the symposium.

First-place winner Jessica Taylor  won $100 for her video titled “Popcorn Dance,” which featured Jessica dancing with a bag of popcorn she received for free from her job at a   theatre. The second-place winner, Taylor Raucher, won $75 for her video titled “Sports Merchandise,” which featured Taylor “peeking” at a store mannequin. The third place prize of  $50 went to the video titled “Healthy Eating” by Nicole Turner. Turner also won the People’s Choice award for $100, with her  video of her dog rejecting a a carrot as a treat.

All six participants submitted hilarious videos, which proved both entertaining and educational.


Wicked Local’s Meghan B. Kelly  also covered the Viral Video Symposium; see here. Here’s an excerpt:

...More and more of the Internet’s traffic is devoted to video, said Schorow, and it’s changing the way audiences interact with online content. 

“You, the user, are changing the nature of what we used to call the audience,” said Schorow – especially as so many online videos, viral or not, are made by ordinary people and not professionals. 

.. Short videos have a way of grabbing the viewer’s attention, especially when they make it to social media, said the panelists. It’s why advertisers and brands are eager to get into the game as the traditional routes of advertising get more challenging. Many young people today, said Craig, including himself, are only watching TV shows online, skipping or avoiding most of the commercials on TV…. 


Students hold a press conference for the panelists in the viral video symposium before the main event

Prior to the event, students from EN 500: Foundations Seminar, Introduction to Professional Writing and EN 504: Multimedia and Social Media for the Professional Writer held a press conference with panelists.

Students and other Regis staff  also covered the event by Twitter. Here are some of their observations:

Content trumps fancy equipment when making a good viral video – a DSLR camera is best, but a cellphone will do

Some great entries in the video contest! And now for the winner… Good luck to those who entered.

Wondering if your video works? Would you share it? Would your friends?Congrats on entertaining video entries! Great event

Oct 27

“We are moving into a world where we are not only consumers, but also producers, of media.”


Nicole Jean Turner, who won both Third Place and the People’s Choice Award for a video of a dog who gets an unexpected treat, takes a break from shooting photos to pose with Jimmy Craig and Justin Parker.


Viral Video News flash

It’s never too late! The deadline for submissions to the Regis College Viral Video Contest has been extended to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22. Win $100 for a first-place entry and get a $10 pizza certificate — just for entering. Turn that video homework assignment into cash and glory. Enter at http://www.regiscollege.edu/academics/mapw-viral-video.cfm and come to the Symposium on Monday, Oct. 27.  Questions? Email Stephanie.schorow@regiscollege.edu


New Avenues for Making a Living as a Writer

old-time-reporterAll you freelancers who long for a $1 a word. consider this: $1 today was $8 in real money in 1960. That was one of the cold, hard factoids I learned last weekend at the New Avenues in Journalism Conference in San Francisco with the American Society of Journalists and Authors.  I’m late in blogging about this conference – better late than never, right? —  but the conference was a fascinating look into the future of journalism and thus professional writer. \

Keynote speaker Kara Swisher of <re/code> proved to be a potent mix of digital evangelist and old-school Chicago-style-reporter gruffness; she insisted on a Q & A instead of a typical keynote address and was blunt, funny, annoying and insightful. “To be a journalist today, you have to be an entrepreneur,” she declared, something evidenced by her own trajectory as a mail room employee to Wall Street Journal technology reporter to publisher and conference organizer. She insists that traditional media moguls still don’t get how bad it’s going to be for old forms, comparing them to horse carriage drivers who don’t get that cars will transform transportation. But she still believes in clear, concise writing and old-fashioned reporting, as in, pick up the phone and call someone to check a fact.  “I’m not hostile to the people I cover but I’m not very nice,” she acknowledged. In terms  of her mandate – how to cover the technology and business world, she imagines herself in the last century as in, “How would you cover Thomas Edison?” But she says – seriously? – that she thinks Google is really Skynet, a reference for all those Terminator fans out there.

Other sessions probed the issue of “content” creation, that is, production of written, digital and visual media for businesses, brands, corporation, institutions, nonprofits and other entities that are not traditional news outlets (and thus, don’t always operate by the same rules.) Many of the speakers say that although they are not writing for a magazine or newspaper, they still have to adhere to rule of clear writing, fairness, objectivity and honest research. Telling stories and creating narratives, particularly about people, is still paramount. However, the client gets to approve the final project – that is, panelists say, a key difference and something to get used to. Some (including yours truly) at the conference acknowledged the potential for abuse – or at least confusion among readers —  whether it’s an energy company creating content about global warming or clever copy about gun safety put out by the gun lobby.  But  there is a demand for content; producers at scripted.com, contently.com and ebyline.com discussed what they are looking for in terms of content writing and the ways they can help freelancer writers.  A number of the conference goers  said (bragged?)  that they can make six figures with content writing – which comes to a lot more than $1 a word!

All this may eventually impact the MAPW program at Regis College as we are continually looking for ways that writers can make a living. Live to write. Write to live. That is our motto.

Official Press Release for Viral Video Symposium

For immediate release Oct. 14, 2014                                                                                     Regis College Hosts First Viral Video Symposium

WESTON, MA. — Why are we so obsessed with short video clips of sneezing pandas, ninja kittens and  ice-bucket-dumping celebrities? Are viral videos just pure fun, or do they represent something deeper?

Those questions and more will be addressed at the inaugural Regis College Viral Video Symposium and Contest on Monday, Oct. 27, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the college’s Fine Arts Center. The event features Justin Parker and Jimmy Craig, the duo behind the YouTube sensations “Cat-Friend vs. Dog-Friend,” (19 million hits) and the more recent “If Girls Proposed to Guys.”

The symposium will also screen winning entries in the first Regis College Viral Video Contest, held this fall, which awards cash prizes to students who produced the best short videos in the categories of humor, documentary and ultra-short (Vine) videos.

The symposium, which is co-sponsored by the college’s new Master of Arts in Professional Writing (MAPW) program, was designed to encourage students to think seriously about short, often funny, videos, which are spread rapidly by social media. “Today, businesses, nonprofit organizations and  politicians ­– as well as comedians, musicians, aspiring filmmakers and doting pet owners — hope to create videos that ‘go viral,‘ ” said MAPW program director Stephanie Schorow.

The symposium panel features Justin Parker and Jimmy Craig, who met in high school in   Billerica, Mass., and who launched the comedy duo Fatawesome. The duo scored a viral hit in 2013 with “Cat-Friend vs. Dog-Friend,” which landed them on the “Today Show.” They have formed a corporate video production and are developing their own cable comedy series.

The Regis panel will also feature Dave Graves, a former newsman, TV producer and media consultant who now runs Trailside Studios in Weston, which produces movies-for-TV, independent features and documentaries, and Lindsay Caddle LaPointe, a dancer, teacher, videographer and video editor who teaches at Regis College.

The symposium is free and open to the public. The contest is open only to Regis undergraduate and graduate students. A total of $650 in prizes will be awarded; the panel speakers will act as judges. For information on the contest, go to http://www.regiscollege.edu/academics/mapw-viral-video.cfm.

If you are interested in covering the symposium or interviewing the panelists, contact MAPW program director Stephanie Schorow, Stephanie.schorow@regiscollege.edu

Regis College is a multifaceted Catholic university in greater Boston with 2,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students in the arts, education, sciences and health professions devoted to engagement, service and advancement in a global community. With a strategic graduate focus on health care, Regis College was recently named a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League of Nursing for the second time. The College also provides accredited pre-school and kindergarten programs and a Life-Long Learning Program (LLARC) for retired seniors. Visit Regis on the Web at www.regiscollege.edu.






What if Girls Proposed to Guys?

Jimmy Craig and Justin Parker are at it again. The YouTube stars (Cat-Friends vs. Dog-Friend) and the headliners at the Regis Viral Video Symposium have a new video out. Take a look. 


But why?…….

Then  plan to come to the Viral Video Symposium on Oct. 27 at Regis College. Admission is free. You’ll meet Craig and Parker — two guys from Billerica who are riding the viral video wave to a comedy career. They will show and explain their comedy videos but also talk seriously about the challenges of creating short videos to promote a business, a product — or yourself.


Don’t you love me?

Craig and Parker will also be among the judges of the Regis College Viral Video Contest which is now open to all Regis College students. A total of $650 in cash prizes will be given out. The first 10 entries will get pizza certificates as well. For the rules and to enter click here. 


Isn’t love grand?