Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Unleash The Hounds

I blogged about OK Go's videos last February when I was in the midst of tax-induced despair. They released another one yesterday and watching it has proved able distraction from my book-induced despair.

This is OK Go's thing--to make these crazy one-take videos that explode the internet. They've been continually one-upping themselves in the Holy Jim Thome, that's one take! department with the big marching bands and crazy Rube Goldberg machines of last spring's "This Too Shall Pass."

So I imagine when they were planning the next video, the conversation went something like this:

Ok Go Guy #1: "So, what are we going to do this time?"
OK Go Guy #2: "I dunno."
OK Go Guy #3: "I dunno."
OK Go Guy #4: "Dogs."
Ok Go Guys #1-3: "Cool."

The choreography and stagecraft are exuberantly low-rent (apparently I'm not the only one who's dropped a big chunk at Ikea lately.) But, you know, dogs. Apparently it took about 200 takes to get it right. That's what it takes sometimes, and sometimes your supporting cast will poop on your shoe, but eventually all your dogs are beautifully in sync and you have something to marvel at. The effort doesn't show, there's no trace of poop anywhere--the product is simply this effervescent bit of three-and-a-half minute silliness.

I'm having a lot of conversations lately about the hard patches of writing, those times when you're so stuck in the mud you start to think that mud is part of your identity. Just play, I tell my students. Free yourself. Have fun. See what happens. Then I go wallow in the mud myself. But this is the goal, we play, we try, we do 200 takes, and by the end your dogs are springing out everywhere, joyously.


  1. > Then I go wallow in the mud myself.

    As Oscar Wilde once said, "I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself."

    Lovely video. Thanks.

  2. Wow. That video is amazing. And you're right that it does look effortless, just like good writing - nevermind those 200 takes it took to get it right!

  3. I've tried way more than 200 times to get my dog to do something like that and she still hasn't figured it out. Though she did star in one of my books--does that count?

  4. What a cute video! Though the only one who looked like he was still having fun was Sideburns. The other three guys looked unenthused. Perhaps even they felt stuck in the mud by this point? The last of 200 takes is probably the most exhausting.

  5. I can't even get my dog to quit eating out of the cat box. His name is Oscar Wild - sort of random connection to Peter up there.

  6. I *love* OK Go. Thanks for sharing this one. I can't imagine pulling this off. That's commitment!


    P.S. But I missed all their retro 70's outfits. They should've dressed the dogs in leisure suits.

  7. So you're saying my story needs some sweet beats? And dogs?


    Seriously, though--well put. And nice vid. I'm always excited to see what these guys do next. Very inventive. And persistent.

    "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty..." Teddy Roosevelt.

  8. I love this video! I bet the dogs had fun every single take. (Especially because they probably earned massive amounts of treats!)