April 1, 8:35 p.m.: Surfing YouTube. Jimmy Fallon references “Dang Daniel” in a throwaway joke. “What is this ‘Damn Daniel’?”
April 1, 8:36 p.m.: Google blurbs are useless. All I’m getting is shoes and “Damn, Daniel.” Now I’m curious: Why would Jimmy Fallon think this is a thing?
April 1, 8:37 p.m.: I say screw it and look for the original “Damn Daniel” video clip. It’s only 30 seconds long. Yes! I can invest this sort of time.
April 1, 8:37:30 p.m.: Damn. It’s shoes and Daniel. Still, I like the sound and rhythm. I see in the videos recommended underneath the clip that Ellen has had the kids on her show.
April 1, 8:45 p.m.: Aw, Ellen!She’s got her fingers on the pulse of the internet. The kids are adorable, seem pretty mature for 14 and 15, and Josh, the writer/creator of the viral meme is properly grateful for a “Damn Daniel” surfboard. I like these boys! I want to know more!
April 1, 8:46 p.m.: Recommended video: “How ‘Damn Daniel’ Ruined my Life.” Eight minutes long . . . well, OK. I’m hooked by now, and I’m ready to give it a try. Thirty seconds later, I turn it off. Nothing about shoes or Daniel, too much about guy on the screen. Backstory is boring. I’d rather head for bed.
April 1, 8:53 p.m.: Goodnight.
- Catchy hooks are catchy. And follow them up with more of the same. (The short “a” sound motif in the whole video is the key, I think. dAmn dAniel, bAck At it agAin with the white vAns.)
- Cut out the boring parts, even if it means your work is shorter. Filler is a huge turnoff, and readers/watchers will find better things to do.
- Don’t waste time with introductions and backstory.
- Steps for an interesting narrative experience: a.) Tease the reader/watcher (Jimmy Fallon). b) Provide content, and for god’s sake, don’t spell out the subtext. Let the reader/watcher figure it out. c) NOW you can introduce a little backstory – where are the kids from? Why do they like Vans? How did this video clip come to be? Our interest is piqued; now’s the time to satsisfy it. (Thank you, Ellen.)
- The big takeaway: provoke their curiosity first. Then you can take some time to satisfy it.
- Don’t take too long to tell your story.
And that, my friends, is how I spent my evening. Damn.