Mike Tomkins, creator of the wildly successful viral video revision of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” appeared on Monday’s episode of “The Today Show.” Tomkins spent time coaching the cast and describing the underlying techniques to produce user-generated viral content utilizing today’s technology. On the show, he described step-by-step on how to create a viral video of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite.” Using the same techniques provided on the show, Tomkins created his viral video sensation, which has since been viewed by over 5 million users while his “Dynamite” cover has garnered over 3 million.
To see how successful his tips are, and see how they relate to recent user-generated viral sensations, let’s take a look at the extremely popular original song “Chocolate Rain,” created by Tay Zonday.
Mike Tomkins reiterates on “Today” that you need no formal singing lessons or even a wonderful voice. During the show, the anchors are shown creating their own production utilizing their voices, and using a green screen with various colors to create the simple yet entertaining video.
Tay Zonday’s “Chocolate Rain” is a perfect example of this technique, using a harsh, deep, nearly Rod Stewart-type raspy voice and simple mannerisms that create a performance that’s both off-the-cuff as well as amusing. Zonday has made it known he has never had formal training for singing, and this solidified Tomkins’ comments that no matter your talent level, auto tuning, re-verb, and other simple additions provide all that is needed to create a viral sensation.
Now let’s take a look at the “Chocolate Rain” video itself. Tay Zonday can again be seen using the same techniques Mike Tomkins uses in his viral videos. Zonday begins the song standing behind a microphone in front of a light-colored background, quite similar to the green screen the “Today Show” hosts used during their performance. Zonday adds a unique approach in that he uses a mannerism while spelling it out on the screen to tell you exactly what he’s doing. This is quite similar to the goofy faces, movement, and transitions Tompkins uses in his videos and explains on the show.
Although different in nature, both videos use mannerisms to keep the viewers entertained, while being quirky enough to keep the viewer wondering what’s going to come next. Whether you use a simple auto-tune, a capella, some re-verb, or chorus, the goal is to make an amusing ditty that keeps the viewers interest.
The success of these viral videos is enormous. Mike Tomkins receives national air time to explain his techniques, receives millions of visitors, and makes a living while doing it. Comparatively, Tay Zonday’s video has been viewed nearly 60 million times on his YouTube channel, and he has made appearances on numerous late-night talk shows, radio stations, daytime television and more. He created an entire community of fanatics who have created ring tones, t-shirts, tributes and more.