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Here’s How To Make A Viral Video: ‘American Horror Story’ Teaser Creator Tells All

Here's How To Make A Viral Video: 'American Horror Story' Teaser Creator Tells All

Soon after the teaser trailer for the fourth season of “American Horror Story: Freak Show” was uploaded to YouTube earlier this week, it went viral. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube, the creepy 21-second clip was circulated by news outlets around the world. That’s not, in itself, surprising given the crazy popularity of the FX anthology series created by Ryan Murphy, but here’s the catch: the trailer was fan-made.

Not surprisingly, Fox had the video taken down from YouTube due to a copyright claim. But never fear, we’ve got the video for you (below), as well as the back story about how the video was made.

Indiewire e-mailed with the video’s creator, Kellen Moore, who explained how he got the idea for the video and how it went crazy viral.

What prompted you to make the video?

I graduated Chapman University in 2012, and since graduating it’s been a challenge trying to get my footing in this industry. I have a close group of friends that collaborate with frequently- my producer, Andrew Ducote, and Cinematographer, Jonathan Bruno. We’ve had the opportunity to shoot commercials for some major brands such as M&Ms and Burger King. I am a big “American Horror Story” fan. I have a lot of respect for that show, but more specific to the promo we did, I’ve been a tremendous fan of the show’s marketing. I’ve followed Ryan Murphy’s promo work for his shows dating back to “Nip/Tuck.” His work was an inspirational guide through film school, so when my friends and I wanted to do something creative for ourselves, I suggested we go after a dream — do a promo for season four of “American Horror Story.” My professors always said, “if you want to create, create, and if you want to direct, direct”… even though the promo was unofficial, it was a total blast having the opportunity to put my stamp on a brand and television show I love and respect.

How long did it take you to make?
I started production on the spot as early as March. I knew I wanted the promo to really be something special, so my producer and I made it point to give it all the detail and attention any production company would. We had animatics made of the promo before we shot it to help recruit some of our teammates — as it was a very low budget passion project we wanted to show the series intent behind the spot.
How did you get it out into the world?
We just uploaded it onto a YouTube page we made and shared it on Tumblr and Twitter using the proper hashtags… the internet embraced the spot and it naturally just did its thing. It was pretty remarkable to watch.
Were you surprised that people thought it was the official teaser from FX?
Yes and no. We put a lot of love and attention to detail into the spot. We wanted to follow the quality that FX puts into their work, our goal was for people to embrace our work and not feel like it wasn’t up to the standards that “American Horror Story” has set.
What’s your background? Are you a filmmaker or just a fan?
I’m a filmmaker. I’m 26 years old and the majority of my team are all recent college grads. We went to film school together and loved collaborating together. But I am also an avid fan- so a bit of both!
What advice would you have for creators who want their video content to go viral?
Love what you do and do solid work. All we wanted to do was pursue a personal dream and we had a blast while we did it. I think the internet noticed that and embraced it. I’m very grateful to have had such an audience with this- even though it’s unofficial, reading the responses has made it feel very official. My team and I are incredibly grateful.

Watch Moore’s promo (now on Vimeo) below and check out his web site.

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Comments

Arie

I’m pretty sure FX hired him to make a promo, but since he posted it online before FX was planning on releasing it, FX wanted to disassociate with it and claim it was unofficial and remove it from the web.

ANONYMOS

If the video was crap, he could have put first year teaser all over it and no one would watch it, or believe it. The beauty here is that it was amazingly produced and even the casting of Sagan Evans as the fallen angel was perfect. That's how you get over a million views in under 24 hours.

Roland

In an industry of big talkers, these guys did what they needed to do to get their creativity noticed. If you have talent, passion, and drive like they do, anything is possible. They didn't make the teaser go viral, about a million people online did after they saw a fabulous video. Congratulations on a job well done and hopefully corporate marketers/PR folks will take a page from CrowdCreatives (my new term) like this group to promote their shows and projects.

anonymous

re: parker and dk
he acknowledges this, that he didn't MAKE it go viral. instead, "the internet embraced the spot and it naturally just did its thing." also, i wouldn't call him an armchair producer…he's a kid with a group of friends that made something really beautiful. give him credit for that!

Parker

"What advice would you have for creators who want their video content to go viral?"

Easy. Just make a Youtube account that meticulously looks like an official FX page and brand it "First Teaser." Notice how he never mentioned that. He tricked us into giving him our attention, and boy did it work. Very well done teaser.

jeffrey

minecraftwee

DK

Clearly, this article is satire. You don't "make" a viral video, although armchair producers seems to love dishing their lucky insights. A video doesn't go viral until after the fact — and can't be calculated or controlled any more than an unpredictable, rapidly spreading forest fire. It's the great misnomer among all advertisers and marketers: "Hey, make me a viral video. Make my video GO viral." Good luck with that.

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