If you look at the majority of university YouTube channels, the most popular videos are also some of the oldest. Oregon’s most watched video, Call Me a Duck, is from 201o. Tentacled Snake in Action made its debut on Vanderbilt’s channel in 2009. Conan O’Brien gave Dartmouth’s Commencement Address almost 5 years ago. The Play happened in 1982, but UC Berkeley didn’t upload it until 2007.
Makes sense. The longer a video is online, the more time it has to accumulate views. In 8 years, Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address has racked up almost 24 million.
The top of Boston College’s “most popular” video page looks a little different. Only one of the top 12 is older than 2013. That’s about the time when Sean Casey joined the Office of News & Public Affairs. It didn’t take long for him to start changing the order of things in Chestnut Hill.
After Pharrell William’s released his Happy video in November of 2013, Sean knew he wasn’t going to be the only one to create a higher ed version. So he didn’t get discouraged when Syracuse and Howard beat him to the punch. It’s a good thing, too. At almost a half-million views (more than any university version I’ve found), Boston College – Happy is currently the most watched BC video. More importantly, it helped Sean earn the trust he needed to change the department’s visual storytelling approach from journalistic to cinematic.
Instead of doing separate recaps on move-in, convocation, student involvement fair, and football glory, Sean rolled them all together for his Happy follow up, First Two Weeks. It’s BC’s next most popular video.
Sean’s latest work reflects an even more dramatic shift away from the traditional news/profile video style. In Less Talk, More Action, he didn’t use a camera to record the subject’s interview. Sean wanted student photographer and political science major Liam Weir to open up about the way he looked at the world. We video producers know better than most that people behind the camera tend to avoid the spotlight. Sean opted for the H4N.
He didn’t bother conducting interviews for Ever to Excel: The Power of Resilience. Music and images guide the story of four students overcoming failure in pursuit of their passions. “I wanted to make it really hard on myself by not having any voice over, no one telling you about it.” He shares even more insight in this version with director’s commentary.
It’s a good warm-up for our longest podcast episode yet, which we recorded on-location in Boston College’s main library. As a BC alumnus, Sean knows all the best campus spots to conduct an interview. Tweet us a pic of your go-to location.