Articles

Making A BuzzFeed Video: The Chinese Zodiac


– Today’s the day.
And hopefully, everything goes well.
(alarm buzzing)
(slow calming music)
– [Man] It’s her back, and then
it turns into a wide, right?
– Yeah.
– Cool, cool.
Okay, and then we get to,
that’s like a snag close-ups,
once she’s in her place?
– This is as she’s walking.
– [Man Without Glasses] Oh, as
she’s walking, okay, gotcha.
– I’m Kevin J. Nguyen.
I’m a video producer here at Buzzfeed,
and I’ve been here for
around two and a half years.
The type of content I
generally like to make here
at Buzzfeed are social
impact, Asian identity videos,
and just like videos that are overall fun.
What we’re working on now is
a Chinese Zodiac fact video.
And this is like a huge
fashion type video.
We have 12 models coming in.
It’s gonna be couture.
It’s gonna be elaborate
make-up, elaborate hair styles.
And it’s just a lot going on all at once.
It’s gonna be crazy.
– I can just go to Walgreens and get one.
– We’ll see how it is for now.
– [Man With Colorful Shirt] Okay.
– Yeah, I’ll let you know at lunch.
Are we good to go?
– Almost.
– [Kevin] You’re gonna walk hands out
– [Female Model] Uh, huh.
– And then you’re gonna
walk all the way here.
Turn around, land your mark
and then go with that. Okay?
And let’s go for this shot and action.
So we have 12 models.
They’re each gonna represent one of the
Chinese zodiac signs.
And so they’re gonna be
essentially surrounded by all these
floating lanterns, in pitch black.
That is what I’m envisioning
and they’re just gonna look
super fierce, super amazing, super hot.
– So, the inspiration from all
three collection combined,
is talking about the deep
emotions that represents
the female figure.
Strong, independent, and
the value of a female.
– Last pose.
So somehow we ended up
wrapping early today.
And I’m like “what the heck”?
I came into today thinking like,
“oh god, something is going to go wrong.
Something is gonna get us off schedule.”
And in fact, we actually
went above schedule
and we were able to get
all six models for day one
completely finished before
half the day is over.
Everybody today just brought their A game.
And I’m just feeling very very grateful.
(soft music)
– Hello.
– [Female Model] Hello.
– We’re ready for our first model.
– [Female Model] Oh, I’m so excited.
Wow.
– Imagine that your limbs
are just like water, right?
As you’re moving.
So, just like very like, slow,
but sultry, and just really
milking every move that you got.
Alright, so we have the
dragon and their costume
looks freakin’ amazing.
The only thing is it’s really big.
So it does constrain her
movements a little bit.
– We have a designer in there kinda doing
some final touches.
Just so that she feels a
little bit more comfortable.
But it’s slowing it down a little bit.
But I think we’ll be fine.
I think we’ll be fine.
(alarm)
– Ah, so we were in the middle of filming
the dragon, and coincidentally,
the fire alarms went off.
And I thought.
This can’t be happening right now.
And then I had to get
everybody out of the building,
and I’m like, “oh god is there
an actually a fire here.”
(alarm)
– This isn’t just like a drill.
– [Male Speaker] It’s not?
– It’s like, real.
It turns out, it was our fog machine.
– Are there any shot or
scenes that we can get to,
to help alleviate some of
this, and then do a fresh
low coat below?
– [Kevin] The studio team
had to be brought in.
Everybody was there.
Security was there.
They were like, “what was the problem?”
And like, “there was no problem,
we’re just shooting a fashion video.”
– I mean if you guys are
good with this plan or..
– [Male Speaker] I think
we’re waiting on approval
or something.
– And now we’re fanning the room out.
I don’t know how that’s going
to affect the rest of the day,
and our schedule.
Production is being halted right now.
And, I don’t know what’s gonna happen
for the rest of the day.
The reason why I’m taking
on this project is because
I’ve always wanted to do this.
I’ve always thought, man
I don’t know if I have
what it takes to do this huge production,
coordinate such a huge cast, a huge crew.
I know for me, like Eugene
has created this path
for a lot of producers here.
And he’s just made a name for himself,
by doing content like this.
And I’ve always respected
him, I’ve respected his work,
and I’ve always felt like,
“man I want to be able
to do that.”
And so this is kind of one of
my milestones as a creative,
and it’s like really nerve
racking and I don’t know what’s
going to happen, but I
hope I can make it work.
What’s the protocol moving
forward for the rest of the day?
Should we just…
– You should be completely
fine right now because the
mitigation is in place.
We’re both ventilating.
We have fire watch.
We don’t have to worry.
– I think a lot of times
when we think about
Buzzfeed, we think about like
taste tests, and really funny
over the top stuff.
And yes, we do have that, but
if you really think about it,
we also have some really
amazing, nuanced pieces and
social commentary too.
What we’re creating here
is essentially a high
production video about Asian culture.
And we don’t often see
that in mainstream media.
And I wanted to create this
because I know Buzzfeed can
reach millions of people.
And those millions of people,
we’re able to shape their
frames of references.
So if they’ve never been
exposed to Asian culture,
Chinese culture, Chinese zodiac,
this is an easy digestible
way of them to learn something.
And it’s just something that
anybody can watch and consume,
and be like, “wow, that’s so cool.”
And by normalizing what
Asian identity looks like,
that it’s so cool and not
just whatever mainstream media
has thrown out there, I
think that’s really awesome
and that’s what I really want to do.
Nailed it!
Yes!
And I think, that’s a wrap.
(cheering)
– Although that it is
stressful, that at the
end of the day, I know this
product will come together, and
come together great, because I
have a lot of amazing support
behind it.
Thank you to everybody.
You all were wonderful.
Models, DP, grip.
Everybody.
You guys killed it.
I just want to be able
to release this video
and have numerous amounts of
people, whether you identify
as Asian, or not, you’re
able to consume this video,
and be like, “wow, this is amazing.”
And I want more of this.
I want people to create
more content like this.
(soft music)

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