The members of W3 Productions expected only a few thousand views on their latest video. Instead, their creation became a viral video in a matter of weeks.
Sophomore Ethan Burch directed a parody of the official “Thrift Shop” music video by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. The music video, posted on sophomore Josiah Wood’s YouTube channel Feb. 13 was shot at the Helping Hands Thrift Shop in Fairmount, Ind., and, at the time of publication, had more than 250,000 views.
“It’s [thrift shopping] something college students do a lot,” Burch said, “because most of their money is going towards actually being able to attend school. We just thought some other college kids might relate to it and find it funny.”
The video was not officially posted to W3 Production’s YouTube channel because of “some possibly offensive material,” according to their Facebook page.
The entire production was filmed on two separate weekends, totaling to be about six or seven hours of filming and three or four hours of editing. Burch and Wood only expected a “few thousand” views for their video, they said. However, after getting well over 10,000 views in the first week, they were astounded.
“We’re really excited because we never had a video take off like this before,” Wood said.
W3 Production’s second-most viewed video, a parody of Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” has more than 3,000 views. Wood said that compared to their previous videos, this one was set apart by how everything came together.
“This is the first Wright 3rd video where the camera-work, location, and editing all came together and made it a good video,” he said.
Freshmen Matt Shouse and TJ Clounie were the directors of photography for the video. Sophomore Tyler Burson, freshman Luke McConnell, junior Andrew Frischman, sophomore Devin Dale, junior Andrew Trausch, freshman Rylan Porter and junior Sam Bray were actors in the video.
Although W3 productions filmed the video, there were concerns as to whether or not they would associate the video with the W3 Productions name. The parody is of the “clean,” or radio, version, distributed of the song. However some concerns were raised as to if it was really “clean.”
“The regular version does have a lot of vulgar language,” Burch said. “And I’m not really into that. So we decided to do the clean version and omit as much of the vulgar language as we could.”
Junior Andrew Frischman, a W3 Productions veteran and actor in the video, said he thought “it could be cleaner,” and the production team agreed after finishing the video. Because of the concerns, the group decided not to publish it under the W3 Productions’ YouTube account or Facebook page. Although the university does not sponsor W3 Productions, the group felt that they may damage the university’s reputation.
“Even though we weren’t associating it with Huntington,” Frischman said, “we’re still all Christian, and we don’t really want to offend people with the lyrics, language or some of the things that are in the song.”
Burch agreed and said they wanted to protect the reputation of their group as much as possible.
“Even with some of the lyrics bleeped out,” he said, “we didn’t want to give W3P or Huntington University a bad name.”
Despite the disconnection from W3 Productions, Burch, Woods and the entire film crew and cast said they take full responsibility for the video.
“There could have been [consequences],” Burch said. “I don’t know how the university would have felt being associated with it. We definitely wanted to respect our university because I, and my friends, love this campus and this college. So we didn’t want to do anything that would disrespect them.”
Wood assured fans that although the song choice was a bit more explicit, W3P isn’t evolving away from its family-friendly feel.
“We want the songs that are just about to become really popular,” he said. “And it just so happened that this time, it was Thrift Shop. The last few videos had been more slow … we wanted to have this one because it’s fast paced and it was a fun topic we could do a lot of cool things with.”
Other than the “occasional YouTube troll,” Wood claimed that most of the feedback has been positive.
“We’ve gotten a lot of comments and messages on YouTube from people asking if we’re gonna do any other videos in the future,” he said. “A lot of people really liked the fact that we did a clean music video. I guess there’s a big market for that on YouTube, which I haven’t even thought about before.”
On a few occasions, he said he’s even received personal messages from mothers thanking him for creating a clean music video to “Thrift Shop.”
“A lot of moms said that they enjoy showing it to their kids over and over because the original video’s too explicit,” Wood said. “They just have our video on repeat.”
In the end, the team said it’s not about the number of views.
“We just make them for fun,” Burch said. “If it’s successful, it’s successful. If it’s not, it’s not. It’s just a matter of having fun.”
The parody can be viewed here.