The Internet is ridden with clips of people doing crazy, hilarious and downright amazing things and on You’ve Been Warned, the best of the best are highlighted and analysed. With a band of hosts who all have a kink for science, The Level talks to Ramon Bautista, RA Rivera, Lourd De Veyra, Angel Rivero, and Jun Sabayton on what they think about viral videos, the different aspects of being a viral star, and their favourite clips of all time.
How do you guys feel about being social media stars?
Ramon Bautista: So, I may have a lot of followers on social media but I don’t consider myself a social media star – it’s kind of scary also because you have to be responsible for what you say, but it’s also fun because you get to inspire and teach people about things in life. Right now, we are making them learn science in a fun way because of ‘You Have Been Warned’. So yeah, it’s fun as well.
Lourd De Veyra: I just have to say that Ramon is one of the social media superstars in the Philippines and none of us come even close to him in terms of the numbers of followers. But in the minor realm that where we operate, it’s fascinating and at the same time, nerve wracking too. It’s significant social media following because as Ramon had said, people sort of, look to you for a certain standard, you know, in terms of responsibility, behaviour, etc, but it’s greatly appreciated. I’m greatly appreciative of it because in terms of feedback, it’s invaluable, you know?
Obviously, you guys are from different topical backgrounds but what banded you together to focus on the science of viral videos?
Angel Rivero: I think since every single one of us are quite active in the social and Internet realm that makes us constantly aware of all the viral videos – a lot of the viral videos that usually – are usually shared. And, maybe, what made us focus on the science aspect, well, on top of it being for Discovery and therefore we have to be scientific about it, is that I think every single member of this group has an intrinsic nerdy side to them. What – not but it’s either it’s their – they admit that they are kind of nerd or they are closet nerds to some extent, but we are all kind of a bit of a nerd so that makes it more natural for us.
What’s the best or worst viral video that you’ve seen so far?
RA Rivera: Well, I really don’t like seeing people getting killed on video. So, for me, that’s the worst kind. And the best kind, I guess, would be like animal videos, especially, the cat and dog videos because they are just there to make people happy. Not much drama to it. Just – they just impart joy.
Lourd De Veyra: My favourite viral video – I don’t know if you have seen it – but it’s the one about chicken crowing. The same time, there’s a death metal music in the background. So, it’s like chicken that’s happily singing along to a death metal song. That’s my favourite one.
Angel Rivero: A viral video that I think I can watch every day for the rest of my life is the one of this fuzzy cat that is forcing itself into a very tiny box and manages to squeeze himself into a plastic box.
Ramon Bautista: My favourite viral videos are like Lourd’s and Angel, too. It involves animals. There’s one video there was this baboon trying to drink from a river and then he got head bitten off by a crocodile.
Angel Rivero: Wow, oh my god. [laughs]
Ramon Bautista: It’s like nature in 30 seconds. It captures the essence of nature in 30 seconds.
Jun Sabayton: My favourite viral video? Anything that involves Maria Ozawa!
Ramon Bautista: Very popular here in Manila, hehehe.
What do you think gave rise to the increasing community of people set out to do viral videos?
RA Rivera: Well, maybe, it could be the rising usage and proliferation of high definition cameras.
Angel Rivero: Hmm, agree, agree.
RA Rivera: So, everyone has access to a camera now on the phones and it’s easily uploadable. And before when we didn’t have these mobile phones, nobody would make videos of themselves having the best and worst days of their lives.
Lourd De Veyra: I would just like to say that you cannot purposely make a viral video even if you spend money creating it. I think, all the viral videos are products of spontaneity, of a certain consequence that is totally unplanned. They are part of a happy accidents in both best and worst sense of the word. And I think, viral videos are snapshots of fundamental human realities, certain human narratives all compressed in five seconds or 10 seconds. It, basically, gives you the whole spectrum of human emotions or certain slice of human life, basically. That’s why they become viral.
RA Rivera: Maybe, we can like agree or clarify that not all internet videos are gold or not all internet videos go viral because some people call internet videos viral videos so we should make it clear that internet videos, yes, everyone can make an Internet video but actually, it’s the Internet of users that make viral videos. That make Internet videos go viral. Of course, with the help of some algorithm sometimes but, yeah, the people, the Internet make videos viral.
Is there a specific formula to creating a viral video?
Angel Rivero: Well, we can try. There are certain things that go viral but really, planning that something you do or shoot or post will go viral only goes so far, there’s really no guaranteed viral button. Because you can brainstorm and really plan and think of your video and plan it ahead but in the end, a cat video can easily beat you anytime, any day. So, I think it depends, not even all cat videos go viral. So, there is no magic bullet, sure-fire, sure shot formula.
Lourd De Veyra: I beg to disagree. I think p***y always sells – I mean cats! Hahahahhaa. One of the more fascinating facets of viral videos is there are no absolute or set formulas for that. I think the key word here is ‘spontaneity’. You can’t predict what people know what they like, you know?
Ramon Bautista: I beg to differ with Lourd, because if it has Maria Ozawa in it, it’s sure to go viral.
What are your speculations on this trend? Will the viral video community continue to flourish in time being?
Ramon Bautista: As Internet has just started to grow everywhere, not only here in the Philippines and I think the potential for being viral or people making more interesting contents is really huge.
Lourd De Veyra: I am pretty much positive about the future of viral videos in the viral video community because it is also a barometer of people’s feelings and psychological states at a given point in time. So, I think, it’s always a reflection and it probably says something about a certain society, about the videos that they click on and the videos that they share.
RA Rivera: I agree, I agree. It’s going to grow exponentially in the next few years. Next decade. Until we find another medium to replace what we have now.
What can fans expect from ‘You Have Been Warned Asia’?
Angel Rivero: So, being branded as part of Discovery makes it obvious that the content we create will definitely be educational. However, I want to say is that some people might think that when you are bringing in the science behind actions, there are things that may initially, look very fantastic or stunning or incredible, that it may remove the aspect of romanticising it because then you start to realise that, ‘Oh, so that’s how they do it.’ However, with the work we’ve done so far, I never felt this way because I think it’s become even more fascinating to discover the science behind how what was done, was done. So, I think it brings in an even more exciting aspect to learn and discover that you can do so many things you may have thought would be possible if only you understood the scientific mechanics behind it.
Everyone else: Good answer, good answer
Catch You Have Been Warned Asia, only on Discovery Channel, 9pm on Monday, 21st August!