The weekend before our newest segment was scheduled to air, my co-producer, Anisha Banerjee, and I tossed around ideas of what we wanted our new segment to look like. We initially intended on pitching an art sequence but wanted to find a way to creatively and (successfully) get it off the ground.
After going back and forth, we decided to scrap our half-developed pitches and switch gears — to TikTok. We figured that video-sharing platforms like Instagram and TikTok — full of musical artists, sketch comedians, and social commentators — would be the perfect platform to pull from for new content.
And thus, Gone Viral was born. Outfit with 80s synth music, retro colors and red heart emojis, the sequence was designed to feature USC students who have blown up on social media. It was everything this tag team of 80s-lovers could ever dream of.
On Saturday and Sunday night, I reached out to several USC TikTok content creators who were all interested in being part of the segment. I began coordinating with the anchors and sent ideas to our artistic director. Lauren Hebroni, one of our fabulous news anchors, knows Victoria Hammett, a USC student with over 700,000 followers and 51 million likes on TikTok. Victoria said she was available and interested in the segment, so we scheduled her for Monday. Everything was set.
Monday morning: 8 a.m.
I should preface by saying that before opening up my laptop at 7:58 a.m. to log onto Zoom for our morning meeting, I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the segment. There were only a couple of things I contemplated tweaking, but I knew the shots I wanted and what the overall *aesthetic* of the piece would look like. It was only a matter of Anisha and I getting everyone else on board. And, out of an entire day of editing, corresponding, making phone calls and floating (or cutting) stories, this proved to be the most challenging part of the day.
Moving along, that morning, I mentioned to Colin Taylor, one of our incredible video editors whose job is to piece the entire show together at the end of the day, that we were pioneering a new segment. I had initially only asked him a graphics question, but he was really excited about it and wanted to help out. Anisha and I met with Colin to show him what we wanted, and he drafted some designs alongside Julia Nguyen, our art director. We decided on the music, the colors, and the frames for the anchors. Anisha and I are big fans of the 80s, so it wasn’t hard for us to agree upon what we wanted for the look and feel of the piece.
Mid-day: 12 p.m.
When our two news anchors hopped on Zoom, Anisha and I explained what we were looking for, potential questions they should ask Victoria, how they would record the segment on Zoom and scripting for the intro and tag. Then we left the interview in their hands!
After the recording was finished, I pieced the clips together with the graphics, mixed the sequence with the music, and our first segment was finally complete.
To experience Gone Viral in all its 80s-themed glory, start at 8:20:
“I have a vision!”
This first segment was everything I had hoped for and more — all my 80s dreams came true and the graphics were exactly as I had pictured (and a big shout-out to Colin for helping us pull this together)!
It was such a relief to receive positive feedback on the segment. By the end of the day, everyone understood my self-proclaimed ‘vision,’ and those who saw the segment really liked it! All our hard work paid off, and we definitely hit the ground running in time for the next installment.
All in all, I’m excited to see how this Monday plays out with our next guest, Karan Menon. I have no doubt Anisha and I will be able to pull off a dynamic part two for this week’s show. I’m just grateful that everyone on our team had (enough) faith in us to give us a chance at bringing this idea to life.