Wednesday, 25 January 2012

How to Play the Cowbell

I was meaning to post this a while back, as it is perhaps one of my favorite 'how to' videos:

Hopefully, you can see how this video inspired my 'how to open a door' short. What interests me with the cowbell instructional video is it's tongue-in-cheek approach. The Cowbell itself is a very basic percussion instrument that only really requires some sense of timing. The sounds one can produce with the instrument are very limited and alone, the Cowbell is very primitive and unimpressive. The video makes the task of holding and striking the cowbell seem very advanced, as if it requires practice to master. The voice over artist almost patronizes the audience by portraying the instrument as technical and hard to grasp. You have probably noticed the idea of creating a  'claw' with the hand, which I used in my video. The idea that the video has to explain how to basically grab hold of object, makes it seem ridiculous and highly comical. We see other bizarre suggestions, such as the Cowbell sounding better when facing 'due north.' I tried to draw form this idea of presenting ridiculous amounts of information for a simple task, by instructing the viewer to pass through the opening created when the door is opened in my video (as if that step isn't obvious enough).

Overall, I had the idea of creating a tongue-in-cheek 'how to' video form when the task was first set. The Cowbell video is a perfect example of what I was aiming to achieve, with it's patronizing and comical approach.

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