In the early hours of the morning when you’re probably sleeping, Daniel Chamberlain ’15 is likely awake in his Piano Row suite concocting his next viral video.
Dizzy City Nation, Chamberlain’s YouTube channel, has gained more than three million views since its creation in 2010. And it all started as a hobby from boredom.
“It was mainly just a hobby that I would do to pass the time if I was hanging out with someone,” he said.
Chamberlain, a Visual and Media Arts major from Minneapolis, started out creating parodies, a popular video style on YouTube that covers other’s songs with comedic lyrics.
A parody video of “Sexy and I Know It” by Daniel Chamberlain '15 garnered more than 1.5 million views on YouTube. (Screengrab photo from video by Elliot Friar '16)
“I knew that was something I could do,” he said. “I was able to write parodies pretty easily. I would write one a day most of the time and then have a friend over and we’d just perform it and have fun.”
That fun turned into viral success.
His most-viewed video was a parody of the popular 2011 LMFAO song “Sexy and I Know It,” titled “Lazy and I Know It,” about an unambitious college student, which received more than 1.5 million views.
His second most-viewed video, “Home Forever,” a parody of Jay-Z’s “Forever Young,” featured a college student who didn’t want to leave the comfort of his parents’ home and received more than 450,000 views.
Chamberlain recently began a new video series called Rap_The_News on his YouTube channel, in which he parodies popular songs while talking about current events and pop culture.
“I just figured the news was a good format because the news is always changing,” Chamberlain said. “Basically the songs write themselves. I just take the hottest hot pop song of the time, take the hottest news story, combine them… and boom! You’ve got your video.”
Zack Bernstein ’15 is Chamberlain’s roommate and helps him with some of the videos.
Chamberlain credits his high viewership to click-baiting—which essentially means attracting a large number of viewers using search-friendly keywords and funny pictures.
“It sounds terrible, but it’s really what you’ve got to do,” he said. “Obviously I [am] trying to put out as fun and creative and engaging material as I [can], but at the same time I know [I have] to be relevant.”
Daniel Chamberlain '15 appears in a Rap_the_News parody video on YouTube.
Chamberlain said taking a web video production and analysis class with faculty member Frank Chindamo at Emerson College Los Angeles in the Fall 2014 semester has improved his skills.
“I definitely got a good backing (at Emerson Los Angeles) in terms of my knowledge on how to market something and how to appeal to a larger audience.”
Chamberlain made digital content for his class. He also attended Digital Hollywood, a conference that included seminars and presentations about the topic.
“Web videos, I think, are the future,” Chamberlain said. “Web videos are just going to continue to expand their reach, and their accessibility, and just the way that they’re made. Emerson has kept us up with those changing tides.”