Dear O-leaders: pucker up!

An open letter to the UChicago's O-Week, advocating extra historic, funtimes productivity for all.

Dear O-Week's O-leaders,

Last year you made the video above. I know, I'm sorry too, but I'm writing to tell you that you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not just to make it better, but to make something... magnificent. You can help make the Class of 2014 not just the biggest yet, but the baddest, the raddest, the coolest of them all. And I'm not just talking on campus, I mean in all Chicago.

I'll leave the Internet history to the pros, but suffice it to say the "lip dub," in which one sings someone else's song, preferably in one, long tracking shot, has been around for a long time. Lately, the lip-dub phenomenon has moved out of the bedroom and become popular among high schools and colleges, where students film themselves singing silly songs as they walk through halls, auditoriums, student unions, etc.

"Cute," you might say derisively, perhaps sipping sparkling cider atop a neo-Gothic ivory tower, but you may be surprised at which schools have gotten in on the action: the Universities of Wisconsin, Munich, Quebec, Montreal, and St. Andrews for starters. Boston University has (a lame) lip dub. McGill's is pretty decent, as is the 750-year-old Sorbonne's lip dub. Even Poland's prestigious Warsaw School of Economics joined the trend, and impressively.

Schools from Thailand to Chile have their own lip dubs. I've watched a good chunk of them, and they are by turns impressive and nauseating, but at least you get to see how enthusiastic and awesome the student body is, especially if they really try, and especially especially if it's made interestingly. Oh, and did I mention Chicago's WGN TV is hosting this Lip Dub competition among local high schools and colleges? It ends September 30, and with a little help from Fire Escape films, I'm sure your collective planning and clear, shear brilliance can win the U of C its place in the lip-dub pantheon. Which, yes, would be a cool thing. For the most part.

It seems that there are a few key rules to follow when filming one of these bad boys (this other internet historian explains why):

  1. Pick a good song. Peppy but not vapid—so, definitely not the Black Eyed Peas.
  2. It looks good to move through things, like doors. I dunno why but it's true.
  3. Be in a pretty place. You know where's pretty? The University of Chicago.
  4. Dancing is good, but not if you're gonna be all silly about it. Confident dancing is good, and helped by...
  5. Costumes! Which are really really good.
  6. Use a steadicam. Not following this rule is half the reason most of these videos are nauseating.

These two rival Seattle high schools' are the lip dubs to beat. Be inspired:

hey-ya-lipdub.jpg     hall-and-oates-lipdub.jpg

O-leaders, you could make my dreams come true. Okay, ya'll? Hey, ya'll.

Asher Klein, '11

August 17, 2010