We had the pleasure of interviewing Daniel Mertzlufft over Zoom video!
Composer, writer and TikTok creator Daniel Mertzlufft ('Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical) is the mastermind behind the TikTok musical, "For You, Paige."
For You, Paige, is...
We had the pleasure of interviewing Daniel Mertzlufft over Zoom video!
Composer, writer and TikTok creator Daniel Mertzlufft ('Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical) is the mastermind behind the TikTok musical, "For You, Paige."
For You, Paige, is the first ever TikTok musical to be performed live on stage, in New York City, and streamed globally on TikTok via the @TikTok handle.
Starring Roman Banks (High School Musical: The Musical: The Series) and Sri Ramesh (EarCandy),
the “For You, Paige” musical is the first time an original musical will make its debut through a live online broadcast on TikTok, and it will be one of the most sophisticated productions TikTok has ever supported.
Alongside Banks and Ramesh, the production stars Krystina Alabado as Kaia, JJ Niemann as Jarek, along with Aveena Sawyer, Alysia Velez, Fernell Hogan, Cori Jaskier, Max Antonio Gonzalez, Emily Stillings, James Henry Thursday Ferrar and Paul Schoeffler. Producers also include co-executive producer Macy Schmidt, and Joshua Asen, Danielle Dioguardi, and Jessica Norton of Media Monks.
Mertzlufft was inspired by the extensive musical theatre community on TikTok to develop “For You, Paige,” collaborating with creators from all over the world to build this show.
In a story inspired by real TikTokers, teenage music nerd Landon (played by Roman Banks) collaborates with his best friend Paige (played by Sri Ramesh) on a TikTok song inspired by her favorite book series. Landon’s TikTok goes viral, thrusting him into the spotlight — and leaving Paige behind. When a producer offers Landon the opportunity to adapt the book series into a musical, Landon discovers that the glory of doing it all himself isn’t worth the stress and enlists the help of Paige and the TikTok community to turn the show into a huge success.
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What's going on?! It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast we're both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we had a chance to catch up again with Daniel Mertz left over zoom video. This is actually the second time we had a chance to hang out Daniel, and it was amazing to see the success he's had. And just one, like basically a year Daniel recaps, where he's born and raised how he got into music. He went to school for composition, lived in Sonoma for a summer writing for a theater out there, but he had this big moment on Tik TOK. When quarantine started with his grocery store song, which went totally viral, landed him a bunch of television slots. 3 (1m 59s): He was even on a James cordon. He wrote a song with James cordon that ended up being performed over zoom for the virtual shows that they're doing I'm all about Thanksgiving. So we talked about that again, and he talks about it a bit in the first interview. And at that time he had the Ratatouille musical that just kind of started as a Tik TOK trend and ended up getting nominated for an Emmy. He tells us about that and this massive project, he has it going on right now with tic talk. The musical is called for you page for you comma, and then the name page. And it's a musical that was written for Tik TOK. 3 (2m 42s): The official Tik TOK account is going to stream the show live and he's had a couple opportunities to go live on their tick-tock like the actual at Tik TOK account. And he talks about how nerve wracking that was and how excited he is for this, this to come alive on Tik TOK literally live. So he talks about the entire process of putting together the very first tick talk musical called for you page. You can watch our interview with Daniel on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. It would be awesome if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Tik TOK at bringing back pod. 3 (3m 28s): And if you're listening to this on Spotify, apple music, Google podcasts, it would be amazing if you follow us there as well, and hook us up with a five star review. 4 (3m 38s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, 3 (3m 44s): We're bringing it backwards with Daniel Mertz left. Cool. Thanks for doing this man. And I think that's so awesome. 5 (3m 50s): Of course, I'm very excited to be like in the room and this makes it feel very real. It was like actually chatting with people about it happening, 3 (3m 57s): For sure. For sure. Well, first off you told me where you were born and raised last time, but for people who haven't seen the first interview, talk to me about where you were born and raised. I know you kind of moved around quite a bit. 5 (4m 8s): Yeah. Yeah. I was a, I was a military baby, so I actually grew up all over the world. I was born in Florida, spent most of my childhood in Germany, then moved to Vegas. And then we finally settled in Buffalo, New York, which is where I went to high school and then college at the crane school of music, way, way, way, way, upstate New York, and then have been living in New York ever since. 3 (4m 26s): Amazing. And you went to mostly like middle, I think elementary school. You said in Germany, all 5 (4m 32s): Elementary school. Wasn't Germany. 3 (4m 34s): Wow. 5 (4m 35s): Tell 3 (4m 36s): Me a little bit about that. I mean, that's, I don't know. Go ahead. Sorry. 5 (4m 40s): No, it was amazing. And like I said, my father was in the military, so it was an international school. So we spoke German, but you know, we had a lot of students from all over the place and we had to learn German and learn their culture. And, you know, we would like learn about like the special holidays they were doing. And no matter where you're stationed, it's called host country and wherever you're stationed, you like learn about the place you are. So you can be respectful when you go out of, out of the base and all that, which was, I mean, just like so cool to learn. And my family is also very German. So it was like kind of fun to, to, to, to grow up there. I mean, my last name's Mertz left. Like, man, I don't know. How 3 (5m 20s): Do you still know German at all? Or do you kind of lose it? 5 (5m 23s): You know, I'm not fluent in it, but it's still there. And the more I drank, the easier it becomes actually, as I w I found When I was, I was over there a couple of months ago and I was at a Christmas market in the more glue vine I had, I was like, oh yeah, my German is like much better. The more, the more drink. Cause I think it's like, you know, I learned it so young. I think it's like deep in there somewhere, but I get like, so in my head now it's like grammars. Right? All of that stuff 3 (5m 49s): That the booze and like something in your brain. 5 (5m 51s): Exactly. Yeah. 3 (5m 52s): That's funny. Funny. I remember you saying last time, like you wouldn't have commercials right on the television there. It was just kind of like, PSA's about how to conduct yourself either off base or some event happening at the chow room or something like that. Yeah. 5 (6m 8s): 100%. And it was, I just remember, so specifically when I came back to the U S for the first I had like visited it, but I was so super young and it was between my third and fourth grade year that I came back and that's when I like really remember it being like, what is this specifically Nickelodeon like, like all of that and all of those, like, and I was like, this is amazing. And you know, like those nineties or early two thousands commercials that were like, ah, like, oh 3 (6m 36s): Shit, 5 (6m 37s): Like all of those, that's like, 6 (6m 39s): So cool. 3 (6m 40s): Oh my gosh. That's crazy that, yeah, you, cause you probably got some of those stations, right. When you were there, you just don't get all the content in between. 5 (6m 48s): Yeah. We, we just, we got all of that stuff. It just would go directly to like the programming cause our like, you know, on people's tables, it's like spectrum or a Verizon, whatever cable our cable was. I think it was called AFN, which is like, but it was like from the military. So it was like no commercials, which is actually a nice, but yeah. 3 (7m 7s): Yeah. Think about that. That's nuts with music though. I don't, I didn't ask you this last time. Did you do either of your parents, are they musical at all? Obviously coming from the military family. So someone is in the military, but like as far as that goes, 0 (7m 22s): What does healthy sound like? It's hard to say. And for the one in six kids living in poverty in the us, it's hard to even imagine. 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When you place a $10 Moneyline wager on any major league baseball game, and either team hits a home run major league baseball, trademarks used with permission. Visit bet mgm.com for terms and conditions must be 21 years of age or older. The waiter Virginia, only new customer offer. All promotions are subject to qualification and eligibility requirements rewards issued as non withdrawal, free bats or site credit free bats expire seven days from issuance, please gamble responsibly gambling problem. Call 1 8 8 8 5 3 2 3500. 5 (8m 52s): Actually both of my parents were really musical all through school. And like both of them were very, very active, especially in high school. My dad was a trumpet player. My mom played bass clarinet. And then she was like drum major in the marching band and all of that jazz. So they both were very big into music, but neither of them pursued it. My mom actually pursued being an artist and she's incredible. And she like makes now and dissolve like artsy stuff that I can't do. So neither of them pursued it, but like even in the military, my dad would play the trumpet for like funerals or taps or like the national Landry things and all of that stuff. So he was constantly still playing, but he wasn't like in a military band or anything, but he would still, he was playing all the time. 5 (9m 34s): So like those roots were there, but neither of them necessarily pursued it. Mike, one of my uncles was a musician. My grandma and grandpa on my mom's side, lived in new Orleans and like loved jazz. And I remember we would go visit them all the time, go to like the jazz fests and listen to people, play on the street and all that. So while there aren't very many musicians in my family, everyone is like a lover or like did play in high school or things. 3 (9m 59s): And there've been obviously really supportive of what you decided to do with your life. I mean, as far as you went to college for music, and I remember you saying you moved to like Sonoma and we're, we're gonna have some theater yeah. Theater out there and just, you know, doing all of that, which eventually led you to having this crazy viral moment on Tik TOK. Like yeah. It's it's wild. 5 (10m 23s): Yeah. It's I think like if you had asked me like in middle school, if the path that I took was what it was going to be very, very much not, but I'm certainly by no means upset at the path that I ended up on. 3 (10m 37s): Sure. So, well, I'm curious. So once you went, you went just to recap for other people that you ended up going to college for music, you got out, you went to college in upstate New York, is it isn't Oh yeah. And then you Went to Sonoma to work at a theater and you said you're doing some summer program there. Right. And it was just a bunch of songs 5 (10m 56s): One summer. Yeah. But it was one summer. I was there for four months and I, it was like 50 plus arrangements and orchestrations over the summer, which is like absurd. But I learned how to work fast. But it's like for you page the project I'm currently working on very quickly. So it ended up being really good for just like, you know, getting better and trying things out. Like there were arrangements that summer that were horrible, but it was like, oh, I tried something. And I learned from it like, but I had the opportunity to, cause it was like, there were 50 in one summer, you know, I didn't spend like four years on an album to realize I hated three of the songs. I was like, great. I didn't like those ones. Well, I have a whole set next week. So what's happened to them with those ones. 3 (11m 34s): Oh, okay. Where are you writing for a show? A specific show that would, or would the show always change? Like how, 5 (11m 41s): Oh, sorry. Four shows over the summer. And each one was a different like cabaret, but fully staged thing. So they were all new, but it was like big, lots of medleys where it's like here's Whitney Houston medley. And then it goes into someone like you from Jekyll and Hyde, but as a trio for three women and then it, so everything was a little different. There was never a song that was like, here's the song. As you expect it, there was always something new or different or weird and fun about it, which has allowed me to like sort of learn how to be an arranger. And I was already doing that, but that was really the like, you know, learning what works, what doesn't work hacks to like make it sound like you have a really big choir when you have five singers, all of those things, it was like the perfect place to learn and then moved right from there to New York. 3 (12m 28s): And you started working in New York. 5 (12m 30s): Yeah. 3 (12m 30s): And then you were also doing stuff on Broadway or off-Broadway as well. 5 (12m 34s): Yeah. So my eye, as soon as I moved to New York, I got a job at this company called isometrics. And we're the ones who write in the draft, the high school edition junior and kids musicals. So like, you know, like you go to a middle school and it's like the Annie junior, which is like the one hour version the whole, 3 (12m 48s): Oh, so there's a company that writes that it's not just like, I guess that makes sense. I'm sure the drama teacher theater teacher at the school is not like adapting Andy into like 5 (12m 59s): The people doing that illegally. Are those versions terrible? Yes. 3 (13m 3s): Oh, I didn't even think about the licensing and everything behind it. 5 (13m 6s): Oh yeah. People that people that that's, the thing was, people were doing it and it was actually, Sondheim was like the first one who saw him in the guys who wrote Annie were the first ones to really like give their thumbs up. Like we should do this. And it's like, people are trying to, this is incorrect. It's not right. Like, why don't we just make the definitive copy? Why don't we do it? Because we know what we're doing have like the professional people do that. There's like, this is the approved one, our version. This is why we've made these decisions. We have workshop this on kids already. We know that this works, we've done all this stuff. So I worked at that company for many years and I still am doing work for them. 3 (13m 41s): What plays were you able to like adapt into that world? 5 (13m 46s): I think since starting there, I have worked on like 22 different ones. 3 (13m 50s): Wow. There's that many that you can send out to. I was just thinking like maybe the big, big ones that kids might know, but wow. 5 (13m 58s): I think my, my favorite ones that I've worked on were sister act was randomly amazing. Newsies was really fun to work on marijuana. I I'm trying to think if there's, there's been so many, cause I've done like five summers or six summers there and each summer there's like five or six shows. And I don't necessarily do like all of the, you know, I don't do all the work on all of them obviously, but I've worked on each of them in some, in some case, but yeah, there's so many I can't even like think about, 3 (14m 32s): Yeah. I was just thinking of maybe like five or 10 basic ones. But the fact that like they're doing that many that's, that's amazing. 5 (14m 40s): Here's, here's a fun fact that I love, which is more people see Aladdin junior in one single year than have ever seen Phantom of the opera on Broadway ever. 3 (14m 51s): Whoa, that's insane. 5 (14m 54s): It's crazy. The market of, for licensing is like absurd. It's crazy. 3 (15m 1s): Oh wow. I remember you were talking about that with, with, with you did the Ratatouille one you gave me, I asked about it and you're like something about like, you gave me like this, like disclaimer, like Disney response. And I thought it was hilarious, but I'll get that into, I'll get to that in a minute, but okay. So the pandemic happens and then what you're just like you decided to download Pitcock because it's this thing and you're just like, are you just a consumer of the content at first? Or do you wait first steps? 5 (15m 35s): So I w I really was just consuming content. And then what really changed my mind was I saw a, I saw one of the pianists from Likud played part of defying gravity, which he knows like iconic song. And he was like, Hey, like I played this HR, I played this HS week pre pandemic, like sing with me, be my Elphaba. And it was like, this is the pianist of wicked. Who's playing that every single night on Broadway. And you can just click duet and sing with them. Like, how cool is that? What a fun, wild way to collaborate. So that was the like, oh, I have some like fun arrangements and things. Maybe I can post one and people would want to like, do what that, so I did. And I had like three followers where like my, like three friends follow me, whatever. 5 (16m 17s): And all of a sudden that got over like 10,000 views. And I was like, I don't know who is seeing this, but I'm glad they're enjoying it. And people were like, do it again and singing along. And I was like, how cool. So that was my very first like video. That was like, 3 (16m 29s): He was like quite an avatar. What'd you do? I can't remember 5 (16m 32s): That, that one, actually, that, that didn't even go like viral viral. That was like 10,000 views. It was not viral by any means, but like, that's 3 (16m 39s): Still a lot 10,000 meters, I mean, but 5 (16m 42s): I had like three followers and I was like, who are these people? And why are they doing this? But that was, it was it's very niche. It was, this is me from camp rock. But in the style of dear Evan Hansen, 3 (16m 54s): My wife's one of her favorite movies is dear Evan Hansen. 5 (16m 57s): It's a, yeah, it's very niche, but, but people liked it. So then from there I started just like posting that content and then Netflix re dropped avatar the last Airbender on like on their platform. And I've been obsessed with that show for many years. I have an avatar tattoo it's covered by my like COVID safety thing. Oh, 3 (17m 14s): Nice. 5 (17m 15s): But I love, like, I'd love that tool for many years. So I was so excited to see like a whole new generation of people falling in love with it. And I was like, I've always wanted to write an avatar musical. Why don't I like write a little song ha posted it. And that was my first video that got over a hundred thousand views. And it was like, this is crazy. And I ended up meeting a bunch of collaborators on there, including Catherine Lynn rose, who wrote a couple of the songs for, for you page. She wrote the show within a show of, for you page, which is like in the avatar world, kind of like the perfect fit for her. But I met her doing that. And then it was like, oh, like this like silly content. And then the song called New York summer by Louisa Melcher was, went really viral. 5 (17m 56s): And there was just alignment that like killed me every time, which was we're fighting in the grocery store. And I love you, but I don't know if I like you anymore. And I was like, that sounds like a really bad like musical theater, like modern musical theater thing. Like we've all seen that show where it's like the couple fighting and it's like, no one cares. So it was like, great, funny I'll post that. And that was my first like viral thing that made it off the platform and onto Twitter and all of that. And 3 (18m 20s): I grew up on Twitter. Right. Isn't that where it kind of, you saw go like nuts. 5 (18m 25s): Well, and it actually had, it blew up on Tik TOK, but then the Twitter made it Twitter made it very real because one, I didn't post it on Twitter. Like it was some random woman who made a feed that was like, this is why people hate on Tik TOK, but look at the amazing collaboration. And then it was like all of these like very famous celebrities were like, this is awesome. How fun? And like I got into the, the James Corden show, the late, late show with James Corden, their, their folks reached out to me because of that one. 3 (18m 54s): And you did a parody, right? For like Thanksgiving or something like that. I remember 5 (18m 58s): For sure with ended up starring me and James, which I knew was going to happen. But then it had Kristin Chenoweth and Josh Groban and Audra McDonald and Patti LuPone and Josh GAD, like it was, and I had no idea that was coming. 3 (19m 12s): Oh, you didn't, you just know that you're doing when you were. Cause you helped write it. Right. Weren't you writing it and sending it back and forth or 5 (19m 19s): Yeah. So we collaborated with the, with the writers. But what I was told was, you know, that this was still in the middle of the pandemic because they're still in the pandemic, but whatever, there was like deep pandemic, like pre vaccine pandemic. And I was told it was going to be like a thank you to the cast and crew of the late, late show because they have a bunch of amazing singers and performers on there. So I thought that all the other roles were going to be played by people from the show, like one of the writers who I was working with who is an incredible singer and they have that whole in-house band. So I thought one of them was going to do it. That's what I was told. So I, I, yes. I knew like, cause I wrote all those parts with them. Yeah. They didn't know who was going to be, 3 (19m 55s): Who is going to actually play on. Wow. So it's the first time you see this, when you go on like live on the zoom thing, cause you did it on zoom, right? 8 (20m 4s): Searching for the loan that's right for your life or your business. The bank of Clark county offers personal auto financing, personal loans and business lines of credit mortgages and business, real estate loans, home equity loans, personal and business construction loans. And more, whether you're looking to upgrade your life or your business, the bank of Clark county has the loan that fits visit your local bank of Clark county branch, or go to bank of clark.bank, equal housing lender, member FDI, C 11 (20m 34s): B. I didn't realize you liked me that way deal because it's one thing to receive McDonald's but an entirely other thing to know that they woke up early to face the world and bring you McDonald's breakfast still in the 12 (20m 47s): Back. Appreciate you. 13 (20m 51s): There's a deal for every morning. Now grab two loaded sausage burritos for only three bucks prices and participation may vary single item at regular price and not be combined with any other offer combo meal. 15 (21m 5s): It's time to get your checking account to zero with free checking from PenFed that's zero ATM fees, zero balance requirements, and zero time spent waiting for your paycheck to direct deposit because you can receive it up to one day early, open your account with just $25 and see how big zero can be apply online today at penfed.org/free checking early direct deposit eligibility may vary between pay periods and timing of payers, funding to receive any advertised product. You must become a member of PenFed insured by NCUA. 5 (21m 35s): Yeah. Yeah. And it was just on, it was literally on zoom. And I was with my parents at the time. Cause I went home for Thanksgiving and Christmas with them, like sitting in my parents' like kitchen living room. Cause they have like open concept thing or whatever, and being like screaming at my zoom screen. And so I'm like alone and it was so bizarre. It's like 3 (21m 53s): Going out to millions of people on that. I mean on the television. That's crazy. 5 (21m 58s): And what was really crazy was, you know, obviously like all of those late night shows they film at like 3:00 PM or whatever. So I knew all of that and I told like my very close friends, but I didn't post about it or anything. You know, I wanted it to be a surprise, but I remember getting off the phone and like telling my parents first and then calling like my group of friends being like, you'll 3 (22m 18s): Never guess what 5 (22m 20s): That was. It was wild. I still sort of can't believe that that happened. Like that specifically feels like weird, weird, weird fever dream. Like why did I have collaborated with Audra McDonald where she played a fire alarm? Like why? 3 (22m 37s): Yeah. That's so cool though. So cool. And then the Ratatouille thing was next, right? 5 (22m 41s): Yep. And then ratitude was the next one. And that a woman named Emily Jacobson posted a video that was like this cute little song about Remy, the Ratatouille. And I was just like, this sounds like the finale of a Disney musical, you know, where everyone is. Like, we praise you a Ratatouille, made the world, remember your name. It's like the, it happens in now that I say this, if you ever see a Disney musical, you'll notice every Disney musical ends with a reprise of most likely the, I want song or like their love song. Like the couple's love song. It's like a love thing. And it's like, it's a big sweeping thing. The entire ensemble is singing the melody and like beautiful harmonies. And there's like all of this orchestra. And even though it's like corny, you cry because it's like exactly what you want. 5 (23m 22s): So I was like, great, this is exactly how Ratatouille should. And which is if, if Ratatouille had been written like by a group of people actually writing it and no world would that be an appropriate ending. So I posted that as like a joke, but then, and I, and I sort of expected people to do at it and the way they had the grocery store thing, but what was incredible was it, wasn't just that what really took off was like people creating this fictional show together where it was like, oh my gosh, well I guess, you know, Remy would also have this on here. And then Collette would have like this song because this would make sense. So it became like this whole show where it's like, you knew all the beats, you knew all the songs, even though it didn't exist until we were able to like create a version with CB productions and Disney theatrical officially like giving us that, that premiere January 1st, 2021. 5 (24m 15s): And we raised over $2 million for the actors fund, which was the single biggest fundraiser for the actors fund ever. 3 (24m 22s): That's so amazing. That's amazing. And did you ever, did it ever live past that or did, did it mainly stay online? Cause I there's a picture of you in times square pointing up at the red, you know, you're pointing up and it says for your consideration, you know, you had like an Emmy award for, or Emmy nomination for it. Did it make it into like a Broadway show or 5 (24m 43s): No, no. It never, that it, it never like made it to a Broadway show or anything, but we were eligible, which is like a huge thing for this thing. Little show on tick, you know? So yeah, we, we, we had a big press campaign that included billboards in times square billboards, all over LA. And that specifically was just like the most bizarre thing. Right? Like, you know, like when you dream about your future, of course I like imagine like a marquee of a show I'm working on being in times square and like how cool that would be just to know world that I think it would be like parody musical from a tic-tac considerate. Like 3 (25m 23s): That's amazing, bizarre. Well, from there is that how this whole tick-tock thing, I mean, tell me about for you page, which is like such a creative title anyway, but then how does this thing start? And like, is it a conversation with Tik TOK? Is it something that you were like, this would be awesome to do? And then they want to get on board, like tell me like how this thing even began. 5 (25m 45s): So this is, this has been a long, long, long conversation, but basically after Ratatouille the things that were really exciting about that, which is mainly accessibility, right? The idea that like anyone who has the app on a phone can view this. So for both the audience, but also for the creators who are the ones actually putting the show together and being able to be heard and here having those voices in a much larger audience, like how can we take that and create a sustainable version that doesn't rely on existing IP or virality because you know, it's great. That gratitude was the thing that did that. But of course it's a Disney movie. People love it. Everyone knows that it is, and it relied on multiple videos going viral. 5 (26m 26s): And was there a way to create that without having both of those like very important things? So that's sort of, I was talking with one of my co-producers for media months and we came up with this project Broadway, which is sort of an initiative to try to see if we could do that. And for you pay just sort of become the, the experiment from project Broadway to, to see it, to see if that would happen. And the, the first the conversation was like, okay, if it's not an existing IP, what is it? So we were trying to figure out like, what is inherently Tik TOK? And we were like, well, like funny inside jokes. Like that's what tick-tock is all about. So I came up with the title for you page and we were like, wait, that's funny. 5 (27m 8s): And then we started asking people, I'm like, that's funny. So then we actually got the title first and then the story came. So I, I, I crafted, like we came up with the title and then I crafted the book with my codebook writer, Kate Leonard. And we like came up with this whole thing to like, bring that story to life that is just filled with inside jokes, from Tik TOK and like as inherently Tik TOK. And it ends up being a love letter to the musical theater community on Tik TOK, because it is such an amazing place to connect with people and for collaboration. I mean, I've worked with a million people from Tik TOK that I met through Tik TOK that I never would have met otherwise. And like some of the songwriters on this Blake Rouse or an RJ Christian, I, I worked with on Ratatouille. 5 (27m 48s): They both were on that, but there were people like Julia Renu who I never even like messaged before. I'd never really interacted besides just being like, wow, I love your content. And being able to work with her on this project has been so exciting. So it's, you know, old friends, new friends trying to bring all of that together and then putting it out on Tik TOK with Tik TOK, which is the most exciting thing to see that Tik TOK is not only acknowledging the community, but embracing them by funding initiatives like this. So it's been, it's been a long journey, but I've been, I'm sitting here in the theater now, which is just crazy and so exciting. And I do hope that that, that the community antique tech sees that it is a love letter to them and, and, and enjoys the extraordinary amount of inside jokes and puns and over the top, over the top things in the show. 3 (28m 39s): So if you are a daily consumer of tick-tock, I see the I'm so old and out of touch, like I don't, I, my kid has it, or my oldest son has it and I have it to an extent, but I haven't really spent the time that I should like consuming the content. 5 (28m 56s): Okay. 3 (28m 58s): It is. 5 (28m 59s): Yeah. So that's the thing. This was another challenge that we wanted to do was we wanted to make sure that if someone were to watch this and had never opened tick-tock before, it would still be an enjoyable show. So when I was working with Kate Leonard, my code book writer on this, it was like a lot of the conversations were, you know, making sure dramaturgically if we were including lines that were like inside jokes and things that it actually made sense in the story. So if you didn't catch the reference, it wouldn't be like taking out of it. And you're like, why would they say something like that? It just sounds natural. And there's also not like these crazy long references of like playing videos or anything like that. It's really built like into the dialogue, into the story, tiny references that if, you know, you know, and if you don't, you don't, and there's even things where like, we've encouraged the past to say that. 5 (29m 47s): And there are times when someone's been like, can I like say this? And we were like, I don't know what that is. And they're like, that's like a really popular sound. We're like, we're hearing different sides of talks. So there's even like lines of dialogue now that we didn't necessarily know what the original reference was, but they were like, oh, this would be a good place to do that. So even in the room, it's been a big collaboration between all the actors, all of the writers, all the, our incredible directing team, which is, you know, we are shooting it vertically on a phone when you 3 (30m 16s): Are 5 (30m 17s): Okay. Yeah. Which not on a phone, we have extra lights, but 3 (30m 20s): Vertically vertically shot. Wow. 5 (30m 23s): Which I don't, I, you know, I'm sure has been done before, but I don't know to the scale of production has ever been, has ever been done before. And yeah, so that's, that's been a challenge, but it's been fun. Like it's, it's kind of crazy. And we were able to write it for that format, knowing it was going to be doing that. So they were also able to stage things specifically for that and use the fact that we were filming it and filming it vertically to like tell a different story than you might. If you were in a proceeding of theater, 16 (30m 51s): It's the JC penny mother's day sale shop now. And save on gifts. Mom will love brighten her day with jewelry up to 70% off with coupon, find something special at our store wide Liz event with savings up to 40% off plus extended store hours, Friday and Saturday, this mother's day make her day truly monumental. Shopping is back. JC penny offers valid on select items through five eight Liz event offer good through five 16. Some exclusions apply, see store or jcp.com for details. 17 (31m 21s): Besides rare fines, secret shows whether it's a must-see concert or a must have corn curious types crave, interesting experiences. Bittrex is a cryptocurrency exchange, empowering traders to feed their curiosity with hundreds of trading pairs, Bittrex offers a platform for next big thing, discovers to greet the crypto experiences. They've been looking for trade beyond the firstname.lastname@example.org. It's your move. 3 (31m 51s): What's cool is like, like you said, it is a collaborative thing because your, for you page is going to be different than who else, you know, somebody else that's working there. Cause it really, it, the algorithm builds off what you're engaging with, right? Or what, how long you're staying on a video or so it's going to use similar content, whereas what you're watching and staying on might be different than whoever else, you know, somebody else in the room and what they might see the same sound a few times. And you're like, I've never even seen that before. Yep. So you're kind of reaching a wide net of everyone that's engaging in. TechTalk 5 (32m 25s): Totally. And that's, you know, that's sort of the amazing part about to talk and why I think the collaboration aspects that have happened have only happened there and not other entertainment platforms or any social media. And that would be because of the, for you, which is inherently like, you know, their, their main thing. And it's the idea that like, it doesn't, it didn't matter that I had four followers. People like saw that very first video and were like, oh, this is fun. Would comments like sang along? And then tick-tock was like, oh, that person who really likes a lot of hashtag musical theater, really like this video, maybe this other person who really likes a lot of a hashtag musical theater would do that. So it doesn't, you don't need followers. You don't need to like, you know, be an influencer to get views. 5 (33m 7s): If people like your content, if you're putting yourself out there and putting out content that you support, like people are going to be able to see it in a way that is not accessible on any other entertainment platform or a social media. 3 (33m 19s): That is what the coolest thing about it is. It's almost like a level playing field for everybody. I mean, obviously if you have 20 million people that follow you, you of course pushed up closer into the, into the, for you page. But everyone essentially has the same, you know, the same amount of people ready to watch it. It's just, if people are engaging, it'll stay up there longer. And like you said, you had like four followers yet you can get a hundred thousand views on a video and most people. And I also heard that, like the followers are on and I don't know if this is true. It's more about like, you know, on Tik TOK is more about just like having the clout of like, oh, you have a hundred thousand followers because realistically I bet a lot of, not a lot of people are just going to the people that they follow his thing, right. 3 (34m 5s): The tab it's mainly everyone's on the, for you tab. 5 (34m 8s): Well, and it's funny because like, I don't have that many followers. Like I have around like 70,000 followers, which don't get me wrong as a lot of 3 (34m 16s): You, like 70,000 people following me, 5 (34m 19s): It's not like I don't have nearly like millions of followers or anything like that. But it's, you know, I have videos like the grocery store and the Ratatouille thing that have so many views, but it's even like my grocery store video that original video only has like 50,000 views or something. It's just, the sound was used on like 10,000 videos. And a lot of those got millions and millions of views. So it's like, it's not even my personal video that did that. So it's, it's crazy. Like how quickly that also can go where it's untraceable. I mean, I'm sure tick-tock has a weird algorithm somewhere that could like trace how many people use a sound. But as far as I know, like you can't, I have no idea how many people 3 (35m 0s): Saudi or sound and like look at it and say it, it doesn't say like 50,000 views on the video, but how 5 (35m 7s): Many times it was used, it shows, 3 (35m 8s): But it doesn't tell you how many views of that sound. I get it. Got it. 5 (35m 15s): Yeah. Because there's also, you know, people can like use it and then stitch it and like you haven't, it wouldn't account for that. And all of that stuff is, is crazy. 3 (35m 23s): That's so wild, but yeah. What a it's, it is crazy. And then to have tick-tock on board with what you're doing. And then I guess my next question is you said it shot vertically, but then how, because in the tick-tock video, right? It's like they go from a minute to like three minutes. 5 (35m 42s): I think you actually can do up to 10 minutes now, but I don't know. I don't never seen one, but in theory, most of them are under one minute. Some people you're using using three minutes now. 3 (35m 51s): Okay. So how is the, is it just because it's going to be a lie, it's going live right on the dock. So it's 5 (35m 57s): Essentially live live. 3 (35m 58s): So you're going low, like Tik TOK at tick-tock is going to go live and it's going to be the production, which is not. So 5 (36m 5s): It's crazy. 3 (36m 6s): It's probably going to be main page, you know, like the amount is that a lot of pressure knowing that like all, essentially there could be billions of eyes on this thing, not to scare you, but like, you know, 5 (36m 20s): And it's, it's crazy because it's also, I've been going live since January and most of them are on my page. But last week for the first time I went live from, at Tik TOK, but it was on my phone. So there was someone in the room from, at Tik TOK or from, from Tik TOK who like five minutes before I logged into my phone and they had to like, look at my phone the entire time it was in like, what am I going to do? I'm not going to do anything wrong, but it's one of those things where you, like, you see a cop and you're like, what did I, I did something I'm going to get arrested. Like, I don't 3 (36m 47s): Know. 5 (36m 48s): Like, I don't know what I'm going to do wrong, but I'm so scared. 3 (36m 53s): I always think about that. Yeah. That's a good point. Like if you get to take over their account, like essentially you could just go nuts. But I guess if somebody else's controlling it, you couldn't go nuts. 5 (37m 2s): Yeah. And it was like, they handed my phone back to me. They just didn't get it, but it was like terrifying. And then I like, you know, like my hands were like shaking and I like click the plus button to like start alive. And it was so funny. Cause the last title of the live was like squid game interviews live. And I was like, oh God, like I have to like go on their account, like type what I'm doing. And I'm like for you page cast me. Oh yeah. It was so cool. Although my, my absolute favorite comments that one of my colleagues may Schmidt saw was, and this was not, this was not one, many people thought I owned Tik TOK and was like asking me, like, why did you start? 5 (37m 44s): Tic-tac like, what was your idea to take touch? And I was like, I just write songs. Y'all like, it is not me. Not, 3 (37m 53s): I am not the creator and the CRE or what if they thought you created the, for you page? 5 (37m 59s): Well, I created an se comma page, 3 (38m 2s): But, but you could just say create for you page. 5 (38m 5s): That is true. 3 (38m 5s): That 5 (38m 5s): Isn't, that is actually true. 3 (38m 7s): You don't have to really know it's a whole too hard on the, you, you just go. Yeah. I, you know, I'm the creator for you page. 5 (38m 16s): Yeah. I mean, but it was, it was crazy. And, and then, you know, immediately I, him in the back and I'm like, please log me out. Like, I don't like this pressure like this, and we're actually doing that again tonight. I will be going live at eight, 8:00 PM. 8:00 PM. 3 (38m 31s): Really I'll have to borrow my son's phone or down. I use mine, download, 5 (38m 36s): Download, download, download tic-tac. And you, cause it'll be the exact same process this week that you'll need next week to like, make sure you watch the next week on Thursday to watch the show. Cause it'll be live on Tik TOK. 3 (38m 47s): What if you miss it? Is it going to be around somewhere or you're just screwed 5 (38m 52s): As of right now it is live live. And part of that is, is the idea that we are trying to recreate the experience of real musical theater, which is being in a room with people. And that's like sort of the magic of it is yes, it's happening like in New York, eight shows a week, but none of our shows are ever the same. There's always something different because they, the audience is different. And I know it's like a corny thing to say that the audience is the last character that you add, but it's so true because it's depending on the audience, it's a completely different show. So we're trying to recreate that in, in it being live. Am I hopeful that there might be rebroadcast on the line? Of course. Cause I don't want to like happen and disappear forever. Cause I also am like, won't be able to watch it cause 3 (39m 34s): Right, right. 5 (39m 34s): Working on it. So I would love to see it again myself, where I'm not super stressed and can actually enjoy it. But, but for Thursday I w I, I won't be on a phone. I will be in the theater here in our like crazy booths that are set up everywhere 3 (39m 50s): And making sure it all runs properly. 5 (39m 52s): Well, all the technical making sure it runs properly, I'm just stressed and watching, pretending like, I know what's going on. 3 (39m 58s): There you go. I have just a couple more questions. I'm sure it was about, so Tik TOK has a lot of, you know, fast edits, right? It's like this. And then now it's this, are you able to kind of mimic that in the show? 5 (40m 12s): Oh yeah. We have four cameras. 3 (40m 14s): Oh, okay. 5 (40m 16s): Four cameras. We have three that are out in the audience. I'm at two are stationary. One is able to move and then the last one is going to be onstage and be able to move all around with the actors. So you, at times it will be right on stage. It's really the way that they shoot the Tony's or maybe like the NBC lives or things like that. There are elements of that. Where, where you feel like you are, you are right there in it, but yeah. And there's also like one ballot in the entire show. Everything else is fast and funny and quick. Cause you know, it's like we have a short attention span. So one ballot for the whole show. 3 (40m 53s): I love it. Well dude, congratulations on all the success. And especially last time I talked to you, it was only a lot about a year ago and what you've called the rundown crazy. Yeah, man. That's so awesome. And I guess my last question for you is I asked you this last time, but Hey, let's do it again. If you have any advice for aspiring artists, 5 (41m 13s): You know, that's a great question. And I actually wonder what I answered because I feel like it's probably the same thing, but I think it's just to like put yourself out there and I'm going to quote one of my favorite authors and a colleague of mine. Jodie Pekoe, who's a very famous New York times bestselling author. She always says you can't edit a blank page. And I think especially as a writer, it's really easy to theorize and think about what you're going to write and think about the things you're going to do one day and think about that. But until you write something, you can't edit it. And even if like, even if the song is terrible, the first time you write it, like, okay, then throw it out and rewrite a new one or do rewrites. 5 (41m 53s): Like now, you know what it's you at least know that it's not what you just wrote, you know? So you can't edit a blank page. Like put yourself out there, just do it. If you want to write, write, if you want to like become an actor, then do it like start posting stuff on to talk, find, find somewhere local around you where you can start acting. Like, I mean, I know the blank page is specifically for writing, but I think it true. It's true for everything. So I would, I would quote Jody Pico and say a blank page.