An idea struck freshman Erin Arata over winter break. After watching the “shit [fill in the blank] say” phenomenon unfold, the writing, literature, and publishing major decided to create a video specific to her school: “Shit Emerson Girls Say.”
Videos have cropped up on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, initially with “Shit Girls Say,” a parody portraying stereotypes of things girls may say. Variations of the video range from “Shit Boston Guys Say” to “Shit Nobody Says.” The original video was posted Dec. 12, 2011 and went viral, with 14,182,488 views as of Wednesday night.
“As I was watching them I started to think, ‘Someone is going to want to do Shit Emerson Girls Say,’ and I thought that might as well be us, that would be really cool,” Arata said.
Arata reached out to friends Michelle Kwong and Pauline Hevia, both freshman visual and media arts majors. The trio decided on roles of director of photography for Kwong and producer for Hevia.
However, another group of Emerson students had a very similar line of thinking. On Feb. 5, a video titled “Shit Emerson Kids Say” was released on YouTube.
Rose Perry and Emily Witmore also thought about the trend over winter break, and as soon as school was back in session, they met with their sketch comedy group, The Girlie Project. Together they devised a plan, said Grey Traynor, a junior who plays the role of “Gay Hipster”. The visual and media arts major said they wanted to release the video quickly, and started filming the morning of the meeting. The video was completed after 48 hours. Despite the popularity, the trend appears to be going out of fashion.
“It’s definitely petering out. I don’t think we got it at its peak, but I don’t think we got it at its demise, and someone was going to do it anyway, clearly,” Traynor said.
The recent release of “Shit Emerson Kids Say” hasn’t discouraged Arata, Hevia, and Kwong’s production.
“There were some funny parts I was able to relate to, but I think we’re going to make a better one because we’re putting a lot of effort into this,” said Hevia.
Arata said finding students to participate in the video hasn’t been difficult. Initially, she talked to friends, like Kwong, who she knew would be interested. The duo has used Facebook to get others involved and receive feedback. Arata said the group made a Facebook event and within an hour or so has 15 responses. From there, people continued to show enthusiasm.
“Everyone was coming in saying, ‘I’ll help, I’ll help,’” said Arata.
The group chose Darian Carpenter, a freshman visual and media arts major, as their primary girl. Carpenter said he was extremely excited when he was contacted about participating in the video, but was unsure if he fit the part of the lead role, because of his freshman standing. Once he was recruited to play the lead, preparation to embody every stereotype about females at Emerson ensued.
“I grabbed a bunch of wigs and different dresses from home that I could wear,” Carpenter said.
Zack Bernstein, a freshman visual and media arts major and director of the video, said he was waiting to see a video specific to Emerson after many colleges released their own parodies.
“We are a communication school, and we should’ve been there first,” said Bernstein.
The video is set to be released between the middle to the end of February, with the group focusing on sharpening the dialogue, filming, and editing it all together.
“If it’s going to be good, it’s going to need time,” said Hevia.
The crew plans to film in the Max, the Little Building, Piano Row, dorm rooms, and Starbucks, in an attempt to avoid permits and switching locations constantly, said Hevia.
According to Kwong, their video will be similar in style to its YouTube predecessors, and will consist of jump cuts — which are when two back to back shots are taken from slightly different angles.
As for the script, it was Arata who got the ball rolling. Arata said she came up with around 15 ideas on her own during winter break, and Feb. 8, the cast and crew met in the fifth floor common room of the Colonial Building and pitched jokes to each other.
Collaboratively, they came up with the final script. One liners such as ‘You’re making a Shit Emerson Girls Say? ME TOO!,’ ‘No, not like Ralph Waldo,’ and ‘Wait, we have sports?’ will be featured in the video.
Their marketing strategy is all about social media, according to producer Hevia. A Facebook event used as a place to gather ideas and recruit help has 37 people “attending.”
“We’re putting it on the class of 2015 Facebook page, on median, on blogs, whatever it takes,” Hevia said.
The intended audience doesn’t go far beyond the Emerson community, Arata said, although they do hope to attract alumni and the people of Boston who may know of Emerson.
The point is to create something fun that the Emerson community can relate to, Carpenter said.
Carpenter and Bernstein would not divulge specifics about “Shit Emerson Girls Say,” but they said it can be summed up with coffee, cigarettes, and male students dressed in drag.