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Singer’s Vid Parodies Les Miz

Independent vocal artist Michael Bihovsky produces a hilarious new video

It’s an inspired – and funny video. Tell us about nuts and bolts involved – are you responsible for writing the entire piece?
I started writing “One Grain More” on New Year’s Eve. I had recently been diagnosed with fifteen different food allergies, and was baking chocolate chip cookies made of neither wheat nor chocolate chips. I was also listening to Les Mis, and started singing about what I was doing (That’s normal, right?).

Did you feel you had a “winner” from the beginning?
About five minutes in, I decided it was actually pretty funny – so I cancelled my plans for the night and started writing. I wrote 90% of the lyrics on that first night, and filled in the remaining gaps in subsequent drafts.

How did you get the video side to happen?
The first thing I did after completing the lyrics was to come up with a detailed shot-list of each of the 38 shots I wanted for the film. We only had one camera, so for continuity’s sake, every shot had to be planned out to the tiniest detail.

How much money did you have to spend to pull this off?
If this had been a work for hire, the budget would have been about $20,000. As it is, we spent only about $600. Much of that was spent on props (gluten-free flours are expensive), and then there were also some travel expenses and meals for the cast. The major money-saver is that none of us were paid for our work – it was a passion project through and through.

The sound quality is pretty good – did you record it in a studio before dubbing it over the video?
All vocals and instrumentals were recorded in my very small recording studio that I’ve set up in my home. I recorded the instruments first, which are a blend of live performances and keyboard-triggered-midi for the instruments that I am less proficient in playing. We recorded the vocals next, and all separately – most of the vocalists never even met before our first day of filming.

You’re already well on your way to 100,000 hits – does doing the video alone bring you any income? Could it?
Due to copyright law, we were unable to make any direct income from the video. I’ve had a few inquiries from people who were interested in hiring me to write specific parodies for them, but so far I haven’t really gravitated to the ideas. Something I am very strict about is that I will not take on any project that I do not feel has the potential to be a truly exceptional product. But if a budgeted idea came along that I really thought I could do justice to, that would be wonderful to work on.

How does it play into your larger career goals?
“One Grain More” has directed some attention to my other work, in particular my original musical theater pieces. My main project right now is called Fresh!, and it’s a pop-rock show that blends the craziness of the first-year college experiences with the challenges of overcoming physical and emotional adversity.

OK: give us your top tips for those who want to post a video and make an impact?

Cater to your own tastes. Don’t create something for others – create something that you care about with your own unique voice and style, and trust that there are other people out there who are as crazy as you are : )

Collaborate. There’s no problem with taking charge of your own project, but when it comes to production, there is simply no substitute for the opinions and involvement of people you trust.

Don’t feel like there is any need to avoid weightier personal issues. The best comedy and drama alike comes from people with serious life struggles who have determined to give meaning to their suffering through art.

Put in the time to make your video as professional as possible. There are a lot of incredible ideas out there, and far too many of them never reach their potential due to laziness, or from valuing quantity over quality.

Market yourself! No one else will do it for you. With the amount of material out there, the first question isn’t going to be about how incredible your work is – it’s about whether it will be seen in the first place. Only then does the question of talent come into play. So get the word out (remembering that there is a line between confidence and arrogance), and start showing people what you can do!

Useful Links
Tech Details on How Michael filmed and recorded “One Grain More”
Michael’s Kickstarter Project
The full creation story for One Grain More
Stars Sing Live in New Movie Musical

Michael Bihovsky, musical theater composer and performer, is best known for his musical food allergy parody “One Grain More,” and for Fresh!, an original pop-rock musical that blends the craziness of the first-year college experience with the challenges of overcoming physical and emotional adversity. see www.michaelbihovsky.com

Michael is currently raising money for a staged reading of Fresh! in New York City – to donate and/or watch a video about the show, click here.