The internet loves a good sorority recruitment video.
And who can blame them? Any wholehearted endorsement of academia is a noble one, in our book.
The one that’s breaking YouTube this week comes courtesy of the University of Florida’s Tri Deltas. Set to the remix of “What's the Score” by Ady Suleiman and Joey Bada$$, the clip depicts two minutes and 15 seconds of coeds running about in bikinis and driving around in halter tops — presumably to find some new recruits, like any intrepid and upstanding club council members would.
See for yourself:
Although the ladies would look great even if the video was made on Kevin McCallister’s TalkBoy, they hired a production company called Reef House Media to really make the ad pop. In order to to find out what a day in the life of shooting Tri Delts is all about, we spoke with ND director/producer Skyler Scott Kern. Here’s what the 27-year-old UoF telecommunications grad had to say.
InsideHook: So, uh, how does a guy get involved with making promo videos for sororities? Asking for a friend.
Skyler Kern: I have been shooting recruitment videos for sororities for four years now. I was first brought on by a friend to help after a chapter flipped the switch on him last minute and needed help to finish it before the due date. After that I’ve been stepping up my game and getting more and more chapters to use my services.
IH: Who does the scripting?
SK: This totally depends year to year, recruitment chair-to-recruitment chair (the sorority members responsible for the videos). Some girls come in knowing exactly what they want and with others I get the classic line, “You’re the creative one, I trust you ...” (Which is) a blessing and a curse. Usually it’s somewhere in the middle.
IH: Has there been something they or you wanted to include that was deemed to be too much?
SK: All the time. Sometimes you’re filming something and you’re like “That’s going to be so great in the video” and you get to editing and it just sticks out like a sore thumb. There is a fine line between girls being in bikinis sliding in water that can go from cute to sexual pretty easily with the right cuts. These girls are trying to get other girls to join, not turn them away. I think the worst is when girls stick tongues out trying to be cute and they just look ridiculous. My goal is always to try to make it as natural and real as one of these videos can be.
IH: You’ve done videos for multiple UF sororities. Has it ever caused any issues?
SK: I did have a catfight of sorts while shooting the latest video. There are shots near a tree that is “shared” between two sororities that are side by side. We were out there pretty early doing a photoshoot with the girls and I was filming the shoot and the chapter next door came out and was like "That's our tree, it’s in our video. You can't use it." There was some chit-chat and yelling from some of the other chapters members. We all just kinda laughed, finished what we were doing and got off the tree. Later they said we damaged it. How do 10 girls damage a tree?
IH: Is it hard to remain professional surrounded by all these beautiful women?
SK: Not really. Filmmaking is all about working with talented and, more often than not, beautiful people. I shot a commercial the other day where I had to shoot a shower scene with the sweetest girl. She had to be practically topless to sell the effect and I was only a foot away filming her use a bar of soap. Needless to say, these videos are just another day of work for me. I have seen cameramen get pretty shaky before though. It’s always funny to see them stammer around talent.
IH: You must have some pretty amazing outtakes …
SK: Yup. I create blooper reels for the chapters to show at the beginning of the week to get the chapter members excited after the hell that spirit week is (the week before recruitment). I’ve had smoke bombs explode on a girl on camera and dye her face and hair blue. That was a fun shoot.
IH: What's the biggest thing you've learned about sorority girls since getting into this line of work?
SK: I’ve learned the biggest thing in dealing with these girls is just have fun with it. No matter how intimidating they can be, they are just as nervous, excited and pumped to get started as I am. If you make sure they are having fun, you can have a good time and meet some great girls, all while getting the job done. Sounds like the dream to me.
IH: What's something about the process most people wouldn't realize?
SK: How much work these girls actually pour into these videos. A lot of people think it’s just all the girls get together and stand in front of a camera … easy, right? What people forget is these girls are students and we shoot in a very short window. Do you realize how hard it is to wrangle 50-75 girls, hours from where they live? There are people in Hollywood making good money wrangling for a living and I'm here doing it with a minimal budget, if any at all.
IH: When do you finally know, “That's a wrap?”
SK: We attack this pretty strategically when it comes to shooting. Most the time you have to play a battle between talent getting bored, tired, etc. and your crew feeling confident about the footage you are capturing. At the end of the day, it’s on us to make sure we get good stuff and enough to make the video they want and we promised.