When he graduates from University of Wisconsin-Stout, a video production major will be able to include an eye-popping number on his resume — and his LinkedIn profile.
Devin Leary, a junior from Tomah, recently helped edit and produce a video that — at last count — has been seen by 193,000 people.
The video was created for LinkedIn, the professional and career networking site not known for music videos or videos in general. In fact, one claim is that the video he helped create, “The Most Epic Music Video in LinkedIn History,” is the first music video celebrating the LinkedIn community on the platform.
It’s the brainchild of David Brier, an international branding expert and adviser based in Menomonie who heads DBD International and authored the No. 1 Amazon best-seller “Brand Intervention.”
Brier provides the “instrumentals” for the video with his beatboxing, and Ahmad Imam, a wealth adviser from Sydney, Australia, wrote the lyrics and raps to Brier’s infectious beat.
Added to the mix are 70 of their LinkedIn connections from eight countries and six continents who say “Hey” on cameo clips mixed throughout the 4 minute, 48-second video.
The 70 people, with a cumulative 3.6 million LinkedIn followers, include Daymond John, the CEO of FUBU and one of the “sharks” on ABC’s “Shark Tank”; and Claude Silver, chief heart officer with VaynerMedia, which is Gary Vaynerchuk’s agency in New York City.
The goal of the video is to promote the importance of networking and branding and the power of LinkedIn. The lyrics include “Gotta’ build a brand before you learn to sell for wealth” and “The plan is to learn to sell yourself.”
Leary was recruited by Brier to work on the project over the summer. Leary’s familiarity with the video editing software Final Cut Pro was a key factor in getting the job, he said. “I know the program really well,” Leary said.
Their connection came from UW-Stout video production instructor Keif Oss, who hosted Brier for a class visit last spring and has had previous students work with Brier.
The video was released in September, and thanks to advance networking and promotion by Brier and Imam, it took off with more than 20,000 views in the first two hours. It has been viewed more than 193,000 times, making it one of LinkedIn’s most viral videos of 2019.
“That felt good because it was watchable. It did what it was supposed to do, and mostly all the comments on it were good,” Leary said.
Stories about the video have been in several national publications, including Inc. and in Forbes.
Brier was thrilled with how it turned out and the positive reactions. “My goal was that people would want to watch it three, five or six times, and they did. Some people have watched it as many as 25 times,” Brier said, adding that the variety of contributors gave it the “element of a digital yearbook where people keep going back to see who else they know.”
Brier said working with Leary was “a lot of fun. We’d tweak and try things together. There was a collaborative element. Devin was totally great to work with.”
Leary said he spent about 45 hours editing the video as he and Brier worked out the kinks and format. Part of the challenge was spot-on syncing the “Hey” clips with the beat of the music and retiming them — because everyone had their own way of saying “Hey” — when a change was made.
“Even though it looks easy and it was a fun video, it was a real challenge,” Leary said. “It became more work than I thought it would be.”
They are set to work together again. Brier and Imam are working on a holiday-themed “Most Epic” video — not quite as complicated — and Leary has agreed again to edit.
Leary learned a couple of important lessons while being part of the project. One, take advantage of opportunities that come along. Two, the importance of networking. “You can never get where you’re going just by yourself,” he said.
Leary didn’t hesitate to take on the work even though he works part time doing videos for Student Life Services at UW-Stout. He also has a side business as a videographer.
Careerwise, he would like to work for a video production company when he graduates and then someday start his own company.
UW-Stout’s video production major prepares students to work as content creators for a variety of project types, such as advertisements, broadcast editorial, documentaries and marketing and promotional materials.
UW-Stout video production student Devin Leary, right, edited “The Most Epic Music Video in LinkedIn History,” which co-starred branding expert David Brier, left, of Menomonie.
David Brier, left, and Ahmad Imam as they appear in the video.