August 31, 2010 3:35 pm

The world’s most interesting internship… ever

My name is Connor Lanman and I am not claiming I am the most interesting intern ever; and by no means am I working on routers for my 12 week summer internship at Microsoft. I am, however, working on a fairly unorthodox marketing project…sponsored by Microsoft. More on that in a minute. But you can imagine what I was thinking, “Why the heck would they trust some scrawny college kid to do marketing?” The cool thing is that I get to tell the tale to you in this blog until I finish later in September.

Let the saga begin…

First in order to understand where I’m starting from…

1) I just completed my Freshman year at Stanford University and no, I don’t know what I’m majoring in

2) I’m 19 years old, my birthday was this past June

3) I have no idea what I want to do in life

4) The only big online video experience I had was doing a promotional video for Haagen-Dazs back in ’09 when I finished high school. I wrote a book about bees, made a documentary, and then made a comedy music video with my brothers sponsored by Häagen-Dazs, inspiring dance moves from Silicon Valley to Holland. What? I like bees.

So here I am at Microsoft, now given the assignment to do an experimental video campaign for Windows Live Essentials (download the Windows Live Essentials beta refresh!). The cool thing is that Windows Live is launching Wave 4 soon and I get to be a part of it. Many of you may be familiar with Photo Gallery and Movie Maker and in these videos I get to talk about these tools in creative fun ways. Instead of watching a demo, why not be entertained? That’s basically what I aimed to do!

After doing the video for Häagen-Dazs I was amazed at the power of an online video to communicate a message to the masses, and I was even more intrigued by the power of education through multimedia. I used what I learned from that experience and applied it to this project. To start, you need short, high quality stories that are informative in terms of content and are entertaining to the average YouTuber. How do you do that?

Well, I began by involving my brother Max Lanman who is filmmaker. We sat down and started creating concepts. After narrowing down 15 concepts down to 8 or so, we were ready to script, audition, and pool together a crew. We posted an ad calling for actors a couple days before the scheduled audition and we fielded over 80 responses and auditioned over 60 people in 6 hours. We casted over 20 roles, about 40 extras, and worked with a 10 person crew! It was crazy, but it worked. We then shot the videos in four x 10 hour days. We’re in post-production and excited to show off some hilarious videos and some great easy to use products. I’m still not quite sure how to make the perfect online video. But, I abide by my motto to entertain first, and then inform. In the videos to come, you might be able to get a sense of what I’m talking about.

More to come…