Author, blogger and viral video star Deva Dalporto, whose video parody of Disney's "Frozen", "Let It Go" went viral in March, answered questions Wednesday about the inspiration and creative process behind her most recent video parody, "BEDTIME" – a parody of the song Pitbull/Ke$ha song, “Timber.”
In the May 21 interview, mommy blogger Dalporto divulged how she is handling some of the “weird ‘famous’ moments," including her frank response to the “potty-mouth” question she fielded – in front of her kids – at a local drive-through.
When you work up a new parody, which comes first, the video theme or the song?
Deva: I always start with the song. I pick a fun, blockbuster hit that I love and can’t get out of my head. While it plays on repeat in my brain, my own “mom” lyrics start to form in my head. For the "Timber" parody, the lyric “It’s going down” naturally turned into “They’re going down” in my twisted mommy brain. I’m always guided by the song and this one was just perfectly suited to the bedtime madness.
What would you say was your strongest inspiration for this particular video?
Deva: I HATE BEDTIME! My eldest is, and always has been, a horrible sleeper so bedtime is a huge ordeal in my house. Endless requests for water and “lovies” and tissues and more books and another hug etc. etc. (AHHHHH!) I think bedtime is a major pain point for a lot of parents. In my work, whether [I’m writing or creating a video,] I always try to dig down and speak to the ultimate truth of what I’m going through. And bedtime is hell time for me. I also wanted to celebrate those 45 minutes between when the kids go down and I pass out. Those blissful 45 minutes where I can just flop (after I’ve cleaned my pigsty and prepped for the next day) without someone throwing a tantrum. I love my kids more than anything on earth, and I especially love them when they're sleeping.
Before you chose this song to parody, were your kids familiar with it? Have they seen the Ke$ha / Pitbull video?
Deva: They were familiar with the song and loved dancing to it. But they haven’t seen the video. It’s a little too racy for the preschool set in my humble mom opinion.
Loved the pink boots the girls wore in this video. Didn't I see one of them on the floor in "What Does the Kid Say?" Just wondering – was that intended as a Pixar-like nod to a future video?
Deva: Really??? Was it on the floor in "What Does the Kid Say?" Now I have to go look! No, I’d like to say I’m that organized, but it was a happy accident. My kids’ shoes are usually strewn all over the house so apparently the boot made it into the first video by mistake. But if Pixar asks, tell them yes, it was a nod to a future video.
How many videos have your produced so far for your blog?
Are you still using the same equipment and crew, or have you made upgrades? Weren’t you using a pop shield made from pantyhose and a wire hanger?
Deva: I’m still using the same crew – aka myself and my husband – although he has become less involved. I shot most of [the Bedtime] video myself; turned the camera on and ran in front of it and acted like an idiot. And I did all of the editing. He did help me write this one, though. It was fun. We sat on the sofa after putting the kids down and worked on it together. Don’t tell him I said so, but he’s a great parody writer.
I’ve made three equipment upgrades. I bought a proper pop shield (RIP wire hanger) and invested in a better mic with a stand. For the first video, I had duct taped the mic up in my closet, so the stand is a huge improvement. I feel so utterly professional sans duct tape. I also bought a light, but I still use natural light 99% of the time. It’s more forgiving to the bags under my eyes.
I recently saw Idina Menzel in the Broadway production of If/Then. During intermission, I overheard two ladies seated nearby discussing how much they love the song, "Let It Go." One asked the other if she had seen “that funny version of the song with the mom in the little cape." (Yes, she had.) Do you feel famous?
Deva: No way! OMG for some reason that just made me get tears in my eyes. WOW! I don’t feel famous. It’s all been very surreal and happened so quickly. I remember when the first video went viral, I was washing dishes, the kids were screaming at me and I thought, “Holy cow, millions of people are watching my video right now, but here I am, same old me. Cleaning up after my life suckers and getting spit on by my 4-year-old.”
I’m still getting used to having Facebook fans [Note: Dalporto's FB page, launched six months ago, is just shy of 10,000 fans] and all that stuff. It’s amazing and I’m so grateful. I’m honored that people take time out of their insane lives to watch my videos and read my posts.
When you go out, do folks recognize you from your blog or videos?
Deva: I have had a bunch of weird “famous” moments where people have approached me on the street or at school functions and told me they love the videos and the blog. My favorite was when my kids and I were going through the drive-through at In and Out and the checkout lady said, “I have a strange question, are you the lady who was peeing on YouTube?” Yep, that’d be me.
Have you received feedback from any of the original artists of the songs you parody?
Deva: I heard that Kristen Anderson-Lopez (one of the writers of Let It Go) shared my Let It Go video on her personal Facebook page saying I’d found the true subtext of the song. But other than that, I haven’t heard from anyone. If Pitbull wants to rap with a middle-aged suburban mom, I’m so game!
You and several other mom-bloggers recently wrote a book. How has that been going? Do you have any author events coming up in the near future?
Deva: Yes! The book is called I Just Want to Be Alone and I was so honored to be a part of it alongside some of the funniest ladies on the web. [Note: Co-authors include Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat, New York Times bestselling author Karen Alpert. A.K. Turner, Kim Bongiorno, and the Lehigh Valley’s very own Keeper of the Fruit Loops blogger, Christine Burke.]
I just did two author events. It was so much fun to meet people who follow my blog in real life. I’m working out the details and may have a few more coming up in June, stay tuned!
Are there any new book projects, collaborative or not, in the works?
Deva: As for next projects, I’ve had a lot of requests for a MyLifeSuckers book and I’m excited to get working on that in the very new future. I figure when my son learns to wipe his own butt (a goal for the summer) I’ll have more time to write!