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July 3, 2014

SCA Alumni create viral video, "SEEDS"

Partnered with the Google Glass Creative Collective, a team of SCA alumni and faculty created SEEDS, a short film shot entirely on the Google Glass. The viral video has garnered over 2.4 million views on YouTube since its debut on May 8, 2014.

At the beginning phases of development SEEDS director, Aneesh Chaganty, who graduated in 2013 with a Film and Television Production degree, came up with the story wanting address the concerns people had with the Glass, without overtly addressing them in the video.

“Most people associate Glass with very cold, futuristic very droidian, robotic; a picture of a cold future,” Chaganty said. Yes, while it is the future, it doesn’t forget the past as well. I used the basic seam of that to tell the theme of the story, with the ultrasound in the video representing the future and the mother representing the past.”

SEEDS producer, Sev Ohanian said he recalled hearing Chaganty’s story for the first time. “I swear to you, I had goosebumps all over my body,” he said.

In his experience working in the industry so far, Chaganty said the most important aspect of a film that remains is the story.

“Cameras are just tools to tell a story,” Chaganty said. “My biggest advice to a student is to focus on the story, before the camera, before any of the tools and cool visual effects come in. It’s got to help your story.

In this case, the Glass was the tool used to tell the story of SEEDS.

“One thing we tried to capture was the human spectrum of Glass,” Chaganty said. “I really wanted to show that this technology, as any technology, is only effective as what you put it towards. A Google Glass is just another tool in a filmmakers arsenal of tools.”

One of the benefits Ohanian said the Glass gave the story was its unique first-person perspective. When shooting the film, the team had to conceptualize how the Glass’ point of view would help tell the story.

“The glass helps the viewer immediately identify with the main character,” Ohanian said. “Even though this story can happen to anyone in the world, you still have a sense of connection to the main character. The way his mom smiles at him and stares right into his eyes is the way you might connect with your mom.”

While the Glass technology was new, the team was able to practice the skills they learned at USC.

“Every stage of SEEDS has USC written all over it,” Ohanian said. The way we were meeting together, coming up with ideas and identifying challenges and solving them were all those skills we learned in the classroom and at times it felt like we were right back in the classroom because the process was very rushed as classes often are. As unique as the project was, from beginning to end, it just felt like a further extension of all the skills we learned in the USC classroom applied on a global level.”

Since the film's debut, its success has opened new doors for the team.

“I’m very excited about the future and where I’m going,” Chaganty said. “It’s really cool to see how much a two and a half minute video can alter the course of my career.”  

Ohanian is currently working on a film in Texas and other projects including collaborations with Chaganty. He is expected to teach a class in fall semester at USC as an adjunct professor.

Chaganty is joining Creative 5 at Google, in New York City, an exclusive program with a team of five young creatives from across the globe to help run the Google brand by creating videos, interactive projects, and commercials with the Creative Lab.