Memes are the cotton candy of media. Quick and sweet. They can be anything, do anything; use any material from any genre. So long as it's easy to share, a meme can be used to re-purpose almost any content there is.
The successful meme is one that's passed around like a joint. Received gratefully, then passed on to a good friend. The best ones entertain and enlighten. They give a voice to those who feel they can't speak any other way. Sometimes political and sometimes nonsensical. A frog can build an empire; a poodle can terrorize a subway. Anyone can smoke thug life. Slap their face and go oooooooooooohhhhhhhh.
Time to learn a new way to approach everything.
Maybe I've said to myself at some point... "how can I make a meme? I'm no genius. I'm not even funny. I can't paint or play an instrument. Doesn't it take an artist to create things? All I can do on my laptop is browse twitter....laughing at memes."
It turns out it's easier than it seems. Think re-sampling in rap albums applied to every kind of media. It's meta, aleatoric music played across every day items. The funniest stuff is topic of the day. Even a no-talent hack like me can capitalize on that. I can get something good out fast when something "meme worthy" happens. And this is how it's done.
It's hard to jump on a hot story when it takes days or weeks to make something.
First stay vigilant for something interesting in your life. Maybe, it's a news story or an author you follow in the area. Make a meme broad for topics and specific for people. Get a handle on all the ingredients before you worry about setting the table. Build a meme machine. Pick your subjects, the genre; are we abstracting(pulling back to explore ideas)or focusing(drawing in to highlight a specific occurrence)? And above all else if there's ever a good place to mix metaphores...it's a meme.
Meme = (( Idea + Media) + (Progression * Effects)) * Format
Let's break it down a little more.
Meme = ((Subjects*Topic*Event) + (Audio + Clips + Video + Pictures + Text) + (Progression * Effects)) * Format
M = (([S1/S2]*T*E) + (Me)*(P * Ef)) * F
Subjects are the people. Topic is the vermilion of the discussion. The event is the incidence that has drawn attention making it a meme worthy situation. The core value comes from the source audio; clips are samples to be cut in. Source video; pictures to be cut in. Progression is the story; the script describing in sequence the interesting bits. Effects are the spice in the soup that draw attention where we want it.
Remember, and this is critical. This blueprint is for building memes by re-purposing content. That means you are not trying to make something from whole cloth. People need to know who the subjects are and the topic must be familiar. The event should be in the news or online in some format others can follow up on. The clips and pictures go onto the audio and video which we rely on for the primary structure. Let the progression inform the work by using effects to illustrate what's already there in a fresh way.
Mise En Place
([Ben Shapiro / Security Guard] * Free speech on Campus * Guard denying Ben entrance to his speaking event) + (Audio of Ben Speaking to guard + clips of bass and people making ooohhhh noises + video of guard sheepishly bloviating + pictures of a joint and sunglasses + the words Thug Life in appropriate font) + (Ben winning argument for all to see ending in a joint hanging from his mouth, sunglasses, and the words thug life above his head. Crowd oooohhh and bass in the background * gray scale in final frames) * Youtube
When you make a meme..make a meme of a meme.
What's better than a root that looks like a dead rat?
One might also then make a simpler meme as an animated gif which doesn't have audio or run length and therefor is more compatible with platforms that optimize for shorter attention spans. The format defines the final product. The medium is the message. Always try to get at least 2 layers of derivative value from your efforts.
(Ben/Guard * Campus * Guard denying entrance) + (Slide show of guard placing hand on Ben's chest + joint, sunglasses, fonted thug life) + (Guard places hand then removes it after Ben speaks; pictures appear; thug life in still frame) *
Curious who discovered memes? The word meme originated with Richard Dawkins' 1976 book The Selfish Gene.
The meme machine is the heart of your enterprise. A combination of software and crafts. Ultra high definition is pie in the sky; we just need funny. Copy and paste is classic. Take it to the real world, though. You'll need scissors, construction paper in many colours and tape. Do you remember Papier-mâché? A free image program like Gimp. A cheap scanner and a camera. Audacity is a great free audio program.
There's a circus of video editing suits out there when you feel ready, but you can do a lot with simple image manipulation and some real world props. Digitize that awesomeness. Let your freak fly. Nothing is beyond the meme treatment just as no-one is above criticism.
If you can browse it; it's fair game. Yet another advantage of re-purposing content is a layer of grooming has already happened. The original producer potentially makes a lot of money in part because originality comes with greater inherent risk and return.
When putting a meme together the sky is the limit but at the same time by restraining yourself to re-purposing content; things stay within reach. There's a rhyme to the reason while you focus on getting better at identifying the most meme worthy opportunities. Choose your moment to become part of the conversation.
Do you think you've found a unique form of content that hasn't been memed yet? Give it a try!
One discovers the opportunities rather than makes them. In a manner of speaking when you start a new meme you are actually some layer down the chain that supplied the source material you're working with. Get better at discovering new value in original permutations of something awesome already there and your derivatives will improve. Let nature do the hard work; then do your part.