Checking the mail has never been as thrilling for Dan Bakst as it has been since June 21.
Every day Bakst, a senior majoring in mass communications, said he is eagerly awaits the arrival of his mail, which could carry a $10,000 check from canned produce company Libby’s – for Bakst and his friend, former USF premed student Dan Nguyen.
Bakst and Nguyen won Libby’s jingle contest after applying on a whim without not even fully knowing what Libby’s was.
“I recognized the logo and I remembered they make the pumpkin stuff, but I never knew they had a jingle,” Bakst said.
Nguyen, who said he remembered eating the “pumpkin stuff” before, looked at the company’s website to see what the brand represented.
“I went to their site and tried to read what their mottos were and what their brand field was,” he said. “(Libby’s) provided the chorus to us.”
Knowing their jingle had to be under one minute and include the sentence “If it says Libby’s, Libby’s, Libby’s, on the label, label, label, you will like it, like it, like it on the table, table, table,” Nguyen then wrote the lyrics such as “with Libby’s on the label you know that food is fresh.”
The two created an accompanying song using a ukulele, xylophone, guitar and hand claps.
The two shot the video using green fabric as a green screen. They later replaced it in editing with a series of stop-motion pictures of Libby’s canned vegetables, so that they appear to emerge from the cans in the video while singing.
“We didn’t use the best of tape to hold up the fabric for the green screen so it kept falling down,” Bakst said. “But otherwise the process was pretty smooth.”
Nguyen said the process, including lyrics, filming and green screen failures, took them between three to four hours – something that the appalled the two YouTube veterans.
After meeting at Campus MovieFest in 2008, the two created a mini-web series about a furry, antlered creature named Dennis that lives with Bakst’s character “Dan,” for a YouTube contest.
Though the series didn’t win, the “Dennis” videos have received more than 300,000 views on YouTube. New episodes appear every other Wednesday on smosh.com and every other Friday on TrumpetDstudio’s YouTube channel.
“Dennis” episodes on average take about two weeks to put together, Bakst said.
“We work so much harder for our ‘Dennis’ episodes, but for this one we just had a lot of fun,” he said. “But it’s always a good feeling to get a $10,000 check in the mail.”
The contest was initially judged by Jewel, someone Nguyen said he “listened to back in the day,” and later by Internet voters.
Though his share of the check may go towards a new camera lens and animation desk, Bakst said most of it will go toward rent money. Nguyen said he planned on saving the money.
When the check arrives is still unknown. Until then, Bakst said his mailbox remains his most exciting summer destination.
To watch their jingle video, go to the “Libby’s Table” Facebook page.