A series of reaction videos
set off by "Happy Hobbit's" reaction to "The Desolation of Smaug" trailer
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In June 2013, two TORn Staff members, Kellie & Alex (aka 'Kili' & 'Fili', the producers and hosts of the TORn "Happy Hobbit" feature series) made and uploaded a video of their first reactions to "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" trailer. After the video was promoted by Peter Jackson and "The Hobbit" movie's official blog, Jackson made a video response of three "Hobbit" cast members watching the "Happy Hobbit" duo. In turn, the "Happy Hobbit" duo again recorded themselves watching the cast reaction.
Coverage of this collection of videos went viral and much was made of the recursive and meta nature of the set. The similarity of the increasingly layered videos to the dream-within-dream film "Inception" prompted the term "Hobbitception" (alternately spelled with a dash: Hobbit-ception).
General reaction to the videos seemed positive and at least one site noted Jackson's involvement as good marketing strategy on behalf of "The Hobbit" movies.
There were five videos that comprised the set of recursive "Hobbitception" videos.
- Video One: Online video of the first trailer for "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"Video Two: TORn's "Happy Hobbit" duo's video reaction to the trailer video posted in a TORn News Article and on the TORnHappyHobbit YouTube ChannelVideo Three: "Hobbit" cast members' video reaction to the TORn's "Happy Hobbit's" video reaction to the trailer videoVideo Four: "Happy Hobbit's" video reaction to the cast member's video reaction to the "Happy Hobbit's" video reaction to the trailer videoVideo Five: The "Inception" edition - all five videos synced into one video
Full account of all videos:
The viral nature of the videos
As each video in the series got released, more and more sites starting covering them. An article run on the New Zealand Herald site about "Happy Hobbit's" first video got picked up by over 700 other sites, some declaring the video "viral." Ten days after the initial video was posted, conducting a Google search for >> kellie alex hobbit react trailer cast << provided about 57,000,000 results.
The meta and recursive aspect, dubbed "Hobbitception," of the videos
Much was made of the recursive, meta aspect of these videos. The similarity of the increasingly layered videos to the dream-within-dream film "Inception" prompted the term "Hobbitception" (alternately spelled with a dash: Hobbit-ception). Eleven days after the first videos were uploaded, a Google search for the term "Hobbit-ception" (which also brought up results for "Hobbitception" without a dash) produced about 36,500 results.
The marketing aspect of the videos
Chris Atkinson on ReelSEO: The Online Video Marketing Guide noted that filming "The Hobbit" cast's reaction to "Happy Hobbit's" first video was good marketing strategy for upcoming movie, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" writing...
It may be worth noting that the three cast members in the reaction video were Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), and Lee Pace (Thranduil). These are the same three cast members that were featured just weeks later on the cover of the print version and with HD images in the e-version of the August 2013 Empire magazine issue devoted to "The Desolation of Smaug."
Reception of the videos
Most articles covering the videos celebrated the geekiness and enthusiasm exhibited by the "Happy Hobbit" team and the cast members of "The Hobbit" movies and even Peter Jackson by creating the cast reaction video. Comments from fans in general, like all comments on the web, range between cynicism and dismissal to enjoyment and sympathetic excitement. But some of the positive comments tapped into feeling something beyond merely enjoying the videos for just that moment.
Mary Beth Martini-Lyons on her blog, Signal:Noise, wrote...
Reactions by cast and crew
The mention in non-TORn media that probably sparked interest in "Happy Hobbit's" first video was that made by Peter Jackson on his Facebook page. The video was also featured, about the same time, on the "Hobbit" movie's official blog. After Jackson posted the "Hobbit" Cast's reaction to "Happy Hobbit's" first video, the story attracted even more attention.
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Coverage by other media
The successively recursive videos were covered by a number of major sites, such as NBC Today Entertainment, Huffington Post Entertainment, EW.com PopWatch, Yahoo UK Movies, The Onion A.V. Club, New Zealand Herald, and New Zealand SKY TV Prime News. In September, a short excerpt of Video Two was played on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon during an interview with Orlando Bloom.
The "Happy Hobbit" duo was also interviewed by phone for a news segment on KCBA-TV/FOX 35 Central Coast News and by Skype for a video interview segment on the syndicated weekday television Right This Minute. There were also featured on the June 18, 2013 video segment for "TORn Tuesday."
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