I had the dumbest idea for a weird little video series.
So I mentioned the other day that I found my new workmate, Pumplestiltskin. For a quick recap, I was bored and walked the floors at work. I used to work on the 5th floor and people have a habit of leaving free food in the kitchen. Seemed like as good a time as any to leave my desk, so I climbed two flights of stairs in the hopes that a mid-afternoon snack was waiting for me. Pumplestiltskin to be didn’t look like a snack, but that could change, given the right makeover. I drew some eyes, a little nose, a big beard and some eyebrows. With the addition of a promotional Guinness trilby a co-worker had lying around, Pumplestiltskin was complete. I’m not an artist.
I was sitting at my desk, looking at Pumplestiltskin. I started thinking of how satisfying it’d be to see a pumpkin splatter on the ground from a great height. To clarify, I’ve had Pumplestiltskin for a handful of days and I’m already plotting its murder. Maybe don’t leave me in charge of infants. To me it almost seemed like a symbol that Fall was coming to an end. I googled the dates at which seasons in Canada changed. Despite the occasional snowfall, The 21st of December would mark true Winter. This meant it’d be just under a month until, if everything came to fruition, I’d be able to toss Pumplestiltskin from the eighth floor balcony of the office.
The next question was how I’d get permission to do so.
I was chatting with one of the radio program directors downstairs after my last job application. She said that maybe in the future she could get me involved in some content creation for the station. I’m 99% sure it was just a kind, polite rejection, but could there be something behind it? I feel like I’d get reprimanded for just tossing a rotund pumpkin off a building, but if it were part of marketing and promotion? Would that give me the leeway to fulfil a momentary desire? Moreover, how would I pivot Pumplestiltskin into some kind of content (for the protracted excuse of watching it splatter utterly)? Maybe a daily social clip called something like “The Gourd Word with Pumplestiltskin”. I could make a silly intro song with dumb Saved By The Bell style visuals. A real cheesy vibe, flippant and overly long. Then cut to a short video of Pumplestiltskin in some location, with me giving a voice over. My VO could be anything from a stupid pun, a brief reference to a contemporary news story, an old one-liner cribbed from an obvious source (like Mitch Hedberg’s “escalators don’t break” one), or trenchant political commentary. We could vary the location or add props to push the scenes in new directions. Over time they could become more and more elaborate. Then, of course, the outro song (same as the intro) could play and the clip would be over. I’d imagine the whole thing would be 30 seconds, with the Pumplestiltskin clip only 5-8 seconds long. The timing would all be part of the joke.
Wait. Would a pumpkin even last for another month? It’d already been around for at least one. 8-12 weeks, apparently. It was risky, but 8-12 weeks probably left me with the appropriate amount of time to do this.
Hold on, could that be my hook? The gears in my brain started turning over.
Pumplestiltskin is ostensibly aged between 25-35 human years. Over the course of the next month, it’ll age (rot) dramatically. Was there potential for a story arc? Maybe start out with the more absurd, random humour and slowly gravitate towards poignant ruminations on life? As it became clear that Pumplestiltskin was slowly dying, it could dispense pearls of wisdom or hopes for future generations. This, of course, would be punctuated some days by more of random humour or dumb puns. There’d be a real balance to strike. Humans identify with antropomorphic objects surprisingly quickly. Could Pumplestiltskin become a beloved character in under a month? How would we draw people in, making Pumplestiltskin likeable enough that viewers would mourn its death? Do we even have any brands at work that’d suit this kind of abstract humour? Or are they all a bit too stuffy and self-serious?
Pumplestiltskin may not have legs, but this idea might.