Law student complaints lead to a smash music video
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Held captive by tests and drowning in debt.
That's how one lawyer-in-training and a retail clerk describe law school in their parody video of Maroon 5's "Payphone," aptly titled "Law School," which has reached more than 106,000 views and counting.
Andy Loud, a second-year law student at West Virginia University and rapper in the video, and his friend, Tyler Murray, a WVU graduate and lead singer, have been making music together for years.
The duo makes music under the band Chocolate Ghost House (named after a level in the Super Nintendo video game Super Mario World).
When Andy discovered the Law Revue's video contest, it gave him the motivation to create Chocolate Ghost House's first official video.
"Usually schools like Harvard or Yale win these types of contests; we wanted to put WVU on the map," Loud said.
The pop culture aficionados chose Maroon 5's top hit because "it's catchy and is lyrically complex enough to tell a story through the song," Loud said.
They said they wanted to create something with broad appeal.
"Our main goal in doing this is to positively affect people, whether that's just laughing or just making them happy.
"Our second is to make sure we're having fun and not taking ourselves too seriously. We love the creative process," Murray said.
Murray has been creating music and singing since sixth grade, and Loud began making parodies around the same time. While the bulk of the audio and video was created in about a day with Murray's expertise, the lyrics were much more time-consuming. Loud spent months crafting the perfect verse.
"Law school isn't as bad as people say it is. A favorite pastime of law students is complaining about law school. I wanted to include most of the types of things that would be common in law school - especially stuff from the 1L canon - cases like International Shoe, because every single first year in law school goes through that case," Loud said.
"We also wanted to make it accessible to everybody, so there's no overt school references, and I tried to keep broad the law school references to the point that people not in law school - while they may not get the depth of the jokes - can still relate to it."
His favorite line?
"I like that I make a reference to the Mighty Ducks 2. I say 'Work hard like Ducks in 'D2,'" and there's a quick flash in the video. You gotta look for it," Loud said.
Surprisingly, Loud doesn't consider himself a rapper, though, and only fulfilled that role because of a lack of other volunteers.
"I love the writing side, and I came to Tyler because I could not do this musically. But we tried to find other people to do the rapping part, but trying to find time to work around another person's schedule was too difficult. So, I've been rapping for about . . . two weeks now," Loud said.
All the other people in the video are law students who fell into one of two categories: They were either excited about the contest or close friends.
"I asked 'Have you considered acting, dancing, being professionally good-looking or can you conjure up feelings of being stressed out? Then you should be in a video!' " Loud joked.
"They were all so welcoming and friendly and really patient with us when we had to take multiple, multiple takes," Murray said.
Loud added, "I love the community here. You hear about other law schools where somebody leaves their laptop up for 20 minutes and someone comes and erases all their notes. Here, we have a supportive community where students care about each other and help each other and share things, and I think we benefited from that."
Two weeks later, the video has garnered more than 150 comments and 1,000 thumbs-ups on YouTube. It all started with the two simply sharing it on their Facebook. Then friends shared it. And then friends of those friends shared it, too.
"I've made music for years, and it hasn't reached even a tenth of the views on this video," Murray said. "Bring in this guy (Loud), and it explodes. We thought we were going to celebrate 10,000 hits with a $5 Hot and Ready (Little Caesar's pizza)."
"Now, 10,000 of those hits are probably just my mom clicking 'refresh,' " Loud said.
"It's gotten so big, we might have to get two Hot and Readies," Murray said.
As for what's to come from the group, they don't plan on stopping anytime soon.
"This is a lot of fun. If I ever though this could happen as a career, I would certainly try to go down that path," Loud said. "Could I do law? Yes. Could I do music? Yes. Could I do both? That's a hefty load to juggle, but with whatever I'm doing, I want to just love it, and success will follow.
"I've always wanted to be a personal ambassador of the state and represent it well. I want to do something I love."
"I looked at Tyler and said, 'doesn't this feel like something you're supposed to be doing?' It doesn't feel like work. It's not arduous. We haven't even entered into the contest officially yet - it doesn't start for another month.
"You are doing something that you were built to do. This is something that we're not doing it for any other reason other than it's something we love doing."