What I Have Learned From High School Musical

I’m not sure how or why, but Steffie has been drawn in by the whole High School Musical craze. I’d like to think it’s because she works at a store where HSM is big business and cuts from the soundtrack are on ‘power rotation’ through overhead speakers. It’s modern day brainwashing at $8.00 per hour.

Over the holidays, Helaine and I sat down with her to actually watch the High School Musical DVD. It’s not high art, but it’s cute and sweet and innocent enough for middle schoolers to watch. It premiered as the Disney Channel’s highest rated show of ’06 and became the biggest DVD seller of the year.

Are there really that many adorable actors in Hollywood? I guess so.

From Wikipedia: High School Musical is an American made-for-television musical film, produced and distributed by Disney Channel, and was released on January 20, 2006.

The Emmy Award-winning television film was one of the most successful Disney Channel Original Movies ever produced, with a sequel confirmed and soundtrack that is certified triple-platinum, making it one of the most commercially-successful records of 2006.

High School Musical has turned into a running family joke. Steffie and I have threatened Helaine that we’ll learn the dance steps (they’re taught on the DVD). Earlier today Stef wanted me to do a jumping split, as they do in the movie.

I’m sure I made it at least 3″ off the ground. Hey, I’m approaching hip breaking age!

It’s good family fun… not the movie so much, but how we joke about it between ourselves. If Steffie and I are both laughing uncontrollably while Helaine looks on… well it’s a choice family moment. Most parents fantasize about this kind of bonding.

Today, Steffie and I turned to youtube.com for a look at how High School Musical is represented. I was amazed at all the school groups and individual kids who have videotaped&#185 their HSM performances, lip synching to the tracks (as the actual movie actors did).

Then, Stef told me about Ashley Tisdale, one of the stars of HSM. There, on youtube, was Ashley’s video blog.

We’re not watching a PBS documentary here. These are simple video slices of life from her day on the road with the High School Musical touring company. No script. No edits. Just a little flavor of this small part of her day.

As I type this, her ‘channel’ has been viewed over 450,000 times. Mull that number in your head a moment.

What a concept. For a performer, it’s an astoundingly effective way to solidify a base of fans.

I’m probably not going back to watch more of Ashley, but I will ponder where this short video clip fits in the general scheme of things. Yes, video blogs or vlogs already exist. This is different. This is brand extension, an affinity builder.

It might be the best marketing tool I’ve seen in a long time.

&#185 – Videotaped – how last century is that? Most of the video I saw was captured to some sort of memory device, then streamed as digits across the Internet. No tape was involved at any point in the process.

Will the word, “taping,” like “dialing” a telephone, survive even after the specific function described ceases to exist? Probably.