"Are you feeling tired? Frustrated? Overwhelmed? Sounds like you need a Handjob."
That's the tagline for the most romantic Valentine's Day gift you'll find this year- the Handjob; a practical, functioning product that improves your grip on bottles, jars and lids. In less than a month the first Handjob video went viral and now the creators are back with more. I spoke with the inventors, a couple of LA-based filmmakers, about their product.
AY: Who are you guys?
David Stanbra, 30, from San Diego.
Matt Thiesen, 29, from Minnesota.
AY: How did you meet?
MT: I met Dave in a low-budget horror movie that I wrote called Killer Sound. He was the best lead singer by far that applied for the job and we've been working together ever since. We're both filmmakers and Dave does some acting.
AY: How did you come up with the idea for the Handjob?
MT: It began with a script we wrote for a feature film that had a lot of commercial parodies in it. One of them was the Handjob product. We kept coming back to it and eventually decided to pursue actually making it into a real product.
AY: When did this all happen?
DS: The concept came about last year. We went back and forth making stupid jokes for a few months, but what finally got us to move on it was to have it in time for Christmas. We had a lot of friends help us. This guy Joe Ramos has a studio called Big Joe Sound in Santa Monica. He did the voice-over and really helped us actually make the video.
AY: Your first video went viral. When did you first post it?
MT: December 12th at 1:30am. We got 25,000 hits by noon that day. After it went up we were decompressing and we were like "yeah if no one watches it we definitely entertained ourselves."
AY: How did you cast the actors in the first video?
DS: When we first started casting it was sort of hard to explain. Even inviting an actor to an audition called "I need a hand job" was difficult, so for the first round we gave it a generic name for a jar opener. The issue was, do we tell them what the product is, or do we treat it like a normal infomercial? We ended up being pretty straightforward beforehand and told them we were making a parody of an infomercial.
MT: There's no easy way to put it. Dave was a big proponent of the facial shot on the old woman. I refused to do it and told him he had to tell the actors himself.
DS: We didn't cast anyone who we thought might be against the idea of doing it, so everyone was on board.
AY: What's next?
MT: The main reason we did this was to make a commercial that made us laugh. The fact that we have a product is icing on the cake, so we are definitely thinking about ways to diversify the commercial.
AY: Any new products on the way?
MT: We do have more ideas but we can't divulge those yet.
DS: Because we want to give people a good product, we also want to offer more add-ons. We're not business men but we've seen enough infomercials to know that people like. That was the most business-like thing I've ever said in my life.
MT: I was thinking about how I could slip "refined" into this convo.
For more info go to www.ineedahandjob.com