Sep 12

The fanatics behind “Sh*t Apple Fanatics Say”

There are two reasons why you might laugh at Shit Apple Fanatics Say: you know people like this, or you are people like this.

No matter what team you root for — Mac, PC, iOS, Android — it’s hard not to see truth in this video. Truth, of course, is what makes funny things funnier.

The viral success of this video (over 800,000 views in just a few days) made me want to find out more. So I flung myself into deep investigative journalism mode — which in this case consisted of hitting the Send button on an email to Scott Rose, one of the video’s creators.

Scott is the nerd who stars in the video. Yes, he’s acting. But he didn’t have to strain his acting muscles too much in this role, since he’s a self-proclaimed Apple fan who’s done his share of rationalizing on Apple’s behalf. Though, unlike the character he plays, he’s actually aware of it.

Scott is no stranger to the Apple world, having been programming Macs since he was 13. He spent six years traveling as a speaker for Apple at various store openings and events, and was a contributing editor at MacLife Magazine for two years. Currently, he’s a Mac consultant and Filemaker Pro developer.

Fortunately, the nerd side of Scott is nicely balanced by the actor/comedian side. He’s good at observing the truths in human behavior, including his own. It was the passion he observed for and against Apple that led to the idea of this video.

Scott shared the concept with friend and cinematographer/editor Andrew Baird, also a big Apple fan, and together the two started mapping out the project. At first, they deluded themselves into thinking they’d just shoot for couple of hours and spend a day editing. And quite a delusion it was.

The videos (there is a Part 2 now as well) took one day of location scouting, one day of writing, 2.5 days of shooting and five days of editing.

The pair wrote over 100 lines and recorded all of them at each location, and improvised as well. That resulted in over eight hours of video that had to be whittled down to just a few minutes.

Almost every cast member you see in the videos was picked up on the fly. “Hey, wanna be in a funny video?” is apparently a very convincing line in Austin.

One of the extras — Alessandra Burenin — got so into it, she joined the team as assistant director. Sensing that the video was “momentous and significant,” she ended up managing the whole production process.

It’s interesting the way people have responded to the videos. While Apple fans seem to get a kick out of laughing at themselves, many Apple haters believe they’ve found kindred spirits. This says more about the intellectual capacity of Apple-haters than it does about the videomakers’ true feelings.

As Scott explains, “We are in love with Apple and have a deep passion for Apple, but in a loving relationship you have to take the good with the bad. Sometimes we agree with Apple, sometimes we don’t. But the best way to get through these sorts of relationship disagreements is with humor! Sometimes you just have to poke fun at yourselves to keep the relationship peaceful.”

Scott isn’t making fun of people who defend Apple — only those who blindly defend it.

In real life, Scott spouts some serious criticism of his favorite company. He’s not a fan of John Browett running the Apple Stores, he was as frustrated as anyone with the many iterations of .Mac/MobileMe/iCloud, and he agonizes over the disappearance of the 17-inch MacBook Pro. He also has great disdain for Apple’s recent “Genius” ad campaign. (Get in line on that one, buddy.)

But philosophically, Scott remains extremely attached. “Apple isn’t just a company or a product line to me… Apple is the ideal embodiment of all the values that mean the most to me: high quality, high integrity, high imagination, high creativity and high hopes for humanity. And even when Apple frustrates and annoys me to no end, I still believe in Apple’s overall vision and its commitment to keeping things simple, accessible and magical.”

Uh-oh. Did he actually use Apple’s well-worn “magical” word? Yes, but my inner Apple fanatic has already rationalized that away.

To illustrate his appreciation for Apple’s values, Scott tells the story of a recent visit to the Apple Store, where he made a purchase using his iPhone Apple Store app. As he walked out of the store, he asked an employee how they could tell the difference between a paying customer and a shoplifter. He was told that Apple trained its employees to believe that people will do the right thing. “What other major corporation embodies these sorts of principles?” he asks.

It’s because Apple embodies this goodness that it’s difficult for many of us to process the badness.

“This video is designed to highlight both the love and hate that we carry for Apple,” says Scott. He theorizes that people’s unique relationship with Apple leads them to verbalize the “hate” part of the relationship more often than the “love” part — even though what they ultimately feel is love. “For every 10 things Apple does to piss us off, they give us one thing that we love. That’s enough to keep us CRAZY.”

Scott, Andrew and Alessandra have been enjoying the tidal wave of viewers who have spent time with the videos. Each of them has aspirations in film, so the enthusiasm has been gratifying.

“We’d like to thank everybody who has watched it, tweeted it, facebooked it, loved it and hated it. We loooove you. We hate hate hate hate hate you.”

Long live the dual personalities in all of us.

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