Hip Hop McGill

YouTube Success Finds Filmmakers Who Focus On The Positive

McGill State of Mind production team. From left to right: Nicholas Kirwan, Adina Friedman, Trip Yang, Charlie Bern, Hector Hernandez. Photo credit: Ed Yao

The past year has seen protests, gross mismanagement and internal conflict at many Quebec schools, but one group of McGill students is breaking from the rhetoric and showcasing the up-side of their university experience.

“The McGill community was extremely receptive to our unprecedented music video project,” said Trip Yang, who created the uplifting video along with the help of his twenty-person team. “Hundreds of students, athletes, professors, and staff were involved in the recording, filming, editing, sponsorship, and promotion.”

The song borrows heavily from Jay-Z’s 2009 hit “Empire State of Mind” in sound and theme. Although Yang’s ode to his community might not hit triple platinum status like Mr.Beyoncé’s did, “McGill State of Mind” has already clocked in over 50,000 hits on YouTube.

Yang attributes the video’s success to the novelty of the idea.

“There’s never before been a large scale music video at McGill that focused on the campus life and the many different student initiatives,” he said. “‘McGill State of Mind’ featured over 35 student groups, from student governance organizations like SSMU, to student media publications, to athletics teams.”

After releasing the song in September 2011, the video portion of the project took shape over the course of the year. Working with a band, production team, and other project volunteers, the video was filmed in dozens of locations around campus over the course of four weeks. The final product was released in March.

Yang is a recent McGill grad with a double major in economics and psychology, and he continues to engage in film projects including short films and music videos. Currently, he is working with two other members of the McGill State of Mind production team, Hector Hernandez and Charlie Bern on fundraising videos for DESTA (Dare Every Soul to Achieve), an educational and mentorship program for marginalized Montreal youth.

As enthusiastic as Yang is about McGill, he encourages students to share their appreciation at other universities.

“Personally,” he added, “I’d love to see a group of Concordia students take a shot at making an even better video!”