I’ve been following Kickstarter for only about a year, and following very closely for only the last three months or so, but I’m almost 100% certain that TERESA SERENITY HANDS ARE FOR LOVING has the most fascinating pitch video of all time.
I’m going to try very hard to restrain myself and not make the most obvious joke about this project while I break it down.
The project is a children’s book project by the mother-daughter duo Sean and Blake Gentile featuring the “loving action hero” Teresa Serenity “who is admired by her friends for her ability to create fun times.” (Greatest super power ever? I think so.) Teresa is an ambiguously ethnic girl with an unflappable bob haircut. She knows how to do things like camp and paint and play ping pong.
The pitch video is nothing short of a masterpiece of unintentional comedy. Join me as I break it down in a running diary:
0:05 “Hats off to everyone who pressed the video button today!” Yes! What an epic beginning! The “video button”? Old people are hilarious. I love the shaky camera work, I love the choice of random outdoor setting, and I LOVE the crazy sequined hat that is connected to a clichéd and ridiculous show of thanks to the viewer. This video is going to be amazing.
0:10 In addition to the hat, I have to mention the whole outfit. I love the scarf, I love the bleach blond hair, and I love the lipstick overkill. Do you think she looked in the mirror and thought “This is perfect” before they started?
0:17 Outta nowhere! The decision to start the hottie daughter off screen is a brilliant move and immediately establishes the single most hilarious part of this video – the creative tension between mother and daughter. (Or are they? They never explicitly say – just another mystery that adds to the tension.) Sean calls Blake a “co-collaborator,” but Blake introduces herself as “co-creator.” The mother puts on her lipstick so the daughter puts on her lipstick…and incredibly revealing low-cut shirt. Do you think that was the breast—er, I mean best—wardrobe decision? Whatever sells, I guess.
0:25 LOVE the old-school digital camera step-by-step zooming out. This is a high quality production.
00:30 “…by showing you just what you have when you have a belief in Teresa on our Kickstarter program…” Was this scripted? This is genius.
00:36 Awkward unplanned interview START! Teresa’s three main qualities are “truth, honesty, and respect.” Teresa “really sets a good standard.”
1:10 “Everyone could use a little more courage because we really all are creative and courageous.” Courage don’t mean shit if you’re not as naturally talented as Teresa Serenity – now that would have been a unique message for this book.
1:17 Sean suddenly looks down in the middle of her long spiel, realizes she’s still holding the hat, and thinks to herself, “Why the fuck am I holding this hat? Lemme put this shit on the ground.”
1:22 Mom goes for the cards, and Blake gets this look on her face that just screams, “But the cards are MY job!” I love how Sean just kind of browses through the cards, looking for one at random. Are they not in some very careful order? Was there no preparation for this shoot?
1:30 “We have sociability as well. Sociability is very important.” Basically this is Mom saying IGNORE the three things my daughter just said, THIS is what Teresa cares about.
“Teresa is an expert in dealing with her friends.” They seem to be suggesting that the Teresa Serenity book will be dealing with topics that other children’s books have been ignoring, but, ya know, I’m pretty sure this is what EVERY children’s book ever written is about in some respect.
1:40 “She’s very flamboyant in creating positive activities for all her friends.” What does this even mean?!
1:45 “Sean, I can completely agree…” I love how Blake does the give and take like a news reporter using Sean’s name. This is definitely going on her acting resume.
1:49 Blake attempts to take control of the video back. “Another thing I wanted to add in was we have to get this message to children all around the United States…and the only way we can do that is with our sponsors.” *Dramatic turn to the camera!*
2:01 Mom is so damn pissed that Blake gets to appeal to the sponsors. She’s totally giving Blake the death stare.
2:19 “In this uncivil world today we just want to bring forth more kindness.” Do you think this is just a passive aggressive shout for help from this pair? Like, in real life they’re super mean to each other, and one day they had a realization somewhere deep, deep down in their consciousnesses that they should be nicer to each other and all of the feelings came out in the form of this children’s book? Or is that just me?
2:48 “Like what’s inside you. You were creative today to just take a peek at the video of Teresa Hands Are For Loving.” I feel extra creative already! And I also feel super saucy thanks to the looks that Blake delivers to the camera.
2:58 “Have anything you wanted to add to that one?” Clearly Sean edited out the “you ungrateful bitch!” from this question.
3:39 The cameraman has lost focus.
3:45 “And how can we do that, Sean?” It’s like these two didn’t even talk to each other before they started filming. This is the scene at the Gentile household as I imagine it:
BLAKE GENTILE comes down the stairs into the kitchen. SEAN GENTILE sits fuming at the kitchen table with a cigarette in her fingers.
BLAKE: Good morning, mother!
BLAKE: We’re filming today, right?
SEAN: (Looks out of window. Stubs out cigarette in ashtray.)
BLAKE: You can’t smoke inside, mother.
SEAN: This isn’t California. We’re in fucking Fort Lauderdale.
BLAKE: Are we filming the pitch video this morning?
SEAN: Again with the pitch video! Fine! Let’s do it. Let’s do it right now. Where’s Roger. Roger! Get your digital camera. Your daughter wants to be on Kickstarter.
BLAKE: Should we prepare anything?
SEAN: I don’t know about you but I’m ready. I know exactly what I’m going to say.
It was either that or this:
SEAN: So that pitch video…
BLAKE: Yeah, we should do that.
SEAN: Maybe make some notes?
BLAKE: No, I think we’re fine.
SEAN: Yeah, let’s just wing it.
3:48 “If you use your belief and just make a small contribution…” They’re taking belief? That’s good to hear – there’s no way I’m forking over any cash to this pair.
4:03 I LOVE the unnecessary saucy suggestiveness in Blake’s sign off: “Have a wonderful day.” Oh, I will.
Oh man. That was amazing. Once I finished watching the video I scrolled down to check out the project. The text isn’t quite as unintentionally funny as the video, but once you scroll down to the bottom of the project, there’s this little gem in the FAQ section:
Of course! That’s the exact question I had. After hearing about Teresa’s kindness, sociability, creativeness, and self-esteem, I just kept thinking, “Well, sure, but how does she treat her mother?”
And the answer is, of course:
There are no words.
I have to give them credit – they aren’t asking for all that much money. Just $2700, which seems like a reasonable price to have a run of a hundred or so books printed. Their rewards are also very well priced out.
I myself would prefer the $70 category for, uh, certain reasons:
The higher reward levels are clearly aimed at people far more mature than I am:
Oh, God. I can’t help myself: Teresa Serenity…Hands are for Loving…In My Pants.