F*CK THAT: JASON HEADLEY
WNW Member #78 Jason Headley is the soothing voice and hilarious mind behind the viral video "F*ck That: A Guided Meditation", which at the time of this post is just shy of 2 million views in 4 days. Jason is no amateur when it comes to viral videos. A couple years ago, his short "It's Not About the Nail" exploded on the internet and is now well over 10 million views. WNW interviews the copywriter, novelist, and screenwriter on the inspiration behind "F*ck That" and his plans for the future. Jason tells us, "I’m going to make a movie. If anyone reading this has about $500K they want to turn into a feature film, I can do that for them... Also, if anyone reading this has a pile of money they want to turn into a commercial, I can do that for them, too."
Do you practice meditation?
I don’t. My wife was taking a meditation course and I did a couple of guided meditations with her. There was something simultaneously relaxing and hilarious about it to me.
Is that your voice? If so, does having a soothing voice ever come in handy?
That is my voice. I don’t know that it’s that soothing day-to-day. I do voiceovers for commercials, so I have a tiny bit of range. I just geared it way down and rode the wave of relaxation.
How’d you come up with the idea?
There was a phrase that the guy kept using in my wife’s guided meditation, “Just acknowledge…” in this really smooth, relaxing tone. Like, “If you feel too hot or too cold, just acknowledge that.” One day we were driving somewhere, I think maybe my wife was angry about something or someone, and I said, “Just acknowledge that all that shit is fucking bullshit.” And it made us both really laugh. So I came home and wrote the script.
How did you initially get F*ck That out there? The video has over a million views and got onto the front page of Funny or Die. What's been your reaction to the media's response? (Personally, we love that Bustle put memes to it.)
I just put it on Facebook and Twitter. It took off all on its own. It had over 100K views the first day, over 1M by the next. It seems to make people really happy. I’ve been getting some interesting offers. We’ll see if any of them are real. I went through this once with “It’s Not About the Nail.” The crazies manage to sort themselves out.
We stalked your Facebook status: “1M views in two days. Immortal status on Funny or Die. And Judge Reinhold is now following me on Twitter.” Which one of these are you most excited about?
The views are the best, just imagining that so many people are enjoying something I made. I never make things because I think they’re going to be popular. I just make things I would want to discover in the world. So sometimes I make things no one watches. Then something like this happens.
That said, Twitter makes the world fun. When Judge Reinhold retweets you, it feels like that just has to be significant, right? When Wes Craven and Michael Eisner tweeted me I sort of didn’t know what to do. Or when Seth Meyers followed me on Twitter. I mean, what am I supposed to do with that information? It’s odd in the best way.
What are your favorite curse words?
In the right circumstances, I can swear with the best of them. But I usually don’t like swearing as a substitute for a joke. It’s not as bad as people who, in lieu of being funny, are just loud. Most of the stuff I’ve made is very PG-13. So I did question whether this thing was actually funny since it only works because of the swearing. But I gave it some thought and felt okay about it.
You’re a pro with getting hits on your videos. Besides making really strong and funny content, do you have advice for anyone looking to reach a bigger audience?
None. I have no advice for such a thing. I just make things I like. It’s so much more satisfying. Then, whether other people like it or not, I’m happy. I imagine it would be terrifying to make something you don’t like, that suddenly takes off like a rocket. I would just feel unmoored. “Why do they like it? I don’t even like it.”
Are you shooting most of this content on your own? How do you get paid?
I work with a great team of people who are game to have some fun. You’ll see a lot of the same names in the credits of the films. Just an incredible group at every step of the process. I only started making shorts because I had written a few feature film scripts, so I wanted to practice, to get better. Right now I’m talking to financiers and producers about a small sub-$1M feature I’m going to make.
As for how I get paid, I still work in advertising. I freelance for agencies. I do work directly for clients through my company, Team Headley. I’m signed as a commercial director with Slim Pictures. And I do voiceover work through JE Talent.
Do you feel pressure to be funny?
I feel the same amount of pressure to be funny as I do to have green eyes.
You grew up in West Virginia. What was that like, in a sentence?
Who are your comedic idols?
What’s next for you? Give us the scoop :)
I’m going to make a movie. If anyone reading this has about $500K they want to turn into a feature film, I can do that for them.
Also, if anyone reading this has a pile of money they want to turn into a commercial, I can do that for them, too.