OK Go – This Too Shall Pass (Rube Goldberg Version)


The title is also meaningful; ‘This Too Shall Pass.’ It is collaboration between OK Go, a creative band entertaining fans with ever-fresh ideas, and Syyn Lab, a talent donation group. The video is subtitled ‘Rube Goldberg Machine Version.’ This means a machine that intentionally goes through a complicated process to obtain a simple outcome.

This music video is one of 2010 YouTube’s ‘Best Viral Videos’. It recorded 30 million views, which was a tremendous figure back then. You see an unpredictable large-scale domino sequence in the music video. It is extremely surprising that this gigantic domino show was accomplished in one take. We cannot help but appreciate the effort the production crew put forth in this four-minute music video. We can see mankind’s patience through the building of a complex Rube Goldberg Machine that is made to obtain a simple desired outcome only when everything works out perfectly through the process. Their labor and effort would have been for nothing if their production ended without success. However, they have made such a fantastic performance in the end, after a six-month-long plan and 70 tenacious shooting trials over a couple of days. Maybe because of this, the last scene where the research crew and engineers applaud altogether is very touching and moving. From this scene, you can see rather many members are involved in this project. The brilliant piece could be created as each of the members devotedly performed their assigned job.

We need to keep our eye on Syyn Lab, the organization responsible for the planning and producing of this music video. Synn Lab is strictly a collaboration-based organization where the president Adam Sadowsky is the only full-time employee. This organization is formed with about 30 members, who all have their day jobs but donate their creativity and talents to the project. This organization is very unique in order to come up with these amazing results in the domino effect, only after working together. They carry out complex jobs each time but without stress and becoming consumed by their work. They always produce creative and intelligent products even while pleasantly enjoying it.

OK Go – This Too Shall Pass (Rube Goldberg Version) - Wisdom's Webzine

OK Go became a YouTube sensation and already had their ideas showcased with their ‘Here It Goes Again’ music video made up with Treadmill choreography in 2006. Ok Go continued to produce their music videos with various endeavors. Although they earnestly wished to produce a music video using Rube Goldberg Machine one day, they could not find a suitable organization to actualize their idea. They posted their intention on a Mindshare forum: a network of artists, engineers and geeks with original ideas, which drew an interest from Syyn Lab. That’s how the This Shall Too Pass music video was created.

Damian Kulash, a leader of OK Go, also has a belief, similar to Syyn Lab’s aspirations, that the best results come when a variety of ideas are put together from a free working environment; and thus, he decided to collaborate with Synn Lab without hesitation. In addition, Synn Lab is an organization based on faith and affection between the members, whose intention is to have a collaboration of ideas and techniques, which meant financial profits were not their primary concern from this project. Therefore, they literally had fun working together over 6 months at a very low cost. Even more surprisingly, each of the members is a high-end human resource and they worked together purely with a sole purpose.

For the first few months of the project, all members had to be fully occupied with learning physics. Because this short video clip was involved with 89 different physical interactions, even a tiny mistake could break down the entire project. It was even more complex as it had to synchronize 100% with the song. Ideas were pouring out every day and plans were also changed on a daily basis. Ignoring such difficulties, for six months they worked only for their common aim: to gather their talents to create a piece that would surprise the world.

Just for some short music video piece that is quite irrelevant to personal gains, they willingly donated their talents and ideas, stayed up nights to learn something new and joyfully worked even with the ever-changing demands. It must have been possible probably because they knew the true meaning of collaboration. The output they came up with is amazing enough; however, their unique working style makes us think of ants that move organically by helping each other for the common aim while also fulfilling their individual roles. Looking at this truly admirable music video, it reminds us once again, of how grateful we are to have coworkers working together towards one goal. It also gives us a chance to reflect on ourselves and the attitudes we have for work.

[Reference: Synn Lab official website, http://syynlabs.com]