By Cody Worsham
Logan Baudean has no idea how to make a video go viral – even though he did it several times in college.
“I still don’t know how to make a viral video,” he said last week, laughing. “I don’t think you can plan it.”
Together with classmate Myles Laroux, Baudean formed half of the Lil Final Boyz, who burst on the scene during finals week in 2010 with the YouTube hit “LSU Lil Finals Week BOUNCE.” To date, the video has over 70,000 hits, or 69,999 more than either performer expected.
“The first one was some stupid thing we thought would be funny for ourselves and our friends,” Baudean said, “and for some reason it went viral.”
So did two more finals week videos, an LSU championship bounce, and an LSU Harlem shake video, which picked up a cool half-million hits.
Even that project was something of an accident, said Laroux, who had just landed in the states after a six-month internship in Israel when The Harlem Shake took the web by storm in February 2013.
“Literally as soon as I landed in New Orleans,” he recalled, “just as I’m getting back on my feet in America, a buddy texted me, ‘This Harlem Shake thing is you. You gotta get this video together. LSU needs a Harlem Shake.’
“My first thought was to pass,” he continued. “I’m out the game. I’m old. Somebody else will do it, it will be okay.”
That hesitation became acceptance by midnight, however. Laroux created a Facebook page in the early hours of Thursday morning, and by Friday, 2,000 people were on board for the shoot.
“That was a big moment for me,” Laroux said. “That solidified for me that I am where I’m supposed to be, that God has provided me with a network of people for a purpose.”
Laroux, who studied Middle Eastern politics at LSU, has since worked for a political consulting firm and is eager to pursue a career in politics. Currently, he’s helping to run recently-launched Cell Phone Solutions in Baton Rouge, which repairs and customizes phones and tablets.
“I’ve just gotten out of politics and I’m doing this business endeavor, which in the long run will help me see how policy affects business,” he said. “It’s all politics to me, but more important, it’s all about people. I just love people; hopefully it doesn’t take long to see that in me.”
For Laroux, that was the biggest take away of going viral in college – learning what exactly to do with his life.
“I like to see myself as a visionary,” he said. “I can see things and make them come to pass. I’m also a facilitator. I like to connect people and move things around and be all things to all people.”
That’s why Laroux is planning “225 Live,” a weekly event for post-college adults that’s equal parts ministry and networking set for a fall debut.
“In college, every church has a ministry,” he said. “Once you get out of that, it’s awkward to go back and be that older person. Some of these kids are 17 and 18. I want to do something there’s a real need for – loving on Baton Rouge as a whole.”
Baudean, too, has used the viral experience post-college. He’s now a freelance musician – he and Laroux met on the Tiger Band drum line – who is set for a move to Nashville in a couple of months. And making it in the music business requires the same sort of marketing skills required for a viral video campaign.
“I learned how to market myself,” Baudean said. “The first video was never supposed to be marketed to anyone, but it took on its own life, and we had to figure out how to keep that market interest. So I learned how to play to demographics.”
That led the duo to sell shirts and tanks, providing plenty of cash for scantrons and bluebooks. At the same time, Beaudean also learned that successful marketing isn’t just knowing who you are – it’s also knowing who you are not.
“I obviously wasn’t setting out to be a rapper or a video maker, but it just kind of came together,” he said. “So I wouldn’t say I don’t embrace it, but I don’t go out and try to get rapping gigs and market myself as a video expert. I’m a musician and a drummer first. That’s what I really take pride in.”
Those promotional skills have helped Baudean transition from full-time drummer in Wolves, Where? – a band which broke up last year – to the touring roles he’s now profiting from. He recently finished a traveling keyboard gig with his roommate’s band Moon Honey, a prominent Baton Rouge group previously featured in DIG, as well as NPR and the New York Times, and has another three-week drum gig lined up before heading to Nashville this summer.
That move will make Baudean and Laroux’s time together less frequent – they still hang out frequently and recently co-hosted Groovin’ on the Grounds together, more evidence of their celebrity staying power.
Even so, the Lil Final Boyz live on through their lyrical legacy and the lessons they’ve learned. And despite their songs’ frequent ruminations on the possibility of failure, the Lil Final Boyz passed all the necessary exams. Both boast LSU diplomas – and all the memories that come with them.
“Anybody that goes to LSU, or anywhere, really, needs to realize they can leave a mark at their university,” Baudean said, “even if it’s just by doing something as stupid as making a five minute video that could go viral.”