At the 2010 World Cup, US soccer legend Landon Donovan scored a dramatic injury-time goal to beat Algeria, saving the U.S. from elimination. A then college student by the name of Robby Donoho put together a video montage of fans in bars across the country, reacting to the goal. The montage went all over the world and reached over 5 million views. Four years later, on the night Donovan is set to play in his final match for the National Team against Equador, One Saturday Afternoon talked to Donoho – now a professional sports broadcaster – about his epic video.
Robby, first the numbers please!
“I know the video is up to nearly 5 Million views and has been viewed from every country across the world. But I never made a dollar off the video because it was more than that to me. It was never meant to be a source of $$. It was and always will be a source of pride for USA Soccer and the United States of America as a whole.”
Creatively… what do you think is the combination of factors that might explain the succes?
“It was a lot of things that made the video a success. For one, soccer was really starting to take off at that time. People from all across the States really started getting behind the US team. And here in America, we love underdog stories and last-second thrillers. That as a whole added into its effectiveness PLUS the fact that everyone was so proud of the accomplishment and USA storming onto the scene with the reactions. There’s so much more that goes into it but that’s just a broad view of how it was so successful and still is today.”
You used music of Jerry Goldsmith, an American composer and conductor most known for his work in film and television scoring. Did you also try other music?
“The music was from the movie Rudy. I’ve always been a fan of listening to instrumental or orchestral pieces and I wanted a song that would capture the feeling of triumph and victory while also having a sense of accomplishment. I knew right when I started editing the video that the Rudy music was the perfect choice.”
Did you re-edit a lot or was it an easy edit-session?
“It took a good day or two of editing to make sure it looked perfect. I’m perfectionist to start with and I wanted the video to match with the music. So when you see specific cuts and specific shots of each reaction, it has a purpose and a place to be in that spot.”
How did you experience the massive response?
“It was unbelievable. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the outpouring of e-mails, views and replies from people watching the video around the globe. I answered e-mails non-stop for a good 3-4 days because I didn’t want to lose an opportunity for people who supported USA Soccer to jump on the bandwagon while watching the video. To this day, I still get a person or two who I haven’t seen in a while remember the video and they’re stunned that it was one of my creations.”
What did you do at the time, professionally?
“I was actually just going into my senior year of college at Purdue University. I was an aspiring sports broadcaster at the time.”
What do you do now?
“That dream of aspiring to be a sports broadcaster is being lived out today: I’m currently the sports director at WCBI-TV in Columbus, Mississippi. We are the CBS affiliate in the area and we’re always busy covering something related to football.”
In what way does this type of editing – the look, the feel, the storytelling – come close to how you would edit in your professional life?
“It’s somewhat similar, yes. Most of my productions comes from the build-up. I’m a big fan of slowing building up to the huge moment of what the video is all about. I still do that to this day in many of my creations. I never like to just throw together highlights, put down some music, and call it done. I always want to tell a story throughout my videos and that’s why I love doing Movie Trailer mock-ups and longer highlight videos that tell the full story of a season. That may be a little different than what I do at the TV station since I’m under time constraints but it’s the same concept.”
What are you hopes and dreams, professionally?
“I’m actually living out my hopes and dreams right now working here in Mississippi. I love my job and what I get to do on a daily basis that I wouldn’t change a thing or where I am today. I hope that somewhere down the road the World Reaction could lead to a job with USA Soccer or somewhere on the pitch or in the booth calling a game but right now it remains the one video I’m most proud of producing.”
Where will you be watching the Donovan game tonight?
“Unfortunately, I won’t even be able to watch the game live! Friday nights are big high school football nights here in Mississippi and we go all out in covering those so I’ll be driving around and shooting highlights of our local prep pigskin teams. But I’ve made sure to record the game on my DVR at home so I’ll be back around midnight tonight and watch the entire game all the way through. Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
What is your opinion on the Landon Donovan Legend Video, produced by US Soccer (see above)?
“I would be lying if I said a tear didn’t come to my eye. It’s amazing to see the World Reaction video still making an impact four years later and the unbelievable career that LD has had. He’s been the reason for many around the States coming to soccer and becoming die-hard American soccer fanatics. For me to have a small part in all of that is something I’ll cherish forever.”