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Monday, July 03, 2006

Comedy Video Blogs

Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem,

I started the Muslim Video Blog series because almost everyone else from Ummah Films was working our first short film, Tomorrow Never Comes. My role in that film was the writer/editor but since the filming of the movie took longer than was originally projected, I wanted to practice my editing skills before I got rusty. I started looking for something simple and easy to film so I can have footage to edit on a consistent basis.

Instead of recording just random video clips for editing, I figured why not record something that may be beneficial for those who watch it InshAllah. Something that has a positive message, which would be a good reminder for others and myself. I tried to google the net to see who other Muslim Video Bloggers have done, and I didn't find any Muslim Video Bloggers. So I turned on my camera, sat in my chair, and spoke to the lens with my thoughts and ideas. Seriously, I wasn't sure if anyone would watch the clips, maybe just a few friends.

What is the point of spending time making a video for an audience if no one is going to watch it? The idea was to make it entertaining so people would watch it and maybe even pass it around to others. At the same time, I didn't want to mock Islam like many of the other videos (by Muslims) on the net. I wanted to try something different and unique so I started to check out what some non-Muslim video bloggers have done. The only style (quick cutting between camera angles) that caught my interest was zefrank so I borrowed the technique from him. Unlike his blog of discusses mostly left-wing politics which is designed for his type of audience, I wanted to provide topics that Muslims can relate to since I figured most of my audience would be Muslims. I didn't want to repeat the topics that we all have heard a million and one times so I decided to start off with more of the informal topics, the kinda of issues that you may discuss when your just hanging out with your friends.

I think that is why people think the Video Blogs are funny. I guess comedians use the same technique. The talk about stuff people only "think" about but necessarily bring up in public. I'm not a comedian or an actor. I'm just a brother named Ali sitting in front of a camera thinking out loud. The $25,000 Muslim Marriage video is great example of thinking out loud. It talks about the stuff you think about (maybe sometimes discuss with friends), takes you through the typical wedding day from a guest's point of view, and then concludes with an alternative from the norm. I think the reason most people like that one the most is because almost everyone has been a "guest" in one of those type of weddings with similar ideas floating in their minds. I just brought the ideas into the surface and people laughed. But the idea wasn’t necessarily to make you laugh but more importantly to make you think about it InshAllah.

Many of us, just like myself, need reminders from time to time. As you know there are ton of Islamic books out there but most of them go unread. There are lectures going on all the time but only a fraction of people attend them. Combine that with the fact the majority of the audience having short attention spans (thanks to television), it can become very difficult time to sit through a 3hr lecture, especially if the topic is not relevant, and pay attention.

I figured if I was going to do this whole video thing, why not think outside the box and maybe make it entertaining. Of course, I can't always be funny but as long as it isn't boring, maybe people would watch....maybe people would benefit from it. If my goal was to try to outdo myself each time, it would be insane. There will always be people who like one show better than the next who will find the next show less appealing. For the record, I’m not a comedian or an actor. If the video comes out good, Alhamdulillah. If it annoys you and you dislike it or me but it still helped you by reminding you of doing more good deeds or less bad deeds, Alhamdulillah. I'm not looking for the popular award. I’m not even trying to get into the film industry or get fan base or anything like that. I'm just a normal brother trying to make videos that will be beneficial for those who watch it, including myself.

your brother in Islam,

Ali
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29 Comments:

At July 03, 2006 12:20 PM, Blogger Bilqees el-Ghoul said...

Comedy is also funny because it's true and relatable. Basically, good comedy comes from people who observe reality and remember it enough to point out its peculiarities in a way that exposes situations for how they come across. It's a skill that many people cannot do. Masha'Allah you seem to nail it on the head, especially with your timing and catchy lines like "I'm not grandpa I'm your dad!", "you know what I'm saying?" and "Are you Iranian?". ;)

 
At July 03, 2006 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jazak'Allah khair for your video blogs. As you said, many of us have been in these situations (especially the weddings) and it's refreshing to have it brought out in a comical fashion combined with advice on how to better ourselves and the ummah.

May Allah give you baraka for trying to help yourself and others in our struggle to be good Muslims.

I look forward to the next one. There are so many topics that can be discussed that I hope we'll be seeing more and more. :)

 
At July 03, 2006 1:08 PM, Blogger Meraj said...

to clarify my comment on the last video, i totally understand your intention behind what youre doing and i know that youre doing it for that purpose first and foremost and not just for entertainment. there is no doubt that this is the most important aspect of it and i agree and support you 100% with it. my remark about the last video was regarding just one aspect of that video alone, so that perhaps if you agreed with any of my personal observations, it might help you improve in the future (like you said, you want to outdo yourself each time... that attitude is what we as muslims should adopt in everything we do). the majority of people responded clearly saw it differently than i did, so by no means am i claiming that my observations are straight fact. they are simply my personal observations, and i do not mind one bit if you disagree :o) if its helpful, then alhamdulillah.. if its not, then no harm done :o) but whatever the case, i think you definitely have something worthwhile and beneficial here, so definitely keep them coming :o)

 
At July 03, 2006 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mashAllah brother, keep up the good work! Im so glad I found this site Alhamdulillah..ive watched some videos with my family and they also found them to be quite interesting (my mom loved the $25,000 wedding one lol)

but yea, keep doing wt ur doing. im looking forward to seeing more of your work inshAllah

 
At July 03, 2006 2:42 PM, Blogger Baba Ali said...

JazkaAllah kair for your comment. My comment wasn't directed at you or any Muslim in particular. Since I launched the videos, I have been getting more and more emails in my inbox. I've been trying to respond to each one but I'm coming across to a point that I can't..haha. Sometimes, I check and there is like 30 new email message and I haven't even gone through the other messages yet. Nevertheless, a common message I would get is regarding that you are not funnier than your last episode, etc..etc...while in fact I'm not even trying to be funny. I'm just trying to make some points based on my observations so we as Muslims will be more conscious of our actions InshAllah.

Now at times, I add a little of my personality to spice things up but I never intended to make a comedy blog, I can't even write comedy..haha. I'm more the editor who didn't have material to edit so he turned on his camera to film some footage. I figured to add a positive message if people are going to watch but I had NO IDEA that we would get 25,000 views in 2 weeks.

With this many viewers, there are lots of emails any of them have to do with the level of comedy in each video clip. Instead of answering each and every of those emails, I decided to post a blog for those concerned regarding the level of humor.

At the same time, it would be nice to see what other Muslim Video Bloggers are doing but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be any out there.

Anyways, the point of the post was just to clarify that I wasn't trying to do a comedy blog. I think I can make my family laugh...maybe some of my friends...but that's about it.

Alhamdulillah. I'm just content if people benifit from the clips InshAllah.

 
At July 03, 2006 3:36 PM, Blogger Abu Ahmad said...

Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Masha-Allah, you are a very funny brother. You have a very good talent of explaining some very difficult issues in an easy-to-digest manner. Allahumma zid fa zid.

Allah increase you in knowledge and Sincerity.

 
At July 03, 2006 3:58 PM, Anonymous Fatima said...

Salam Ali bro you're doing a great job. Obviously there are going to be some people whose idea of humour is different to yours, but i think it's safe to say that most of us are on the same level as u :D The point is you're making us laugh BUT at the same time you're doing something which is much more important and beneficial to both ourselves and u - you're educating ppl indirectly, and in my opinion thats the best way to inform people about the true meaning of Islam and what it actually means o be a Muslim. Keep doing what your doing and don't feel any pressure to create something extraordinary. I'd also urge u to seriously consider collaborating with Hamza from maniac muslim :)

Wasalaam.

 
At July 03, 2006 4:11 PM, Blogger Baba Ali said...

walaikum salam,

JazakAllah kair for everyone's feedback.

By the way, I tried to contact the brother from Maniac Muslim but he never responded.

your brother in Islam,

Ali

 
At July 03, 2006 8:24 PM, Anonymous Asad said...

May Allah swt reward you for all your efforts. Wish i was your friend and could contribute in these vidoes :p hehe JAK Bro

 
At July 03, 2006 8:27 PM, Anonymous Asad said...

Ali!!! I am deeply in love with you bro, lol.
Assalamoalaikum wr wb.

 
At July 03, 2006 11:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asalamu'alaikum,

Even if you don't receive positive comments or any comments at all, rest assured that you probably do have a good-sized audience out there that appreciates you. People just generally tend to be lazy, or more comfortable with receiving (your video) without giving (comments) -- so please don't let a lack of feedback discourage you. Take it from a HUGE comedy snob, haha, YOU ARE HILARIOUS. More importantly, you are doing a great job of using your comedic and film-making skills to give dawah. Just continue to keep your intentions pure inshAllah, and know that we are out here, watching you - mua HA HA (= (ok, minus the evil laugh, haha). Take care!

 
At July 04, 2006 4:32 PM, Anonymous asiya said...

as salamu alaikum muslimeen, Jazakallahu khair bro fantastic videos,Often when we think of dawa projects theyre aimed at educating non muslims about Islam. Alhamdulillah your videos cater for both muslim and non muslim dawa.And its so needed,Allah wont change the condition of the people until they change the condition of themselves, and maybe this is why were finding these videos funny, were laughing at our own foolishness in leaving behind the easy way, the straight path,and making our lives so over complicated. Islam is simple,and clear, and it works no matter what century you happen to live in.May Allah help you with your work and guide the ummah of muhammad salallahu alleyhi wa salam to the straight path amin.Barakallahu feekum wasalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

 
At July 04, 2006 5:45 PM, Blogger Squeeky said...

Assalaamu Alaikum :)

The main objective is to get the message across to the muslim youth in a very creative way and to be able to relate to them on a level that would be understood. I see that happening here and humour always helps out :) alhamdulillah.

Hamzah from Maniac Muslim is a family friend of mine and I think it would be a great idea if you guys did something together insha'Allah. Both of you are trying to do the same thing, masha'Allah.

Good luck!

 
At July 04, 2006 11:51 PM, Anonymous A sister said...

Assalamualiakum brother ALi!

You are funny! I have your video on my blog and I have showed it to several friends and family

 
At July 05, 2006 2:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

salam alaikum,
inshalalh in future if you want more designs, I can make some. let me know inshallah.

yusufchowdhury@gmail.com

 
At July 05, 2006 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikum Ali,

Did you really convert to Islam?
If so, you would be the second Iranian I know of that that converted to Islam. Your stuff is pretty good, I'll have to give my other Iranian friend the link to your website.

May Allah grant us success in this life and the next.

Salam,
-Your Brother in Islam

 
At July 05, 2006 5:11 PM, Anonymous Asad said...

Assalamoalaikum wr wb,
I read your comment regarding contacting to maniac muslim ppl. I watched their videos and they are just trying to make fun out of them but your purpose is to educate the people using these videos about different aspects. So i would say that work on your own stuff instead of contacting them. You are a lot better than them.
JAK, Salaam.

 
At July 06, 2006 3:36 PM, Blogger Al-Hajeji said...

asalamu'alaykum wr wb...
Al'Hamdullah your videos are very beneficial and make excellent points. Even non-muslims agree with you and that just shows how good the videos are.

I advice all bloggers to make a link with ummahfilms on their blogs, so that more people will get the message. Mabroook mr.Ali and we make Dua to Allah that He blesses your work as Da'wa.

wa salam alaykum.

 
At July 18, 2006 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Masha'Allah.It's clean,funny,true and most importantly a beneficial reminder to the Muslims. Your approach is "halal".Keep it up.

 
At July 18, 2006 2:44 PM, Blogger TwennyTwo said...

Assalamu Alaikum,

First and always foremost, SubhanAllah. I've enjoyed your videos because they provided reminders I needed more than I knew, plus they're in colloquial USA ENGLISH (hello, total convert over here) and funny as I'ont'kno' what. Yeah.

Keep 'em coming. No, really. I read the blog, and I suppose if I didn't have this whole job thing goin' on (and my boss just walked in! aaah!) I'd prolly write a whole script from you on convert-itis. Yeah.

waAlaikum salaam,
TwennyTwo

 
At July 21, 2006 9:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting site. Useful information. Bookmarked.
»

 
At July 24, 2006 4:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yo nice website some guy tolt me about it on msn and its really good keep on making blogs brother

 
At July 25, 2006 8:13 AM, Blogger adeeb said...

assalamualaikum brother Ali,

the best person is whom that can give the best to the other...
and i think you try for it and you did it!!

thanks to be the part of Da'wah, it make us realize that not only masjid can be the place for da'wah, it's everywhere...

and the topic so... touchy!hahaha never discussed in masjid ofcourse!
good for you, hope can know you further.. and i'm waiting for your next video blog!!

your brother in Islam,
adeeb

 
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