The making of the WDPD2023 parody ‘De Bennies, Everlasting’
By Jeffrey van der Hoeven and Remco van Veenendaal
To strengthen mutual ties, show our love for our job and have fun together, employees of the KB National Library of the Netherlands (KB) and the National Archives of the Netherlands (NANeth) made a parody of Benny Benassi’s Satisfaction for World Digital Preservation Day 2023.
How it began
It has become a tradition in the digital preservation community to create a music video (parody) for World Digital Preservation Day. Those created by the staff at the State Library of Queensland are shining examples. An overview can be found on the DPC website: WDPD Musical Contributions – Digital Preservation Coalition (dpconline.org).
At the iPRES 2022 conference dinner, Jeffrey van der Hoeven (KB) and Remco van Veenendaal (NANeth) discovered a shared love for the Beastie Boys. Within minutes, the plan was formed to cocreate a World Digital Preservation Day parody of their Sabotage video.
Dusty and boring
When Jeffrey presented this plan to his preservation department, the response was somewhat like “… [crickets chirping] …”. A new bottom-up approach produced more enthusiasm. Jeffrey invited his colleague Jessica to the organizing team, and we asked colleagues to share music video titles to parody. This resulted in a screening of videos in the KB’s auditorium. With drinks and snacks. And there was much rejoicing. (We had forgotten that the audio installation extends to the hallway directly outside the auditorium. Visitors have been spotted dancing in the hallway.)
Having viewed the videos, it was time to vote. After counting the votes, Cascada, Every time we touch and Benny Benassi, Satisfaction shared first place. A surprise. Both are dance music videos, which provided a nice opportunity to show that libraries and archives aren’t “dusty and boring places” at all.
Cascada’s video is situated in a library, which didn’t leave much room for a parody. Benassi’s video gave us the opportunity to create a diverse and inclusive, fully clothed parody expressing our love for our jobs while demonstrating library and archive tools and activities. Note that the parody also parodies ourselves, it is not meant to represent reality.
A broad appeal to all auditorium participants of the video selection generated enormous enthusiasm, with even more registrations for a share in the actual production. After the necessary preparations, a second-by-second dissection of the original, writing a script and planning the cast and crew, it was time to shoot the parody. Exciting! We gathered props and work clothes. The scenes were distributed among our cast. The KB’s image studio and reading room were excellent filming locations and it turned out that we already had the right background colors based on our house styles. It was meant to be.
Jeroen ensured that we shot the scenes according to plan. Coen was the cinematographer who also edited the video with the help of Pauline. The set for many scenes was prepared by Marco, who also provided the inspiration for the song text.
Parodying Benassi’s video allowed us to use emulation. The original song text is “Push me and then just touch me ’till I can get my satisfaction.” This was allegedly ‘spoken’ by MacinTalk’s voices Fred and Victoria on an older Mac.
We used SheepShaver to emulate an older Mac with OS9 and produce: “Push me and then just touch me ’till I can get my satisfaction. / Clean me and then restore me ’till I can get my satisfaction. Identify me and validate me ’till I can get my satisfaction. / Conserve me and then preserve me so that I will be everlasting.” Audacity – another open source tool – was used to mix the new audio track for the parody.
Our song text tells the story of a physical book or document expressing satisfaction about being conserved, digitized, digitally preserved and thus made available for everlasting access.
Open and honest
The film world does not always excel in social safety. And especially for us amateurs, it was quite exciting to embark on a journey such as this production together. That is why we as a group have continuously asked each other whether we felt good about this, whether pleasure prevailed and whether we didn’t do things that we (afterwards) would rather not have done.
Each cast member has been given a say in the final result. We asked if they agreed to release this video. The good news is that there was full cooperation and 100% agreement on this. In fact, we are all very proud of the result and really enjoyed doing this together! We even tapped into new talents and got to know each other better.
Note that the production was realized with colleagues who often contributed in their spare time, who used private video cameras and who had a budget of virtually nothing (some sandwiches, coke, caps and a present afterwards). No collection items were used: no heritage was harmed in the making of this parody.
The official launch of the parody was on World Digital Preservation Day 2023, at an event of the Dutch Digital Heritage Network in Breda.
We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the creation of this parody: cast, crew, colleagues with ideas for scenes or props, colleagues who shared their enthusiasm, our lawyers and colleagues from the image studio. Our mission to strengthen mutual ties, show our love for our profession and have fun together has been a great success! Enjoy the parody!