Klumping: The Art of Playing Every Role in Your Viral Video

Photo: ProZD

Prior to the release Marvel’s last Avengers film, the studio was hyping it up as “the most ambitious crossover event in history.” The culmination of ten years of filmmaking, the movie had a sprawling cast of dozens of major and minor characters. It was a feat of logistics to get that many people on-screen at once. Still, Infinity War looks like amateur hour compared to those Vines where someone plays two different parts.

You know the ones I’m talking about. Vines that simulate a conversation between two people, but it’s actually just one person looking in a different direction. Now that you can make films on your smartphone, you never need to table your ideas when inspiration strikes. You can just whip out your phone and start filming, even if you’ve only got a cast of one.

Yes, it’s true, the only person in that Vine was Evan Breen. There was no second person. Or third person. Did you notice that? It’s kinda tough to spot. Very impressive. The point is, you know what he’s doing, or supposed to be depicting, even if he’s not really making a huge effort to be convincing. It makes you feel like you’re in on something when the rules of conventional filmmaking are thrown out the window

The official term for this kind of performance, I have decided, is Klumping, named after Eddie Murphy’s virtuoso performance(s) in the Nutty Professor duology. (Also it rolls off the tongue more easily than “Kind Hearts and Coronet-ing.”)

You might’ve also noticed in this clip that Jay Versace was not holding a phone, he was holding a bottle of Snapple. When you’re using your actual phone to film a Vine, you have to work with the substitutes you’ve got.

One of the other key tactics of Klumping is not violating the 180-degree rule. When two characters are talking, one should face right and the other should face left, so that the shots convey two people interacting even when one is out of frame. The most committed Klumpers will take this a step further by doing things like switching seats in a parked car, further conveying different points in a shared space.

Perhaps the undisputed king of Klumping is ProZD, whose work with himself is unparalleled. This guy’s got it all: voices, props, wigs, fake mustaches, camerawork dynamic enough to imply that someone other than him is filming.

Perhaps the most important thing that Klumping does is it provides a level of intimacy and authenticity that multi-actor Vines do not. As Viners blew up, they started appearing in each others Vines — Logan Paul would hang out with King Bach who’d hang out with Lele Pons and so on and so forth, cross-pollinating in a way that felt like naked self-promotion, a digital circle-jerk.

Those who Klump, on the other hand, were afforded authority because of how low-effort their vines look. It signals that “this is just for fun” and feels spontaneous, and it has faith in the viewer to figure out who is who.

Klumping: The Art of Playing Every Role in Your Viral Video