- Patrick Dorsey, ESPN Editor
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Bruce Lee Tribute Night. The San Francisco Giants had it all planned out. But they needed to sell a few premium, special-event tickets for the Tuesday night promotion.
Enter the videographer. His name: Matthew McKee. His idea: Fighting bobbleheads. His result: Overwhelming success, as the SFG Productions producer/editor's project (above) went viral late last week and helped the Giants sell everything out.
"It’s kind of blown up," SFG Productions executive producer Paul Hodges said.
It started, of course, when the Giants decided to honor the late martial artist/film star in the first place, carrying on their tradition of feting non-sports celebrities with Bay Area ties (e.g. Jerry Garcia).
Picking Lee, then, started with a question.
“We wanted to come up with a promotion that helped cater to the martial arts community, which isn’t necessarily a traditional baseball area,” said Faham Zakariaei, the Giants' director of special events. “The [question] was, ‘Who’s from San Francisco?' and we were like, ‘Wait a second -- Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco.’
"And because it’s the year of the dragon in terms of the Chinese Zodiac calendar, the stars kind of aligned, if you will.”
So the Giants lined up a night of Lee-related trinkets (from bobbleheads to T-shirts to iPhone cases); tutorials (a number of martial arts studios will hold exhibitions before the game); tributes (Linda Lee Caldwell, Bruce Lee's widow, will throw out the first pitch, and Shannon Lee, their daughter, will sing the national anthem); and tickets (proceeds from each special package sold benefit the Bruce Lee foundation, with about $30,000 raised as of the end of last week, Zakariaei said).
Meanwhile, McKee lined up the bobbleheads-meet-Kung Fu video. And when he and SFG finally got the time, they hit the set and started the shoot -- starring bobbleheads wielded by co-worker Matt Piniol and a cat belonging to Hodges' girlfriend, and captured by a DSLR camera and macro lenses.
What was it like filming such a strange set of subjects? Pretty good, actually, according to McKee.
“They don’t yell back at you," McKee said. "You can pretty much do whatever you want.”
That included adding plenty of subtleties to the final product, something made possible by the fact that McKee describes himself as "a huge fan of Bruce Lee."
Originally, the clip was supposed to live only on the AT&T Park scoreboard. But when employees saw what they had, Giants director of social media Bryan Srabian and the Major League Baseball group helped distribute the clip to all corners of the Web.
The Web noticed. Meaning McKee, according to Hodges, was “walking around here with all kinds of smiles" late last week.
"That’s why you make videos -- to entertain people," McKee said.
After all, it worked for Bruce Lee.