A Starbucks barista is trying to change the perception of being a single parent, six seconds at a time.
“I love that with Vine, you only have six seconds to be funny, while with YouTube it is typically a minute or two. They both present totally different challenges,” said Harmony Smith, a Starbucks partner (employee) in the Los Angeles area.
Harmony and her 8-year-old son Elliott are the creative team behind a Vine channel that has more than 430,000 followers and was recently featured in The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, the Today Show and among other online sites.
This isn’t the first time she’s caught the media’s attention. Three years ago Harmony uploaded a video to YouTube called “High Five for a First Kiss” featuring her then five-year-old son sharing a kiss with a 6-year-old neighbor girl. The phrase “went viral” is tossed around a lot online, but with 27 million views of one video, it’s accurate in this case. And, surprising to the mother and son team.
"We thought it would be just a cute video and had no idea it would become so huge,” she said. “I wanted to distance myself from that video and find a different creative outlet.”
She’s found it through Vine – a short-form video sharing service owned by Twitter. Make that super-short-form. Each post is a six-second video that automatically loops or repeats. The videos are shared on Vine’s social network and others such as Twitter and Facebook.
Simple though it sounds, it takes Harmony about an hour to create a six-second video. Shot composition, lighting, music and acting have to be perfect.
“Just saying something on its own isn’t always funny. For us, it's all about timing and facial expressions,” said Harmony. “I've found that one second can make all the difference between a joke working or falling flat.”
Dating – or a lack of for Harmony – and the realities of being a single mom fill many of the duo’s comedic clips:
Starbucks partners will relate to videos Harmony created in her store, including a new one released since the company announced new investments in its partners and an updated dress code policy:
With encouragement from fellow partners, Harmony is devising more videos that capture moments at work Starbucks partnersaround the world would appreciate.
“I’m fortunate that I have a job that involves creativity and then get to work on these videos with Elliott, which is a huge creative outlet for me,” Harmony said. “It’s about seeing the humor in almost any situation, laughing at myself and in the process making others laugh too."