Medical students’ ‘First Year Funk’ video goes viral

“First Year Funk”: An “Uptown Funk” parody by Washington University School of Medicine students

For six consecutive nights, first-year medical student Travis CreveCoeur skipped sleep to direct and edit his class video, “First Year Funk,” a parody of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk.” The video is a contribution to an annual show at Washington University School of Medicine that showcases medical students’ creative talents.

CreveCoeur thinks the sacrifice was worth it. The video has been viewed 134,000 times and counting.

“We are all surprised by the popularity of the video,” he said. “It kind of snowballed into this colossal project that just kept on getting bigger.”

Each year, first, second and fourth-year students create a class show video. Although they first talked about a parody of “Uptown Funk” in February, it wasn’t until after spring break that the students earnestly began working on the project. Rachel Goldberg, Julia Kolodziej, Ellie Christensen, and Shamaita Majumdar wrote the screenplay and lyrics. Randy Chang and Manoj Arra created the dynamic dance moves. Thomas Hong and Kenny Newcomer mixed the song, and Newcomer was the video’s charismatic star. Kunal Mathur and Shamaita Majumdar sang the lead vocals.

The students finished a neurology final April 30 and started shooting the video May 1. They then worked around the clock for the next week to finish the video for the annual show on May 8.

Greg Polites, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine and a faculty advisor on the video, said he was impressed by the discipline and hard work that the students put into the project. “It’s so professionally well done in every area, including the lyrics, dancing, direction, and editing that you would have thought the students had been working on this over the course of the entire year,” he said. “What impressed me the most about the video, however, is that it shows the enthusiasm and teamwork of this class. I think this will be the benchmark for music videos for class shows in the future.”

CreveCoeur, who learned film editing in high school, had planned to shoot the video on an iPhone 6. On a whim, he sent an email to WUTV, the university’s student-run A/V production group, to ask if he could use their equipment. They graciously agreed. “Let me just say those were the nicest cameras I have ever held in my life,” CreveCoeur said. “They made a huge difference in what we were able to shoot.”

The crew received a standing ovation when the video was shown at the show and continues to receive accolades from the Washington University community and the public.

The video also has received coverage on People.com and in the Riverfront Times. Newcomer, who performs the role of pop artist Bruno Mars in the students’ video, said he has even been recognized on the street.

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