I developed some rules for doing flashmobs and flashmob videos right.
- Pick music that's at least three minutes long - don't do a string of different pieces in one performance.
- Pick music that is dramatic, fun and/or well-known. With a driving beat.
- Do the flashmob in a public location. Your school cafeteria is not a public location.
- It has to be a surprise, not part of a line-up of shows. That's not a flash mob, that's just a performance.
- The best flashmobs use live music. If the Copenhagen Philharmonic can schlep floor harps and music stands to the location, it's not too much trouble.
- The flashmob participants should ideally be already part of the crowd, as in this Philadelphia Opera Company's Hallelujah Chorus flashmob at Macy's.
- Or they should come out of the crowd as in this Bikini flashmob.
- Most flashmobs build up from one or two people to a mob - don't let the one or two people hang there by themselves for too long - get the party going quickly.
- Use decent video and sound equipment. And use at least two cameras. If it's worth doing a flashmob it's worth recording properly.
- NO titles, logos, etc. Just jump right into the flashmob. You can always put titles at the end if you must.
- When you edit the video, make sure you set the stage prior to the flashmob - show the public space before the flashmob begins. Otherwise you can't tell it's a flashmob and it just looks like a standard public performance.
- Show distance shots to get the bystanders reactions as well as close-up shots of the performance.
- The best flashmobs don't just have participants who are students at performing arts schools - they include a range of genders, ethnicities and ages, as in this Bollywood flashmob at the University of Oregon - probably the second best one I've seen, after the Copenhagen Philharmonic - which includes not only college students but teachers too. Ideally people wearing the uniform of their profession are included - the best part of this Food Court Musical is when the security guard joins in, and the I Love Lunch! musical when the cop joins in.
I don't think Buffy the Vampire Slayer gets credit for this, but the musical episode "Once More With Feeling" was the precursor of flashmobs.