Behind the Scenes with Backup Things

One of the most enjoyable things about working at Rubrik is creating the infamous “funny videos” that often parody something nerdy. In the past, this includes the Planet of the APIs (Planet of the Apes), Backup Wars (Star Wars), Mr. Flaky Backup (narrated by yours truly), and many others.

I’m often asked how these videos are put together and what it’s like to be involved as an “actor”, although I would definitely use that term loosely and have zero plans to quit my day job to pursue a film career. In this post, I’ll bring you behind the scenes with my involvement in Backup Things, a delightful parody of the beloved Netflix 80’s drama series Stranger Things.

[symple_box color=”gray” fade_in=”false” float=”center” text_align=”left” width=””]Note: If you haven’t watched Season 1 of Stranger Things, I will warn you that spoilers are written below. Go back and watch it before reading further.[/symple_box]

Getting In Character

In all of the previous Rubrik films, the dialogue has been fairly brutal on me. It’s no secret that I’m really bad at two things when it comes to acting: reading my lines before showing up for the shoot, and remembering my lines during the shoot. Thankfully, teleprompters exist.

With Backup Things, I had a clean break: my part had only one line. Or, more specifically, only one word! I just had to say the word “hiding” in a terrified whisper. Easy!

Knowing this, I arrived to Rubrik HQ and headed to wardrobe. What I didn’t catch on was that my role was to play Eleven, the young girl with special mental abilities. I’ll admit that the two costumes I needed to wear for the day of filming were kind of awesome. I mean, c’mon, who wouldn’t want to rock a luxurious blonde wig with a confident flare!

If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

At this point, 99% of the work is being done by my colleagues across Rubrik’s Technical Marketing Engineers, Software Engineers, Field Rangers, and other departments. That’s because we pride ourselves on using employees at the company in all of the video shoots. I think the only exception was the first parody video entitled Just Backup and Chill where we pulled in an external actor to play the Rubrik character – otherwise, everyone there is from Rubrik. 🙂

The Ketchup Nosebleed

For those who follow Stranger Things closely, you should have noticed that Eleven always gets a nosebleed when she uses her mental abilities. As much as I tried to wriggle out of having something red coming out of my nose, I was vetoed by the director. But, what to use for a fake nosebleed on a whim?

The first suggestion was hot sauce. I will admit that this sounded horrible to me. Can you imagine putting hot sauce up your nose? And not just any sauce, but Sriracha! Fortunately, a little digging through the kitchen supplied the film crew with a squeeze bottle of ketchup, and we applied that to my nose several times. If you haven’t walked around for an hour or so with the strong scent of ketchup in your nostrils, count yourself lucky. It’s a really weird experience.

Never put ketchup on a hot dog. Nostrils are OK.

If you end up trying that, let me know what it was like in the comments below. 🙂

The Death Bikes

One of the other notable scenes in Backup Things is the bike riding escape in which Eleven flips a truck with her mind. In our video, the film crew went bananas on this one and actually sourced bikes from the 80’s. As in literally old bikes that were ready to kill us at a moment’s notice and loved to slip their chains. You can see me clinging for dear life to Jon Joo in this scene – and to be fair, he did a great job at peddling with my considerable weight dragging him down.

I have magic powers. Sometimes.

This was a really hard scene to capture because we all sort of suck at riding bikes to some degree. I was originally propped up on a wooden box with some hack job bolt work, but that ended up falling apart. I suppose that was nature’s way of telling me to go lose a few pounds. In the end, I ran tippy-toe behind Jon to help get started, and then we took off as a wolf pack towards a slow moving van that was capturing the shot.

It took forever, but I think the results were well worth the time investment!

Closing Thoughts

It’s been a blast to create so many fun and entertaining videos for the community to soak up, especially as the team at Rubrik grows from the small 40ish people it was when I started back in 2015 to the 700+ that it is today. Every video has a collection of neat swag items – kids toys, shirts, watches, and so forth – that are themed to go along with the video. I’m extremely blessed to work with such imaginative and creative people at Rubrik.

I hope that this post has been something enjoyable to read during the holiday break as we hurdle ever closer to 2018. Cheers!