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It's Weddings Week here on Racked, which means we'll be bringing you 100% more weddings coverage than usual all week long. Kicking things off, we introduce Isaac Lamb, the man behind the viral Bruno Mars lip-dub proposal video that's currently ruining office productivity all over the country.
About two weeks ago, Isaac, and actor and director living in Portland, OR, proposed to his girlfriend Amy with a surprise lip-dub involving the Bruno Mars song "Marry You," 60-plus friends and family, and a Honda CRV (it's complicated; just watch it above if you haven't already). The video now has more than 13 million views, and has been endorsed by people including, oh, you know, Tom Hanks, who tweeted that the video is better than anything his business has ever produced, and Bruno Mars himself, who tweeted that he couldn't have made a more perfect video for his song. We
stalked caught up with with Isaac and Amy over email to ask the couple about how it all came together and to ask if they'd mind sharing some photos of what happened after the camera stopped rolling. Here's what they had to say.
Racked: What gave you the idea?
Isaac: I'm an actor and director of both film and theatre, so I tend to think in grand gestures already. I knew I wanted to do something special and unique for my proposal, and I knew that I wanted it to include our community of friends and family, since I believe strongly that a marriage is something that exists within and relies upon a supportive community. We had been watching some of the lip dub videos that were online and I thought to myself "Wouldn't it be cool to do that for one person instead of just for a camera?" That was the seed, then I was listening to my iPhone at the gym one day and the Bruno Mars song came on and it was like the clouds parted and the sun shone down on my brain. It just all came to me in a rush.
Racked: How long did this take you to plan?
Isaac: I asked Amy's parents almost six months before, at Christmastime. I bought the ring in February and it took me maybe another month before I figured out what I wanted to do. Once I decided, I would listen to the song on repeat all the time (when Amy wasn't around) and start forming ideas for each section of the song: who would sing which lyrics, who would start it, what order things would come, how to interpret the lyrics, what costumes there would be, etc. About 10 days beforehand I sent out an email to the group of folks I wanted to participate, and then I met with my friend Gina Johnson Morris (the girl in the red dress) who helped me put steps to specific sections that needed some dance moves. The Saturday before we had one big group rehearsal for about four hours and then the day of we met 30 minutes early and ran it twice before Amy arrived.
Racked: Amy, did you have any idea Isaac was going to propose?
Amy: We had talked about getting married so I wasn't surprised that he asked...but I had NO IDEA what he had in store for me. It was the most incredible experience of my life so far.
Isaac's grandmother and Amy. "She told me to marry Amy right after the first time they met 3 years ago! Both my grandmothers were in the proposal (on either side of the laptops) but you couldnt see them in the video."
Racked: How many people were involved?
Isaac: Including the folks on the laptops, more than 60. Everyone who was there is a local friend or my family. The folks on the laptops were Amy's family, and our best friends from out of town.
Racked: WHAT IF IT HAD RAINED???
Isaac: Funny enough, it rained ALL DAY that day, until about 20 mins before...then the sun came out. Crazy, right? I never worried about this (partly because it just felt like it was all meant to be, and partly because I'm an Oregonian and rain wouldn't have stopped us from doing it!)
Racked: Did you do the choreography?
Isaac: Gina and I did it together. There were sections that I gave her that she made up steps for on her own and there were others that I gave her to teach. On our practice runs, I would sit in Amy's spot in the car and direct things and tweak the choreography to make it the most impactful from Amy's point of view.
Right after the proposal. "My nephew Johnny (one of the dancing Jews) gives her a huge hug. He loves her...:-)"
Racked: It looks like you guys re-interpreted the "Dancing juice" lyric as? dancing jews? Are we getting that right?
Isaac: Yup...that's my odd sense of humor there, but also, Amy's dad is Israeli and I wanted a way to sort of tip my hat to that. At the end (though you can't see them in the video) Amy's parents are dancing on one of the laptops and he is dressed in his wedding tux and yarmulke, and her mom is in her wedding dress...super cute.
Racked: Who chose the costumes?
Isaac: I chose the costumes from productions I had directed in the past with Amy as my choreographer. The jewish outfits were from a production of Fiddler on the Roof Amy and I did last summer. The marching band outfits were from a production of Sweet Charity we did about a year ago (and the folks in the costumes were all in that production). The first group of ladies who join in clapping are all dressed in jeans and long-sleeved t-shirts under short-sleeve t-shirts because that's how Amy dresses. The second group (wearing Irish caps, button up shirts with rolled up sleeves) is dressed like me. I have to say a big thank you to Allison Dawe and Meghan Newton, the costumers from those shows, who helped me to gather up all those costumes and get them passed out to the group.
Racked: How did everyone stay on beat? Was music playing from the car?
Isaac: The headphones were plugged into a splitter. One was going to her headphones (so she would think she was the only one who could hear the music) and one was going into the Auxiliary cable in the car stereo. So we could hear it out the windows of the car quietly. Though she didn't know that...
Racked: Speaking of the car, who was driving? Props to that guy! So much could have gone wrong...
Isaac: Right? His name is Mike McKinsey. He is one of my best friends from high school. He was the perfect person for the job. One of the best decisions I made was asking him to be the driver. He's also thrilled that the video starts out with a shot of his butt.
R: Amy, at what moment did you realize what was going on?
Amy: He sent me to pick him up somewhere else, first, to get me out of the neighborhood. When I texted him wondering where he was and he replied "I'm not there. Come to my mom's house." I knew something was up...but it wasn't until I heard the lyrics of the song that I realized it was a proposal. And then when it grew and grew and more and more friends kept popping up I was totally floored.
"Bow tie trouble..."
Racked: You looked super dapper in your suit! Did anyone help you pick out your outfit (obviously Amy didn't).
Isaac: I wore that suit in a show this past Christmas that Amy and I were in together. I remembered her telling me she thought I looked handsome in it so I hunted it down. The funny thing is no one knew how to tie a bow tie, so 15 minutes before Amy showed up we were all frantically looking it up on YouTube. It was hilarious.
Racked: You have a background in theater—did that help you keep your composure at the crucial moment?
Isaac: I'd be lying if I said it didn't help a little, but when the crowd parted and I saw Amy at the end of the line, nothing prepared me for that. My heart just leapt and you can see if you look closely that I completely forget to lip sync for a couple of lines...she took my breath away!
Racked: We saw Bruno Mars tweeted at you that he couldn't have made a better video for his song. That's pretty awesome.
Isaac: Yeah...that was like the watershed moment for me. When I saw that I had to sit down. He's got like 9.5 million followers! Although, just last week Tom Hanks tweeted the video and said, "This is better than anything my business has ever produced..." That gave Bruno Mars a run for his money. But the best still might be Elijah Wood, 'cause I like to think that Frodo tweeted it.
Racked: In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently?
Isaac: I think it was such a perfect moment in time that it's hard for me to even consider that....maybe some fireworks? A dancing pig? Glitter? But seriously, I'm so grateful for the help and support I got from all of my friends and family in putting this together, but most of all I'm grateful that Amy said "yes"! I really am the luckiest man in the world.
Racked: I can't believe you weren't crying! How did you hold it together?
Amy: I was crying, you just can't see it! Isaac told me later that it was like I ran out of ways to be surprised. :)
Racked: Any advice for guys trying to plan a special proposal to surprise?
Isaac: I've heard a lot that I've ruined proposals for other guys. I don't think that's even remotely true. What was special about this proposal wasn't that we did some crazy production number, it was that an entire community of our closest friends and family helped me express my deep love for Amy in a completely genuine way. The only advice I can give is to keep it genuine. Don't try to impress just to impress. This worked for me because it was a genuine extension of my artistic sensibility and it delighted Amy...but as long as it's YOU asking the woman you love to marry you, that's all she'll need to be impressed.
Racked: Amy, any advice for ladies out there who get surprised by a proposal like this? (Or, you know, not quite like THIS?but surprised in general)
Amy: Don't fall out of the car. That could ruin things!
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