Where the Hell is Matt? – A Narrative Analysis

Where the Hell is Matt? started as a video of one guy dancing in homemade videos over various places in the world on his own and then later under the paid sponsorhip of Stride gum. After working with Stride for his first video, he would travel the world again (on Stride’s bill again) only to the key of locals in the background in each geographical area. These two scenarios tell two very different narratives. Let’s take a look.

On page nine of the book Narrative Across Media, author Marie-Laure Ryan makes a clear distinction between “being a narrative” and “possessing narrativity.” With Matt’s website, his videos clearly embody the “possessing narrativity” attribute. Its with his dancing and the visualization of he (and the locals in the 2008 video) that really capture the essence of the story he’s trying to tell. Believe it or not, his story is more than just a man dancing in various parts of the world.

The music he incorporates into his videos helps to tell the story. The specific places he chose to dance in front of (on top of) help to tell the story. And the very people he chose to represent the country he’s dancing in help to tell the story. Good job Matt.

Where the Hell is Matt?

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4 thoughts on “Where the Hell is Matt? – A Narrative Analysis

  1. Good Analysis, Eric!
    After knowing the fact that Matt actually was sponsored by some organization and got paid for his world wide travel, I wonder why he cannot just use some special effect techniques to “produce” the whole travel scene. Like dancing in front of some blue/green background and edit the landscape afterwards.
    Frankly, if someone does that, I cannot even tell the difference.

    • Matt has a funny conversation with David Pogue from the New York Times at last year’s MacWorld describing this very thing.

  2. Nice analysis! I appreciate the simplicity of your use of Ryan’s definitions (which certainly had my head spinning after the first 30 pages), and I think your distinction of separating the videos as “having narrativity” and the music, dance and people as adding the story/plot to the production is right on.

  3. Thank you for your concise analyst. It is very right that Matt’s productions are so interesting and clearly conveys its content to its audience. In his video, all his movements, music, and even the smile have their narrativity. I think that is the reason why so many people are attracted to it.

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