Behind the Scenes

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7 things you didn’t know about the Browns’ viral Friends video

How does a viral social post come together?

Some are completely off-the-cuff and in the moment. Others, like the Browns’ in-house re-enactment of the “Friends” intro, require multiple departments, even more people and some good fortune to come together. 

Here are some of the behind-the-scenes details.

-- The brainstorming process began in the spring shortly after players returned to Berea for the offseason workout program. After last year’s successful parody of “The Office,” a number of popular TV intros of past and present were discussed before a consensus was reached that “Friends” would be the best choice.

-- It just wasn’t the easiest to execute. Unlike “The Office,” which allowed for individual players to shoot their scenes at their most convenient time, this required all six players to be at the same place at the same time. Ultimately, it was concluded the best day to execute the shoot would be at the end of the day after the second of three mandatory mini-camp practices (June 5).

Check out behind the Scenes photos of the Friends video shoot

-- The shoot was initially supposed to happen outside on the Browns practice fields but Mother Nature had other plans. After analyzing the next-day forecast, the outdoor plans were scrapped one day in advance of the taping. A local lighting expert, Hob Zabarsky, was called in at the last minute, and he provided a big help in turning the Casey Coleman Field House into a temporary Hollywood set.

-- What’s a re-enactment of the “Friends” intro without a fountain? The Browns’ personal touch was put on this aspect with the use of eight cold tubs. Head Groundskeeper Chris Powell, Director of Berea Facilities Matt Srodek, who has been with the Browns for more than 20 years, and Chris Cola, a coordinator at the Berea facility, not only helped construct the fountain, but also made a pump that projected the proper amount of water and didn’t soak the grass beneath it.

-- The other, most important prop was the couch. After days and days of scouring the Internet, it was concluded there was none available that matched the tint of orange you see on the Browns’ helmets. So, a grey couch was turned into an orange couch. It took multiple days and even more layers of paint to make this happen. A couple hundred dollars were spent elsewhere on umbrellas, a lamp and more umbrellas.

-- All of the players -- Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr., Denzel Ward, Damarious Randall, JC Tretter and Joel Bitonio -- were good sports and helped make the video a success because of their great attitudes. Shooting lasted just 30 minutes, so every second mattered. The pump stopped working during the shoot, forcing crew members to empty the tubs with buckets between takes. Because the offensive linemen were last to arrive, it was decided they would be the ones taking a plunge into the water.

-- In an ideal world, the video would have made its debut just before the start of training camp. Shortly after the video was shot, it was learned the San Francisco Giants had exclusive rights to the intro music -- “I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts -- which they used for a late June promotion. After months of back and forth between the Browns’ in-house legal team and Warner Bros. and Universal Music, the rights were acquired in the days leading up to Cleveland’s Week 2 matchup with the Jets. The timing of the victory, being in New York City and “Friends” celebrating its 25th anniversary turned out to be a very happy coincidence.

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