Our (Ross Smith & Gangster Granny) ultimate goal for all of the content we create is to make the world laugh — and our “wheelchair video” accomplished that goal in spades. Through clever video trickery, we were able to create a runaway wheelchair illusion featuring Granny and a long driveway. We wanted to catch people off guard with an unpredictable twist and bring some light-hearted humor to the experience of leaving a hospital in a wheelchair after a hard-fought health battle (in Granny’s case, a cancer diagnosis at 96 years old), which countless recovered patients and their family members can relate to.
In addition to making people smile, our videos highlight how cool/resilient our elders actually are and help younger generations understand that a person’s value doesn’t diminish over time (quite the contrary, actually). Granny has since become the first of many “granfluencers,” defying the stereotype that social media influencers must be younger people in order to gain viral, international fame through platforms like TikTok or Instagram. Our followers seem to really have resonated with the humor we squeeze out of the generational divide and the inherent silliness of seeing an older person do something you’d expect from a teenager — as evidenced by the 90 million followers we have amassed across platforms by showing the world that comedy, coolness, and social media influence have no age barriers.
Most viewers underestimate how much planning, resources, and effort it truly takes to create the videos they love most. So much collaboration and thought needs to take place behind the scenes before the camera ever starts rolling. For this video, in particular, we brought the runaway wheelchair to life using multiple cameras. Those who follow us closely know how much I treasure Granny and always strive to take the best care of her, so we purposely subverted expectations by scripting a scene in which I would leave her alone, unattended, in an unsecured wheelchair that could possibly spin out of control (I, of course, would never). From there, Granny’s frantic screams for help captured viewers’ attention, and many commenters expressed concern that she could legitimately have experienced a severe injury, proving that the prank was seamless. Of course, others caught onto the trick and enjoyed the comedic effect of making the viewer the butt of the joke. We combined creativity, good acting, the larger story arc of Granny’s battle against cancer, and effective editing on the backend to build this video. In the end, filming and post-production went smoothly without any injuries due to careful planning, preparation, and partnership with our expert editing team.
The wheelchair video’s success almost speaks for itself, with “super viral” engagement metrics of 89 million views on TikTok and hundreds of millions of views across other platforms, including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Reddit — essentially “breaking the internet” for a week and making it our most successful video to date based on likes, shares, comments, and global news coverage.
On a more personal level, Granny and I consider our work a success when we can tell that it has made our audience’s days a bit brighter. Reading their feedback gives us and our team a kind of natural high. Every video that makes a positive impact and reaches so many people inspires us to continue creating. There’s so much negativity out there these days. I made a commitment to myself, to Granny, and to our supporters to create content in contrast to that negativity. We want our channels and our content to be a positive outlet for people to turn to when they need a good laugh or some heartwarming Granny content. We love highlighting how meaningful and downright cool a relationship with one’s grandparent/child can be, especially in a time where so many family dynamics have been fractured. My granny has so much positivity to offer that I couldn’t help but make her a huge part of the content I create. The chance to share her light with the world and help her leave such a measurable impact on others is my ultimate metric of success.