By Alexander Mallin
It's a simple enough concept. Put two strangers in front of a camera, with one simple direction: "Kiss."
"The key trick I used was not to say 'action,'" said filmmaker Tatia Pilieva. "I've done lovemaking scenes before, but there was something so tender about this that we all kind of melted behind the five cameras we were using."
The production crew isn't the only one.
While President Obama's "Between Two Ferns" interview stole most of Tuesday's headlines, it was no match for "First Kiss," the advertisement-turned viral hit that has already passed 10 million views in its first two days online.
The short film is presented by the Los Angeles-based women's clothing company Wren. CEO and Founder Melissa Coker enlisted her old high school friend Pilieva to help her round up 20 people they would put in front of a camera to share a real life "first kiss" scenario.
What came next was an awkward, yet strangely fascinating three-and-a-half-minute montage of kisses between young, old, straight, gay, lesbian and biracial pairings.
All of the participants were friends of Coker and Pilieva who live in Los Angeles, and while they range from actors to models to singers, Pilieva said none of them were paid for the advertisement.
"We kind of grouped them together just by instinct," Pilieva said. "I was really nervous at first, but you can see how some of the people responded."
According to Pilieva, some responded so well that their interactions didn't end when she reluctantly called out the end of the scene.
"At least one couple went to the park for breakfast after, and another couple I heard winded up going to lunch," Pilieva said. "I'm positive at least some friendships developed. I don't know if any romantic relationships developed, but I could just be out of the loop."
Soko, a participant and the songwriter and voice behind the video's title track, was able to further connect with her female counterpart after their first kiss.
"It felt like the longest kiss of my life, but I wanted to just kiss more. It was so pure," Soko said. "Afterwards we went to get breakfast and then we ended up just hanging out the next four days. We didn't really take anything further romantically but we made a real connection and I feel like that's one of the most beautiful things people can take away from this video."