March 11, 2014
YouTube, Vimeo, and Vine have given unprecedented power to the play button. A single video can now reach millions, at a cost that’s next to nothing. So why aren’t more organizations thinking in terms of shareable content? It’s time to start treating these miniature movies with a little more respect. Ologie’s senior cinematographer, Colin Faust, offers up some advice on putting the Internet to work.
Be shameless about the stories you tell.
On the Internet, compelling content is king. It doesn’t matter whether you have a million-dollar bankroll or a middle-class budget, whether your story is part of a campaign or wanders off the beaten path. Even what seems mundane can capture attention with the right approach. Take “How to Sharpen Pencils,” from Pricefilms, a deadpan look at a man who takes his pencils seriously. So far it’s racked up nearly 340,000 views on Vimeo—proof that if your story is interesting, people will watch (and share, like, follow, and repost).
Look in strange places.
Keep your eyes open for the new, the fascinating, the spontaneous, and the curious, because amazing stories are often right under your nose. For Stillmotion’s filmmakers, it began as a local news feature about a nine-year-old girl selling lemonade to fight child slavery. It eventually grew into a full-length documentary, called #standwithme, about the horrors of this global shadow industry. Of course, you can start on a smaller scale. Maybe your CFO writes science fiction that’s popular online. Or an art student on your university’s campus runs ultramarathons once a month. You’ll never know if you don’t poke around a little.
Make every story (and second) count.
Great stories deserve their 15 minutes of fame, even if they’re only 6 seconds long. Outlets like Vine, Instagram, Tumblr, Vimeo, and Imgur all share content in slightly different ways, so get creative. Who’s to say that an outtake can’t be reborn as a GIF on Tumblr? Or this: In promoting the new season of Game of Thrones, HBO posted a series of clips on Vine, prompting millions of people to view the full teaser. Whatever channel you choose, the key is letting the content take the lead.
Tap a niche audience.
There’s certainly strength in numbers, but passion can be far more powerful. Smaller, more specific audiences often share their interests more actively, and viewers who truly care about your story will dig a little deeper. This video from the University of California centers on an intriguing question: Do Deaf people dream in sign language? And although the three-minute piece (made by the folks at the D4D) is virtually silent, it received over a thousand independent shares in its first week—driving a mob of unique viewers to the UC system’s microsite. The point? Going viral isn’t the only way to make an impact. Sometimes it makes sense to narrow your focus.
On any given day, Colin can be found behind the lens in a variety of locations, whether it’s the Arizona desert, an airport tarmac, or our newly expanded motion studio.