This morning I woke up to see that a 30 second video I posted on YouTube had over 28,000 hits. I know that’s small potatoes relatively, but it’s the most damn views I’ve ever had and it’s exciting because I saw it happen in close up. For the last few months, YouTube success has been a topic on my mind. A colleague and good buddy of mine (or rather, a good buddy and colleague of mine) have been discussing how ludicrous it is that “YouTube Stars” make so much money out of silly little videos. Then we got past how ludicrous it was and decided we wanted a piece of that action! We are both in corporate video production in our day jobs, so we figured that we should use our “skill set” to jump on the band wagon.
Concurrently, Danger and I started UBTV – the Channel of Unbelievably Bad magazine. We want to churn out little videos every week, covering everything you’d find in the zine and more. One day we’ll give up our day jobs and do that full time. That’s the dream. So a couple of days ago, I had a day off work and I was editing videos from home. I have the attention span of a kitten, so I need to work on a few things simultaneously. Danger and I were emailing and I showed him a link to one of my old videos that employed a fun editing technique. We talked about making a video for UBTV employing the same technique. I said that it’d be good to use on a politician. Danger suggested the Tony Abbott onion video. I know nothing about current news stories, so I just googled the video and found it. Angus was home too and when he walked past my computer, I asked him what song I should use. He suggested Darude’s “Sand Storm”. I’d heard him mention this before as an internet meme and we’d had fun watching him and his friend Bo dancing to the song. Within the space of an hour – literally from the first email – I had the video edited and posted on our UBTV YouTube Channel. It was just a throwaway idea, executed quickly while I should have been doing something else. I shared the link with my buddy Jo and told her that we could easily make videos like that for our YouTube campaign. This was on the back of the mash up of the Dinosaurs and Biggie Smalls – which incidentally, has over five million hits (to put it in perspective….). Then I forgot about it.
A couple of days later (that’s yesterday), Jo sent me a link to a small article on the Junkee website that said that Tony Abbott had eaten another onion – big news apparently! But the interesting part was that the writer of the article suggested watching the six second clip of Abbott eating the first onion, while playing Darude’s “Sand Storm” in the background. Wait, what?? Isn’t that the video I’d already made? So I posted a link to my YouTube clip in the comments section. And the internet did the rest. While I was at work, editing videos about an ASX Conference (yep – riveting stuff), Jo kept texting and emaiing me updates of how the video got picked up and gained a life of its own. Junkee made a little reference to it and then it was picked up by Pedestrian TV. Later at home, when Danger was showing me all of the Facebook comments, we agreed that we couldn’t have planned it any better. It was the perfect storm. The day that I made the video, the onion story was already old news. It was only the fact that Abbott ate a second onion that gave the video a life. Watching how the video spread was like tagging a pigeon. Hopefully the next pigeon will be one I’m proud of.
Update: By late afternoon it’s up to 37,500+ – jeez!