I’ve finished 4 months—1/3—of my documentary project. And have recently learned what I should be doing if I want to have my documentary distributed internationally on DVD, and to be, as much as documentaries can be, popular.
I should be making an observational documentary following the first year of life of four babies from around the globe.
Unfortunately, the film Babies has already been made (read my review of Babies here).
However, that didn’t prevent my most popular clip so far from being one I took at the beginning of this month: my baby daughter removing a blanket off her body. As of today, it’s had 92 views.
My second most popular clip so far was also taken this month: teenagers jamming out at an intersection. As of today, it has 52 views.
An ideal of the Internet is that the best rises to the top—it gets shared, linked to, and it gets viewed and read. I’m not sure this is true, and I’ve felt that way ever since reading The Myth of Digital Democracy, Republic.com 2.0, and writing my Masters thesis on Public Spheres, Democracy, and New Media.
This feeling has been reconfirmed as I’ve worked on my project. True, the baby-blanket trick probably is my best shot this year, and the teenagers one is definitely in the top. But some of my very best shots, for example, an early one of hot chocolate powder sinking into milk, has only 15 views, and others have only 5 or 6.
Why do some of my best shots have a lot of views and others not? Advertising.
I posted the baby-blanket trick on Facebook; my mom reposted it, and my husband posted it on both Facebook and Twitter. Ta-dah—90+ views.
I posted the teenagers shot on Facebook; my husband posted it on both Facebook and Twitter. Ta-dah—50+ views.
Yes, there have been some shots I’ve advertised that haven’t garnered very many views, and if I am always advertising my work on Facebook, then people will stop listening. But the shots with more views are consistently the ones that have been advertised.
So advertising is necessary for viewership. The challenge then comes: How do I go about extending my sphere of influence? Finding other viewers? There’s lots of ways, but it’s often a slow process, and it’s one that I haven’t put very much work in, for the time being. Maybe I should prioritize advertising, but maybe it’s okay if I don’t. In a combined total, my videos have been viewed 1,693 times. So I’m not complaining.
Regardless of views, youtube has decided to celebrate the fact that I’ve consistently not violated copyright and posted over 100 original videos:
The irony? My own rules prevent me from posting videos of over 30 seconds long (though I have broken that rule by a few seconds several times).
In addition to the two popular ones, a few of my other favorite shots from April:
1. Burning a peep.
3. A teen romance.