A few weeks ago, I was chatting with my younger sister, Elizabeth, over dinner. The conversation shifted to social media, which both my sister and I use frequently (for completely different reasons). “Soon, I’m going to be like Jessi Smiles,” she stated. “Who is this Jessi Smiles?” I inquired. “What?! You don’t know Jessi Smiles?! She’s Vine famous!”
“Vine famous.” What exactly does this mean? Well, after conversing with Elizabeth and doing some online searching, I found out. In order to be “Vine famous,” one must establish a personality and foster his or her popularity through Vine, a socially-driven app that focuses on the creation of short video clips that cannot exceed 6 seconds in length. Those who are Vine famous can pull in a couple million followers without a problem.
I had heard of Vine and had watched a few creations prior to this conversation over dinner. I understood its format and its appeal. However, I was actively avoiding using it, unlike any other social media platform that had come my way. For the first time ever, I did not want to dive into a social media site that, on the surface, seemed exactly like the type of thing I would love. Why was I doing this?
In addition to business and finance, I acquired a degree in film as an undergraduate. I’ve always dreamed of being a filmmaker and have worked with film and editing with companies like ESPN and the Big Ten Network. While I have the technical skills and a solid understanding of film theory, I’m just not cut out for the industry. I can’t let a film project go. I cut, splice, and tweak my work until I’m faced with a deadline I cannot avoid. I like my film projects to be perfect, which is perhaps the worst trait possible in the field. It’s wildly unrealistic and ultimately leads to lackluster products. I knew that if I hopped on Vine, I would spend hours refining my 6-second compositions, completely missing the point of the app and the underlying community. Vines, like tweets, are supposed to be quick, yet creative, arrangements that inform, entertain, or inspire the viewer. Editing thoughts and text for a 140-character tweet is simple. But a short film? Impossible, in my mind.
Well, prior to this semester, I have never been in a situation in which I was encouraged to explore social media (something I do on my own time anyway). But here I am. I decided to face my fears and create my own Vines. I gave myself parameters, however. First, I would not reshoot any one subject more than once. This is to say that I would stick with my first take and not try to perfect it. Second, I would not spend more than five minutes on any one 6-second creation. This was the only way content would ever be generated.
I’ve now watched a lot of Vines, and I’ve established that these compositions likely fall into one of three categories. Some are simply snippets of a user’s life – the sun setting, a group of friends playing basketball, marshmallows burning. Some are driven by humor. Most of those who become “Vine famous” make clever 6-minute “stories” that many of those on Vine can relate to. For example, this humorous Vine was made by a Vine “celebrity,” and this comical work was put together by a friend of mine. Finally, some Vine creations focus on simple special effects and stop motion animation. This last category is the one I find most fun to explore.
So, I threw together two simple Vines. In the first, I asked my girlfriend to move around while I took many, many shots over the course of 6 seconds. In the second, I toy with Mountain Dew and apples. I’ll likely stick around Vine and continue improving on these basic effects and animation. It’s fun, and (with the right personal restrictions) it’s not a stressful endeavor.
I hope you enjoyed my Vines. I encourage everyone to hop on Vine and start making 6-second masterpieces!