There's no getting away from it now Christmas will be here soon enough so I'm dusting off the advent calendar to celebrate this enjoyable if occasionally annoying season.
Little Drummer Boy Year 2
Advent Day1: I blame my parents they always encourage us as kids to make Christmas and birthday cards and the habit sort of stuck. So after a few years of making music compilations I was running out of good Xmas tunes and struck on the idea of making a Xmas film. I'd always liked Lows Yuletide EP and after seeing a drummer boy clockwork toy worked up the idea of him being chased by a killer robot initially across a number of famous London venues but eventually settled for things I could make in flat out of tinfoil and wrapping paper. It took a few nights to make mainly because I was using my cheap stills digital camera which could only record a few minutes of film before I had to transfer the shots to my borrowed laptop. Then using Microsoft movie maker I edited it. The whole thing if you excluded the cost of the borrowed laptop and the camera cost around £30 quid in clockwork toys, baubles and tangerines!
When I made it in 2005 YouTube wasn't around (or if it was wasn't well know) so I spent some more evenings burning 20 or so cd's to send out to my family and friends as cards. They all seemed to enjoy it. That was that until last year by which time YouTube had grown to in effect the 6th TV channel in Britain and so I up loaded it.
I have to admit I was pleased after a day or so that 20 or 40 people had watched it, this quickly turned to 100's and by the end of January 20,000. It's many times more popular than any other of my films due mainly to the popularity of the tune.
I do find it thrilling that a film you make literally in your bedroom (mines a studio flat!) can be seen by a fair sized football crowd. Of course I doubt if many of the viewers have watched it all but even so they seen 30 seconds of my film. In fact this does raise an interesting idea if I was making it now would you change it? The opening scenes where meant to be a montage of
Christmassy things which would introduce the theme and it takes almost a minute it introduce the main characters of the drummer boy and the robot so maybe if I were re-cut it for YouTube I would literally cut to the chase a bit quicker, but you know what I'm not going to mainly because editing stuff is time consuming and fiddly but also the film fits the song and if some bored Danish teenagers tunes out before the main scenes more fool them!
Talk of the audience brings me to the comments underneath; it's not new to say that YouTube comment posts don't show humanity at our best. Even the gratefully received positive ones are less than flattering being the usual "lol" "cool film" variety, the others fall into the cultural differences column with discussion of why there's tangerine in film.
The is also usual boastful pride filled evangelical nonsense as the god botherers storm in as, as the song is religious we get lots of random blessing that and Jesus stuff plus over literal analysis of the song i.e. did Jesus play the drums?
Lastly up is the abuse usually saying how bad the film or that they hate Jesus or Christmas.
I'm not saying the negative stuff doesn't affect me I just don't know why anyone would bother that much, I've seen hundreds of poor film on YouTube but rarely feel need to abuse the maker (or more likely poster) one guy (ivcam1021) recently told me to "next time ask a pro" . Which I didn't understand "ask a pro" what? How to make films but YouTube is all about broadcasting yourself it's about amateur film making or maybe he's a pro and I should email him when I want to film a radar tower and stick some electronica over the top! One thing I will guarantee is that anyone on YouTube who leaves a negative comment if you follow their name tag back to their profile won't have made any films of their own and are effectively anonymous, this sort of thing happens a lot less on flickr where if you slag off someone's snaps there's a good chance they'll swing by you page and could have something pithy to say about your collection of pics.
On the whole I think it's all funny really why do people think anyone gives a toss what some misanthropic teenager in Denmark thinks about a song written by some slow speaking Mormon stuck on a film about clockwork toys by a slight obsessive bloke from Yorkshire.
DO IT YOURSELF
anyway my films out there and it looks like because it's a Christmas film it will be watched for years to come all things being equal, already this Christmas 3 or 4 thousand views have clicked on it which brings us back to positive note on which to end.
If you have an idea and small amount of money you can make film and if it's any good people will watch, people however odd all over the world will see your film which is frankly very cool so happy advent I'm off to check my viewing counter one more time.