Monday, 1 December 2008

Little Drummer Boy

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!

Broadcast yourself

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.

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.


Mr G. said...

You're right. The folk who mock have rarely tried to do such things themselves. If they had they would realise how abject they sound. It's playground stuff most of it. They're either under 16 or devoid of soul, wit or understanding. In putting your art online you take the risk, but you can also take the moral high ground. It is far more emotionally courageous than anonymous slagging. There are plenty of us who enjoy your efforts, so thank you for that. [gives friendly punch to the shoulder]

BLTP said...

thanks G I must stop ranting I've got to knuckle down and make this year's fillum!

al_uk said...

Oh Chris I'm sorry, I thought years of physical and psychological abuse from me and your school friends had hardened you up!!!!!! I can see I shall just have to start all over again!!!!
Oh well the hardships of being the older brother.....its a tough job but someone has to do it.

PS I have shown your film to loads of my friends and they think its ace.....slightly odd hobby for a middle aged yorkshire man but hey....who cares

BLTP said...

Al: I really not that bothered it's more I just think it's odd that people feel the need to comment and yet the comments are so half hearted and randomly bitter.
And as for suitable hobbies for yorkshire blokes I seem to remember you killed my Kestrel and put it in the bin.

al_uk said...

I've decided my favourite bit is the mad reindeer at the end.

KC said...

This may seem strange, but I haven't yet viewed your YouTube video; however it is how I found this blog. I sometimes (well make that many time) look at the related videos pages link from a video itself where I see 20 videos in list format. This allows me to see most of what is written in the description area. The info given was: "The triumph of good over evil with clockwork toys.
Music By Low"
and the URL pointing to I assume Low's web page and then "my blog" with another URL that got me to this blog.

Rarely have I ever known as much as I do now about a YouTube video before watching it. It is a very good video which I have saved a favorite.

BLTP said...

KC: welcome along to my blog and thanks for your kind comments.