The Unruly Vine interview series has become the go-to place for marketers looking to make the most of the hugely popular micro-media video platform. It’s also a chance to learn a little bit more about the people behind the most famous branded Vines on the web.
This week we caught up with stop-motion supremo Dylan Blau. We were lucky enough to meet Dylan at Social Media Week London, where he had been commissioned by Microsoft to run a Vine creation station with fellow pro Viner, Yves Das.
After a busy Halloween content schedule, I caught back up with Dylan to pick his brains about Vine.
Here’s what Dylan had to say:
1. What’s your background? Did you have video experience before you turned to Vine?
Not at all! In fact, I was studying Economics when I first discovered Vine. I used it to clear my mind during finals.
2. When did you decide you want that you wanted to focus on Vine? What was it that caught your eye?
Right after I saw the Editor’s Pick Vine page for the first time. Stop-motion experiments by artists like Charlie Love or Hunter Harrison made me realize what huge potential the app has! Soon after, I tried to create some stop-motion clips myself and kept on making more just for fun. Six months later, I got my first assignment from Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile) and worked together with one of the biggest creative agencies, Saatchi & Saatchi. That was my breakthrough as a Viner.
3. Where do you draw creative inspiration for your Vines?
I always try to make ordinary things look special and exciting in their own way. What seems like a boring object to others is something full of potential for me. You could say inspiration is all around me. When I have a creative block, I often stroll through the park and try to clear my mind. Eventually, ideas will strike by themselves.
4. What do you make of the new Vine feature which allows users to follow entire channel feeds? Do you think this will make it easier to discover top content?
Yes, I’m very glad this feature has come out. Vine is flooded with comedy nowadays, which makes it a lot more difficult for artists to stand out. And because the videos featured appear right on your feed, it’s a great way to discover new accounts, as you don’t have to browse through a bunch of videos until you find something interesting.
5. Do you enjoy working with brands? Do they allow you to be as creative as you’ve always been?
Absolutely! Let me put it this way, if the client or agency is collaborative and both parties are on the same page, it’s a blast! The freedom given always depends on whether the client has a concept in mind already or whether a storyboard needs to be created. I like to work either way. I sometimes find myself struggling with finding an idea. In that case, it’s nice to already have ideas from the client.
6. Where do you see yourself and Vine in the next 5 years? Is Vine sustainable in its current form or is this 15-minutes of fame for Vine stars?
I don’t think Vine will last forever. No social media platform does. I’m glad I dived into animation at a very early stage, which has opened a lot of doors for me. TV won’t die anytime soon and animated commercials will always be a thing. I keep my mind open to new things but enjoy Vine as it is right now.
7. Who is the best Viner or one to watch on the platform right now?
Tough one! I have to go with yelldesign. I can’t get enough of his clean and elegant design, combined with flawless animation. I enjoy his branded stuff as much as I do his personal work.
8. If you could give some advice to brands trying to make top organic content themselves without the help of Vine stars, what would it be?
I’d say by creating good content and, most importantly, interacting with their audience. Mashable run a weekly Vine challenge, which is a brilliant example of where content and engagement collide!
9. Many Viners seem to be crossing over to other short-form platforms, including Instagram and Snapchat. Do you think this is a natural progression for content creators? This reminds us of how it was with YouTube in the early days. YouTube lost its coolness and creatives are always looking out for the next big thing.
I can fully understand this phenomena. It’s obviously a great way to promote themselves on their other social media accounts and it sometimes gives them more space to work with.
For example, I noticed my raw footage often gets past the six seconds and it kinda hurts to see cut-away scenes. I think most Vine creators have faced a similar problem.
10. Comedy seems an extremely popular social motivation on Vine, but obviously this makes it more competitive for the likes of brands looking to join the party. What other categories do you believe are successful on Vine?
Documentation or something related in the “News” channel. “NowThis” is a great channel to follow and you even see the White House regularly post videos. The stories are short and to the point, what’s not to love?
11. There’s been a number of new features added to Vine recently. If you could add any feature to Vine in 2015, what would it be and why?
The ability to upload HD videos. With the new iPhone 6 and bigger screens, I think it’s time to upgrade from the 480×480 resolution.
12. What’s your favourite Vine of 2014 and why?
“3D selfie” by Tee Ken Ng. From the idea to the execution, it’s a must-see masterpiece. The illusion is just mind-boggling!
13. Christmas is a big focus for advertisers. Which themes do you think we’ll see coming through from retailers in this year’s holiday Vines?
I think we’ll see a lot of Vines showing gifts being unwrapped, revealing the brand’s product. I am also expecting some Christmas trees and snowmen to appear in my feed 🙂