This dead-eye director shoots a digital debut
Though not usually one to boast, I'm proud to say I recently produced a movie that's now playing on more screens than "Fracture," "Delta Farce" or even "Blades of Glory."
Sure, the average screen is only 17 inches wide and seating is limited, but admission is free and the popcorn is a lot cheaper.
I'm speaking, of course, of YouTube.com, the popular online video file sharing service that has all but obliterated water-cooler talk, smoke breaks and that vague notion that we should feel obliged to look busy in the workplace.
I'm now a YouTube "creator."
In early April a friend invited my wife and me to a gun range to shoot his AK-47. Let's call this friend "Dave" (actually, his name really is Dave, but I think the quotes add mystery to stories about firearms).
While my wife had never fired a gun, once she double-checked the relevant paragraphs in my life insurance policy, she seemed raring to go.
Anyway, after "Dave" schooled her on safety, she hit a target some 200 yards away on her first try. Minutes later she shot a bull's-eye 150 feet away.
Perhaps even more surprising, I fired the weapon without causing an accident worthy of the 5 o'clock news.
Regardless, while my wife was busy blowing her cover as a covert CIA agent, I decided to attempt a few other "firsts" as well. I took videos of the experience using our tiny Casio Exilim camera. Using iMovie software on my iMac, I then edited it down to a 10-minute movie and uploaded my first video to YouTube.
As of yesterday morning, "First Try Bullseye" had been viewed 2,024 times.
That sounds impressive. Keep in mind, however, that there's a skateboarding bulldog that's been viewed 183,372 times. Make that 183,373 -- that dog is amazing! He's probably CIA, too.
Empirical Web traffic data (if you can manage that phrase with a straight face) draws an even more mediocre picture of my shoot-'em-up's box office appeal.
In a recent TechNewsWorld report, analyst Bill Tancer suggested that only 0.16 percent of the more than 20 million people who use YouTube every month actually post videos.
By my fuzzy math, that's an average 50,000 voyeurs for every one exhibitionist (including the four-legged variety).
Yet in an age where anything we create can instantly go anywhere to a world of strangers, it seems home movies hardly ever come home anymore.
Of the 2,024 people who have seen our video, none is a family member -- due not to apathy, but to the digital divide. After all, there was plenty of apathy back when Dad wheeled out the Super8 projector. But Mom knew that was her cue to lock the doors until the lights came up.
Now, kids are always away at band camp or band camp detox. And despite our high-tech attempts, too few can transmit any personal highlight reel back to the folks at home because no one's figured out how to install Flash 9 software into Dad's 1989 26-inch Zenith console.
So next week, we'll take a look at the best ways to get our digital messages over the deepest analog chasm. Stay tuned.