The American composer, conductor, and pianist, Leonard Bernstein said, “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.”
It’s that sentiment, and the idea that sometimes everyone needs a creative kick in the ass that are the foundations of National Vlog Posting Month – an online event that asks its entrants to post at least one self-made video to their respective Facebook or MySpace Pages, blogs, YouTube accounts, or other hosts for web video content everyday for the entire month of November.
The rules are minimal: “You can do anything you want. As long as it moves,” and anyone can participate. But at its core lies a group of 50 or so videobloggers, who ardently support each others’ work, and are building relationships and community through content that includes sunsets (both colorful, accented with distant dog barks and at the Dead Sea, set to an 80’s pop track), cats (both the disappearing and reappearing kind), TV mash-up-mix-ups (of eerie evangelists and ‘80s icons) and other oddities, commonplace occurrences, and personal moments.
It’s like Videoblogging Week except a 30-day marathon instead of a 7-day sprint. Those in the know call it “NaVloPoMo.”
### The unfortunately nicknamed inclusive, online event is in its first year and is the latest in a series of similar, silly-named November phenomena that focus on quantity over quality. It’s a wild offshoot of the one-post-a-day National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), which itself is derivative of the write-a-50,000-word-novel National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). But its exact origins can be traced back to one vlogger in particular.
“Rupert Howe of TwitterVlog had the crazy idea for everyone to post a video everyday in November,” independent media creator professional, Jay Dedman told me over e-mail. “This kind of project is pretty typical of the VideoBlogging Group,” the virtual colloquium for the tight-knit videoblogging community. “Someone has a wacky idea at 3am, posts it to the group, and it just catches on.”
Rupert’s a London-based video blogger with a filmmaking background who’s recently rekindled his love for creating content, but now favors a wi-fi-enabled Nokia N93 with a built-in editor to record and publish “daily moments, as they happen” instead of the “proper 16mm short films” he made back in school. Earlier this month, I asked him how he came up with the idea for NaVloPoMo and what he thinks about the project. Most appropriately, he replied via his vlog. With a video:
Like Rupert says, when watching the videos, “you’ll probably think ‘what the hell?’ to some of them, and to some of them you’ll think, ‘this is amazing!’ and to some of them you’ll be like, ‘there’s something going on here,’” but due to the nature of the project they all share a few things in common. Each is ephemeral, replaced by the next day’s and the next day’s and the one the day after; and the schedule allows for very little time to self-edit, giving the creator an excuse to do basically whatever he or she wants.
In addition to posting family pranks and impromptu sketches, Mary Matthews of Video Pancakes uses NaVloPoMo as an opportunity to showcase “small clips that never made it into any videos but are still wonderful moments that have yet to find their place.”
Ryanne Hodson of Ryan Edit
Found-footage specialist, Aaron Valdez of Wreck and Salvage (Tilzy.TV page) and Valdezatron (Tilzy.TV page) posts a lot of his usual, mash-up fare, but also gets personal. He takes us on an uncharacteristically, minimally-edited tour of his desk drawer and workspace, and shows us what it’s like to receive some nuggets of VHS-gold in the mail.
There’s a lot more, too. Mike Moon is recording a surprisingly watchable, play-along, Mensa-puzzle-a-day with the aid of a desktop calendar, and Dennis Poulette records personal moments sprinkled throughout clips of Mexico City street life and culture.
But NaVloPoMo is at its best when its participants work off of one another, developing a jazz-like improvisation and a hip-hop sampling style that gives the videos a greater meaning and louder voice than a simple one-off. Rupert points out a foursome that in its final installment connects a Phil Collins remix with a HAL 9000 remake. The individual parts were all created by different people within a 24-hour time period.
In the end, though, it’s not really about the videos, how good or bad they may be, how many views they get, fame or fortune that they may or may not bring. It’s about a creative exchange between creative people that, while virtual, somehow feels more tangible than a lot of “real life” connections. It’s about an intense community whose members are as passionate about the work of others as they are of their own.
In his video response, Rupert says “it’s difficult to describe the true coolnes of it all.” He’s right. You just gotta watch.