DeStorm Power basically invented the business of video creating on Vine. The techniques for making successfully funny, smart videos with a six-second time constraint are specific and, when you hear them coming from Power, sound obvious. However, the incredibly popular Vine (and don’t forget YouTube) creator figured them out by trial and error, which he explained to Rhett & Link this week on “Ear Biscuits.”
Like YouTube, Vine didn’t start out as a platform where entertainers could monetize their widely enjoyed content. Because its videos only run for six seconds (okay, 6.5 to be exact), users didn’t initially conceive of the app as a place to host anything complex enough to tell stories, including Power. Eventually, he began seeing Vine videos that verged on storytelling and seized the idea. “We brought the skits to Vine,” he explained.
“We” likely means himself and KingBach, a member of his current Viner “crew” (which includes about 10 creators in total, including Melvin Gregg and Klarity). KingBach actually started making skits on Vine “a few days” before Power, and it turned into the two challenging each other for followers. Power said that he started out with about 3,000 “by default, because my YouTube was big.”
From there, Power’s followers ended up growing to 4.6 million because he mastered the medium. Making people laugh with six-second videos isn’t easy, though Power may make it look that way. He had to come up with plenty of “tricks,” he calls them, to create videos within the constraint of the app (at first, you couldn’t upload videos to Vine — without hacking — and there were no special effects). For instance, he would create “seamless cuts” in which he’d start out in one place and, as if by magic, pop up in another, allowing for lightning fast storytelling and countless opportunities for comedic effect.
In doing this, Power and his fellow star Viners developed a whole language of shooting specifically for the video app. They invented terms like “the whip pan” and “the fish pan.” In the former, a Viner acts like they’re slapping someone in the video, then a cut makes it look that that slap turned the person into someone else. Nowadays, Viners can upload their videos to the platform, meaning they can edit using software like Final Cut, but initially they had to do all this by shooting on their phones.
Then there’s “the genius of the loop,” as Link called it. “The loop made Vine phenomenal,” Power described. “I knew that it would be the next level because the first time you watch [a Vine video], you’re like, ‘Cool,’ the second time you watch it you chuckle…by the time you see it five times, not only can a jingle be stuck in your head, but you’re laughing out loud at something you didn’t realize was funny.” In Power’s opinion, Instagram royally messed up because it doesn’t have the loop.
Power also believes that the loop made Vine better as a business (note what he said about jingles). Products that show up in catchy, six-second videos will stick in viewers’ minds, especially when they see them over and over again. Now, brands contact Power and will pay him directly to feature their products in his videos. This looks like an even better monetizing opportunity for some creators than YouTube, which controls advertisements and takes a big chunk of ad revenue. The catch is that creators have to able to harness the power of six-second video.
Also unlike YouTube, Vine allows for “edgier” content. “The type of jokes you can tell on Vine, you can’t really tell on YouTube,” Power said, citing the comments on YouTube where viewers will make a stink if they think your video is racist, sexist, etc. In other words, the video platform promotes politically correct content, while the app is more “like the Wild West.” According to Power, “Your audience allows you to get away with more stuff on Vine.”
To hear more about Power’s Vining techniques, not to mention his personal background, listen to this week’s “Ear Biscuits with Rhett & Link.”