A YouTube Story of a Story

Let’s get down with some meta story telling experiences.

The year is 2007 and I begin to record video on my new digital camera, then I edited the best parts into short format films. From Music videos to Travel logs, Artistic explorations to Family Adventures. “The Story” is a little under a hundred short films over a 5 year period. I had a lot to say and various ways to say it.

As Marshall McLuhan put it….the Medium IS the Message.

My Medium in this particular case was YouTube. I joined up in 2008, a few years after it’s release to the public. At the time, the Creators were small in number, “likes” were rare and “views” didn’t leave your social circle. In a sense, we were creating for each other.

My first videos were of my nephew, making some cute family oriented videos. Then inspired by a friend in Reno, where I was living then, I made my first music video. The inspiration was the same for both of us. We loved music videos and our favorite artists were under represented, so it was a fan music video but created like a Dadaist Cut-up on a digital scale.

The effort was artistic, musical and fun…all at once…growing into a sizable and more focued effort. My Magnetic Fields video has gathered 2.5 million view in it’s 11 years on YouTube. I wasn’t just making videos for my circle anymore. Often inspired by the film footage first and discovering the song that fit, or knowing my favorite song needed something interesting to visualize on and experience.

I called my channel Sharpiefinepoiny, a random set of text, simply sitting in front of me when I created the account, and an accidental typo. y=t. The year was 2008.

A year later I created a second account and split my output into personal work/artistic process, yet as my filming style and type of camera improved, so did my films. The new channel was called TheeBlink, and those videos of my nephew moved over. It was special for me to make funny little videos of my favorite baby at the time. It was a way to show off some editing skills for family, using our own homemade videos.

This was the beauty of YouTube, anyone could see it, from my grandparents, friends and family living all across America. I could share the fun, me and my Nephew had. King of the Bongos and Pirate Dancing was a sweet treat. When I moved to New Mexico, my attempts to capture the beauty of nature was the basis of my video work, even with the low resolution of that digital age. Hiking and Adventure videos became the norm. Sandia Man Cave remains a fun adventure and La Cuava Canyon with its insurmountable difficulty to hike captured the feeling of joy from attempting to transcend personal trials.

What of the music choices?

The diverse slice of musical variety mirrored my own life, using favorite tracks, artists and a growing sense that the landscape of auditory pleasures could be found and used to dramatic emotional effect.

Escaping to the Wilderness is my most personal video as my heart was broken before filming. I recorded this odd travel video that reminded one of a French New Wave film, likey because I was obsessed with them at the time. I slept on the far side of Monzano mountains with just me and the bears, and attempted to make art until the batteries ran out, while healing from not being loved back.

An exploration of color is a showcase of my favorite nature shots. Those moments of a beautiful natural landscape and the poetry of e.e. cummings. Of course I am a complete amateur and there are technical issues throughout all my work, but it was 2008 and my digital camera was an affordable one. There is an honesty in my work, that is not faked. I truly didn’t think anyone would want to watch my personal films and yet, I worked hard, because it mattered to me. I had things to say.

Throughout the next 5 years, the videos came, and always for different reasons and different audiences. Once my friends were on board with me documenting our adventures, and then my girlfriend, who became my wife..the camera was often in their faces and I disappeared into a lens. It was experimentation, exploration and my inner eye discovering beauty. The whole TheeBlink catalog of films, 43 films in all are a reflection of my life and then it ends.

Once my son was born, the shift happened, I filmed him. He was my subject, natural wonder and adventurer. My marriage ended and while I still film my son, it is not available to the public. TheeBlink, the YouTube account had it’s moment in the sun. An artistic experience that begins with a baby nephew and ends with a baby son.

I am proud of the work and treasure the weird life I’ve been able to live. The story arch of TheeBlink is a short one, but this is just the introduction to the story. The story was already told, in digital moments.

A single guy, who headed out west and found the wilderness to be the most fascinating subject available.

A courtship and marriage, with the growing sense that bigger things were in store.

Friends whose lives are intertwined and shared moments that captured the beauty of a moment. Why did I make a video of my friends wedding, that is far too long on the dancing part? That joy of friendship is captured in the moving feet amd smiling faces.

The most special video I made was for my Grandfather and namesake. He was in the Navy at a young age and saw some action during the outbreak of the Korean War. Slightly before that happened he brought a camera on board his ship and photographed his world. The early 1950s Maritime world and Occupied Japan. The negatives had been developed but prints were never made. This video show cases my Grandfather’s photographic life in Post War Japan. photos that have never been seen.

My music videos became more complex, often tackling Occupy Wall Street, the Oil spill in the GulfUFOS and heavy uncomfortable topics. Music became a bridge for me to express deeper themes with images and inspiring edited visuals.

Both Sharpiefinepoiny and TheeBlink are stories, meta-stories that are fun, run deep and can be experienced for free. YouTube provided the outlet and I took advantage. A body of work that I am proud of, feel no need to add too and stands for a moment of time.