Friday, July 8, 2011

Famous for 18,659 Minutes

Today marks five years since I shot a somewhat random video in the Bronx Zoo and posted the unexpectedly good result on YouTube. I gave it an appallingly uninspired title:  "Gorillas, Congo Gorilla Forest, Bronx Zoo," which gives you some idea of how little creativity was involved on my part. I was basically just standing around on July 8, 2006 with my pocket camera already recording when some gorillas, their young in tow, came up to the window in front of the visitors, eliciting oohs and aahs and allowing members of the two species to marvel at each other's families. Who knew? The minute-long clip, to my unending amazement, has been watched more than 18,650 times, making it the only popular work I've ever created in any medium, and a pretty effortless one at that. YouTube is teeming with all sorts of great videos, of course, that have been viewed far more than this little one, but in the world of family gorilla viewing my contribution is right up there with the best of them.

Gorillas, Congo Gorilla Forest,
Bronx Zoo

So this video is, I suppose, my fifteen minutes of fame, or it could have been if my name were on it. Make that 18,659 minutes of fame.  

Now if you were to go to YouTube and search for the Congo Gorilla Forest, my clip would invariably be the first one listed by the search algorithm, even though perhaps a few others have been viewed slightly more times in total. Truthfully, if I had tried all day to make a successful zoo video, I don't think I could have come up with anything close to this happy accident, a fortuitous gathering of two species with their young at the zoo. Here then is my sole successful amateur video, despite the shaky cinematography somehow eminently watchable in a way never likely to be repeated by me, and ready, I hope, for another few thousand viewings, at the steady rate of maybe ten or twenty per day.

August 4, 2011:  Now with over 19,000 views!

February 12, 2012: There are now over 20,000 views, although it looks to me as if the video is starting to become less popular.

December 25, 2012:  Now at 21,000 views. The rate has definitely slowed, but is still above 1,000 views annually. At one time, though, it must have been close to 4,000 annual views.