Andy Warhol overshot when he predicted everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes. Apparently, all one needs is six seconds. That's the length of a Vine, the video app explored during last Sunday's Everything Is Vine, a segment of Cinefamily's fourth annual Everything Is Film Festival.
Hosted by Cinefamily co-founder Hadrian Belove at Fairfax's Silent Theater, EIV showcased the best work from a panel of notable Viners consisting of Steve Agee, Adam Goldberg, Gillian Jacobs, Marlo Meekins, Ian Padgham and James Urbaniak.
The afternoon was kicked off by the oeuvre of Goldberg, one of the first comedians to mine the potential of the medium after it debuted January 24 of this year. By February 4, Goldberg was already coronated "The King Of Vine" by BlackBook. The bulk of Goldberg's work featured a blond wig and his gradual metamorphosis into Andy Dick, his co-star in a sitcom pilot he shot earlier this year.
"I decided the several months leading up to meeting him was my transformation into Andy Dick," said Goldberg "Finally, the idea was to culminate. Steve [Agee] was organizing this Comedy Central thing which coincided with [Andy's] last day on Dancing With The Stars. I was like, that will be funny, I guess. None of my followers thought so, but they're all anti-semites."
Next up was Community star Jacobs, whose videos mostly utilize her dog's toys and a tree costume she received from the wardrobe department of her sitcom. Having started in early February, Jacobs considers herself to be a Vine latecomer.
"I think I saw people tweeting about it," she said when asked about how she found out about Vine. "I'm not an early adapter. I was unemployed, had a lot of time on my hands. And I don't know anything about technology. I can't use Final Cut Pro, or even Garage Band. So this allows me to edit things.
"You know, the Mac store does tutorials every day. Bring a notebook. Its easy," quipped fellow panelist and Venture Bros voice artist James Urbaniak. Jacobs responded with a pseudo aggravated groan, causing the audience to break out into a howl of laughter.
Joking aside, Jacobs' affinity towards Vine's simplicity was echoed by Urbaniak in a pre-panel email interview.
"I like the limitations. The time limit, the fact that the editing can only be done in camera. You can't save clips or rearrange them. There's no 'post[-production].' If you don't like an element of the Vine, you either live with it or you have to do the whole thing over. It's remedial filmmaking that poses a particular kind of problem solving. It's enjoyable to see how people approach these constraints. "
Agee embraces these constraints for their comedic potential. In his Vine series Hollywood & Vine Agee interviews celebrities, positing questions, but skipping past their responses. A prime example goes like this:
Agee: Ellen Page!
Page: Hey, Steve.
Agee: Any X-Men spoilers?
Page: Oh my god, yeah!
Agee: Thank you!
Agee also utilizes collabs, the abbreviation for a Vine or YouTube collaboration. His work features crossovers with other prominent Viners, including fellow panelists Goldberg, Jacobs and Meekins.
Meekins is the master of the sexy fake out. In one Vine, the sultry redhead provocatively unbuttons her blouse to reveal her dog's head in place of her breast. In another, after opening her shirt, she cuts to herself, back towards the camera, shooting silly string from her mammaries. She then turns her head to the audience, revealing a terrifying clown face.
"Vine is a perfect outlet for me because I really like performing and I'm also a visual artist," said Meekin. "So, I get to combine everything I'm interested in. I'm also crazy, like, legit crazy, so I get to put that in, too."
Another visual artist featured on the EIV panel was Padgham, a Twitter employee who specializes in stop motion animation. His most notable Vine presents the illusion that his hand is controlling actual traffic on the streets.
"I almost didn't post it, thinking it was lame," he said. "In the end it was my most [successful Vine]. It speaks to the simplicity of Vine. You don't have to do something super complicated."
Urbaniak taps into a different type of simplicity for his videos. Most of his work makes allusions to the works and influence of other Viners, including Goldberg, Jacobs, Agee, Meekins, and the absent Will Sasso.
"James wins for most references to other people's Vines," joked Belove
"It was a phase where it was getting too incestuous," responded Urbaniak.
Despite the differences between these Viners, they all agree the worst part about the medium is the inevitable scathing posts left on the message boards.
"Message boards are basically the graffiti on the bathroom walls of hell," noted Belove.
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As for the future of Vine, Urbaniak jokingly speculated that the medium will far exceed its 6 seconds, or even 15 minutes of fame: "After the apocalypse, society will be reconstructed from Vine posts."
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